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Which universities are growing the fastest?

Which universities are growing the fastest?

One of the strongest indicators of potential success for those looking to invest in student property is whether the nearby institutions are actually growing or whether they are contracting. The numbers for 2016 have recently been released by UCAS and offer some encouraging news for investors looking at the North and the Midlands.

Choosing a good location can be tricky for potential student landlords, with the question of whether to go for an already established or an up-and-coming area always a prominent consideration. There are notable benefits to both, but knowing whether your investment is going to be sustainable is difficult.

For example, Manchester is an almost bullet proof area to invest as it has one of the largest student clusters in all of Europe. However, this does not automatically translate into a successful investment – selecting a poor area with poor facilities in a city which hosts some of the best student accommodation in the country could make your investment less appealing to potential tenants.

With these potential pitfalls in mind, here are some of the cities where the universities are growing and the investment landscape is friendly.


Leeds city centre is one of the most attractive areas in the UK for students, with a world class redbrick university and another strongly performing university as well as a popular college in the area. The nightlife, shops, social scene and living standards in the Yorkshire hub are all buzzing and this translates into one of the strongest possible student experiences.

Leeds City College has seen numbers almost double since 2010, with a staggering increase of 76%. The University of Leeds saw an increase of 11.2%, with an increase of more than 7,000 additional students accepted over that time. Leeds Beckett and Leeds Trinity universities had increases of 31% and 14% respectively.

These are excellent indicators of a city that is constantly growing its student population and all the signs are there that, over the next five years, these numbers will continue to grow at the city wide average of 33.05%.

You can see our latest investment opportunities in Leeds by clicking here.

Manchester & Bolton

Manchester remains the king of English student cities outside of London, with the busiest student area in Europe at its doorstep. The University of Manchester is a world class institution and hosts a huge student population, while Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most respected teacher training establishments in the country. With a number of colleges and the University of Bolton also nearby, both the city centre and the outer regions have all proven to be profitable investment areas in recent years.

The Manchester College has seen an increase in intake since 2010 of 20% with the University of Manchester increasing its students by 4% which may seem modest at first until you consider the university accepted well over 9,000 students for the academic year most recent. Manchester Metropolitan University increased its numbers by a very healthy 24.8% and the University of Bolton increased capacity by 17%. Meanwhile, in their own words, the University of Salford’s real-world focus and academic strength, plus its green campus-city location, made it the 17th fastest-growing for first year undergraduates this year.” The university grew by 23%.

For those who are already invested in student property, it will come as no surprise that these two areas have presented some of the best opportunities in the country - but to those considering dipping a toe in to the industry, they serve as a helpful illustration of the kind of research that can really help in decision making. Make no mistake, there will always be short-term opportunities in student property, but the most successful landlords have scouted out the figures and research that allows them to profit over the long term, UCAS figures often provide the necessary clues.

You can see our latest investment opportunities in Bolton by clicking here.

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