Location, Location, Location: Housing in Durham so far

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Palatinate analysis, employing student rental site StuRents, found that there is slightly more student accommodation on the market this year, than there was at this time last year. On 9th October 2023, StuRents was advertising 188 properties – compared to 161 properties on the 12th October 2022.

Prices for the properties that have been released so far have also risen compared to 2022. 29% of houses on StuRents, as of the 9th October 2023, were over £200 a week. Hence, with a minimum annual contract price of £10,400, this is above the maximum UK government maintenance loan of £9,978.

7% of the houses costing over £200 had no bills included.

While the vast majority of houses that have been released so far were in a DH1 postcode, houses outside of Durham, advertised by StuRents, still had high prices. 

Loc8me is advertising three properties, including bills, in Langley Moor – about a 45 minute walk from central Durham – however, the prices were not much lower than in Durham city.

One was £181 pppw, one £158ppw, and one £149ppw. One house, not advertised by Loc8Me, in DH7 cost £145ppw.

The most expensive house was in Claypath – a 2 bedroom flat costing £347 ppw in Freemans Quay. No bills were included in the price.

Only 1.5% of houses, advertised on StuRents on Sunday, were under £139 – compared to 7% of houses advertised on the 12th October 2022.

74% of houses had bills included in their rental price. Many were advertised by Loc8Me, who has already released many of their properties. Loc8Me releases properties gradually, while other estate agents have previously a practice of dropping all available properties at once.

The University’s assessment of the housing market is that there will be enough student accommodation in Durham to meet predicted demand for the 2024/2025 academic year. On their website, Durham also claims that, according to their figures, “there has been enough accommodation in the city for everyone who wanted it this year.”

Over the past year, Durham has worked with City of Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy, Durham Students’ Union, letting agents, landlords, City of Durham Parish Council, and Durham County Council to change the market, after images of students queuing up overnight outside letting agents made national news in 2022.

As a result of their work, the University has launched their ‘Housing Hub’ – a portal on which students can find resources to help them find a home in the city – and some landlords and letting agents have signed a new Student Lettings Code of Practice.

The Hub includes information about different areas, signing a contract, and what to check before renting.

Ben Charles, Evenmore Properties, Fresh Student Living, GM and J Properties, Jaggers Student Living, Morgan Douglas, Nicholas Humphreys, Rise Estate Agents, Student Castle, The Mansion Group and Frampton & Roebuck have, after talks, also agreed to “work together for a student housing market in Durham which meets the needs of all parties – students, landlords, residents, and agents.”

The agents and landlords mentioned above have agreed to not issue contracts for properties to multiple groups simultaneously; allow at least 2 working days for students to sign contacts; allow at least 5 working days for students to sign contracts if students need to arrange a non-standard guarantor (for example, for international students, care leavers or those estranged from their parents); and to work “sympathetically and collaboratively with students” without putting “undue pressure” on them.

Robinsons, Harringtons, Loc8me, Unite, CityBlock, JW Wood and Stuart Edwards have not yet joined the agreement.

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