The UK, particularly London, has witnessed an escalating accommodation crisis that has left many, including Nigerian students, grappling with housing challenges.
This predicament in one of the world’s most mature housing markets underscores the complexities of the UK’s housing market and the challenges faced by those seeking accommodation.
It is also a result of a confluence of factors. Join us as we take a look at some of the causes of accommodation challenges faced by Nigerian students in the UK.
Supply and Demand Imbalance for houses in the UK
As Nigeria’s inflation continues to soar, more Nigerians are leaving the country in search of greener pastures. One of their prime locations is the UK.
This development has made the demand for houses to continually be on increase.
Describing the situation as the worst supply and demand balance they have ever witnessed, a realtor in the London property, Guy Gittins, chief executive of Foxtons, noted that it’s only going to get worse.
Gittins recalled that, in April, the agency had 97,000 tenants chasing after just 2,000 available properties.
Also, the CEO of Daniel Ford International- a leading property search and acquisition consultancy, told newsmen that the demand within this period has gone up 20—30 per cent.
He said, “Most of our people coming to London are not having it easy; many of them have nowhere to stay and this is because there is no stock.”
Rising interest rates on mortgages
Another reason why Nigerian students are struggling with accommodation challenges is that the interest rate on mortgages has increased significantly from 0.25 per cent to 5.25 per cent in the last six to 12 months.
According to Edun, the rise in interest rates discourages landlords from building more houses, leading to a reduced supply of rental properties.
The rise in interest rates is sponsored by the Bank of England. Reports also say that the UK’s largest lenders, including HSBC, Nationwide and Santander, have raised their mortgage rates, adding to pressure on landlords.
Stringent Rental requirements
New immigrants, like Nigerian students, find it challenging to meet the rental requirements in the UK.
Narrating her experience, Chioma Amarachi said, “Accommodation in London is not only expensive but very hard to find as demand is higher than supply. When you are new in the country, it’s a tug of war because meeting the requirements is very hard.”
She further said, “They will ask for things that only if you have stayed in the country for months that you can provide. I can go on and on, but the summary is that it is expensive and difficult to find a house in the London metropolis.”
Rising Rents in the UK
FT’s property correspondent, Joshua Oliver noted that newly let properties are now 25 per cent more expensive than before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Oliver said, “UK annual rent increases set a new record for 12 consecutive months up to April this year, according to Office for National Statistics data going back to 2016. While the pace of annual rental growth seems to be slowing, tenants will continue to struggle as already unaffordable rents keep rising.”
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