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Student rents up 3.1%

Student rents up 3.1%

The average rental value (ARV) for student accommodation has risen 3.1% from £77.04 per week per bedroom in 2012 to £79.42 in 2013.

However, this average rise is being driven predominately by soaring rents in the South.

Accommodation for Students (AFS) compiled the research by looking at rents for more than 125,500 properties in 92 locations.

In line with the previous three-year average, there is a notable North-South divide in both rental price and 'bills inclusive' options (any property that includes at least one bill).

A recent survey by AFS revealed 70% of students prefer an 'inclusive bills' option to help them keep track of their finances, the availability of which has more than doubled since 2008. Whilst such stock is specific to individual rental markets and does not follow a specific pattern, research shows that there is an average addition of £8.08 in the South but £5.51 in the North for this option.

Despite a modest 2% fall, London continues to lead the way with an average rental value of £129 per week, followed in second place by Egham at £115. The third most expensive location, Newport, has seen this year's biggest hike with rents doubling from £56 to a massive £113. Winchester and Middlesex also weigh in with average rents over £100 per week.

Interestingly, in some of the country's most sought after northern university locations, including Manchester (£74), Leeds (£74), Sheffield (£69) and Nottingham (£76), rents have stayed the same or even fallen and all sit more than 6% below the national weekly average.

However, there are some exceptions such as Middlesborough, which has risen by 18%, and Salford, up 15%.

This year's best value locations for student rental accommodation are Walsall, Stockton and Wolverhampton with average weekly rents of £48, £49 and £52 respectively.

Simon Thompson, director of Accommodation for Students, said: "The student accommodation market remains robust and is still one of the most attractive yield classes for property investment. We are still seeing large scale development in student accommodation up and down the country.

“Demand for places at well renowned academic institutions is clearly having an impact on student rents but with reports that some universities are offering incentives as a way to fill spaces and entice the brightest students - from generous scholarships and bursaries to laptops and gym memberships, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on future accommodation demand and subsequently rents, in such locations."