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Revealed: best university towns for rents and yields

A flat-sharing website has created a league table of average rents in locations surrounding the top-ranked universities in the United Kingdom.  

Using data from PropertyData, ideal flatmate looked at the average monthly rent for areas surrounding the top 50 universities.

The establishment 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 10 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.

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 no less than £4,142.

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 for each.

University College London and SOAS University of London are also tied with an average rental cost of £2,431 indicating - unsurprisingly - 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. Cambridge works out at £1,491 per month, barely cheaper than Oxford’s £1,495 per month.

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.

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

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

Leeds also makes the top 10 with rental yields at 6.80 per cent followed by Strathclyde (6.64 per cent), Northumbria (6.58 per cent) and Newcastle (6.58 per cent). 

Aberdeen completes the top 10 with yields at 6.22 per cent.  

“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” says Tom Gatzen, co-founder of Ideal Flatmate.

  • Paul Smithson

    Until the blocks go up.

  • icon

    Already happening in Manchester. Larger properties getting hard to let.


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