What Students Seek 3: Private Rents up for UK Students

Report highlights increasing private accommodation costs as student expectations continue to grow


The third annual report into student accommodation,1 compiled by Glide Utilities, has found that university students can now expect to pay between £360 and £556 on private accommodation – a rise of £43 a month since 2013.

This isn’t good news for the two million plus students attending university who are already facing growing debts from tuition fees and living costs. But while today’s student pays more, the What Students Seek report found that they’re also expecting a lot more in return from their accommodation.

Two thirds (67%) now have bills included as standard in their rent which is the highest ever recorded, 64% of today’s students want double beds, while 40% will only consider a room with ensuite facilities. Unsurprisingly the vast majority of students want a solid broadband connection: 85% of students view this as a necessity.


The majority of students anticipate accumulating debts between £25,000 – £50,000, with 23% believing their personal university debt will exceed £50,000 by the end of their studies. Even so, the majority of students remain optimistic about being able to pay back what they’ve borrowed.

63% believe they’ll be able to pay back their debt within 30 years, with only 23% saying they’ll never be able to pay it back. These new findings contradict a recent Fiscals study, which reported that around 70% of students would never finish repaying their loans.2

Despite increasing costs and growing concerns around debt, almost half of students (47%), believe that the price they pay represents good value for money, and an overwhelming majority, (76%) are generally satisfied with their accommodation.

Key findings from the 2016 What Students Seek Report include:

Online v traditional letting agents: More students now use Google to find accommodation over and above traditional routes, such as letting agents (59% versus 25%). 58% use dedicated accommodation websites during their search, and 44% will go to the university accommodation office to find their perfect place.

Location, location, location: 92% of students rate the proximity to university as the most important factor when finding accommodation. This is followed by the provision of good transport links; 70% rated as very important or important, and the access to good bars and clubs; 46% highlighted as an important factor.

The price is right: Given the financial pressure students are under, it’s no surprise that price is the number one factor influencing a student’s decision on where to live. This is followed by the general state and upkeep of the property.

3 is the magic number: Although 63% currently share a property with 4 or more other students, on average, students would prefer to live with just 3 other people.

James Villarreal, CEO at Glide Utilities said of the 2016 What Students Seek Report; “In line with national rent increases, the cost for private student accommodation is also on the rise, which must be a consideration for students budgeting their time at university. Avoiding additional costs created by bills is one way students can help to manage their expenditure, which is why we’re seeing a greater demand for bills-inclusive rates from students, and more landlords offering this as standard. Our report highlights what students are looking for in their accommodation and how they go about finding the right place to meet their needs.”

What Students Seek was commissioned in May and June 2016 by Glide Utilities. 1,010 students responded to the report via www.accommodationforstudents.com, the UK’s leading student accommodation website. The full report can be downloaded here.