Ghost town fears over uni exodus

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House prices will collapse in some parts of Lancaster if soaring university tuition fees force more students to live at home.

That is the prediction from student property manager John Sanderson, who says a new survey by mutual insurer LV outlines the danger to the city’s economy.

The Student Towns report, complied for the insurer by Nelson Research, claims that Lancaster could lose 4,874 students from the current year’s total of 13,186. The forecast 37 per cent drop is the 11th highest in the country. The worst affected university cities are expected to be Newcastle upon Tyne and Lincoln, with falls of 52 per cent and 43 per cent.

The LV report argues that 47 per cent of students will live at home by 2020 as they and their parents seek to save money. Currently only 21 per cent of full time students live at home but £9,000 annual tuition fees will massively increase the amount of debt they have to take on.

Researchers expect the student exodus to begin in 2012. The report adds: “Property values in many student towns affected will decline with rental prices plummeting. Crime and criminal damage will increase as a result, and many properties will become vacant and even derelict.”

See the Lancaster Guardian (22-04-11) for full story.