Recent years have seen significant changes to the student housing market, and there are now many options besides halls of residence or digs. For the most part, the increased choice this offers is a definite boon for students. However, it can also make the market much more difficult to navigate.
Of course, each option has a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. The options available, along with some key pros and cons, include:
Halls of Residence
Halls of residence are university-managed and will usually be located on or very close to the campus on which you will study. They are a great way to meet your fellow students when moving in, as you will be sharing facilities with a number of other students. They are also less complicated than some alternatives, particularly the private rented sector, as there will be no bills or landlords to deal with. Often, you will be guaranteed a place in halls for your first year of study.
However, you will not necessarily be guaranteed a place, especially if you come through clearing or simply apply late. You will have no choice about who you live with, and as many students are clustered together quite densely it can be a noisy place to live. Furthermore, for most students this will only be an option in the first year of study.
Private Rented Sector
This is the other “traditional” type of student accommodation. It consists of a private residence, usually a family home, let out to a group of students on a shared basis. Usually, you will be able to choose who you live with and you will have complete independence. Furthermore, you will benefit from a wider range of accommodation options.
However, this type of student housing tends to be quite spread out in a given town, and competition for those houses nearest the university can be fierce. You may end up further away from your place of study. You will also have to budget more carefully and handle the administrative matters that arise when renting privately from a landlord or agent.
Purpose-built student accommodation is, in many ways, like a private version of halls of residence. It takes the form of studio apartments built especially for students, situated within a larger development.
Often, they are more modern and fitted out to a higher standard than their university-owned counterparts, and offer premium features such as on-site entertainment rooms and gyms. They also tend to be built in strong locations, which offer you easy access to your place of study and to key facilities such as shops. Furthermore, they offer greater levels of privacy than a shared house, as you will have your own self-contained “pod” as opposed to simply a bedroom.
It may seem that there is very little not to like about purpose-built accommodation, but of course this comes at a cost. It tends to be more expensive than either halls of residence or a shared home in the private sector. Furthermore, it does share some of the pitfalls of halls of residence, mainly the fact that you have no choice about who you live with.
This article was provided by Hopwood House, specialists in student property investments in the UK.