The Property Ombudsman

Buy to let hotspots in university towns

As it approaches the time of year that students, both new and established, look for property suitable for their lifestyle, it’s key to remember what drives tenant demand. Central properties close to amenities, bars, restaurants and transport links is what many students will be looking out for during their studies.

Whist many students are continuing to look away from typical student hall/HMO type properties and onto something more central and urbanised, private rented property offers the ideal solution. It also has the added benefit of allowing students to continue living in the property once they become graduates and full-time working individuals.

From an investor’s point of view, student only properties tend to be a less viable investment option. The lack of exit strategy associated with HMOs would make the property difficult to sell for investors looking for capital growth, and the “guaranteed yields” that tend to be on offer are usually built in to the purchase price, so not quite as advantageous as they seem.

For those investors looking for the appeal of a buy to let property that attracts tenant demand from students, graduates and young professionals, consider some of the best performing locations below:


With several universities spread across the city, students from across the globe come to Manchester to take up an undergraduate degree. With university accommodation limited and only offering a certain level of home comforts, thousands of students will look to the private rented sector for property instead.

A firm favourite with investors, Manchester has remained as one of the top buy to let hotspots in the country for many years, thanks to its growing property prices and strong rental yields, averaging around 7%. Its status as the UK’s “second city” means it has lots to offer in terms of culture, leisure and residential opportunities. An estimated student population of over 100,000 means Manchester is one of the largest university cities in the UK, so investors can certainly take advantage of the demand for rental property by purchasing a buy to let in one of the most sought after cities for students.    


As one of the most up and coming property hotspots of the last few years, Liverpool’s thriving student population will have certainly had a part to play in the high level of tenant demand across the city. It was recently reported that Liverpool had experienced the highest average rental yield in the UK, with an impressive average of above 7% - this is largely down to the sharp increase in rental demand combined with affordable property prices.

Whilst students continue to enjoy Liverpool for its boutique shops, restaurants and bars, landlords have been able to benefit from some of the strongest returns by investing in the city centre. Constant all-year-round demand from students means that that they can pick up a pre-tenanted property that can generate a healthy income from day one.


An emerging hotspot of the North West, Bolton has undergone a huge transformation thanks to investment from the government as well as private stakeholders. With over £1billion spent to transform the town centre, Bolton has in turn attracted thousands of students to its university. New residential developments have been specifically built to appeal to students looking for something beyond the average student halls.

More investment is on the way for the leisure, transport and residential sectors in Bolton, so its prospects as a university town will continue to soar. Property prices may still remain affordable, but there’s no doubt of the potential for capital growth as the town, and its popularity, continues to grow.


Recently named as one of the best cites in the UK to live and work, Preston has seen a wealth of popularity in recent times. UCLAN is in the top 20 largest individual universities in the country with a lone population of over 30,000. As a result of this, it specialises in an array of different courses which naturally attracts a number of students from all over the world. 

The city itself, like many others, suffered at the hands of the financial crisis but now the UK has made a full recovery, cities such as Preston are once again booming even better than they were pre-credit crunch. A one bed apartment can achieve yields of up to £750pcm, allowing great opportunity for strong rental yields in the right areas. Well-connected for train lines and motorways, the local area has a flurry of independent shops and cafes as well as a unique nightlife experience making it ideal for students.

If you’re looking for the right location for your next buy to let purchase, then talk to our experts today. As property investment specialists, Sequre are best-placed to help and advise you on the ideal areas to help you generate the strongest possible returns. To find out more, call us on 0800 011 2277. 

buy to let manchester skyline with skyscrapers to the left next to the manchester canal

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