A new survey has revealed that average annual rents for students rose by six per cent in 2018/19, and that the popularity of studio flats with those at university has shown a huge increase in recent years.
Overall, renting accommodation costs a student in the UK an average £6,366 per year but in London that figures rises to £8,875. Outside of the capital, average rents go down to a touch below £6,000 and per week students pay an average of £147 for a place to live.
The report from the National Union of Students (NUS) and Unipol also underlines how the change in demands of students and the accommodation on offer to them have radically changed in recent years.
The number of self-catering en-suite rooms available, from both institutions and private providers, makes up 58% of total stock surveyed, a rise of 9% since 2011/12. The amount of studio flats in the same period has gone up by 123%, and they now account for 9% of student beds available – a far cry from the type of student living so brilliantly parodied on TV in ‘The Young Ones’ in the early 1980s.
The report also highlights the rise of the commercial sector in providing university accommodation, accounting for half of all supply compared to 39% in 2011/12.
“Rents have consistently outstripped inflation, alongside a tendency for the accommodation product to become increasingly luxurious,” the report states in its introduction.
“In an age where opportunity and diversity are desirable outcomes, the fall in the availability of lower-cost accommodation risks excluding students from a proper university and residential experience.”
Students start accommodation search earlier than ever
The NUS/Unipol report comes shortly after other surveys which have provided valuable insight into the student accommodation scene at the moment. A Which? report in November revealed that 27% of first-year students will begin looking for second-year accommodation before the end of November in their first term.
The demands of providing enough accommodation were also flagged up by Knight Frank and UCAS, who showed that 57% of second and third-years had secured a place to live for the next year by the end of March.
There are even buy-for-university mortgages available for students – but with the proviso that their parents provide security in cash or equity. Looking further down the career path, the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ seems to be increasingly open only to those with parents back by money or property.