11:37 AM, 16th August 2022, About 2 years ago 5
UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has warned that A level results day is likely to trigger a tsunami of students struggling to find accommodation for their university places.
The warning comes in light of unparalleled demand for university accommodation, with real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield reporting that a record 2.18 million full-time students are currently studying at UK universities.
Their research highlights that 1.63 million of those require beds during their course of study because they are studying away from home.
Housing Hand’s chief operating officer, Graham Hayward, said: “We are working with universities up and down the country and many have expressed concern over the lack of available student accommodation in their local area.
“Some are going so far as to advise students to arrange their accommodation before they take up their place.”
Part of the problem is a lack of supply, according to Cushman & Wakefield, which cites the pandemic, rising construction costs and inflation as combining to put the brakes on the delivery of new student homes.
At the same time, legislative changes are pushing many private landlords to sell up and reducing the supply of homes in the private rented sector.
All while student numbers are climbing – and this is having a major impact on the choices that students can make when it comes to where they will live.
In East London, for example, Housing Hand is working with several letting agents who have lots of student applicants but no stock to select from.
This is pushing students to locate further afield and commute – something the Housing Hand team has witnessed in multiple areas – and all this is before A level results come out on 18th August.
Mr Hayward said: “We’re anticipating a tsunami of students who will face difficulties finding appropriate accommodation over the next few weeks.
“A growing number of universities are engaging Housing Hand to provide rental guarantor services, to try and make it easier for students to access local accommodation but lack of supply, rising costs and disrupted travel means that it isn’t always easy.”
The rising cost of living is also coming into play with utility bill costs being a particular concern for those students not living in halls – but rents are on the rise too.
According to Cushman & Wakefield, the average university price of £6,482.45 is now 68% of the maximum Student Maintenance Loan amount.
The average yearly private sector rent for student accommodation outside of London, meanwhile, stands at £7,055.71.
That equates to 74% of the maximum Student Maintenance Loan.
The firm also pointed out that rental growth of 1.07% during 2021/22 is set to increase to 3.1% in the year ahead.
Housing Hand has also ramped up its onboarding facilities to allow for speedy validation and acceptance in the coming weeks, ready to support students who cannot or prefer not to pay upfront to secure their accommodation.