16 September 2016
Student house shortage is driving rent prices sky-high
Looking for next year's student digs? We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but you may be finding it harder – and more expensive – to find your next place…
Student rents have risen 11% in some cities this year alone, according to research from our famous Student Money Survey. As well as this, there just aren't enough student houses in some areas – the increased competition to find student digs means that some students need to find an extra £600 a year to cover the increasing rent costs. That's on top of an already minuscule maintenance loan which often doesn't cover all of your rent!
Why is it costing more to rent?
To put it simply – more students are going to university, so more people need somewhere to live. Not enough landlords are rushing to rent out their properties to students, so there's a shortage of houses on offer – meaning landlords can charge more money, knowing desperate students will pay a lucrative amount in rent out of sheer desperation. Students are also battling more families and workers looking to rent who are unable to buy a house. Think of it like The Hunger Games, but with less violence.
A more in depth study by Spareroom.co.uk found that students in Edinburgh attending Heriot-Watt University will find that rent in the area has increased an average 7% this year, from £438 to £469 a month. Not only would you have to find more money, you will also find that, on average, 5 students will look at renting that same room.
Rent for Oxford University students has increased from £507 to £557 a month – that's a staggering increase of 10%!
It's not like rents were cheap to begin with – in our Student Money Survey earlier this year, 70% of students said they did not feel that their maintenance loan was enough to live on. In fact, the average student has to find an extra £250 a month to afford their rent and living costs. Earlier this year, students in London took part in the largest ever rent strikes over the cost of rent and living standards – students are obviously already struggling. Increasing rents will only make the situation worse.
Falling housing standards, rising rents
As many students already know, student houses aren't exactly known for their cleanliness or state of repair. In fact, you're pretty likely to see dodgy wiring, broken appliances and plenty of mould (just like this one).
We have a brilliant guide on viewing student houses, including what to avoid. If you view a house in poor condition – don't rent it! However, this situation could become trickier in the future. With more students competing for the same amount of houses, standards could very well slip as landlords become more reluctant to spend money improving the standard of their property if some poor fellow is desperate enough to rent it.
Director for Spare Room, Matt Hutchinson, worries that it's possible that some students will be priced out of renting in some cities, forcing them to go to a university in a cheaper city:
Students aren’t just battling rising rents, they’re also affected by a private rental market struggling to cope with demand. That means choosing where you go to uni can have a huge impact on your debt after you graduate.
If you were to study at Durham University rather than Oxford University, you would save £3,000 in rent over three years. To a cash-strapped student, it may seem to worth it to move further away and choose a lesser university just to save rent.
How much has rent risen in your city?
In almost all major university cities, rent has increased. There are a few exceptions, such as properties near Aston University and Durham. For students at the London School of Economics, rent has fallen by an average 5% compared to last year – although the cost of renting a room is still a staggering £1,034 a month!
The biggest increase in rent is 10% in Oxford, followed by students in Surrey who will find that their rent has increased 9%.
Have a look at the table and see if your city is listed. It may be bad news but at least you won't get a shock when you're in the market for next year's house!
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