When should you start scouting for student accommodation?

Rhys Owen, Senior Property Advisor at CPS Homes in Cardiff, South WalesRhys Owen, Senior Property Advisor, talks us through the timeline when searching for student accommodation...

It’s a question that many a student will ponder - when should I start my search for student accommodation?

If you choose to kick-start your search too soon you may find that the total number of available student properties is far lower than it’ll soon become, while kick-starting your search too late could leave you running the risk of being left with slim pickings. 

This makes timing your search for the ideal student accommodation very important, but fear not - this useful timeline should help you figure out what you should do depending on what time of the year it is.

When to start thinking about student accommodation: September

It’s never too early to start thinking of your housing requirements, so September is a great place to start deciding who to live with and getting everybody on the same page with regards to your budget and location. If you’re heading to the Welsh capital for your studies, do some research on some of the best areas to live in Cardiff as a student and ask other students, both past and present, for their recommendations and experiences. Be sure to explore the areas that most take your fancy on foot, as word of mouth and scouring places on Google Maps will only teach you so much.

Once you’ve cut your search down to a couple of favoured areas, narrow things down even further by noting particular streets that grabbed your interest. Perhaps you like the social aspects on offer or the good transport links with nearby bus stops.  Putting in this early-year prep will help you focus your search a little later in the year, plus you’ll become familiar with the city and its surroundings before you’ve even found a place.

The ideal time to search: October to December

According to Which.com, the area you’ve chosen to study in makes a big difference to the ideal time to begin your hunt for student accommodation. The highest proportion of students starting their search early (from October to December) were in Wales, and we know from experience that this does tend to be the case. We release our student property list around the end of October and the beginning of November, with November and December typically the peak months for viewings as this is the time most landlords seek new tenants for the new academic year. It’s an ideal time for it as well; most students feel reassured knowing their accommodation is sorted  before they head home for Christmas and exam revision starts to add on extra stress.

It pays to be an early bird as you have first pick of the student properties, making it a certainty that you’ll secure a home that ticks all your boxes. So, if you want to get a real head start, you can drop us an email at any point and we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop, ensuring you’re amongst the first to know when a room becomes available in a property located within one of your chosen areas (or even specific streets).

Starting your search after the Christmas break

During the peak months outlined above, things can get extremely busy, with many student properties often snapped up within just one viewing (plus, things move even more quickly now that we have online viewing on every property). But there’s certainly no need to panic if you’re still searching in January, or even up until May or June. Perhaps you haven’t confirmed exactly who you’ll be living with yet, or you might prefer to spend a few months thinking things over, rather than rushing into selecting your property before you feel ready. Cardiff in particular has many student hot-spot areas, so the city and surrounding suburbs are jam-packed with plenty of options.

Whilst we still have a large number of properties available after Christmas, we do advise that if you search from March onwards, there will be less choice, without a doubt. You will have to compromise with a few things that you’d have liked within your ideal home.

Could I miss the boat?

If you follow the advice outlined above, you should be successful in securing ideal student accommodation that meets your needs. However, if you’ve left things late and can’t seem to find anything that fits the bill, don’t panic. Securing an entire property or something located exactly where you’d like offering everything you want and need may be a tall order - though not necessarily impossible - there should, at the very least, still be rooms available within shared houses.

If you find yourself in this position and feel as though you’re quickly running out of time, get in touch with local letting agents within the area immediately. Even if you struggle to source something with them, they will still be able to alert you as soon as something suitable becomes available.

For more help and advice with finding student accommodation within Cardiff, check out our handy Student Guide and feel free to get in touch with our expert lettings team here at CPS Homes. You can contact us by calling 02920 668585, e-mail enquiries@cpshomes.co.uk or pop into one of our three Cardiff branches.

28 July 2021

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