Recently, I have been observing the shifting house-share market. It used to be the norm that students shared large properties – houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) – but nowadays the climate has changed and it is professional house sharing that is all the rage, whilst many students prefer to rent purpose-built single occupancy properties.

Professional sharing is on the increase and frequently driven by affordability. Often, young professionals cannot afford to rent a property by themselves whilst saving for a deposit for their own a home. So sharing can be an attractive alternative.

Across the country, advertisements targeting professionals for house or flat shares are increasing –Sheffield, Reading, Liverpool, Bristol – it is not just in London where young workers cannot afford a place of their own.

Websites such as capitalliving.co.uk, easyroommate.co.uk, spareroom.co.uk and even rightmove.co.uk are an ideal way to advertise for a professional house or flat mate/share. Categories covering extra costs, amenities, current house occupants, new flatmate preferences (for example, singles or couples, pets, smokers) are all included, presumably in an attempt to reduce the 'house-mate from hell' applicant.

From a landlord's perspective, this is an expanding market and hopefully, an attractive one too. This is an older and wiser market than the archetypal student tenant. Supposedly they have more experience and

hopefully more self-control, they are working and only partly responsible for paying the total rent. If one mate loses his or her job, presumably their house-mates will replace them with another, more reliable source of income – so it could be a win-win situation for the clever landlord.

On the other hand, many students are now looking for smaller, higher spec properties. Universities have been quick to recognise this and are building or co-funding purpose-built accommodation both on and off campus. Some smaller developers have also realised that this is a lucrative market and are building and retaining the units, becoming landlords themselves.

In summary, we are finding that the rental market is flourishing and demand for suitable, well-appointed property still outstrips supply. Yields can be good and buy-to-let mortgages are still available. However, property values can go down as well as up and it is rarely a sensible short or medium term investment.

If you have any experience of professional house sharing please comment below – I would welcome your views.

For further information on any issues relating to letting or managing your property contact Alan Stewart on 01634 576000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you are interested in more information about property investment contact Neil Chatterton (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Charlotte Bland (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or telephone 01474 537733.

alan stewart 8403 SQU

Alan Stewart

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