A lettings agency specialising in the student sector believes that the fall in the number of applications for higher education in the UK is threatening to turn the shortage of student accommodation into a surplus.
Despite the university academic year starting in two months, StudentTenant.com believe landlords are still trying to attract tenants in a number of key areas.
For example, demand for student properties in Exeter is at just 62%, followed by Reading and Bath, where demand stands at 52%.
In all, the number of people applying for a higher education course in Britain this year has slipped by over 25,000 – or 4% – compared to the same period last year.
This comes after the announcement that university tuition fees are to rise from £9,000 to £9,250 this year. In addition, loan interest rates are to increase by 1.5%, from 4.6% to 6.1%.
What’s more, the number of EU students looking to enter higher education in the UK has fallen by 5%, from 51,850 to 49,250.
As a result, StudentTenant.com says that its research uncovers a ‘drastic shift from an undersupply in previous months.’
Danielle Cullen, Managing Director at StudentTenant.com, noted: ‘Landlords are starting to feel the strain of finding tenants for the next academic year, as many still have rooms left to let. I personally feel the blame sits firmly on decisions made by our government. We’re now seeing supply for student properties outgrowing demand in some areas, which could spell a huge problem for the student lettings market and the future of private student landlords.’
‘Whilst the fees and interest are having an impact on British applications, it seems that post-Brexit, some EU students don’t want to study in the UK. A year on, there’s still uncertainty for EU students. Naturally, they’re worried about how it could affect them and they’re not applying to our higher educational system as a result,’ Cullen concluded.