Mighty House

Advice and updates from the Mighty House team

Is investment in student houses in Lancaster still a good idea?

There is much discussion amongst Lancaster property investors and Landlords of student houses in Lancaster about what impact the amount of new purpose built student accommodation will have on demand for rooms to rent in houses. The question is will student house investments make a good return in Lancaster in the future?

In Lancaster, the current demand from investors to buy good quality houses and apartments to rent to students is extremely strong – as strong as we at Mighty House have even known it. Let’s refer to these houses and apartments as “HMO” (Houses in Multiple Occupation) from hereon. I personally believe that despite the proposed creation of more purpose built student accommodation (PBSA), HMO student accommodation are an excellent investment in Lancaster and I will explain why:

Lancaster has two Universities – Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria. Broadly speaking there are 14,000 students at Lancaster University and 5,000 students at the University of Cumbria.

Although the University of Cumbria student numbers have fallen in recent years, Lancaster University has grown by double the UK University average of 8% per year. Post graduate numbers have grown by 18% compared with the UK average of 4%. Lancaster University also performs inside the top 10 Universities in the 2017 league tables and has aspirations of attracting an annual intake of 20,000 students. That means a requirement for approximately 6,000 additional beds should these aspirations be met.

So how much new PBSA is proposed?

It’s a little tricky to get an accurate assessment of the amount of bedrooms which are proposed in the various PBSA blocks in Lancaster. Here is my assessment of the larger proposed PBSA blocks:

Proposed Student Developments: Approx. Number of bedrooms:
Lawsons Quay between Caton Road and Bulk Road 630
Waring and Gillows Building 100
St George’s Works Mill 419
St Leonard’s House 81 studios and 99 rooms
King Street, Lancaster (City Block) 70
Galgate Mill 107 student flats
Miyabi Restaurant opposite bus station and former Georgian Club at 5 Cable Street 90 studios
Total 1,596 rooms. Assume studios and flats 50% double occupancy = 1,735 student places.

In addition to the above schemes, there are numerous smaller scale conversions of accommodation above retail units and infill developments within the City Centre. An extremely broad assumption would be to say these could make up another 150 rooms.

As can be seen, there is not enough capacity to cater for the proposed increase in student numbers.

Is the PBSA affordable?

PBSA Rent: Rents typically start in excess of £130 per week for PBSA. Studio accommodation is more expensive and is upward from £160 per week for a single occupant and often much more.

HMO Rent: Rents for HMO start at around £85 for a basic room with a double bed for locations 10 to 15 minutes walk from Lancaster City Centre. More spacious rooms in quality houses in these locations achieve around £95 per week. Rooms in HMO in the Centre of Lancaster (houses or apartments above retail units) are typically £100 per week up to prices of around £115 per week for excellent quality and spacious accommodation.

(All the above prices are quoted on a bills inclusive basis).

Our student letting division, Mighty Student Living, find that the majority of students they let to have a limit of what they can afford, or are prepared to pay, of up to £110 per week. This is backed up by statistics from research done with students from York, Liverpool and Durham Universities where 1000 students were questioned in a private study and 54% of students could afford up to £110 per week and no more. Only 14% of students surveyed could afford £130 a week or above.

As an aside, there is a tendency for overseas students to have the highest budgets and so continued demand from overseas students is likely to determine the success or failure of PBSA.

Our student housing division,, are finding rents are going up for HMO which in part could be because of the substantial disparity between the higher rents charged by the PBSA compared with HMO.

Planning restrictions underpinning values:

Due to the increase in number of HMO in other Cities, such as York and Durham, Local Authorities have put in place new planning rules called “Article 4 Directions” which means that planning permission is required for C3 dwelling houses to be rented to 3 or more unrelated people and become a C4 house in multiple occupation.

There is no sign of such a restriction being introduced in Lancaster yet but in the coming years it is quite conceivable that such a restriction may be imposed. Should such a restriction be imposed, existing HMO will have established use and not require planning consent. The effect of the restriction in other Cities is that existing HMO have increased in value.


Not only is PBSA unaffordable for many students, HMO accommodation is the preferred choice of others as it represents better value for money.

Projected student numbers at Lancaster University far exceed the projected number of beds that will be provided by the PBSA underpinning the need for more quality HMO.

Rents charged for HMO are growing due possibly in part to the substantially higher rents charged by PBSA and the existing disparity between PBSA and HMO rents.

Should planning restrictions be imposed in the future, the capital value of houses with rooms let to 3 or more unrelated parties are likely to increase.

There is therefore a compelling argument to invest in HMO. We are in no doubt that suitable houses taking in to account room sizes, location, appropriate bathroom and kitchen facilities for number of occupants and within 10 to 15 minutes walk from Lancaster City Centre represent excellent investment opportunities. We can’t see an end in sight to the strong demand for quality HMO high yielding student accommodation in Lancaster by investors.

Investors throughout the UK and overseas are looking at Lancaster, seeing the University doing well, that it has space to expand and that it has aspirations to expand considerably. Furthermore, unlike other Cities, Lancaster has no planning restriction on the creation of HMO and investors are attracted to invest in Lancaster property! In fact with the cheap pound also bringing in foreign investment to Lancaster, we could see prices rising quite considerably.

Some kind words from our customers

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We would like to thank you both very much for all your excellent efforts on our behalf to sell our property. We are very happy with the selling price you have achieved.

B Robinson

As I'm now up to a full complement of tenants I just want to say thank you for all you've done for me these last six months. Your support has been invaluable and you [Isobel Burns] are a credit to Mighty House.

L Kirby

I just wanted to say a big thank you to you and your team. From the first enquiry about my tenancy right up to my termination date you have all been very friendly and helpful. The whole process was so easy and quick. I have rented on several occasions with other estate agents in the Lancaster area and I have to say that your company have given the best service without doubt. If I ever have cause to rent in the future you will be my first port of call. Please pass on my thanks to all your team.

P Hodges

I am very grateful to all of the mighty house team especially to Peter Charnley who personally dealt with the sale of our house. They all go above and beyond to ensure everything progresses and runs as smoothly as possible. They keep you well informed and up to date of the process throughout, I would defiantly recommend mighty house. A big thank you once again!!!

K Holmes

Really quick to respond to call out. Problem sorted we have heat again

L Peterson

Great renting company. In case of any problems, they quickly deal with them.

M Szyniszewski

We would like to thank you for being fantastic agents and also would be grateful if you could pass on our appreciation to the Landlord. We enjoyed living in the property and you were much easier to deal with than any agents we've encountered previously.

H & C Legat

I can't thank you enough for everything you have done. Words can't express how grateful I am. I can now care and see my mum and she can see her grand children.

Mrs M Mclee

To All at Mighty House. Just wanted to say thank you for your help in our "efforts" to buy [property] Road. It just wasn't the outcome we wanted but realise it wasn't for the want of trying by ourselves or your team. Special thanks must go to Isobel who I know tried her best. Guess it just wasn't mean to be. We keep our fingers crossed that our current attempts to buy a house go smoother and quicker. Thanks again.

J Nicholson & family

Thank you very much for all your kind help in the process of our new property purchase. Had a wonderful experience....

Mr Patel

Thank you very much for a fast efficient and professional service. All the staff were polite and helpful and I was very pleased with the outcome. I would certainly recommend you to friends and family. Once again many thanks.

Mrs J Coulson

To Mark and Team, With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Thanks for all your help & guidance with the house sale. The speedy action was awesome!!!

Mr & Mrs Bowskill

We are so pleased that we decided to use Mighty House to sell our house. Mark told my husband and I that he had a great deal of experience in the estate agency business and it certainly showed. He knew exactly the type of person that would be ideally suited to our home, and sold out house within a few weeks, in fact he actually sold it twice as our first buyer dropped out due to personal reasons. We mainly dealt with Isobel in the office who was fantastic, efficient and friendly. We were very pleased with the brochure Mighty House produced and would be more than happy to recommend them. Thank you mark and Isobel for everything!


I would like to say a huge thank you to Peter and his team especially Isobel who went above and beyond to help us try and find a home for my daughter to rent. The service we received was AMAZING. The courtesy that the whole team gave me certainly puts Mighty House firmly at the forefront of my mind when thinking of premier customer service. I would like to add that one of the main reasons Mighty House stood out for me was after 3 months of discussion with estate and letting agents in Lancaster, Mighty House was the only company we faced who had staff with nice manners and were able to provide good customer service, I’m afraid this is not so with all agents in Lancaster. They came across as the only letting agents who actually cared about the customer standing in front of them, rather than just trying to palm off excuses or not listening at all as was the case with many others. All in all excellent service received. Thanks Guys. :)

Katharine and Katriona

Many thanks for all your help and advice. We would certainly recommend Mighty House and will certainly be in touch again when we are in need of your services.


And thank you and the team at The Mighty House for the great service and support that you have provided to us throughout the long saga of trying to sell 5 Windermere Rd. Being at such a distance has been really difficult for us but you really went the extra mile for us and we really do appreciate it. I wish you all the best with growing the business. I am sure that it will go from strength to strength with the excellent service you provide.

Anne-Mree & Ron

Mighty House gave me a super platform to advertise my property, accompanied with quick and responsive customer service to help me rent my house within 2 days of going live. I would definitely recommend Mighty House as a economical and effective way to sell or rent your property.


I have been extremely happy to rent from Mighty House and I am really grateful for all your help in the past one year. I will recommend Mighty House to my friend and anyone else for sure. I think I speak for everyone at 64, Coulston Road when I say that your management has been first class!

Mr Misra

I am delighted at the professional manner and dedication of the staff at Mighty House in achieving the expedient sale of my property for a great price and making it stress free. Many thanks.

Mr Bradshaw

After visiting the showroom at 83 Bowerham Road we instructed Mighty House to sell our house. Mark Fletcher did a thorough job valuing, assessing and photographing the property. His advice was always helpful and forthcoming. He took a personal interest in promoting the sale and efficiently conducted viewings and he got us a good price for the property. He kept us in touch with developments as the sale proceeded. We certainly would recommend Mighty House as a helpful and efficient local estate agency.

David and Judy

I choose Mighty House because they were an independent firm with a local shop front as well as being linked in to all the on line services which are now a requirement for house sales - I felt I was getting the best of both worlds. I have already recommended their services to my friends and am happy to offer a wider testimonial here. Their staff were always helpful and Mark, in particular, offered a friendly and very competent service. Mark was always available to talk through any issues, and the local office meant that I could have a ‘face to face’ chat when I felt the need to talk through any particular situations. Mark’s wealth of experience of selling houses meant that I felt able to trust the advice I sought at various points in the sale. I choose to use one of their services where I showed prospective purchasers around my house and whilst this deal offered very good value for money, I never felt a less valued client because of my choice of using one of their cheaper schemes. I would definitely use their services again should I ever move house again!


Following a relocation from London to Lancaster, we decided to start looking into purchasing our first property. We contacted a number of estate agents in Lancaster and viewed a range of properties. We initially offered on a property with another agent but the service we received as buyers we felt was very poor and not working in our best interests. We contacted Mighty House as they had similar properties for sale. From our first contact with Mighty House, we felt that they listened to what we wanted and ensured that they arranged viewings that were appropriate; a number of other agents just seemed to want to show us everything they couldn't sell rather than anything that ticked our boxes. Mighty House worked hard to ensure that both our needs and the seller’s needs were met and we were delighted with the outcome. They were understanding of our particular circumstances throughout and ensured that we and the vendor were kept abreast of developments as they happened. Mighty House have been honest and transparent with us throughout the process and have even recommended an excellent Solicitor who helped move the process along extremely quickly through to completion. We couldn't recommend Mark and the team at Mighty House any higher; they supported us through the roller coaster of buying our first property and were a delight to negotiate with.

Nathan & Vicky

A great service from start to finish, professional and friendly staff. It was a rather bumpy ride selling my late aunts bungalow especially when the first sale fell through but Mighty House had it back on the market within hours and viewing within days. Once the sale was agreed they were very helpful in sorting out any little niggles helping to save time and money with legal costs. Overall a high class service at a very reasonable cost. Many thanks from the Haslam family especially to Mark and Isobel.

Mrs Steph Haslam

Excellent service throughout the duration of my tenancy

Matthew Wood

Great service from start to end. Would recommend.

Dr Green

Fantastic service in my first year from Peter and team. Any issues resolved swiftly.

George Kushnov

Thank you Peter and team

John Brennen

Thank you Peter and team

Matt Garside

Good service

Mikel Patel

I encountered a few small problems, which were dealt with efficiently

Sara Lahar

Enjoyed my time within this property and dealing with Mighty House. Thank you.

Lucy Wilson

Clear advert, professional service given by all. No problems, would recommend

Craig Gould

Found property on internet, a clear advert, dealt with peter who was very good and answered all questions professionally. Would recommend. Isobel is also lovely to deal with

Lynda Yates

Happy with everything, would recommend

Patrick Bishop

Very good service from Peter and Isobel, would come back again, and have recommended to many friends

Maysara Adel Ali Sayed

Good service, We've used them more than once and would recommend

David Cunlffe & Elsa Jean Kinnish

Really good service. Saw advert in paper, clear with full details. Our queries were handled immediately

Paul & Michelle Good

Saw on Rightmove, Ad not complete, but Peter explained all, dashing suit, have dealt with other estate agents before but MightyHouse was very professional -its like dining at a fine restaurant

Mr Pavel Bogolyubov & Mrs Natalia Bogolyubova

Very helpful. I saw the property on Rightmove. The advert was good. Easy and no hassle

Benjamin Allen Maunder

Very happy with service, we had a few issues with the rented accommodation, which were sorted sensibly within good timescales, which we were happy about. Highly recommended

Mr George Fragkiadakis & Ms Anastasia Legga

We recently had heating problems. There was a quick response to these, so we would recommend Mighty House

Mr Tim Buthcer & Mrs Sian Butcher

Dealt with peter - fantastic service

Jane Ritchie

Very happy with the service and would recommend.

Geoffery F Marshall & Janice E Marshall

Good service, would recommend.

Megan Lauder

When we spoke to Isobel, she was fantastic - very informative. We were shown round the property by Peter - excellent viewing.

Mr S & Ms J Edwards

Fantastic service from Isobel, was a smooth process. Also suggested alternative properties. Would highly recommend.

Ms Star & Mr Harris

Fantastic during my brief tenancy and helped me

Terry Powerst

Was recommended by a friend, dealt with Peter, Peter was absolutely brilliant, any issues were dealt with within a week, would strongly recommend

Zoe Louise Clarke

Just a note to say how very happy we are with the service provided to us by the team at Mighty House. We are landlords with two student let properties at Lancaster-we initially started with one house for our daughter who was at University there. As we were new to the market with the first property we relied heavily on Peter who gave us great practical advice on the student let process. This continued with the second property and again Peter's advice was invaluable particularly relating to the renovations required and the specific requirements for student houses. We have had contact with most of the staff at Mighty House and find them to be very genuine, friendly and helpful and all the requests made by ourselves or our tenants have been dealt with in a timely and professional manner. A special mention for Isobel who goes 'above and beyond' in her efforts to assist both the tenants and landlord and is a pleasure to deal with.

Peter F.

Excellent team. Many thanks to Peter and team and they made me change my review from bad to excellent by giving the best service ever. I would like to recommend might house as a trust worthy Agency for renting a house. Thank you Peter for all your support and regret that I got a wrong impression of Mighty House.

Uday K

After several decades with my property with a "nationwide" organisation, finally got fed up with lousy service, high prices and tenant gouging. Mighty House, despite the slightly silly name, have been brilliant. They seem to really care, respond quickly to any issue, problem, difficulty, etc ... and costs are very reasonable. In my opinion, worthy of six stars.

Mr Schick

I bought a house through Mighty House and the experience was fantastic. Really helpful guidance all the way through the process. Peter and the team are highly recommended.

Mr Cookson

I'd just like to say a personal thank you to Isobel at Mighty House. At one point during my purchase it all seemed to be going pear shaped and I thought I was going to have no choice but to pull out. Thanks to Isobel's friendly approachable nature, help, advice and guidance - I have just spent my first night in my new home. Once again, thank you.

J Thorpe

I recently used Mighty House to rent out my flat in Lancaster. I did have a few problems initially with lack of communication, but I spoke to Isobel and she gladly sorted everything out for me, and went above and beyond to help me. I couldn't be more grateful

Cheryl L

The team at Mighty House are absolutely brilliant. They went out of their way to ensure my tenancy was sorted before an important deadline. You guys deserve 6 stars if that were possible. Highly recommended!!! Anisa

Anisa A

This company knows the market and makes every effort to find the right house for you - and arrange a viewing as soon as possible. Very friendly staff especially Isabelle and John. Many Thanks

Christine B.

Had a great experience renting from this company. The process was easy, the customer service very friendly and professional and any queries etc. we had were promptly dealt with.

Alefiyah J.

Mighty house provide a responsive and professional service.

Mike J.

Really quick to respond to call out. Problem sorted we have hear again.

larisha P.

I am very grateful to all of the mighty house team especially to Peter Charnley who personally dealt with the sale of our house. They all go above and beyond to ensure everything progresses and runs as smoothly as possible. They keep you well informed and up to date of the process throughout, I would defiantly recommend mighty house. A big thank you once again!!!

Kenise H.

Now the sale has gone through (finally), I would like to thank you for your patience with us through out the process and also for responding promptly and politely to my many emails and phone calls. Thanks again.

Ruth S.

It is great to have an efficient and reliable managing agent which I can trust, essential when I live 200 miles away!

Peter H.

I’m really happy with how you and the team are working and I look forward to increasing my portfolio with you in the future.

Richard H.

Excellent feedback of viewings and during sale process. Important as we don't live in the area.

Mr Lees

I used both the selling and letting service and couldn't have asked for more. Thank you John for all your help and courtesy, am so happy in my new house.

Mrs S.

The pricing options were clear on the website. We felt the process was well handled from start to finish.

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