Student accommodation rental costs in UK can vary by over £400 per week

The average rent for student accommodation in the UK can vary by as much as £429 per week with the cheapest in Stockton and the most expensive in London, new research shows.

Private halls of residence are on average some 90% more expensive than shared houses or flat and overall average prices have increased across 28 university cities, according to the research from Accommodation for Students.

Overall students in the north of England and in Wales pay less. The average cost of student accommodation in Stockton is just £60 per week, yet a studio in private halls in London Zone 1 averages £489 per week.

In private student halls the average weekly rent for a room is £168.67 but those choosing to rent from a private landlords pay on average £88.61 per week. Yet the number of private halls have soared, with 287 opening in 2017.

At the same time the volume of students living in purpose built private halls is thought to have more than doubled over the last decade. They are attracted by the more modern living environment and, in many cases, additional facilities available such as gyms, storage space, communal games rooms and parking.

International students are especially attracted to private halls because of the ease of booking online, plus there tends to be greater confidence in booking this type of accommodation without viewing it, according to Simon Thompson, director of Accommodation for Students.

‘Last year, only 32% of International students who booked private halls viewed the accommodation, whereas 63% viewed privately rented houses before moving in,’ he said.

Even in London there is a considerable variation in rental values across the city based on factors such as room type and location. For example, the average cost of a studio in private halls is £316.30, some £90 more than shared facilities but prices in Zone 1 can range from £120 to £489 per week.

One of the cheapest place to live as a student is Wales where private accommodation is on average £68 per week, some 55% less than London and 26% less than the national average. Average regional values also show student accommodation is more affordable in the North of England at £134.68 for private halls and £80.50 for student housing.

The top five cities with the most expensive average weekly rents, which are all concentrated in the South of England led by London at £129, Exeter £127, High Wycombe £125, Kingston £115 and Guildford £121.

Cities with the most affordable student accommodation are Stockton with an average weekly rent of £60, Wolverhampton £62, Newport £65, Swansea £67 and Cardiff £69. However, London, Sheffield and Cardiff also have the greatest range of rents from highest to lowest at £159, £149 and £140 respectively.

The most expensive place for private halls is London with an average of £284.25 per week, followed by Kingston at £243.88, Brighton £233.30, Bath £288.11 and Cambridge £210.98 while Bolton at £87.88, Wolverhampton £98.17, Middlesbrough £99.40, Bradford £100.59 and Swansea at £104.53 have the cheapest.

‘Although private halls are increasingly popular with students, the affordability factor remains a consideration for many. We have seen an increase of properties at both the low and high ends of the market,’ Thompson explained.

‘This increased spread is likely to be due to both the introduction of more luxury student properties but also highlighting that there is still very much a place in the market for more affordable traditional student housing, as living costs and student fees continue to increase,’ he added.