Student tenant demand returns

Landlords are ready to recuperate after a tough year, as demand for student accommodation begins to rise again. UniHomes, a student accommodation company has released new figures showing the surge in demand compared to last year.;

Landlords are ready to recuperate after a tough year, as demand for student accommodation begins to rise again.

Return of the student let

With September’s start date for the academic year looming, some universities student-let-rich areas are already seeing a huge demand increase, compared to last year.

This is positive news after a tough year of online learning caused many students to stay at home, rather than live away.

This in turn removed an often-times reliable source of rental income for many landlords, whose HMOs and flats were unfortunately left empty last year.

Already taken

UniHomes, a student accommodation company, has released new figures showing the demand placed in certain university areas.

The area surrounding the University of Chichester has seen the highest level of demand, with 94% of lets already agreed for the upcoming academic year.

In West Sussex, where the average rental income is £1,016 per month, this could earn landlords yields of 3.2% and 4.7%.

The student accommodation available near the University of York has also seen this surge in demand, with 89% of lets agreed ahead of September.

Highest demand

Following Chichester and York, the next highest percentage of lets agreed in the student accommodation area is Harper Adams University in Newport with 76%.

This is then followed by Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh (67%) and Durham University (64%).

Surprisingly, London, with its 4,113 student rentals available has not made the top 5, despite having a large number of universities in the area.

Demand shift

Phil Greaves, Co-founder and Director of UniHomes commented that student priorities had shifted during the pandemic, and so too had their accommodation checklists.

"Much like the rest of the UK property market, students are valuing larger, high specification properties with outdoor space.”

"Having spent most of the last year studying remotely, we have noticed a trend in students searching for desirable HMOs, over smaller properties or purpose-built accommodation that lack private outdoor space,"

This is in line with the rest of the buy to let market, where trends have seen a priority shift to rural locations or properties with additional outdoor space.

Opportunity for investment

Further research, that the student accommodation site has issued, also highlights some real investment opportunities when it comes to student-accommodation deficits.

Currently, on their website, there are just 70 student lets listed in Bradford. Boasting an award-winning technology university, the city covers roughly 366 square kilometres.

This means, that there is an average of just 0.2 student lets per square metre.

Contrasted with this are university cities such as Southampton, which has an average of 33 student lets per square kilometre in the city, and Nottingham, whose average sits around 30.

Unihomes has listed the other cities with low amounts of student let per square metre as:

  • Swansea (1 per sq m)
  • Aberdeen (1 per sq m)
  • Sunderland (2 per sq m)
  • Edinburgh (2 per sq m)
  • Glasgow (2 per sq m)
  • Manchester (2 per sq m)

Greaves adds:

“Our research also demonstrates some great opportunities for landlords in cities with the lowest level of student rental stock. Students provide a consistent stream of rental income and in areas such as Bradford, there is a real gap in the market for student rental properties.”

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.