On 22 February, the Government announced that in person learning can resume for students on practical or practice based courses and who require specialist equipment and facilities. While all other students were asked not to return to either their campus or term-time accommodation, it appeared that the lockdown exit plan boosted confidence amongst those searching for term-time accommodation for the following academic year at least.
Following the Government’s announcement, UniHomes saw a 68% increase in students searching for rental accommodation, with enquiries on student rentals also climbing 234% compared to a year earlier.
A month later, UniHomes stated that the strong demand has continued. Co-founder of UniHomes, Phil Greaves, commented: “Continued uncertainty within the workplace and a lack of available jobs has caused many young people to opt for higher education to bypass the impact of the pandemic until the landscape has improved. Although university has been largely confined to remote learning for the last year or so, demand for HMOs has remained strong, as many students attempt to maintain some form of normality within their university life. We expect to see this segment of the rental market return to full health far quicker than other areas over the coming months.”
The towns students are ‘flooding to’
The Student Rental Hotspots Index by UniHomes looks at the UK’s top 100 universities to see which are currently seeing the highest demand for student rentals. This demand is based on the number of student homes listed on the market that have already had a let agreed as a percentage of total stock available.
The Index revealed at the end of March that when it comes to the university town with the highest levels of student rental demand, Chichester ranks top, with agents seeing a huge 92% of all properties listed already being snapped up by students. Falmouth is the second hottest market for student rental demand, with 78% of all accommodation already taken. Both are relatively small university towns which highlights why student rental stock might be in short supply.
In terms of the larger university towns to see the highest demand, York (72%), Durham (64%), Lancaster (64%), Bournemouth (63%), Bristol (59%), Exeter (58%) and Bath (49%) all rank in the top 10.