According to the National Union of Students (NUS), the poor standard of available student accommodation in Wales is driving students to take out pay day loans so they can fund the expensive rental costs of luxury flats.
Since the turn of the year, large scale plans have been submitted in Cardiff and Swansea to bring approximately 3,500 new student flats to the cities. As things stand, many students are faced with substandard accommodation, with house shares and student flats at a lower rental cost failing to live up to acceptable living expectations. To avoid this, some students in Wales prefer to struggle with the high rental prices associated with luxury accommodation.
A total of 1700 new student rooms are due to open between 2017-2018 in Cardiff, the majority of which will be studio apartments in high-rise buildings located in Cardiff city centre. Around 450 of those will be in what is set to become the tallest building in Wales.
Students in Cardiff can rent a studio apartment in the Fusion Development on Newport Road, equipped with an onsite gym, cinema and private dining room at a cost of £177.50 a week - or approximately £9,000 a year - while a room in a traditional house share can often cost a student less than £50 a week. That could be a difference of £6,000-7000 a year.
Those students who cannot afford the high costs of decent accommodation are being forced to live in damp, substandard student properties, according to a spokesman for the NUS.
Landlords in Wales are subject to Welsh Government rules under the Rent Smart Wales scheme, and though this has helped the standard of student accommodation improve, there are still significant divides between the quality of rooms available. Some students even claim to be “couch surfing” due to the high costs of rent, and many others are relying on funds from their parents.
The spokesman for the NUS went on to say that many students are applying for credit cards and pay day loans, which is landing them in financial trouble over all sorts of things, including their student accommodation. There are some students who are in a fortunate position where they can afford the student flats in Cardiff with a gym and cinema, but many others are struggling to make ends meet and simply need a home they can afford to live in.
Official statistics show that the number of students attending Welsh universities such as Cardiff Metropolitan, Aberystwyth, Bangor and the University of Wales Trinity St David fell about 7% between 2011 to 2016, with 131,185 students enrolled in 2011-2012, compared to 121,950 in 2015-2016. But Cardiff University and Swansea University have experienced the opposite during that time, with Cardiff University having attracted a 10% growth in the number of students, while Swansea experienced an 18% growth.
Mr Feeney, Head of Student Analytics at Cushman & Wakefield, claims universities in Wales are racing to attract students who are looking for a more niche and luxury experience. He added that if students are willing to spend £9,000 a year in tuition fees, then they would expect to find a job at the end of it, and this is creating large divisions in the market as the great quality universities that offer a niche are constantly improving – while the old polytechnics are finding it difficult to react.
Are you a student in Cardiff looking for student accommodation? Or will you be attending university in Cardiff in the future? If so, here at CPS Homes letting agents we have a wide variety of student accommodation available, so we are sure there will be something perfect for you. Get in touch with our friendly team of student lettings experts today so we can find the ideal student flat for you! You can call us on 02920 668585, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into one of our Cardiff branches based in Cathays or Roath.