The North East's student market explained


One of the most lucrative markets within the property sector is student buy-to-lets. There will always be a demand for accommodation in university towns and cities; rental income is all but guaranteed. Little wonder that flats and houses in the right locations are fiercely sought after.
However, if you can find an appropriately 'student' property in the perfect location, you're on to a good thing. Here's the North East's student market explained.
Where to buy
The North East is strewn with top universities, boasting Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Northumbria and Teesside. That's a lot of students searching for homes. It's key that you understand where the main student accommodation areas are, as if your home is situated just a few streets from the popular areas, you could struggle to find tenants.
According to respective university experts, in Newcastle, investors should concentrate around Osborne Road in Jesmond, Starbeck Avenue in Sandyford and Chillingham Road in Heaton. These apply for students attending the nearby Northumbria Uni, too. In Durham, the Viaduct area, City Centre and Whiney Hall are all hotspots. Ashbrooke and Millfield are the places to head for Sunderland University students and for those in Teesside, central Middlesborough's Percy, Portman and Pelham streets are recommended.
Types of property
Typical student accommodation is terraced or detached houses, with dining rooms that have been converted into that important extra bedroom. However, providing they are in the right locations, maisonettes and apartments can also attract students. Ideally, you want a building that has several bedrooms, but not all students will want to live with seven others; a three-bedroom property has as much chance of being let successfully as an eight-bed.
It's worth bearing in mind that any property that accommodates three or more unrelated occupants is considered, and must be licensed as, a Home in Multiple Occupation. You may also find that some universities will ask you to enter into a managed housing scheme, as Teesside does, which both protects the student tenants and the landlords.
How to attract students
In some cases, location alone will be enough of a trigger but if you want to attract good, honest students that will have some respect for your buy-to-let, then make sure that it is clean and nicely decorated. Furnished properties are usually favoured over unfurnished, so get to Ikea and pick up some simple items.
If the house has a garden, it might be a good idea to transform it into something as low-maintenance as possible - students do not want to have to mow the lawn. If you can pave it and present a nice patio, even better. The home also needs to be secure; students have a lot of gadgets these days and need to rest easy that their belongings are safe when the house is empty. That might mean getting a new lock on the doors and even spending on new windows.
Ultimately, prospective landlords have their pick of student tenants throughout the North East. If you buy in the right area and present your house nicely, you could be rewarded with years' of good rental income.