Rents higher than students are willing to pay in a third of university towns

Alex Johnson

7d6139e966eb50a166481f26b37ccfd6ce5341cb 300x225  Rents higher than students are willing to pay in a third of university townsStudents in a third of the 25 largest university towns are in for a shock this term as the amount of rent they are willing to pay is lower than the average on offer in their town, according to flatsharing website

Research carried out by showed that the maximum amount of rent students are willing to pay each month stands at £411 on average, 15% higher than the average rent of £357 currently being charged by student landlords. However, on a regional basis, average rents in eight of the largest 25 student towns are higher than the maximum students are willing to pay.

For example, the average student maximum in Exeter is £300 but the average rent is £385. In Plymouth the figures are £301 and £340 respectively. This compares to Bath where students appear to be prepared to pay £406 while the average rent is only £329.

The average cost of renting a room in a student flatshare across the major British university towns has risen 8.5% over the last 12 months from £329 per month to £357. The growth between 2011 and 2012 was 5%.

This higher rate of growth has been at least partly spurred on by extra demand created by higher student numbers. In 2012 the number of university applicants fell 6.3% compared to the year before to 404,000. But in 2013, university applications have grown 7.2% to 433,330 – their highest level in the last five years.

Rishi Patel, manager of, said: “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.”

In’s survey of over 1,100 students, 77% said they live in private rental accommodation. Over half of all students (54%) say they have seen their monthly rent rise over the last 12 months.

The rise in the cost of renting as a student has had varying effects on the living arrangements and lifestyle of students across the country. Over a fifth of students now share with more people compared to last year in order to save costs, while just under 16% now live in a smaller property.

In a separate survey of 1,118 student landlords, 27% said they had increased rents over the last 12 months. Only 6% said they had lowered rents compared to last year. When asked what had driven the change in rents 15% felt it was the demand and supply imbalance with a shortage of rental stock and increased demand from students, while a further 15% stated they had felt a rise in the cost of mortgages which needed to be reflected in rental prices.

On a regional basis, 68% of the UK’s largest university towns have seen student rents rise over the last twelve months. The biggest rises have been seen in Coventry (18.6%), London (13.3%) and York (10.5%). The largest falls in average rent have been seen in Bath (11.2%), Cardiff (10.5%) and Bristol (9.3%).

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  • Evie

    Another issue is that most student lets now insist that you must pay rent over the summer months, when you are not covered by student finance. I am working full time over the summer, but still struggling to keep up with it (no one wants to hire someone for more than a few months and pay them more than minimum wage!) and it means that I am finding it hard to find related work experience which is usually unpaid. How students from areas of high unemployment and no help from parents cope I have no idea.

  • Ray

    From the numbers above:
    Number of students have risen from 431,163 in 2011 to 433,088 in 2013 – a rise of 1,925 or 0.44%
    Monthly flatshare rent has risen from £313 in 2011 to £357 in 2013 – a rise of £44 or 14%
    So it appears that the rise in the number of students has very little to do with the rise in the monthly flatshare rent, or indeed inflation in general, and more to do with our old friend ……. the Greedy Landlord!

  • Dya

    Yep, I mean I live in a cheap area (Swansea), last year my house roughly paid £1040 each month between 4 of us (£65 each a week, bills not included). This was a small terrace, with one on-street parking space and a slight damp problem. A similar house rental would be as a 3 bed (front room now being a bedroom) and maybe cost £500ish pcm.
    Now this is a “cheap” area and not what is considered “high”. Its greedy landlords all the way… But students have little or now choice so we have to go with it.

  • smartmind

    If it is “greedy landlords” then band together and buy your own house if it is so easy!

  • smartmind

    Evie, landlords are not charities and they still have to pay the bills, mortgages etcetera over the summer months. When I was at university (late 70’s) we had to pay rent over the entire year, so this is nothing new.

  • smartmind

    This article is little more than an advertorial for this website. A bit more independent research was needed. If students really had this maximum ceiling a lot of lets above the maximum would go unlet. Most people would like to get something for less than the going rate.

  • Dya

    Heh, yer houses are out of students individual price ranges and getting a mortgage is impossible. Where are we going to get £20K for a deposit from exactly? We’re not rich but I know how much mortgage payments are on houses and how much money those student landlords are raking in. (Worked with estate agents previously)

    However fortunately now managed to rent off a family member with my friends as a single house at a decent rent for a massive 3 bed. (as big as the 5 bed I first lived in, for under half the price). And this covers the houses mortgage payment and then something every month.

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