03/09/2013 12:31 BST

Student Accommodation Rental Prices Double As North South Divide Increases

Student Accommodation Rental Prices Double As North South Divide Increases

Students are facing higher rents than ever after it was revealed prices had doubled in some university towns, while rents in the South are "soaring".

The average rental value for student accommodation has risen 3.1% since 2012, with the rise being driven predominantly by extortionate rental prices in the South of England. The average rent stands at around £79.42, up from £77.04 last year. There is also a noticeable North-South divide in prices, according to research by Accommodation for Students (AFS).

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Despite a 2% fall in prices since last year, London remains the most expensive student area to rent in at £129 per week, followed closely by Egham in Surrey, which costs around £115. The biggest hike in rates was accommodation in Newport, Wales which saw rents more than double from £56 per week to £113.

Other notable increases include: Luton, up 20% from £71 to £91; Chatham, Kent, up 19% from £73 to £87 and Bournemouth, up 16%.

It's good news for students at Northern universities however; Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield rents either stayed the same or fell, with all prices sitting more than 6% below the national weekly average.

Nearly three quarters of students prefer "inclusive bills" options in order to help them keep track of their finances - an availability which has more than doubled in the past five years.

Simon Thompson, director of AFS, said: "The student accommodation market remains robust and is still one of the most attractive yield classes for property. We are still seeing large scale development in student accommodation up and down the country. Universities have been very busy since the university results were announced last week.

"A key factor in determining student rents is the desirability of attending some universities but with reports that some universities are offering incentives as a way to fill spaces and entice the brightest students, from generous scholarships and bursaries to laptops and gym memberships, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on future accommodation demand and subsequently rents, in such locations."