LONDON (SHARECAST) - Student accommodation group Unite said it is confident of achieving rental growth of 3-4% for the year despite news that student applications for this year fell dramatically.
University applications from UK students were down by 8.7%, according to figures from the admissions service.
The drop is being blamed on 2012 being the first year of higher tuition fees, with costs rising to up to £9,000 per year in England.
Unite said it had predicted a fall of anything up to 10% and 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," the company said.
"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," it added.
Within the overall numbers, applications from non-EU students, a key customer segment for Unite, increased by 13.7%, which it said demonstrated the continuing appeal of UK Universities overseas.
The battle rages on as to whether the rise in tuition fees is damaging students' chances, or desire, to get into university.
Universities Minister David Willetts said school-leaver applications from the most disadvantaged areas had only fallen 0.2%
"It is encouraging that applications from people from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds remain strong," he said.
But Sally Hunt, general secretary of the UCU lecturers' union, said the "figures are very worrying and once again highlight the government's folly in raising tuition fees to as much as £9,000 a year.
"Applications in England are down over 50% more than in any other part of the UK as a result of the government making it the most expensive country in the world in which to gain a public degree."