Uncertain Year For Renting Market in Student Popular Areas
The situation is helped by the fact that traditional English speaking destinations for people from Southeast Asia seeking an education (Australia and New Zeland) remain closed for the international students, and the USA is struggling with the pandemic and the social unrest.
This type of news, together with a minor increase in deferrals 0.3% among students coming back this year, should produce a very positive outcome for the student property sector. However, with newly imposed local lockdowns for universities in Manchester and Glasgow, there is a visible uncertainty on the student property market. Manchester Metropolitan University Campus, COVID-related restrictions, were introduced on 25th September 2020.
The situation sparked immediately concerns about the ability of universities to contain pandemic and among the student conversations about the sense of coming back to study in the current academic year.
Josh, a second-year student of psychology at Manchester Met said: When in July, just after the lockdown we started talking on WhatsApp about coming back to the Uni the spirits were high. However, by mid-September five out of our group of thirty-five decided to take a break, and further three joined them in the last days and applied for some form of deferral.
Student's property market volatile character in the current academic year is clearly shown in the increasing this week number of discounted student-friendly properties. For example, the property search engine Zoopla offers in the large university city like Nottingham over 9% (31 out of 335) of student-friendly properties as discounted. These discounts exceed in some cases 15% of the asking rent value. While the figure is in general modest, it is worth to point, that out of these discounted properties 14 (over 45%) become reduced after the localised student lockdowns have been introduced around the country. The regular annual renting cycle of student properties is a definite factor. However, the analysis of the market in some smaller student towns like Egham (The home of the Royal Holloway University of London), where the market is not as flexible as in the larger town sees the unusually amplified number of reductions. Again, the property portal shows 31 discounted dwellings from the overall pool of 87. It is a staggering 35.6% of all available in the area properties.
Although the number of students at Universities remains very high in the current academic year, the annual outlook for the student property market is not proportionally positive. Uncertainties around the new potential lockdown measures and the overall situation on the job market create various stress points in the system. Property experts emphasise that the overall expected ROI in the student property sector for the year 2020/21 is likely to drop with the final figure dependant on factors related mainly to the policies implemented around the second wave of COVID-19.