Around 22 people are competing for a typical room up for rent in Edinburgh – more than anywhere else in the country – a report has found.
In a study of Britain’s university cities, the report from SpareRoom.co.uk found that Glasgow is also difficult for students to find shared accommodation, with 14 people – both students and professionals – competing for each available space.
Edinburgh is one of the pricier areas of the UK for people to find somewhere to live, with the average room in a flatshare costing £466 a month.
In comparison, a space in a shared flat in St Andrews costs an average of £361, the report said, while in Glasgow, a typical monthly rent is slightly higher at £391.
Experts said flatshares have become more popular in recent years as difficulties in finding mortgages, combined with the effects of the recessions, have made people more likely to share flats until they are older.
University terms are due to start over the next few weeks, with some students still looking around for a flat.
Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “There are some rooms available in existing flatshares but the situation is far from ideal.
“You don’t have to be a genius to see the bottleneck in rental market supply, particularly as it’s becoming all the more common for people to flatshare well into their 30s and 40s.”
Around two-thirds of rooms available in Edinburgh are open to student renters, while in Glasgow and St Andrews, the figure is closer to three-quarters.
However, in other UK university cities, such as Reading, students are not able to rent as many as two thirds of available lets.
Mr Hutchinson added: “Heading off to university for the first time is a daunting enough experience, without the additional worry of having nowhere to live.
“Most freshers will expect accommodation to be ready and waiting.
“Even those who’ve been through clearing normally manage to find a place in time for the start of term. But those affected by the shortage of student accommodation are now facing a mad scramble to find somewhere to live.”
Vonnie Sandlan, president of NUS Scotland, said: “Housing is not a luxury, but a basic human need. We need controls on rent levels and more rights for tenants to make sure Scotland’s young people can be safe in the knowledge that they have a roof over their heads.
“With the upcoming Scottish election, we’ll be looking to all political parties to deliver more security and living rents to Scotland’s young tenants.”
Meanwhile, students starting the new term at the University of St Andrews have been blighted by a string of “snagging” problems in a new halls of residence.
Student newspaper The Saint reported that students living in the new £163-a-week Fife Park Apartments had faced issues with plumbing, electrics and heating, with some students reporting toilets flooding over bathroom floors when flushed and loose plug sockets.
The university said the issues had been “addressed and resolved”.