UK Universitiy Students Turning to Homestays in Accommodation Crisis

August 13, 2015
  • Significant rise in UK students staying in homestay-style accommodation-
  • Increase in student numbers has put a squeeze on the housing market-
  • Price of student accommodation has doubled over the past decade-

With more than 16,800 additional students starting at university across the country in September, new figures released by reveal that an increasing number are choosing to homestay over traditional student halls and private rentals. The rise in alternative accommodation for students is being blamed on a combination of factors, including a shortage of housing plus a rise in rents and the cost of living., the online booking platform for hosted accommodation (homeowner remains on site), has seen the number of student bookings increase by 200% in London over the past three years. Extended bookings (21 days +) made by students in key university cities, including London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester are four times higher in September than at any other time of the year. This year, with the lifting of the undergraduate cap and more than 500,000 students entering the 2015/16 academic term, universities are facing a squeeze on accommodation. This has forced universities to put students in hostels, hotels and even leaving some at risk of homelessness. According to the National Union of Students, the price of student accommodation has also doubled over the past decade, causing living costs for a student outside London to rise to more than £12,000 a year.

Students are opting to stay in hosted accommodation, blaming a lack of suitable affordable housing, but also citing the comforts of a 'home away from home' environment as a big attraction.

Alan Clarke, CEO, said: “From speaking to our community we've learnt that many first-year students are unable to secure accommodation in halls, and are struggling with the costs of private rent. accommodation often works out as a cheaper alternative and a good temporary solution, whilst students find something more permanent. The fact there's a host that will cook the the odd meal and take care of the bills also doesn't hurt!”

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Notes to the editor

  Student Accommodation (per week) (per week)
London £150 (not including bills) £120 (including all bills and breakfast)
Leeds £133 (not including bills) £110 (including all bills and breakfast)
Manchester £122 (not including bills) £105 (including all bills and breakfast)
Birmingham £129 (not including bills) £84 (including all bills and breakfast)


Launched in 2013, provides an established global community with the digital marketplace for accommodation called homestays - staying in the home of a local while they are there. The fact that the 'host is always present' sets apart from its competitors as it transforms the guest experience from 'visit' to 'live it', recognising the importance of people (guest and host) in making homestay experiences. Moving this globally known and long-standing offline industry online, provides a frictionless digital interface to connect guests with their ideal homestay host. To this end, it is a leading player in the emerging 'shared experience' economy. has also pioneered the “pop-up” homestay network, designed to solve acute accommodation shortages, mitigating price rises, and to help local communities benefit from large-scale local events. is a limited company and has raised venture capital funding through Delta Partners Ltd. chairman is Paddy Holahan, the founder and CEO of Newbay, and former Chairman of Hostelworld. CEO is Alan Clarke, formerly of Yahoo!, McKinsey and Company and Paddypower.

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