According to the latest study by industry experts, propertyforecasts.co.uk, house prices in York are set to increase between 60 and 70% over the next five years. Three York postal areas, including the University’s YO10 district, are predicted to experience one of the ten highest price-increases in the country.
The popular student areas of Badger Hill, Fulford and Tadcaster Road are all included in the top-ten, with projected price-increases of up to 100%.
The concern for students is the effect that increased house prices will have on rent levels. A 26% increase in house prices in the last 10 years has corresponded with a 100% hike in rent.
John Waterhouse, director of Hunters Estate Agents, played down the situation and described the idea of a 100% increase in house prices as “wildly optimistic”, suggesting that even the 60-70% projection is at the top end of possibilities.
However, Laura Dalton, a third-year student at the University, said “We’ve been looking for a house for next year and have already noticed a dramatic increase in rent prices in comparison to what we’ve been paying for the last two years.”
Even with John Waterhouse’s more modest prediction, the rises are likely to be substantial enough to force students into the cheaper Hull Road and Tang Hall areas.
There are worries this could lead to the kind of student ‘ghettoisation’ that has plagued some other university cities like Bristol and Leeds.
Residents in Badger Hill have already been complaining about the recent influx of students and are worried that greater numbers could change the character of the estate. The Black Bull pub has been criticised for its re-orientation to the student market.
This comes at a time when the University has announced cuts in the availability of campus accommodation for second and third year students.
Another concern is that the development of Heslington East – with an anticipated 5,400 extra students and 2,000 extra staff, as well as 2,500 employees in the research facilities – will put the housing market at risk of saturation.
Despite this, the University has planned only 3,300 new rooms for the extra students.
Many, including Professor Mark Stephens, Assistant Director of the Centre for Housing Policy at the University, fear that demand could outstrip supply, driving rent prices even higher.
By Nick Dingwall