lifestyle

A tutorial on the best student digs in Birmingham

Where are the best places for students in the city? We take a look at the key areas for those who are heading to Brum this September.

Birmingham City University on Curzon Street

If you’re just about to confirm your offer to study at a university in Birmingham – congratulations! Question is, where will you live?

With five universities in the city, Birmingham is home to 65,000 students and many will be looking for a place to rest their head.

While most newcomers will have already selected their student accommodation from the university that they have accepted a firm offer from, there will be plenty more looking for digs as they accept places after they have gone through clearing.

So, where are the best places for students in the city? We take a look at the key areas for those who are heading to Brum this September.

Renting is the obvious choice for students, although buying can be a cost-effective option, with special mortgages available that are taken out in the name of a student with a guarantor, usually a parent.

Eastside / Digbeth

A stone’s throw from Birmingham City University’s Millennium Point campus, Aston University, and a short walk from University College Birmingham’s city centre campuses, Eastside and Digbeth are great student centres.

It’s close to Birmingham Coach Station and to Moor Street Railway Station, and is less than 10 minutes to the city centre action, yet has its own distinctive, creative vibe. It’s this edgy and vibrant quality that makes it so popular with a wide range of people, including students, creatives and artists.

It’s an area that’s packed with pubs, live music venues, cafes and the award-winning Digbeth Dining Club street food event.

Rental apartments cost from about £130 a week, while the average house price for buyers is £130,737, according to RightMove. Available at the moment is a two-bedroom apartment for £780 per calendar month and a two-bedroom, ground floor apartment in Cheapside for £170,000. A two-bedroom apartment at Brolly Works, Digbeth, is on the market for £179,950.

City Centre

From the Chinese Quarter to Five Ways and the Mailbox to St Martin’s Square, there are thousands of apartments and studios available for rent. It places you in the beating heart of the city – and all the amenities you need for shopping, eating out and socialising.

New apartment blocks are springing up across the city centre, so you are increasingly being spoiled for choice when it comes to city centre living, although expect to pay a premium for the convenience. Studios can be rented from just over £100pw but if you are planning to live life luxuriously, £600pw plus is not unusual if you head to deluxe blocks such as the Mailbox or Brindleyplace.

Looking to buy in the city centre? The average price for a city centre flat is £176,594 – about £35,000 higher than the average apartment price in Birmingham.

An unfurnished studio flat in Neomidas House, Marshall Street, has recently been added at £114pw, while a fully-furnished, first-floor studio apartment at Liberty Place, Sheepcote Street, will set you back £138 per week.

Buyers who don’t mind waiting until 2017 can reserve an apartment at Madison House in Wrentham Street from £159,950, but if you want to move quickly and want to invest in a deluxe abode, perhaps a two-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment in King Edward’s Wharf will suffice at £539,000.

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Aston University(Image: Craig Holmes/Metro Photographic)

Jewellery Quarter

While we’ll never be able to claim there are more residential apartments than diamonds sold in the Jewellery Quarter, the development of apartments and homes to rent and buy is seemingly relentless.

Hundreds of residential properties are being added to the already burgeoning portfolio, it is a popular area for both professionals and families, and it’s a mere hop away for School of Jewellery and University College Birmingham students.

Separated from the city centre by Great Charles Queensway, Corporation Street can be reached in about five minutes from St Paul’s Square, while New Street Railway Station is ten minutes away, unless you take the new tram line from JQ and you’ll reach your destination in less than five minutes.

JQ maintains a village appeal and the Georgian square at St Paul’s is an impressive focal point. There are plenty of independent shops, pubs, coffee shops and more than 30 restaurants, too, so everything you need is on the doorstep.

Studio flats cost from about £137pw and two-bedroom penthouses can achieve £600pw or more. If you’re looking to buy, one-bed flats cost from £145,000.

Available at the moment is a one-bedroom flat at St Paul’s Chambers, in St Paul’s Square, for £143 per week, and a studio apartment in Newhall Street for £137 per week. A studio flat in Farthing Court is on the market for £115,000.

Edgbaston / Selly Oak

Convenient for students at the University of Birmingham and for some Birmingham City University students studying life sciences and sports, Edgbaston, is traditional student territory.

House shares, Victorian/Edwardian homes converted to flats, and purpose-built apartments are all available. As you’d expect from a suburb that has both a family appeal and is a growing commercial centre, there are a growing number of amenities to take advantage of, from local stores to supermarkets and coffee shops. There are two railway stations that serve the area – University, which is on the UoB campus, and Five Ways, close to the city centre – and plenty of buses, too, to help you get around.

Edgbaston is one of the desirable areas of the city, thanks to its leafy avenues and gentrified streets. Expect to pay from £70pw for a studio apartment up to £179pw for a two-bedroom apartment at the new 1 Hagley Road development. Looking to buy?

According to RightMove, flats sold last year for an average £159,239, while terraced properties attracted an average £212,498.

There’s a two-bedroom apartment in St Augustine’s Court – close to the University of Birmingham – available for £219 per week, while you can buy a three-bedroom terrace in Selly Park as a doer-upper for £139,950.

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Moseley

Trendy, bohemian, cosmopolitan – that’s Moseley in a nutshell. A long-time favourite with students, it’s packed with independent stores, great pubs and restaurants, plus small supermarkets. It’s just a 25-minute bus ride away from the University of Birmingham campus and regular buses also get you to Selfridges in the city centre in half an hour.

There’s always something to enjoy in Moseley. It hosts the annual community arts and culture event Moseley Festival in July, while the popular Moseley Folk Festival takes place from September 2-4.

There’s a wealth of properties to choose from, from house shares and room rentals to converted Edwardian homes and apartments in modern blocks. A studio apartment can cost from £90pw while buyers can expect to pay an average of £126,219 for a flat, according to RightMove.

An unfurnished one-bedroom apartment in Park Road, Moseley, is available at £675 per month, while you can buy a flat in Wake Green Park, Moseley, for £79,950.

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Kings Heath

Next door to trendy Moseley and close to student central Selly Oak, Kings Heath is an urban village with all the amenities you need on your doorstep, from indie boutiques to supermarkets, farmers’ markets and craft events.

Currently, there are house shares in Victorian terraces, rooms to rent in homes and purpose-built apartments or conversions available.

There are stacks of cafes and restaurants, plus pubs and superb live music venue The Hare and Hounds. Vintage stores and indie shops sell those unusual one-offs with which to furnish your digs.

It’s just five miles south of the city centre, with the number 50 bus to get you there, and three and a half miles from the University of Birmingham campus.

Expect to pay from £115pw for a rented one-bedroom apartment or if you’re looking to invest, flats fetched an average of £100,907 last year, according to RightMove.

A one-bedroom flat in Poplar Road, Kings Heath, is available at £115 per week, but if you’d prefer to buy, a two-bedroom terraced house on Kings Road is on the market at offers over £155,000.

One city, five universities..

* Aston University: Green, self-contained campus a five-minute walk from the city centre shopping and entertainment areas.

* Birmingham University: 3 miles south west of the city centre at Edgbaston.

* Birmingham City University: Nine sites – the main site is at Perry Barr, three miles north of the city centre.

* Newman University: Seven miles (20 minutes by car) from the city centre in Bartley Green.

* University College Birmingham: Two buildings in the city centre.

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