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Most profitable student accommodation investments revealed

A new study has compiled a league table of the best cities in the UK for investment in student accommodation.

CIA Landlord Insurance conducted research looking at metrics such as student population vs. general population numbers, number of households per city and average rent in student areas to find this out. 

When looking at the estimated number of student households in a city as well as the average yearly rent from student area properties, the insurance firm has found out the cities with the most potential profit for student landlords. 


London comes out on top for the highest estimated yearly rental market for student landlords with approximately £2,6 billion.

The study found that Belfast’s population is 22.1 per cent students, and the student landlord market in Belfast brings in approximately £1.8 billion every year. The made Belfast the second most profitable location.

Meanwhile in third place, Durham’s large student population (33.6 per cent) means that their student landlord yearly market stands at around £771m. 

Neither Belfast nor Durham has the most expensive average student area rent costs, but the percentage of their city’s residents that are university students gives landlords here an abundance of opportunity with a much higher demand for student-friendly properties.

On the other end of the scale, the study found that student landlords in cities such as Reading, Derby and Luton may struggle more than others, with a much smaller student market and therefore less opportunity for student landlords.

To find out which cities had the highest average rent prices for students, CIA Landlord looked at the average price of rent in three of each city's most well-known areas for students to live. We then took the average price of a one to four bedroom property in the area. 

According to the data, student areas in Oxford and Bristol have the highest average rent in the UK. These universities are not only known for their high rankings in the university tables, but their high rent costs too. 

Prices of rent average £1,788.28 per month in Oxford in areas such as the city centre and Jericho, and £1,544.93 in Bristol in student areas such as Redland and Gloucester Road. 

According to the study, Derby comes out as having the cheapest average rent prices for student properties in the UK, with the average rent found to be around £728.22 per month in its student areas such as Buxton and Allestree. 

Perhaps more surprisingly, despite its high rankings similar to that of Oxford and Bristol, Durham comes out as one of the cheapest places to rent as a student in the UK. The north-eastern city has average student rent prices of £782.15 when analysing average rent in student areas such as Gilesgate and Claypath. 

Sheffield comes third overall for cheapest student rent average in the UK (£800.08) with areas such as Crookes and Sharrow popular places for students to search for a property. 


The UK has a huge student population, however, some cities’ student populations have a much bigger impact on the locations they are in than others. 

Some cities, for example, such as Durham see their population grow by over a third (36.3 per cent) in size when including their student residents.

Oxford and Cambridge may be big name universities but the cities themselves are relatively small, meaning their student populations actually make up a large proportion of their residents. Oxford has the second largest student population compared to its general population at around 29.5 per cent, whilst Cambridge’s students take up just under a quarter of their population. 

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