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Boasting a population of more than half a million people, Sheffield is one of the fastest growing cities in the United Kingdom. Shaking off the industrial cobwebs of the mid-century, Sheffield has emerged as a modern and thriving business centre to rival its northern contemporaries. As the third largest district in the entirety of England, Sheffield has been attracting all manner of demographics – not least of all the explosion of students throughout the city. The city is now producing one of the highest student population ratios in the country.

Universities

The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University contribute around 55,000 students to the population of the city. During term-time, this means that the entire population of Sheffield is made up of around 10% students. As a densely populated city, this means a vast number of students concentrated in and around the city. As a result of this the city has developed a youthful, classy and fashionable atmosphere that engenders more and more students to flock to the city each year. 

Accommodation

Whilst both universities provide halls of residence for their respective students, these units rarely extend their offers beyond those in their first year of education. This means that at the beginning of any given year, there stands to be a potential of up to 35,000 students looking for rented accommodation around the city. On the back of these incredible numbers, property investors have been keeping a close eye and an active hand in the markets in and around Sheffield. Luxurious new student developments are springing up in the district at an incredible rate, providing comfortable and affordable living for students – and excellent opportunities for investors of all shapes and sizes. 

Legislation

As you’re likely aware, the proposed Article 4 Directions being proposed by local councils are beginning to squeeze the viability of traditional HMO student properties. The legislation will prevent landlords from rented shared houses or apartments to certain demographics, with many predicting that students will bear the brunt of the discrimination. Whilst this certainly damages the local shared housing renting market, and potentially the buying and selling market too, the value of purpose-built student accommodation units will rise in reaction. More than thirty local councils are currently discussing the possibility of enforcing the new legislation, including Leeds, York and Sheffield.

In light of the above, canny property investors and paying close attention to newly developing units aimed at students in the Sheffield area. With the value of small, shared rentals looking precarious – large scale units are becoming the most popular, promising and secure of investment vehicles in the local area.