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The Best University Towns for Buy-to-Let Investment

Wed 09 Sep 2015

As teenagers start to pack up their belongings and head off to the next part of their life at university, many parents will find they need to contribute towards the price of student accommodation, whether it’s in halls of residence or later down the line in a student house.

Many parents feel that instead of wasting money paying a private landlord, they would be better off buying a house for their child (and possibly their child’s friends) to live in as they continue or finish off their studies.

A new study by online estate agent, eMoov, has found where the best towns in the country are for those looking to combine a top university education with affordable housing.

The University Property Index gives each university a score based on the average local property price and the average UCAS entry requirements. At the top of the list was Durham University, due to its tough entry requirements (547 UCAS points) but affordable property. The average home in this northern town costs £214,735.

The top ten places in the index were completely dominated by Scotland and the north of England. Strathclyde came in second place on the list, and Manchester and Edinburgh came in third and fourth.  Warwick and Nottingham took fifth and sixth place, respectively, and the top ten was finished off by Lancaster, Leeds, St Andrews, and Aberdeen.

A buy-to-let investment can be really beneficial for both you and your child – you’re not throwing away money, and they have a reliable landlord. eMoov boss, Russell Quirk, said:

“Students are certainly an easy target where the high street letting agent is concerned and it is common practice for agents to strip them of their hefty deposits, for even the most minor of reasons.

“Not only does buying a university property avoid this but it also provides a future home should they stay in the chosen city for work, or a great money making opportunity renting to future students.”

Make sure you do enough research into the area you’re looking to buy in first, and take into consideration the risks as well as the benefits. If you know anyone that has invested in a buy-to-let in the area before, then ask them about their experience.

Think about where your child will want to live as a student, but also which places will benefit them should they want to stay in the city after graduating. This may sound obvious, but most university towns have set areas that students want to live, and then more professional areas for recent graduates.

Consider your options for the long term – if your child doesn’t want to stay in the city after you buy a house, are you getting something attractive that will be easy to rent out or sell? A one bed flat might be cheaper, but a two bed house would be of more interest to professional couples or small families.

If you are thinking of buying a student property for your child, then you are best waiting until the end of their first year. See how much they enjoy their course and how they feel about the city they live in before buying anything. As a bonus, they may also have made friends by then, who would also like to live in the house you buy and pay you rent.

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