The Nature and Impact of Student Housing Markets within the Private Rented Sector funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, this research aimed to understand the nature and impact on local rental markets of students attending higher education institutions (HEIs).
Recent years have seen a large increase in the number of students in full-time higher education. Taken as a whole, there has at the same time been no commensurate expansion in the amount of student accommodation provided by the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) themselves. In this context, the research sought to examine the impacts of student demand for accommodation on local housing markets.The research involved a UK-wide postal survey of all HEI accommodation officers; interviews with housing benefit officers, rent officers and environmental health officers in nine case study locations; interviews with HEI policy officers and student welfare officers of 20 HEIs in the nine case study areas; and interviews with landlords and letting agents in six of the localities.The postal survey of accommodation officers found that on average twice as many students (half of the total) were living in private rented housing as they were in accommodation provided by their HEI. Three fifths of the accommodation officers also said that there had been an increased reliance on the private rented sector as their number of students had grown. However, the case study interviews found that HEIs were often unaware, even unconcerned, about the possible impacts on local housing markets of the increased demand from students for private rented housing.
The case study work found that the increased demand from students had several impacts on local markets. It became clear that 'student landlords' preferred letting to students because of the higher returns which can be obtained from a shared student household. In addition, they tended to regard students as reliable tenants, and they also commonly believed that they had a point of contact, in the HEI, should there be problems with the tenancy. As a result, landlords had been responding to the increased demand from students by buying up properties to let in the 'student areas'. These areas had often come to be intensely dominated by students, and other types of tenant - particularly low income households, and those on housing benefit - had been edged out.
Due to the intensive occupation of students in some areas, and what was referred to as a 'difference in lifestyles', local residents had formed associations to voice their concerns to the local authority and the HEI. An additional impact of the increased student demand, was that the influx of landlords had considerably affected house prices. The demand for properties in the student areas from these landlords had pushed up house prices to the extent that many owner occupiers, and first time buyers in particular, had been priced out of the market.
The research was carried out in the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York by David Rhodes, Julie Rugg and Anwen Jones.
Rugg, J., Rhodes, D. and Jones, A. 2000) The Nature and Impact of Student Demand on Housing Markets, York: York Publishing Services.