When it comes to student property investment Leeds has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. The town is home to a thriving student property market, thanks in no small part to the presence of three popular universities. Collectively, the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, and the smaller Leeds Trinity University contribute more than 68,000 students to the area. This means that students account for around 9% of the cities entire population, placing extremely high demands on student properties.
In 2011, Yorkshire was highlighted by Paragon Mortgages as a key market for student property investment. County-wide, average yields were 6.4%, and Leeds was one of the key university towns contributing to Yorkshire's success in the student property market.
Student property investment – once a little-known secret – has been an increasingly popular option across the country for property investors in recent years. It tends to be a better-performing, more secure option than other forms of property investment. This is largely down to the fact that housing is generally let out on a per-room basis rather than as a whole property. This results in potentially greater returns, and means that a bad year is likely to result in only an empty room rather than an entirely empty property.
Student numbers have also been rising. UK applications have been increasing year-on-year and recently hitting a record high, while the government has been seeking greater and greater numbers of international students. As home to three separate universities, the student property market in Leeds has seen a huge increase in demand as a result of this growth. Student properties in the city will likely have little trouble being filled and can command excellent rents, especially those that are close to the universities and other local amenities. In spite of this, property prices in Leeds are lower than in many other UK markets, making for affordable outlays.
The government's efforts to bring in more international students have had a bigger positive impact on Leeds than on other student property markets. Many international students come to the UK for postgraduate study, and Leeds has a strong postgraduate scene. Between them, the city's universities boast well over 13,000 postgraduate students. For this reason, dedicated student housing developments in the city can also prove to be a worthwhile investment. Built specifically to house students, these developments occupy prime locations and offer student flats with premium living standards. They are particularly popular with international students, and the growth in this market has led to them experiencing an especially significant boost in demand. Coupled with affordable outlays and high returns (frequently guaranteed for the duration of an initial period), these are becoming an increasingly popular and profitable option for investors.
With UK student numbers still rising, efforts to attract international students ongoing, and the consistent popularity of the city's universities, the strong performance of Leeds' student housing market looks secure for the future.