Student rental market booms in Leeds but wants and needs are changing
In another emerging trend, homes with between one and four bedrooms are also going to be most popular according to the firm, which has offices in Leeds city centre, Horsforth and Pudsey.
This summer, research by money.co.uk analysed the UK’s biggest university towns and cities and put Leeds in the top spot in terms of student property numbers, with 16,225. This was closely followed by Nottingham with 15,422 properties.
However, despite Leeds being home to one of the country’s biggest student populations, money.co.uk also put The University of Leeds down in 30th place in a league table showing which universities have the most students living in uni-owned accommodation.
Data from student housing charity, Unipol, also reveals a 30 per cent year-on-year increase in graduate students staying in Leeds, and with many continuing to live in the same areas, it means there are many more people competing for rental stock.
Josh Buckley is the lettings branch manager at HOP’s Leeds city centre office and has worked in the student property market for more than a decade. He said: “The appeal of Leeds as a top university city shows no sign of waning, with both The University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett continuing to experience very high demand.
“While this is great news for the city’s student property market, it’s an ever-changing landscape and landlords must keep abreast of marketdemand, in order to secure good tenants early.
“In Leeds, the city’s studenthousing stock is now released in November, even though first-year students have only just started university and might not know who they want to live with next year, but ultimately this is driven by demand.
“In the coming weeks we’ll be launching more than 450 student homes, predominantly using virtual tours, full floor plans, enhanced pictures and detailed descriptions, and there’s no doubt students will begin reserving immediately.”
He adds: “With energy costs soaring, students want all-inclusive properties that include electric and gas, as well as fast broadband, water, TV licence and insurance, as part of their monthly rental payment.”
Josh says that for most students it now seems very risky to rent a home without having utility bills included and polls show that 72 per cent of students now expect to have this built into their rent.
He adds: “We’ve also worked hard to secure competitive tariffs so we can guarantee costs until June 2024.”
Another trend HOP has seen is the shift towards smaller bedroom numbers.
Two and three-bedroom homes are particularly popular, whereas houses with six, seven and eight bedrooms, require top-notch marketing to secure the rental income they warrant.
That has led to landlords dividing larger houses into two apartments or converting smaller bedrooms into en-suite bathrooms.
Hyde Park and Woodhouse remain the city’s most sought-after locations because they offer easy access to the main university campuses and the city centre. Burley’s railway station also makes it popular and HOP says that it is now mainly final year students who focus their search around Headingley, which was once the city’s traditional student heartland.
For those hunting for a home, Josh says: “We are anticipating rental increases next year of five per cent on average.
"This is being driven by demand, as well as inflation and increasing mortgage rates.
He adds: “Although it’s competition for traditional student housing stock, the fact that rents in brand new city centre developments regularly exceed £1,000 a month per person, means students are now generally prepared to pay more.”
While stock levels have been affected by landlords selling up due to proposed energy performance certificate requirements, HOP says student lets remain a good investment .
*HOP has a turnkey investment service, www.hop-property.co.uk.