Is it worth committing to a longer student lease now? pt. 2

28 Oct

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The second part of our series on whether students in key Scottish university districts might favour a longer lease to save money.

Last week we took a look at Edinburgh and Dundee to investigate the pros and cons of tying yourself down to your flat for longer than the academic year to save money in the face of rising rents and demand.

This week we’re taking a look at Glasgow and Aberdeen. The two cities have remarkably different situations for student housing; Glasgow’s tenements provide relatively ample accommodation compared to Aberdeen’s long-standing student accommodation crisis.

So are you going to save money by trying a twenty-four month lease, or will attempting to avoid rent entirely over the summer be more valuable in the long run? Find out below:

Glasgow

Like Edinburgh, rents in Glasgow have risen for flats of every size, but it has been 2-, 3-, and 4-bed properties that have seen the biggest rise.

The rise in rent for 4-bedroom flats in particular is staggering, showing an increase of over 17% from 2012 to 2013. That’s an actual rise of almost £180; from £1,026 per month to £1,205. If that increase were to repeat for 2014, a 4-bedroom flat would cost £1,415 each month.

If you have a 10 month contract, you’ll still save a couple of hundred pounds by moving on and finding somewhere new. But that’s only if you can get another 10 month contract, and we expect that with rising rents that might be difficult. Anyone with a 12 month contract on a 4-bedroom flat that’s less than £1,205 would be hard pressed to find a better deal elsewhere, so we’d recommend staying put.

Fortunately, rent increases were far lower for 2- and 3-bed flats, both rising only around 3%. If you’re only living with one or two flat mates, there’s no need to panic just yet. Demand hasn’t increased as much in Glasgow as in other Scottish cities, so you never know, you might get lucky.

Is it worth trying to commit for another year? YES (if you live in a big flat)

Aberdeen

As students attending Aberdeen University or Robert Gordon’s are undoubtedly aware, accommodation in the city is an issue that both universities have been struggling to deal with for a long time.

Rents reflect this fact, rising 5.3% on 3-bed flats and 12.6% on 4-bed flats. Whilst that is less than the 4-bed rise in Glasgow, the cost of 4-bedroom properties is much higher at £1,781 per month (up £200 from last year). If rents continue to rise, a 4-bedroom property in 2014 will cost more than £2,000 each month.

Rents for 3-bedroom properties would reach £1,378 at the current rate, making the cost per bedroom much more cost effective for smaller properties. On average, expect to pay £459 in rent each month for a 3-bedroom flat compared to over £500 for a 4-bed flat. And if you’re paying much less than that now, try to stay in your flat.

It is worth bearing in mind that demand in Aberdeen is accelerating more than anywhere else in the country, and properties are being snapped up by tenants in half the time than they were last year. What this means is that any search for a new house over the summer is going to be tough and extremely competitive, and the peace of mind of having somewhere to live sorted might be worth paying a few extra quid for.

Is it worth trying to commit for another year? YES

And remember, trying to predict what might happen in a turbulent housing sector is never a certainty, so don’t take our word on this. If you’re worried about where you might live in the years ahead, commit now and save yourself a headache.

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