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Which university hotspots are offering the largest choice of homes in the current market?

Southampton, Portsmouth and Nottingham are the cities with the highest density of student rental availability according to the UK’s leading student accommodation platform, UniHomes.


UniHomes analysed market listings for student accommodation in 23 major cities across the nation and found that, on average, there are 1,669 student properties available to rent per city.

With a plan to return to physical classes now in place for many students, with many more also starting their search in anticipation of starting a new year in September, demand for student accommodation is set to start climbing.

But where provides the biggest abundance of rental availability for those on the student house hunt?

Most student rentals

In terms of total student rentals on the market, those heading to university in Leeds will have the most choice, with over 6,000 student lets currently listed on the market.

London is home to the second-largest level with 4,113 student rentals available, with Newcastle also ranking high (3,358).

Student rental hotspots

However, UniHomes also looked at this rental availability in relation to the size of each city to see which offered the most choice to students in terms of sheer density in a given location.

When looking at stock availability versus the size of each city, the south coast comes out on top as the current student rental hotspot of the UK.

There are currently 1,641 student lets listed in Southampton across approximately 50 square kilometres. This means there’s an average of 33 student rental properties per sq kg in the city.

In Portsmouth, the 1,286 student lets currently listed equates to 32 homes per sq km, with Nottingham (30), Newcastle (30), Leicester (27), Bournemouth (23), Liverpool (17), Plymouth (15), Oxford (15) and Bristol (14) also ranking as some of the UK’s current student rental hotspots.

Landlord opportunities

In contrast, there are currently just 70 student lets listed in Bradford and with the city covering a sizable 366 square kilometres, this means there is an average of just 0.2 student lets per sq km.

In Swansea and Aberdeen, there is an average of just one student let per square kilometre, while Sunderland, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester don’t fare much better with just two student lets per sq km.

With student tenants providing a consistent stream of demand, it would seem these areas provide a great opportunity for buy-to-let landlords to plug the hole in the market while also providing some much needed rental accommodation.

Co-Founder of UniHomes, Phil Greaves, commented:

“Heading off to university means a long checklist of things to get sorted and while freshers will often organise accommodation via their university, those returning for a second or third year will need to add a place to live to their to-do list.

Although September seems a long way off, finding the right property can be a lengthy process and our research shows that it could be far trickier in some university cities compared to others.

The level of student lets available can differ drastically from one location to the next so depending on where you plan to study, you might need to start looking sooner rather than later.

Even in areas with the highest levels of rental stock, leaving it until the last minute can mean settling for a property you’re not quite happy with, whether it be due to size, location or otherwise.

Our research also demonstrates some great opportunities for landlords in cities with the lowest level of student rental stock. Students provide a consistent stream of rental income and in areas such as Bradford, there is a real gap in the market for student rental properties.”

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