University town property boom

30-08-2008

University town property boom
University towns have experienced a property boom over the past five years, as student demand forces prices ever higher.

According to research from Halifax, three university towns saw average house price rises by over 100 per cent during five years; these are Belfast (105 per cent increase), Dundee (101 per cent) and Bangor (100 per cent).

But this is just the tip of the iceberg; with a further 20 university towns experiencing price premiums of over £20,000 on their surrounding regions.

Such towns include Winchester (£114,489 or 50 per cent), Bath (£98,562 or 43 per cent), Cambridge (£90,699 or 44 per cent), Warwick (£75,454 or 46 per cent), Oxford (£39,797 or 14 per cent), Newcastle (£25,005 or 16 per cent) and Stirling (£20,296 or 13 per cent).

This suggests it is in a towns' interest to have a university, providing as it does an impetus for price growth.

The size of the university also appears to play little role.

Manchester, which has the largest student population (73,160), recorded an average house price growth of 63 per cent during the last five years. Liverpool, which has a student population of 53,705, saw average prices increase by 71 per cent during the period.

However, university towns with a relatively smaller student population have also experienced large average house price increases.

Glasgow with a student population of 45,125 recorded average price growth of 74 per cent and Preston with 29,845 students saw a price rise of 53 per cent during the five years.

Guildford is the most expensive university town with an average house price of £363,503, rising from £285,592 five years ago. This is followed by Winchester, home to the University of Winchester, with an average house price of £343,332, and Bath (£326,403).

Nitesh Patel, economist at Halifax, commented: "Over a third of the university towns in this review experienced average house price growth of over (50 per cent) in the last five years.

"While it can be a good investment, the decision to buy a property for a son or daughter at university ultimately depends on the parents' personal circumstances and property prices around the university in question."

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