How the student lettings market has changed during a Covid-19 era.
Whilst we have been updating our student landlords regarding the ever-changing situation, we feel we are now able to provide a more general update in regards to the student lettings market, how this has been affected and what’s to come…
1. ‘Blended Learning’
Cardiff University and our partners, ‘University of South Wales’ have advised that this academic year will take a blended approach to learning and studying, with a mixture of online/virtual learning and on-campus learning. For the first semester, the majority of courses will begin online with a phased ‘back to the classroom’ starting from January 2021.
2. Changes to Campuses
The Students Union in Treforest has implemented track and trace, one-way systems and mandatory face coverings, with entry to the building only permitted by appointment. The campus car-park is also now a testing centre. Our dedicated Student Living office is working with the USWSU to ensure a safe return to work, however, with restrictions in access to the campus and the fact that there is very little passing trade in the students union building itself, we have made the decision to keep this branch closed. We are monitoring this weekly and will re-open when it is safe and beneficial to do so. We are finding customers are more likely to call or email in these times and our branches in Pontypridd and Cardiff are open for any customers who wish to make an appointment to speak to someone in person.
3. Local Lockdowns
These are restricting the housing market further, especially with students just starting University. Whilst we can continue to operate within RCT and Cardiff, this has meant more restrictions in other areas we work in, with emergency-only visits taking place. Fortunately, we have the staff available to provide unaffected customer service and we are operating virtually wherever possible.
4. No more big groups?
We are currently all living with a rule of meeting up with no more than six people, and the restrictions with the pub curfews, etc will limit the number of students mixing at freshers. This may mean that when students look for houses next year, the bigger houses may not be in demand, as students will naturally be in smaller groups. Expect to see an increase in 3 to 4-bed houses and these renting quicker next year.
5. International students
We have seen a drop in international students across the board, with many not making the trip to the UK to pursue studies this year. Universities have offered long-distance studying options for the first term, meaning that we are unlikely to see international students coming over until next year, where we may see a ‘mini-spike’ in student lets. Between Cardiff and USW you would usually expect to see the international student intake reach up to 20,000 students. So without these students, the impact will be felt in all student areas.
What has this meant for the lettings industry?
We have seen two very different lettings trends taking place since the lockdown restrictions eased. Cardiff has had a ‘post-lockdown’ boom, following pent up demand, with lots of renters (students and professionals) looking to move. On the other hand, Treforest has seen a slower start in the market. This combined with the decrease of international students has certainly left a hole in the student lettings market.
Landlords will need to adapt to this new market, and our previous tips on student lettings and converting a student let to a family let can help. With the increased demand in video viewings it is now more important than ever to have a ‘stand-out’ property.
We will also be doing our bit, by continuing to operate as best as we can with local lockdowns and increase the amount of video tours and virtual viewings that we do. As well as increased measures with viewings including adequate PPE supplied to both staff and customers. Our online marketing is better than ever before and this is all still supported with our strong ties to the University of South Wales and our dedicated student brand and our branch situated in Treforest Campus.
There is a lot of speculation and with all the above being said, it is difficult to predict the future of the lettings market. However, if both landlords and agents are adaptable we can ride the storm together.
We will be available to offer advice and assist wherever possible, constantly adapting to the challenges we are being faced with. Contact us for more information or to discuss your property.