Property Patter: The Bell May Have Tolled for the Independent Student Landlord

Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Property Patter: The Bell May Have Tolled for the Independent Student Landlord

According to the Financial Times, the past two years saw record-high investments placed into purpose-built student accommodation.


As a result of this housing-related shift, it's reported that around nine university towns including Coventry, Durham, and Liverpool have reached or are nearing a saturation point - and it seems that the Potteries isn't too far behind.


Recently, it's been revealed that major plans have been put in place to build almost 1,000 state-of-the-art student flats complete with a café and shopping amenities as the local university expands.


According to local developers, the plan is to demolish a host of buildings on Shelton's former Stoke-on-Trent College and make way for three high-rise blocks which will consist of a whopping 939 apartments.


This significant development has been facilitated by the closure of the of Staffordshire University's Stafford campus with an extra 2,400 full-time students venturing up to the Potteries at the start of the 2016/17 academic year, raising the total to 13,000. And with an on-site bistro, cinema room, IT centre, and games rooms proposed, many are excited about the development…


Speaking to The Sentinel, a local spokesperson explained:


"The proposed scheme will develop this vacant land at a key setting within the city and provide a positive contribution to the local community. The buildings are carefully designed to create valuable use of a neglected site at this important location."


In addition to this, nearby Newcastle under Lyme will also see a £32 million student development built that will include a range of new shops, eateries and a 10-storey luxury student block that will accommodate up to 513 students local academics.


Now, while student housing initiatives like are excellent for the local economy and in Stoke-on-Trent's and Newcastle under Lyme’s case, a clear sign of the progress the city is continually making, this may prove tricky for independent landlords operating in student saturated areas.


As large scale blocks of student flats increase local saturation, it's the independent landlord that could lose out on occupancy, causing notable levels of financial damage.


But, there are solutions to the problem. While the traditional student let may be on its way out as a result of these cutting-edge student digs (after all, how do you compete with an on-site games room and restaurant?), current independent student landlords can either sell up or evolve.


The problem with selling is, so many student landlords will be trying to offload their properties that it may well cause saturation of another kind - resulting in house prices being driven down. That, of course, is not great.


So, it seems like the best move is to renovate your current property and aim it at families and young professionals; not only are tenants in this demographic often more reliable, but they usually take on longer tenancies - which of course, is better for you, the landlord.


The landscape is changing, and for the landlord that can adapt, there is everything to be gained. The bell may well have tolled for the independent student let, but by reinventing your property, you will ensure you make a healthy profit by dealing in quality, reliable local tenants.