International students add £600 million to London’s private rented sector

The 107,000 international students studying in London contribute some £600 million in rental income to the capital’s rental market, new research has found.

The wealthiest Chinese, Russian and Malaysian students typically spend up to £1,500 per week to live in plush addresses in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and South Kensington, says the report from  private rental market lettings firm E J Harris.
 
Using data from their own client instructions over the last three years and drawing on figures from the Government’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the firm analysed the number and country of origin of foreign students in the capital, where they choose to live, the type of properties they let and how much they spend in the private rental sector.
 
There are some 107,000 international students studying in London, 40,000 from continental Europe and 67,000 from the rest of the world. Overall they spend £1.32 billion on tuition fees, some £1.36 billion on accommodation and subsistence of which £600 million goes on private lets or halls of residence costs and £121 million through friends and family visiting them in London whilst they study.
 
By country of origin, the largest group of international students studying and living in London come from China who make up 18% of all foreign students in the capital, followed by students from the USA at 9%, India 7%, Hong Kong 5%, Malaysia 4% and Nigeria 4%. Other significant foreign student nationalities are people from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Pakistan and Canada.
 
On an annual basis some 20% of the firm's clients in inner London are students. Of these 50% are foreign students, the balance are British students. They are normally 18 to 22 years of age from affluent families.

The report suggest that the accommodation for these students is predominantly provided by the bank of mum and dad although some receive special grants from their respective countries. The wealthiest overseas students tend to prefer living in Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Marylebone and South Kensington, whilst others and British students tend to live in Notting Hill, Bayswater, Shepherds Bush and Kingston Upon Thames.
 
The most affluent international student clients are from China, Thailand, Russia, Malaysia and Nigeria. The top spenders can afford to pay £1,500 per week for an apartment in Knightsbridge or Mayfair. For example, on Old Brompton Road, just by the underground station, there is an apartment building extremely popular with affluent overseas students.
 
However, the majority of overseas students typically pay £500 to £600 per week for a two bedroom apartment in Notting Hill, South Kensington, Shepherds Bush or Bayswater. In Shepherds Bush the Sinclair Mansions apartment building is very popular with students and whenever a flat becomes available there are up to 500 enquiries from students from around the world wanting to secure the let.
 
'There are over 100,000 international students studying and living in London and their numbers are rising. University applications from overseas students are up by 18% since 2010, and up by 30% for the capital’s best universities,' said Elizabeth Harris, managing director of E J Harris.

'In our experience international students make for extremely good tenants, they are very studious and take their studies in London extremely seriously. As tenants they tend to be quiet, hard working and tidy. Smoking tends to be the only common vice,' she added.