Leeds is witnessing a ‘frenzied’ rental market, with students reserving homes for next summer on the back of virtual viewings and many preparing to pay record rents to secure the best homes.
This follows The University of Leeds reporting many courses were oversubscribed this year and even offering some students wanting to study law or business, £10,000 cash and free accommodation for the 2022/23 academic year if they deferred their courses.
It’s estimated that the student population in Leeds has now swelled to more than 70,000.
To meet this growing demand, Leeds-based estate agent HOP has recently launched more than 300 properties that are available to rent from July 2022.
Josh Buckley, lettings branch manager at HOP’s Leeds city centre office, comments: “The pandemic meant a lot of students were hesitant about starting university in 2020 or stayed at home and studied remotely. However, normality returned this year, and our student portfolio is currently 100 per cent let and we’re expecting this trend to continue next year as well.”
“We’re now already marketing our portfolio for next summer, which seems crazy when you consider that first-year students have only just started university and might not know who they want to live with next year, but the demand for property is already there.”
He adds: “Many students also seem to have bigger budgets than ever before and it’s generally the most expensive homes, with the highest specifications in the best locations, that are generating the most interest.”
Buckley says Hyde Park is the most desirable location, due to its proximity to the main university campuses and the city centre, and this is closely followed by Woodhouse.
Burley also remains popular, especially because it has a train station, and some are still opting for what used to be the traditional student heartland of Headingley, despite it now appealing more to young professionals and families.
In many cases, tenants are happy to rely on virtual viewings and will sign for a property without even physically visiting it.
“Usually, a dated property will be hard to let, regardless of how cheap it is,” he continues. “Instead, homes must be finished to a good standard with high-quality furniture. Our all-inclusive properties, which include electricity, gas, water, TV licence, broadband and contents insurance, all in one monthly rental payment, are also very popular.”
“This is especially true as gas prices skyrocket, because we’re able to fix costs for 18 months which gives students and their parents' peace of mind that they won’t end up with unexpected bills.”
“All this makes it a good time for landlords and we’ve seen an influx of investors, particularly from the south of England recently, who are buying student properties in Leeds. Several have then taken advantage of our Premium Advance Service, where landlords can receive their 12-months’ rent upfront, even if their tenants pay monthly.”
Buckley goes on to say: “This enables them to unlock the potential in their portfolio and reinvest in further buy to let property or refurbishment works to maximise existing investments. We recently became the first estate agent in Leeds to offer this service and it’s proving particularly successful with student landlords, who are delighted to see a level of certainty returning to the market after Covid, the evictions ban and many students deferring university.”