Have University Rents Gone Too Far?

University accommodation is the property investment project du jour at the moment, but it seems that in the chase for...

University accommodation is the property investment project du jour at the moment, but it seems that in the chase for high premiums, landlords are getting a bit carried away. Research from easyroommate.co.uk showed the average rents in one in three university towns are higher than students are willing to pay. The rent for major British university towns has increased by 8.5 per cent on average over the last year from GBP 329 per month to GBP 357. This pace of growth is considerably higher than that seen between 2011 and 2012, when prices increased by five per cent.

High demand is driving prices and rents are increasing at the fastest rate for three years as application numbers jump to the highest level since 2009. To  afford rent, a quarter of students have been forced to make cuts to their social lives. With tuition fees also on the up, finances are certainly tight for students.

Rishi Patel, manager of easyroommate.co.uk, said: "Student rents are once again on the march as student numbers begin to recover following the increase in tuition fees. Rents for student flatshares are now at their highest level in five years, which is increasing the financial pressure being felt by many students across the country who also have to deal with higher fees and more expensive day-to-day living costs."

However, the hands of landlords could be somewhat tied as a supply and demand imbalance, plus the cost of mortgages, has driven rents upwards. Yet there is little alternative for students struggling with costs. Of 1,100 surveyed by easyroommate.co.uk, 77 per cent of students said they live in private rental accommodation. Fifty-four per cent have seen monthly rents rise over the last 12 months and over a fifth now share with more people to save costs. Just under 16 per cent have been forced to move to a smaller property, while seven per cent have had to spend less on books and other study materials.

- Wednesday 11 September 2013

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