Clearing body UCAS announced yesterday that final student application numbers for the 2012/13 academic year were down 7.4% as tuition fee rises started to bite.
But Unite assured the City today today that the numbers were within its forecasts and demand for student accommodation still outstrips supply.
Applications from foreign students – who form a core part of Unite’s market – also rose by 13.7.
The firm said: “The reduction in applications means that 2012/13 applicant numbers are broadly in line with those of two years ago, for the 2010/11 academic year.
“At this level, demand for university places still outstrips supply by approximately 32% and means that more than 156,000 students applying to study in 2012 will fail to secure a place.
“Consequently we do not expect the decline in applications to translate into a reduction in actual student numbers.
“Based on our current reservations for 2012/13, which are in line with the same point in 2011, we remain confident of achieving rental growth of 3-4% for the year.
“Within the overall numbers, applications from non-EU students, a key customer segment for Unite, increased by 13.7%, demonstrating the continued appeal of UK Universities overseas.
“Unite heavily over-indexes international students, particularly in its London portfolio, and this continuing trend supports the Group’s business model and customer acquisition strategy”