Annual growth in student rents has slowed following the 7% drop in university admissions and the rise in tuition fees.
But private sector landlords offer better value to students than halls of residence. While the cost of a student flatshare room has gone up 3.9% in the last year, halls of residence costs have risen 5.5%. A student in a hall of residence now pays an average of nearly £1,200 more a year.
Research carried out by the website EasyRoommate shows the average cost of renting a room in a student flatshare across the major British university towns has grown 3% from £332 per month to £345. In contrast, average rents in non-student flatshares have grown 7.6% over the same period from £409 to £440 per month.
Demand for student rental accommodation has fallen. Applications for university places fell to 425,858 this year compared to 456,581 in 2011.
The drop in applications comes as increased tuition fees of up to £9,000 per annum come into effect for the 2012/2013 academic year. The average tuition fee for universities in the largest university towns and cities stands at £8,305 per year.
Jonathan Moore, EasyRoommate director, said: “The rise in tuition fees and the prospect of a debt mountain on leaving university was the final nail in the coffin for many would-be students.
“The drop in applications has eased the pressure on student accommodation and this has caused rent rises to slow compared to the wider market. Something that will be very welcome to cash conscious students and parents.”
The average cost of halls of residence accommodation in the largest university towns and cities is now £4,035 compared to £3,827 last year – a rise of 5.5%.
Moore said: “Halls of residence have many advantages and can be a great social hub when first starting out at university. But as the cost of studying climbs ever higher, more and more students will be considering their options in order to save a few pounds.
“Demand for amenities such as wi-fi, en-suite bathrooms and double-beds has caused halls of residence costs to grow faster than average student flatshare rents.
“While flatsharers don’t tend to get bills and cleaning costs included in their rent, the more people you share with the wider you can spread these expenses. And with the cost of university rising higher each year many students will be exploring every avenue they can to try and save money.”