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Shared house demand surges as students scramble for ‘safer’ homes

After months of uncertainty, the past six weeks has seen the number of students looking for Covid-proof shared houses as they shun more communal, purpose-built blocks.

Nigel Lewis

student property image

The student housing market has made a late comeback as many under-graduates have scrambled to find accommodation after leaving it to the last moment to accept places.

Portal Accommodationforstudents.com (AFS) which claims to be the largest platform of its kind in the UK, says it’s seen a 25% surge in searches for university accommodation over the past six weeks.

This follows a difficult lockdown for student landlords and letting agents, who have seen many students try to abandon tenancies back in March or put off committing to new tenancies as universities closed during lockdown, it is claimed.

A mass exodus from the sector has only been averted by the mortgage holidays being offered by lenders to buy-to-let home loan holders, which has enabled many smaller portfolio landlords weather the COVID storm.

“Although it’s likely that more lectures will be carried out virtually, students still want to maintain that freedom and sense of independence they get from living away from home and would prefer to be living with friends as opposed to their parents and siblings,” says Simon Thompson (left), a director of AFS.

“Enquiries for shared houses have been notably higher, suggesting students are opting to live with a small group of friends in a house, because it offers both indoor and outdoor space and less student interaction than Purpose Build Student Accommodation.”

The surge of interest in student accommodation comes as UCAS predicts a record number of students are expected to get a university place through clearing this year to help offset any fall in overseas students because of coronavirus.

August 4, 2020

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