Demand for student accommodation is stronger than ever, as the student population rate in the UK increases and the supply of student housing plummets, as many students and their parents are discovering. Now is the time when students are making choices about offers for university places, so it might be useful to know which areas are in highest demand (or have lowest levels of available student accommodation).

To uncover where in the UK demand for accommodation is at its highest, the data analytic team at Accommodation for Students has uncovered which cities have seen the highest percentage increase in traffic on site year-on-year. 

According to the research, Dublin has seen the highest percentage increase in traffic. Over the past 12 months, traffic to the Dublin listing page on the site has increased by a staggering 229%, proving that the capital city is a prime location this year. 

In second place was Plymouth, the findings reported that the city had a 171% increase in traffic. Portsmouth followed in third place with 135%, then Newcastle with 127%. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Top 10 in-demand cities for student accommodation: 

  1. Dublin – 229% (increase in traffic)
  2. Plymouth – 171% 
  3. Portsmouth – 135% 
  4. Newcastle – 127% 
  5. Manchester – 114% 
  6. Northampton – 113% 
  7. Luton – 107% 
  8. Glasgow – 107% 
  9. Salford – 101% 
  10. Birmingham – 92% 

At the opposite end of the scale, site data revealed that the booming student city of Bristol had seen an 11% decrease in traffic. This can be partly explained by students looking for alternative universities amid the accommodation shortage crisis. Next was Belfast, with a 4% decline in interest. 

Simon Thompson, founder of Accommodation for Students, has provided insight into what is causing the crisis  and how he is concerned that this pattern may continue.

“The acute shortage of student accommodation in certain cities has been extremely prominent in the news over the past few months. The cause of this shortage is a growth in the number of students choosing to study at university, combined with a dwindling supply of accommodation.

“We are pleased to see more students wanting to enjoy the University experience, but it is important to note that the number of student landlords in the market is likely to decrease in England as well as the government’s Renters’ Reform Bill is passed in its current form. This could create an accommodation crisis and a ‘perfect storm’ situation.

“The number of landlords who are choosing to withdraw from the student rental market is linked to the proposed removal of fixed term tenancies, in favour of periodic tenancies as part of the renters reform bill.

“It is important to be aware that this trend will accelerate if fixed-term tenancy agreements are abolished, as currently proposed within the fairer private rented sector white paper. Landlords letting their properties to students rely on fixed-term tenancies to market their properties, in line with the academic year. 

“For example, under the proposed periodic tenancies, a house of student tenants could hypothetically end their tenancy in the middle of the university term, after two months’ notice. This would mean that the landlord would be very unlikely to fill the student property again until the summer or the beginning of the new academic year in September. 

“If the ability to fix tenancy terms is removed, then substantial numbers of the smaller private landlords will withdraw from the student housing market. Currently, these landlords provide accommodation for 551,000 students each year. A continued decline in the number of landlords providing student lets will only worsen this crisis, and will be a continuing trend for the years to come.”