Investing in student property has long proved popular with property investors, mainly as a result of the high potential yields it can offer. In this report we will look at the prospects for investing in student property in eight of the UK’s largest student property locations outside London.
Birmingham is home to three large universities and two smaller institutions. Although having a large student population the city has a relatively low concentration of students in comparison to its overall population of around 1m.
The universities here are located in several locations across the city, meaning that several suburbs have traditionally been popular for student accommodation, particularly Edgbaston for the University of Birmingham and Erdington. As elsewhere, students have been attracted away from the suburbs and into the city centre in recent years. Although partly as a result of student preference the relocation of Birmingham City University into the city centre has impacted the student property market here.
Approx. no. of students: 65,000
If you are interested in investing in Birmingham please see this Insider report: 13 Things To Know Before You Invest In Birmingham
Bristol is home to four universities and student numbers have expanded considerably in recent years. The largest, the University of Bristol, enrolled 38% more students in 2014 than 2011. The University of Bristol is mainly located in Clifton and Cotham while the University of the West of England also has a campus at Frenchay further out.
Popular locations for student houses tend to be Clifton, Redland, Cotham, St. Andrews, Filton, Fishponds and Horfield although private rented accommodation in the traditional student areas around the city centre is in short supply. Bristol has seen extensive development of purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) over the last few years and more, providing several hundred beds, are planned.
Approx. no. of students: 50,000
Leeds has two large universities and one smaller institution. The University of Leeds, along with the University of Manchester, typically receives the highest numbers of applications of any university in the UK. Leeds is generally one of the cheaper large cities for student living costs and is popular with students from around the country for this reason. Over the last few years significant numbers of students have moved from the traditional student suburbs of Headingley and Hyde Park into the city centre, and local press reports claim there could be a surplus of 5,000 student bed spaces in these suburban locations.
Approx. no. of students: 74,000
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Liverpool has two large universities (the University of Liverpool is the oldest civic university in the UK) and one smaller institution. The University of Liverpool is mainly based around a single urban campus just outside the city centre, while the larger Liverpool John Moores University is located in several buildings, either side of the city centre.
Many students are attracted to study in Liverpool partly due to its low living and accommodation costs, and it is also the cheapest large student city for property prices. Traditional student housing areas include the city centre, Kensington, Smithdown/Wavertree and Sefton Park. Liverpool city centre has seen extensive development of large-scale purpose built student accommodation in recent years, so be sure to check the supply/demand situation in the area in which you are thinking of investing.
Approx. no. of students: 50,000
Manchester has five universities, including the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, all of which receive high levels of applications. The local authority says that the Manchester area has the largest student population in Europe.
The universities here are particularly popular with students from abroad as well as the UK. Around a quarter of all students are from outside the UK, with growing numbers of students from China in particular.
Manchester student life is focussed heavily around Oxford Road running south from the city centre and which is in many ways a large student town in its own right. In recent years significant numbers of students have moved from traditional student accommodation areas around Rusholme and Fallowfield into the city centre and several thousand PBSA beds have been provided with more in planning.
Approx. no. of students: 110,000
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The city has two universities – Newcastle University and Northumbria University. According to local press reports Newcastle University has increased student numbers by 70% since 2000 and Northumbria by 114% and numbers increase each year – a recent press report claims that Newcastle University is planning further expansion.
The majority of university buildings are located around the city centre and popular areas for Newcastle student houses include Heaton, Jesmond, Sandyford, Shieldfield and Spital Tongues.
Approx. no. of students: 49,000
Nottingham has two universities and the largest, the University of Nottingham, is one of the top five universities in the UK in terms of student numbers. The university is based on a dedicated campus at University Park on the outskirts of the city centre. The university is particularly well known for its teaching hospital, Queen’s Medical Centre.
The main student accommodation area is around Lenton although several purpose built student blocks have been developed in recent years. A recent press reports city research by the city council claims that the student property vacancy rate is only 1.6% and there is a need for more student accommodation.
Approx. no. of students: 78,000
Although a comparatively small city, Sheffield has a high student population – almost a fifth of adult residents of Sheffield are students. There are two large universities and the largest, the University of Sheffield, is reported to be planning further expansion.
University buildings are spread across the city centre, although plans to relocate a number of them are currently being discussed. Traditional student accommodation areas are Crookes, Broomhill, Walkley, Sharrow, Highfield and Ecclesall Road, although Sheffield has seen numerous new PBSA blocks in the city centre in recent years.
Approx. no. of students: 60,000
Property Insider recommends: If you are considering an investment in student property Property Insider offers you the following advice: Do your own research. Find out where students prefer to live and what sort of property they prefer to rent before you invest. Be sure to check out supply and demand for student accommodation in your chosen area. Check to see if any new PBSA blocks are planned. Check actual asking rents and rent trends with independent local experts.
You will also find this Property Insider report useful: The Pros and Cons of Investing In Student Property