With a student population of over 50,000 at Newcastle and Northumbria universities combined, along with a string of colleges in the city, the buy-to-let market is continuously healthy for investors. This guide will take a look at the city of Newcastle and its universities in more depth, along with the most desirable student areas for property investment.
The North East of England is recognised as a friendly and lively region to inhabit, with Newcastle-Upon-Tyne at its economic centre. There is a vibrant nightlife, along with an abundance of supermarkets, shopping centres and high street stores. The cost of living is generally cheaper than other major cities in the UK, and the potential for economic growth remains strong.
The city lies on the northern bank of the River Tyne, a vital historical trading link with the rest of the UK and into the North Sea. Newcastle’s most notable landmark, the Tyne Bridge, crosses the river linking with Gateshead to the south.
Geordies are known for their passionate support of Newcastle United Football Club, based at St. James’ Park right in the heart of the city. With football so dominant in the local mindset, other sports are less followed but still well supported nonetheless. Also notable is the Great North Run, one of the world’s most popular half marathon races.
Newcastle is served well by public transport, with extensive bus and train links providing local as well as national connections. The Tyne and Wear Metro is another distinguishing feature of the city as one of only three light metro systems in the UK. Connections take place all around the north-east region and Newcastle International Airport.
Why Invest in Newcastle?
With healthy student numbers each year, landlords are drawn to the Newcastle area for assured yield figures and full occupancy potential. Students often choose to relocate to private houses or flats in larger numbers, meaning that rent figures can be of high value during term time.
Property reports suggest that the north-east has the lowest ratio of rooms to students in the current climate, meaning that a property is very likely to attract tenants once listed. There are many types of accommodation to consider investing in, from city centre apartment blocks to terraced homes in residential areas.
In addition, with the two Newcastle universities homing around 9,000 international students every year, the ongoing demand for upscale accommodation is also high. These types of student, particularly from Asia and North America, typically have higher budgets to spend.
Although the majority of students will look to the outer areas of the city for private rooms, the inner-city market is bourgeoning also. Purpose-built flats with inclusive gyms, communal areas and laundry rooms are becoming more popular, especially with foreign students and postgraduates. Net rental returns are healthy for these types of property, often reaching figures of up to 10% within two years.
Savills is one of the UK’s leading estate agents with a major research scheme highlighting movement in the country’s property market. They rank Newcastle as one of the leading regions of opportunity for student property investors. Return on investment figures are promising and are expected to remain steady in coming years.
Newcastle Council are currently implementing a 15-year regeneration plan so that all communities in the city will benefit from the economic, social and environmental improvements by 2021.
The Ouseburn is one such example of this modern rejuvenation, a development project which will create around new 60 apartments along with a new cycle hub, restaurant, cafe and outdoor public space. The innovative design of the new complex is being showcased as a template for European architects.
Newcastle University has a student population of around 17,000 undergraduates and 6,000 postgraduates. The 50-acre main campus is located close to the Haymarket area of the city and contains of various university buildings, lecture halls, research labs as well as the student union. The three main faculties are Science, Agriculture and Engineering, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Medical Sciences, where there are up to 200 undergraduate courses to choose from.
The university performs well in many of the criteria used to calculate university league tables where it is positioned in the top 30. Students recorded a 90% satisfaction rate with their course, whilst an impressive 97% of former students are employed or in further study six months after graduating.
A short walk away is Northumbria University, a business-focused and well-respected institution with around 30,000 students in total. It gained its university status in 1992 and has climbed the league tables ever since, making it one of the fastest improving universities in terms of student satisfaction and graduate prospects.
The City Campus is split into two sections; the East buildings include the highly ranked Newcastle Business School, whilst the West buildings contain various Science schools along with the library and students union. The Coach Lane Campus is situated outside of the Newcastle city centre in Benton, although a free shuttle bus provides transport between the two. It is home to School of Health, Community and Education Studies and its own independent student union.
Although most first year students tend to live in halls of residence linked to the university they will tend to look for private accommodation as they progress through the years. This is also the case with postgraduate and international students.
The areas they relocate to depend on which university they attend, along with the whereabouts of their lecture halls and campus. In this sense, investors should look to these student-friendly areas which are highly sought after. We have listed a few here to consider.
With the two universities located not far apart in the city centre, many students prefer to remain nearby. An abundance of shops, bars, restaurants, cinemas and music venues are all on their doorstep along with the university buildings themselves. There is a relatively low cost of living compared with the UK national average in inner city areas.
Shieldfield lies just on the outskirts of the city centre within walking distance of both Newcastle and Northumbria universities. This is an important contemplation for many students who want easy access to their place of study. Student housing is primarily small terraced housing on a small council estate whilst there are also a number of Halls of Residence in the vicinity. Many major supermarkets and local convenience stores service the Shieldfield population.
The majority of student homes can be found in Heaton, situated on to the east of the city centre and close to both universities. Buses regularly connect residents to campus buildings and walking takes around twenty minutes on foot. Properties here are mostly Victorian-styled terraced buildings made up of 4+ bedrooms. Local shops serve the area, whilst the Chillingham Road metro station is also close by. Many students also take advantage of the local Heaton Park when the weather is suitable.
To the north is Jesmond, a residential suburb but popular with students looking for a quieter way of life away from their studies. Some properties in the area can be considered upmarket compared to traditional idea of student housing. There are trendy nightspots and classy restaurants on Osborne Road and Brentwood Avenue respectively, whilst Acorn Road contains plenty of shops for everyday needs. Cycle paths provide an environmentally-friendly route into the centre, whilst the Metro system also passes through.
Sandwiched in between Heaton and Jesmond is the lesser known Sandyford, a relatively quiet suburban area again with all the required local amenities close by. On Starbeck Avenue lies the fitting named Starbeck chippy, alongside a quirky café and sandwich shop. Nearby is Archbold Terrace where plenty of bar/restaurants are filled with students both during the day and night.
Out the other way lies Fenham, located west of the metropolitan centre and generally less expensive in monthly rent costs. The population is ethnically diverse and commerce is largely Asian based. Students living here often take advantage of the many sporting facilities and nearby gym. Also worthy of note is the public library and swimming pool which are listed buildings, cherished by the local community. Bus services into Newcastle are very frequent and take only around 5 minutes.
Newcastle is one of the leading student cities in the UK, famed for its friendly inhabitants and exciting nightlife. There is always something to get up to all throughout the week, especially as many establishments offer cheap drink deals to keep students coming.
In terms of places to go, there is something for everyone to enjoy regardless of price, style and music taste. The Diamond Strip has a collection of more upmarket bars and clubs attracting a young, stylish crowd, similar to the fashionable Quayside area. For a cheaper night out, students tend to head to their respective unions or local pubs.
The Gate is a notable complex which includes 12-screen cinema, restaurants, bars, and clubs all under one roof. In addition, the usual big name cinema chains are dotted all across the city showing all the latest blockbuster releases. The Tyneside Cinema is a popular independent establishment presenting a range of cult films, often favoured by students during the day.
Geordies love their live music and there’s always something taking place throughout the week. The Metro Radio Arena, O2 Academy or City Hall play host to the more established acts throughout the year, whilst the Cluny, Riverside and Jazz Cafe are intimate venues with a more chilled out atmosphere.
With student loans at the ready, there are plenty of shopping opportunities in Newcastle also. The Eldon Square Shopping Centre is at the heart of the city centre, buzzing with thousands of consumers on a daily basis. The centre contains over 150 stores, many of them leading high street names, along with a new restaurant quarter. There is also the Monument Mall, Fenwick Department Store and Northumberland Street for further shopping opportunities in Newcastle.
Like most universities, the range of sports and social clubs is extensive at both Newcastle institutions. Newcastle University students can head to Cochrane Park, venue to the more traditional sports of football, rugby and cricket, whilst Northumbria boasts Sport Central, an extremely impressive centre with an array of fitness activities to choose from.
Although up in the north east region, Newcastle isn’t cut off from the rest of the country as some prospective applicants may expect. Extensive travel links provide easy access around the UK, and London is only 3 hours away by train. In addition, the Metro system is a blessing for students without their own transport. Services run frequently throughout the day to and from Haymarket, which is the nearest station to both universities.
Liked this article, but want to find out about other cities? Why not read our guide on investing in student property in Leeds.