Private student rents have remained at an average of £100-£119 per week for the second year running, according to an annual report into student accommodation compiled by Glide Utilities, the student utilities and service provider.
The What Students Seek report shows that accommodation represents the second biggest outlay for students during their studies, behind fees. The majority (72%) of student rents are between £80-£139 per week. However, university locality creates some variance, with 15% of London students paying over £200 a week, while 69% of student rents in the North East are less than £90 per week.
Almost half (45%) of students surveyed said that their accommodation offers good value for money, but 36% disagree, suggesting that, while student rents remain static, landlords need to understand students better to attract and retain the best tenants; a growing concern given the continued increase of modern student developments on the market.
The annual What Students Seek report uncovers what students look for when it comes to their accommodation, to unveil common themes that could help landlords improve the market appeal of their properties.
When it comes to house shares, 39% of students currently share with five or more people. However, when asked how many people they’d ideally like to live with, almost half (48%) indicated that they’d like to share with just two people or fewer in their next property.
And it appears that a television isn’t going to sway students into renting a property – the majority (60%) rated having a TV as the least important factor when choosing accommodation. After cost, a fast broadband connection is by far the most important factor for students, followed by good storage space, rent inclusive of bills and double beds.
Positively, the majority of students (57%) are happy with the way their property is managed. Nevertheless, almost a quarter (23%) weren’t pleased, with the following issues causing the most problems: lack of response on maintenance issues (37%); poor upkeep of the property (30%); and lack of communication (28%).
One way that landlords could please their tenants is to include bills in the rent, which three quarters of students said was essential or
quite important when considering a property.
You could even go the extra mile and offer cash or a non-cash incentive to students, which have been given to one in 20 students. Their landlord had even taken out 2% of students for a drink!
The report also highlighted the best university cities for landlords to invest in, based on overall tenant satisfaction ratings and annual yields.
Although there are great investment opportunities across the UK, cities in the North East consistently rate highly for both annual yields and tenant satisfaction, with properties in Middlesbrough delivering a 16.1% annual return and 82% satisfaction rating. Durham and Sunderland followed close behind.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the scale, London rated lowest, with an average annual yield of just 2.7% and a 76% satisfaction rating.
Outside of student rents, the report also pointed to a decline in the infamous student social life. When asked how respondents funded their social lives, almost one in five (17%) admitted that they didn’t have one. Despite this, over a third still rated the proximity to bars and clubs as an important factor when choosing accommodation.
The CEO of Glide Utilities, James Villarreal, comments: 'It’s good news for students that private rental costs remain static, especially since the price of living in halls of residence continues to rise. However, it’s very likely that costs will rise moving forward, as the ban of tenant fees will inevitably get passed through to the price of the rent. Therefore, landlords and agents can offer students greater value for money by offering bills included, and ensuring that properties are well maintained and efficiently managed.'