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Student rents affected by the drop in admissions

Despite annual growth in student rents slowing after a 7% drop in university admissions and a significant increase in tuition fees, it is still cheaper to rent from a private landlord than it is for a student to stay in halls of residence.

The cost of a student flat share room has gone up 3.9% in the last twelve months, while the halls of residence have increased by 5.5% meaning a student staying in a hall of residence will now pay an average of £1,200 more each year. Research carried out by the website EasyRoommate has shown that the average cost of renting a room in a student flat share across all of the major UK university towns has increased by 3%. In contrast the average rents in non-student flat shares have grown by 7.6% over the same period. The drop in student applications comes as no surprise after increased tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year come into effect for the upcoming academic year.

Jonathan Moore, EasyRoommate director, said “The rise in tuition fees and the prospect of a debt mountain on leaving university was the final nail in the coffin for many would-be students. The drop in applications has eased the pressure on student accommodation and this has caused rent rises to slow compared to the wider market. This is something that will be very welcome to cash conscious students and parents. Halls of residence have many advantages and can be a great social hub when first starting out at university. But as the cost of studying climbs ever higher, more and more students will be considering their options in order to save a few pounds.”

Huge demand for amenities such as Wi-Fi and en-suite bathrooms are reasons that halls of residence costs are growing at a faster rate than student flat share costs. While flat sharers don’t usually get bills and cleaning costs included in their rent, they can cuts costs by sharing with more students. The report will not deter any property investor with an interest in landlord insurance from avoiding the student market and with the cost of university rising higher each year students may be tempted to go private in a bid to save money.

Drop in university applications will impact on landlords

Property investors with an interest in buy to let insurance have been given an early warning that tenants may not be in such a plentiful supply this time next year, especially if the landlord owns property in a University seat of learning.

News from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) that applications from students for the 2012/ 2013 academic year are massively down could start ringing alarm bells for those who predominantly rent out to students. Although there is still around 10 weeks left of the application period for the majority of Universities the figures will be disappointing not only to landlords but to the Universities and the Government. There is no doubting the fact that tuition fees of up to £9,000 are a main contributor to the almost 12% drop.

Applications that finished in October have in fact held up and landlords who let their properties to dentists, doctors, vets or indeed the upper echelon who go to Oxford have no need to worry as these courses are already full, however, Matt Hutchinson from online letting agency spareroom.com said “Tuition fees are going up, and that may well affect people’s decision whether or not to apply to university, but it doesn’t stop there. Rents are also increasing, along with food and energy costs, so the final debt the average student graduates with may well be the biggest factor for some.”

There is no doubt that landlord’s in cities such as Durham, Coventry and Sheffield rely heavily on the student population for their living and the reduction in applications along with the rise in unemployment may well put some businesses at risk.