The average annual cost for student accommodation in the UK now stands at £7,374 but in London it is £9,488, according to new figures published Unipol and the National Union for Students (NUS) in their 2021 Accommodation Costs Survey. 

The survey fieldwork (carried out by MEL Research) involved 142 returns: 80 from institutions and 62 from private and charitable providers and accounts for 473,684 bed spaces representing 68% of the purpose-built student accommodation sector.

The report shows that even if students received the full student maintenance loan, rent would consume 88% of it in London, leaving students just £38 per week to spend on anything else. Outside of London accommodation costs account for 72% of the maximum loan, leaving students with £69.52 to spend on other living costs.

The report also shows that:

  • Student rents have risen by 16% since the last survey in 2018/19 and 61% since 2011/12. Last year, rents increased by 4.4%.
  • Private providers dominate the market, with 70% of the bed spaces surveyed, as universities move away from their own accommodation provision
  • Older stock with cheaper rents is getting replaced with ensuite and  studio rooms and the availability of lower cost accommodation is reducing

The report makes three groups of recommendations about student accommodation; increasing sector unity, addressing affordability and PBSA policy changes. 

Download a copy of the report