The outlook for student lettings is bright. This is particularly the case for landlords and lettings agents serving the HMO, or shared accommodation market, but applies in broad terms across the sector.
More students need more accommodation
This outlook is driven mainly by an increase in student numbers, as with more young people wishing to attend university, the greater the requirement for a term time place to live. On ‘A’ level results day this year, UCAS announced that a record 435,000 students were accepted onto a University Place. This was a 5% increase on 2020, which was also a record year.
In Autumn, just over 1/3rd of the UK’s population of 18 year olds will be attending University. The popularity of studying among 18 year olds is also key, with the growth of this demographic likely to maintain the upward pressure on student numbers for a decade. Positive news for student landlords.
A further positive is that the majority of students want to live in shared housing at some point of their University Career. It is a trend baked into the University culture and is seen by students as a key part of the experience.Our recent research shows almost 70% of student felt that moving into this type of accommodation is ‘a rite of passage’. A further 67% of students told us that price was the primary consideration when finding a place to live. Given that shared housing tends to offer a price advantage over the alternatives, this is again is a strong position for student landlords.
Timing is everything
Given these factors stacking up in favour of landlords, preparing for a successful 2021/22 is really about focusing on maximising the opportunities that are available.
Ensuring that your property marketing is in line with the student letting season in your city is vital. Many students are keen to secure a property for the following year very soon after going to University, with some starting their search as early as October.
Understanding this is important. AFS has enjoyed a 40% growth in web traffic and a 50% increase in HMO enquiries over the last 12 months, however, even on a busy site like ours it will take longer to let your property if you start late in this cycle.
Bills inclusive rents
Offering bills inclusive rent is increasingly important to students now. In our recent survey, the inclusion of bills was cited as the 3rd most important factor, behind price and location when choosing where to live.
For many students this is more than just about the convenience and lack of hassle, it is a way to reduce the potential areas for friction when sharing with housemates. Whilst offering bills inclusive rents is not new, there are still enough landlords NOT doing to offer and advantage to those that are.
Do the simple things well.
The current strong market should mean that landlords who do the simple things well will let their properties faster. At a very basic level, high quality pictures and a decent video tour of property will put landlords in a stronger position to generate enquiries provided the property is in a good location and at the right price point.