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The UK’s best universities for affordable rent and high rental yields

Research by flat-sharing website ideal flatmate has revealed the average rent prices in the areas surrounding the top-ranked universities in the United Kingdom.

Using data from PropertyData, ideal flatmate looked at the average monthly rent for the outcode (first half of the postcode) of the top 50 universities to see where provided the best mix of great students, affordable and not so affordable accommodation, and the highest rental yields for a good return on your investment for UK landlords

Most Affordable

The university with the cheapest average rent price surrounding the main campus is Lancaster University, which is also ranked as the seventh-best university in the UK. With an average monthly rent cost of £598, Lancaster is ideal for tenants and is closely followed by the University of Aberdeen, where the average rent per month is £602.

While the University of Lincoln is ranked at the back end of the top 50 for performance at 42, it joins top ten universities Loughborough and Durham in rounding out the best five universities for affordable rental prices for tenants.

The average monthly rent cost around Lincoln comes in at £628, followed by Loughborough at £689 per month, just narrowly ahead of fifth-ranked Durham’s £693.

Nottingham (£728), Leicester (£737), Swansea (£767), Dundee (£784) and Liverpool (£784) also make the top 10 for the most affordable rental prices surrounding the top 50 university campuses.

Most Expensive

At the other end of the list is the UK’s fifth-best university, Imperial College London, where the average monthly rent cost surrounding the main campus is a remarkable £4,142, proving incredibly expensive for students in particular.

The London School of Economics and King’s College London are tied as two of the worst universities for tenant rental affordability around the respective campuses, with rent working out at £3,159 per month on average around both universities.

University College London and SOAS University of London are also tied with an average rental cost of £2,431, meaning the top five worst universities for tenant rental affordability are all in London.

Elsewhere, Cambridge – the UK’s top-ranked university – and second-placed Oxford also neighbour each other in the lists of most expensive average rental prices. Rent costs in the surrounding areas of the two universities are among the worst in the country for tenants, with the average rent price around the University of Cambridge working out at £1,491 per month, barely cheaper than the University of Oxford’s £1,495 per month.

Highest Rental Yields

High rental costs might be a barrier for students, but they can be a bonus for landlords looking to invest in the buy-to-let market. That said, high rents don’t always mean a good return and despite rental prices surrounding the campus of LSE, King’s, Imperial, SOAS and University College being some of the highest in the UK, they are five of the six worst in terms of yield.

LSE and King’s offer the joint lowest yield at 2.04%, followed by Imperial with 2.52%, while the University of Bristol joins both University College London and SOAS with yields of just 2.94%.

So where is the best university buy-to-let investment?

Edinburgh, Nottingham Trent, Leicester, and Dundee offer the best options in terms of rental yields for UK landlords. All four provide yield upwards of 7%, with Edinburgh on top at 7.77%, while Liverpool follows these investment hotspots with a 6.94% yield.

Leeds also makes the top 10 with rental yields at 6.80%, followed by Strathclyde (6.64%), Northumbria (6.58%) and Newcastle (6.58%). Aberdeen completes the top 10 and is not only one of the most affordable for students but brings the 10th best return on a buy-to-let investment with yields at 6.22%.

Tom Gatzen, Co-founder of Ideal Flatmate, commented:

“Although some of the country’s best universities are situated in London, they prove somewhat problematic for tenants and landlords alike with high costs making it hard to rent but also minimising the return on investment for landlords.

“So-called ‘university towns’ like Leeds, Nottingham and Warwick – where such a large percentage of the population are students – tend to be reliable for landlords in terms of yield, as they offer consistent demand and short vacancy periods which provide a consistent income stream.

“As for tenants – especially students – living around some of the very best unis in the UK outside of London is fairly affordable, especially when you consider that they are most likely to be sharing with a number of friends.

Flat sharing is a great way to cut costs for any student tenant without them having to forsake their first-choice university and it’s also a great way to make new friends for life while setting you up for surviving in the ‘real-life’ rental market once you’ve graduated.”

Ranking – by lowest average rent
 
ideal flatmate Rank
University
Average Rent (per month)
University Ranking (CUG)
1st
Lancaster
£598
7
2nd
Aberdeen
£602
29
3rd
Lincoln
£628
42
4th
Loughborough
£689
8
5th
Durham
£693
6
6th
Nottingham
£728
19
7th
Leicester
£737
46
8th
Swansea
£767
35
9th
Dundee
£784
31
10th
Liverpool
£784
28
11th
Leeds
£793
14
12th
Exeter
£823
11
13th
Nottingham Trent
£862
38
14th
Strathclyde
£862
39
15th
Newcastle
£871
22
16th
Northumbria
£871
50
17th
Stirling
£875
43
18th
Cardiff
£893
26
19th
York
£897
30
20th
Manchester
£910
15
21st
Harper Adams
£914
27
22nd
Aston
£914
34
23rd
Birmingham
£945
13
24th
Heriot-Watt
£966
36
25th
Sheffield
£988
33
26th
Glasgow
£1,005
18
27th
Essex
£1,040
44
28th
Kent
£1,148
49
29th
Southampton
£1,161
20
30th
East Anglia (UEA)
£1,170
21
31st
Bristol
£1,174
17
32nd
Warwick
£1,218
12
33rd
Reading
£1,291
40
34th
St Andrews
£1,322
3
35th
University for the Creative Arts
£1,330
48
36th
Bath
£1,369
9
37th
Royal Holloway, University of London
£1,387
23
38th
Sussex
£1,417
32
39th
Edinburgh
£1,456
16
40th
Cambridge
£1,491
1
41st
Oxford
£1,495
2
42nd
St George’s, University of London
£1,746
47
43rd
Surrey
£1,798
24
44th
Queen Mary, University of London
£2,019
41
45th
University College London
£2,431
10
46th
SOAS University of London
£2,431
45
47th
London School of Economics
£3,159
4
48th
King’s College London
£3,159
25
49th
Imperial College London
£4,142
5
50th
Queen’s, Belfast
no data
37
Ranking – by highest average yield
 
ideal flatmate Rank
University
Average Rental Yield (%)
University Ranking (CUG)
1st
Edinburgh
7.77%
16
2nd
Nottingham Trent
7.71%
38
3rd
Leicester
7.48%
46
4th
Dundee
7.13%
31
5th
Liverpool
6.94%
28
6th
Leeds
6.80%
14
7th
Strathclyde
6.64%
39
8th
Northumbria
6.58%
50
9th
Newcastle
6.58%
22
10th
Aberdeen
6.22%
29
11th
Warwick
6.04%
12
12th
Nottingham
6.03%
19
13th
Cardiff
6.00%
26
14th
Manchester
5.72%
15
15th
Southampton
5.62%
20
16th
Glasgow
5.32%
18
17th
Sheffield
5.27%
33
18th
Surrey
4.79%
24
19th
Aston
4.77%
34
20th
Heriot-Watt
4.70%
36
21st
Lancaster
4.54%
7
22nd
Birmingham
4.47%
13
23rd
Essex
4.43%
44
24th
Kent
4.39%
49
25th
York
4.34%
30
26th
Stirling
4.18%
43
27th
Bath
4.17%
9
28th
East Anglia (UEA)
4.13%
21
29th
St Andrews
4.12%
3
30th
Exeter
4.07%
11
31st
Harper Adams
3.94%
27
32nd
Loughborough
3.93%
8
33rd
Sussex
3.91%
32
34th
St George’s, University of London
3.89%
47
35th
Durham
3.81%
6
36th
Queen Mary, University of London
3.81%
41
37th
Cambridge
3.78%
1
38th
Reading
3.71%
40
39th
Swansea
3.66%
35
40th
Oxford
3.64%
2
41st
Royal Holloway, University of London
3.58%
23
42nd
Lincoln
3.48%
42
43rd
University for the Creative Arts
3.39%
48
44th
SOAS University of London
2.94%
45
45th
University College London
2.94%
10
46th
Bristol
2.94%
17
47th
Imperial College London
2.52%
5
48th
King’s College London
2.04%
25
49th
London School of Economics
2.04%
4
50th
Queen’s, Belfast
no data
37
Sources:
 
Uni Rankings
Average rent and yield by outcode
Uni postcodes

 

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