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Brexit drop in EU student numbers 'significant impact on rentals'

A seven per cent fall in the number of EU students seeking places at UK universities, matched with a 4.3 per cent drop in domestic applications, will have “significant impact on student rental property demand” warns a letting agency. 

The EU decline is the first decrease in applications from EU students to study in the UK, after almost a decade of unbroken growth says online agency StudentTenant, which undertook the research.

UCAS figures show the applications to universities in England have fallen by 23,120 or 5.6 per cent; in Wales they are down by 1,510 or 7.1 per cent.

In Northern Ireland the drop is 930 or 4.5 per cent and in Scotland the decline has been 890 or 1.9 per cent. 

Non-EU university applications were the only area with year-on-year growth – albeit a tiny margin of just 0.1 per cent.

The fall in university applications in 2017 could have a big impact on university funding and student property lettings over the next three years, costing the economy nearly £1 billion according to the letting agency. 

It calculates that the student rental sector could miss out on over £383m over the next three years, based on average rent of £4,834 per year.

“The huge fall in applications will have a significant impact on student rental property demand. Landlords are the ones who will feel the strain the most, as supply could well outgrow demand for student properties as we see fewer students at universities. This is a complete contrast to what we have been seeing in the student market recently, with an undersupply of properties for a long time in a lot of areas” explains the managing director of StudentTenant.com, Danielle Cullen.

“In the upcoming election, the political parties must recognise this and put forward a plan to ensure Britain remains welcoming to international students. Not just for the student rental market, but to attract the world’s best talent to British universities.”

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