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Is Cathays still a residential hub for students?


Cathays, along with Roath, has been a living hub for students of Cardiff University, the University of South Wales, and Cardiff Metropolitan University for years. In the 2011 Census, it was shown that 70% of Cathays' 20,000 residents were students. However, it seems that recent trends show students leaving Cathays, and new tenants moving in.

The history of students and Cathays

Cathays is well-known for rented student property; in 2011, 64% of all Cathays properties were being let. During the same period, of the 18,693 residents living in Cathays aged between 16 and 74, 48% were full-time students, while 22% were part-time students. Clearly then there is proof that Cathays is a primarily student area.

As a rule, students tend to live around the Crwys Road and Albany Road areas, as they offer affordable housing, great transport links, while being close to the city centre, local amenities and the universities. However, recent trends suggest that students are moving away from Cathays, with the neighbourhood becoming home to more young professionals.

Students want luxury accommodation

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of student accommodation blocs opening, or being granted planning/building permission in Cardiff, which aim to offer students a more luxurious living experience. In fact, it’s more common for students to be more discerning in their tastes. It is no longer acceptable for student properties to be merely ‘habitable’.

This has gone hand-in-hand with students becoming more aware of their rights as tenants and renters, as well as legislation such as Rent Smart Wales. This means that students are more likely to look further afield, including neighbourhoods such as Grangetown, to find housing that better suits their needs while still being affordable.

How is Cathays changing?

A survey conducted in 2005 showed that 8.5% of private homes in Cathays were considered ‘unfit’, as such Cardiff Council has adopted measures to improve the quality of housing in Cathays.

Along with the Rent Smart Wales scheme, Cardiff Council has also restricted the number of HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation) that can be created in both Cathays and Plasnewydd wards. One effect of this will be to reduce the total number of students in the Cardiff suburb, making homes more fitting for professionals and families.

It’s also likely that the price of rent will increase in the area as there are a large number of professionals and foreign students who will pay a premium for luxury housing. Whereas for landlords targeting a student market, considering changes to regulations that make it more difficult to profit from renting properties, it doesn’t seem a financially viable option to convert properties to be suitable for students while offering a competitive rent rate.

That being said, just browsing at our selection of rental properties for Cathays and Roath proves that it is possible for students to live in fantastic student accommodation at competitive prices, in such a fantastic neighbourhood. However, if you are looking to broaden your horizons, we offer properties in a range of great Cardiff neighbourhoods.

For more information about Cathays, or any other Cardiff neighbourhood, you can check out our detailed area guides for an overview of transport links, things to do, and a look at the people that will be your neighbours. To find out more about renting with us, get in touch today, or pop into our Cathays office.

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