Where should I purchase my student accommodation investment?

Over the years, the success of the Northern Powerhouse initiative and Government reforms have led to transitioning the likes of Manchester and Leeds into top property hotspots for investors. The surge in popularity in these regions over the last decade is largely due to regeneration in areas such as Salford Quays. Large corporations such as BBC studios have relocated their headquarters to the newly-developed waterfront, emphasising the Government’s intent to distribute wealth across England rather than concentrated efforts in the capital city, London.

Given the rise of these Northern cities on a national and international stage, it comes as no surprise that key cities in the Northern Powerhouse also boast an incredible student population. Cities like Liverpool and Manchester offer world-renowned higher-education institutions, which contribute millions to the economy each and every year.



Described as the Capital of the North, Manchester is at the centre of economic growth. The city attracts thousands of domestic and overseas students to the prestigious University of Manchester every year, whilst Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Salford are also popular choices for students. Current media students of The University of Salford are occupying the purpose-built creative hub MediaCityUK as a learning space, where they can take advantage of high-quality equipment to support their studies. MediaCityUK is known amongst both UK investors and expats as a top hotspot for impressive yields in both student accommodation and residential property.

Discover more about Manchester
  • Manchester is the city with the highest student population in Europe, at over 100,000
  • The wider Greater Manchester area is home to 6 higher-education universities: Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Bolton, The University of Law, The University of Manchester, The University of Salford, and the Royal Northern College of Music
  • As of 2016, The University of Manchester was ranked 5th in the UK, 8th in Europe and 41st in the world
  • Manchester’s education sector employs 115,900 people, contributing an annual GVA of £3.7bnn per year



As a vibrant city rich in history and culture, Liverpool is continuing to invest massively in areas like the British heritage site Albert Dock and the city centre to develop into a world-class European city. The region is home to three universities with a huge student population residing in and around the Liverpool city centre. A huge proportion of these include international students, especially at the University of Liverpool as it has an established partnership with Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University (XJTLU) in China.

Discover more about Liverpool
  • Huge student population with thousands of international students
  • Over 19,000 students study at the University of Liverpool alone
  • According to The Times, the average rental yield in Liverpool is 5.16%
  • Liverpool has a shortage of available accommodation, with 2 full-time students for every available bed.



In the bustling cosmopolitan city, Leeds’ ever-growing student population is in constant demand of premium student experience for the best value. High rates of tenancy in the city is keeping property investors on their toes, with high rental returns allowing the city to steal the limelight from traditional buy-to-let hotspots such as London. Leeds’ student sector is thriving, growing year-on-year across the city’s two main universities: The University of Leeds, and Leeds Beckett University.

Discover more about Leeds
  • University of Leeds named University of the Year in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017
  • Leeds is home to 33,221 students from 151 countries
  • Leeds Beckett University was recently named in the list of the 17 most expensive universities in the UK
  • Leeds is up-and-coming as a student accommodation hotspot for investors



Considered to be one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, Sheffield offers the ideal student experience, with globally-recognised universities, cheaper living than neighbouring cities and a fantastic scene for young adults. Sheffield is undergoing significant urban transformations, with areas close to universities such as upcoming Kelham Island becoming a popular neighbourhood for Sheffield’s ever-growing student population.

Discover more about Sheffield
  • There are around 63,000 students currently studying in Sheffield
  • The city has 2 major higher-education institutions
  • University of Sheffield constantly attracts domestic and international students due to its reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence
  • With just over 10,000 beds for students in Sheffield, this means that 84.2% of the student population are not housed by their university
Manchester Guide horizontal - April 2019

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