Student Accommodation - Your Next Investment Opportunity?
Despite tuition fees continuing to rise and growing competition for post graduate jobs, levels of students and those choosing higher education remains steady. Although 2017 applications for full-time undergraduate places are down slightly on previous years - according to figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS), 564,190 people applied to UK higher education courses this year - there is still a huge demand for higher education. All those students need somewhere to live, which means there's never been a better time to think about investing in buy-to-let student accommodation.
This type of accommodation is a relatively safe bet in terms of investment as there will always be a demand for houses in popular university towns and cities. According to research by property investment company, Aspen Woolf, some of the UK's best student towns to invest in include Huddersfield, Plymouth, Bristol, Leeds and Liverpool. Other areas to think about include Sunderland - offering returns of nearly 7% with average property prices still low at around £65,000 - Birmingham and Manchester. In these areas, it’s likely that students will be queuing up to live in your house. Whether choosing an HMO that houses multiple tenants or a smaller property in a brand new development, don’t rule out investing in student accommodation before looking at the figures.
When you imagine student housing, you probably think back to your student days. Big, draughty old houses packed full of hormonal young adults, curtains that don't quite fit the windows, dirty bathrooms, a kitchen that looks like something out of the Young Ones and rooms that have seen better days with rickety windows and no heating. But the face of student accommodation and HMOs is starting to change. In cities like Manchester, where the population is expected to exceed 600,000 by 2037, there are slick new student developments popping up that offer shrewd investors attractive returns on investment. These modern, bright, houses are making not just students, but potential investors view student accommodation with fresh eyes.
London has seen the largest increase in demand for a university place - 44% of 18 year olds now apply for further education courses in the UK's largest city according to UCAS. But it’s certainly not the city that will bring you the highest returns on investment, largely because property is so expensive to buy in the first place so profit margins are much smaller.
During the recession, many asset classes performed badly, but student accommodation held its value. This steady income from HMOs is a win-win for landlords who want a reliable investment, ROI and guaranteed income stream. Treat students well and keep your property well maintained and they will be more likely to stay in your property for a longer period of time; the average course length is three years, with medical students studying for six. This means guaranteed, secure rent for a landlord. It's highly unlikey that a HMO of seven or eight students will move out en mass, they are much more likely to stay put and advertise for a new housemate should one person leave.
5 things to consider when buying student property
Contact universities to ask if you can become a preferred agent for rentals. Your property will need to comply with certain standards but it’s a good way of getting your property noticed and, more importantly, rented out quickly.
Search for properties with at least three bedrooms. Students are socialble types and tend to rent in large groups - the more bedrooms, the better the profit.
Ensure every renter has a guarantor. If they default on rental payments, the guarantor is liable to pay.
Find a property in a good location: close to the campus, transport, shops, city centre, public amenities and nightlife. Get the location right and you’ll be able to demand attractive rents.
Look into a joint tenancy agreement, rather than individual agreements with each tenant. If one of your tenants leaves, the others will be liable to pay rent and it won’t affect your regular income stream.
So maybe it's time you looked at student accommodation with fresh eyes and start searching for your next property in one of the UK's top student hotspots. Repolist is the UK's leading property website and has thousands of auction, refurb and repossessed properties on its database - start your search now.