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
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.