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Oxford students camp outside letting agents overnight to secure housing

Students camp outside a letting agents in Oxford, Oxfordshire
Dozens of students queued overnight outside a letting agency to secure university accommodation in Oxford - Joseph Walshe, SWNS

Queues of students are sleeping outside estate agents overnight amid fierce competition for accommodation.

Undergraduates from Oxford University and Oxford Brookes camped outside Finders’ Keepers estate agents in St Clements, taking turns to hold spaces in the queue.

Demand for rental properties has shot up as landlords flee the buy-to-let market due to soaring mortgage rates and incoming restrictions on investors. Data published by Rightmove earlier this year found there were as many as 25 tenants per available rental property.

Students came prepared with blankets, layers of clothing and hot water bottles. Some claimed to have camped out for nearly 24 hours.

Video footage showed roughly 100 people waiting for the letting agency to open at 9am this morning.

Oxford Brookes students Milly Ashley and Will Johnson, both 19, claimed to have been in the queue since 10am the previous morning.

Business student Ms Ashley said: “We tried to queue last week from 4:30am and there were already people camping out from 11pm the previous night.

“So, we decided to beat them this time around and go even earlier.

“We got Domino’s and had a good chat. It’s been okay really. But I can’t feel my feet at all, and I’m wearing four jumpers, leggings, joggers and a coat.”

Students camp outside a letting agents in Oxford, Oxfordshire
Competition for rental property among Oxford's university students is such that some camped out for nearly 24 hours - Joseph Walshe, SWNS

Mr Johnson, who studies property development, said as many as 10 people were “trying to get” the house he and Ms Ashley wanted.

He added: “It’s probably the best four-bed property, and in a good place too, so we’ve just sat on these chairs all night.

“The guys at the back, they always end up with the worst houses because they can’t get anything.

“Last week, we came at around 5am, and the queue was so large already that by the time we got in all the places we had wanted were already gone.

“They told us that we could view one place, so we walked up to the house for a quick look around. By the time we had got there, before we even got upstairs they called us to say that the flat had already been let.”

The pair said that their second attempt had been more successful, and they had secured the property they wanted.

Sights of students queueing for accommodation have become commonplace in recent years.

Last year students at Durham University were pictured lining the streets overnight to secure a home, prompting the Durham Students’ Union to describe the housing market in the city as “broken”.

It comes as data from the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) showed that average growth in UK rents outstripped inflation by more than a third.

The DPS’s rent index found that average rents between July and September were £1,121: a rise of 9.13pc since last year.

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