Rents too high for students in third of university towns
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Education and also in Finance, Housing
Housing association supports university students
Rental costs in a third of Britain's university towns are more than students are willing to pay, new research has shown.
The average cost of renting a room in a student flatshare across university towns has risen 8.5% over the last year from £329 per month to £357 - a much higher pace of growth compared to that seen between 2011 and 2012 when rents rose just 5%.
Though easyroommate.co.uk's study found that the average maximum of £411pcm students are willing to pay is 15% higher than the average national rent of £357pcm, on a regional basis rents in eight of the largest 25 uni towns are higher than the maximum pupils can afford.
The rise in costs has been partly attributed to the 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, applications have grown 7.2% to 433,330 – their highest level in the last five years.
The rise in applications comes despite a rise in the average tuition fee being charged by universities. The average tuition fee across the UK is now £8,500 per year, up from £8,385 in 2012.
Rishi Patel, easyroommate.co.uk manager, said: “Student rents are once again on the march as student numbers begin to recover following the increase in tuition fees. 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 the survey of over 1,100 students, 77% said they live in private rental accommodation, and over half of all students (54%) say they have seen their monthly rent rise over the last 12 months.
When asked about how much their rent had increased, students believed their monthly rent bill had risen 8.6%, an almost identical figure compared to the actual rise in student rents (8.5%).
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. Over a quarter (28%) now have less money to spend in their social life as a result of rent rises, while 12% have less money to save for after university and 7% have less to spend on books and other study materials.
Rishi Patel added: “Last year the only financial respite students enjoyed amid higher tuition fees and mounting day-to-day living costs was a slowing in the growth of rents as new student numbers fell and demand subsided. Now though, applications to university have recovered, demand is up and the pace of rental growth has quickened. As a result many students now have to cut back and count the pennies in other aspects of their daily lives."