GLASGOW has the largest shortage of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) in the UK, it has been declared.

A new report has found that both Glasgow and Edinburgh are facing a “considerable lack of supply” of PBSA that could ultimately undermine the prospects of their academic institutions.

Despite a number of PBSA blocks springing up over recent years, and more being planned and under development, Scotland’s two biggest cities are understood to be thousands of beds short of what their student populations require.

Analysis of the PBSA market by property firm Savills found that Glasgow needs an additional 22,000 beds to meet requirements for student accommodation in the city. There is also a shortfall in Edinburgh, with Scotland’s capital city requiring 17,000 further beds.

Alex France, associate director in the development team at Savills Scotland, said: “Glasgow’s strength as an academic centre of excellence is not to be underestimated and its continued success is critical to the city’s economic prosperity.

“Providing sufficient high-quality PBSA to meet demand from students is imperative to maintain Glasgow’s national and global appeal, as well as helping alleviate pressure in the region’s private rented sector, which is suffering from severe supply shortages.”

Savills said it analysed the PBSA market in 20 of the UK’s largest student cities, which include more than 1.3 million full-time students. The agent found that, in total, an extra 234,000 beds are required to bring the student-to-bed ratio down to the preferred figure of 1.5.

At present, five cities have a ratio of more than 3.0, with Glasgow at the top of the list at 3.8, followed by London and Bristol at 3.6 and 3.5 respectively, Savills found.

The deficit of PBSA sector in Scotland comes amid a well-documented shortage of housing in the private rented sector, which has been putting upward pressure on rents. The Scottish Government introduce an emergency rent cap to protect tenants during the depths of the cost of living crisis. This ended in April, when temporary changes were brought in to provide tenants with a degree of continuing protection.

However, the Scottish Government’s rent policy has been heavily criticised by the build-to-rent sector, which say it is driving investors away from Scotland.

Jacqui Daly, director in the research team at Savills, added: “Both Glasgow and Edinburgh have a high student to bed ratio indicating a considerable lack of supply. In Glasgow, at present there are 3.5 students per available room, with the private rented sector having to pick up the largest share when it comes to accommodation.

“However, as we know, the housing market is facing its own constraints meaning more PBSA is required to alleviate mounting pressure. Ultimately, those university cities that fail to provide adequate accommodation may not attract as many students moving forward, with a number of institutions already stepping out of clearing for this reason.”

Analysis by Savills found that Glasgow has just 11% of its operational stock in the pipeline, which it said means the impact on student to bed ratios will be limited, falling by only 0.4. With over 77,000 full-time students across five higher education institutions, it said providing more space in the city is critical.

The agent contrasted the market in Glasgow with Bristol, where delivery of PBSA is set to see an increase of 45% of operational supply. This means the student to bed ratio will reduce from 3.5 to 2.5 once delivered, Savills said.