With Bristol’s universities being some of the hardest to get into in the country, there’s much to celebrate when your young adult gains a place on one of their sought-after courses.

However, with the winning of a place comes the inevitable next question for the non-Bristolian parent: where is your high-flying achiever going to live?

As is traditional, for both the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol first year students usually get a place in halls. However, this is not as cheap as it sounds with self-catered accommodation starting at £100/week and quickly rising to £150+/week for the more popular halls of residence.

What’s even more surprising is the news that having taken on ever more students in recent years, the two universities sometimes now even struggle to offer students accommodation in Bristol.

Recent enquiries to the B&Co office have come from students from the University of Bristol because they have recently had to offer some students accommodation in Newport, Wales, which is not quite what you might expect.

So the next question we get asked is: what other options are out there?

Well, the obvious other option is the private rental market, and we can definitely attest to Bristol having a wealth of good quality rental stock across most areas of the city.

However, Bristol is now regularly reported as one of the best places to live in Britain, and its population has soared in recent years, growing 11.5% since 2007.

The result: strong growth in rental values with 2 bedroom flats in prime Uni territory now going for £1,000/month.

Let’s consider all these figures again.

£100-£150/week or up to £600/month for self-catered accommodation (read room) in a hall of residence.

£1,000+/month for a two bed flat in a prime university area.

These are big sums that need to be considered against an average house price of £300,000 and buy-to-let rates.

In fact they are so big that, for the lucky parents for whom it is a possibility, we think a buy-to-let investment should not be immediately ruled out, as many have been doing recently.

Yes, in recent years the burden on landlords has been growing. HMO legislation, a reduction in tax relief for interest payments and other factors have all decreased the attractiveness of the buy-to-let model. However, strong rents do go some way to mitigating this.

All this said, ultimately of course the best choice for your son or daughter is not just about a making the best financial decision, and who can deny the many benefits of living in hall in your first year.

However, for the canny families out there a buy-to-let could be a way forward for second and third (and future) year accommodation in the right circumstances.

If this is something you are considering then please give our team a call for an informal chat.

We’d love to help.