A new property tech start-up is changing the way in which university students search for lettings. University Cribs, based in Cardiff, is an online media platform linking letting agents and other providers of student accommodation with the student market. The company has already been valued at £1.1 million after attracting investment from backers including some of the largest letting agencies in Wales such as Keylet and Imperial Lettings.
It is different to other online property websites in that it is not interested in the general market but is aimed solely at students. It will make life simpler for prospective tenants as all properties listed by agents will be available on one site. Landlords will also be able to access their market in a single place.
The website will be interactive and will offer advice as well as local destination guides to give students all the information about their new abode and its location. As many students will never have visited the area before signing up for university, this is an extremely useful addition. It will allow them to feel a little more comfortable learning about their neighbourhood in the town which will be their home for the next three or four years.
The website has attracted a lot of interest and has already received commitment from the largest student hall operators in the UK including CRM Students. It is expected to grow quickly in the next few months with both users and providers as it has already gained more than 142,000 likes on social media as well as having more than 2,000 properties added to the site in just over a day in July.
According to a survey by UCAS Media, 56 per cent of students say that they would prefer to view properties online rather than in person. It saves time and money spent having to visit the city and possibly an overnight stop if it is a significant distance from home.
University Cribs co-founder Jack Jenkins says that agents desperately needed a specialist student platform to increase their exposure and make sure that their properties are seen by thousands of students. The website will launch initially in Cardiff, Bristol, Swansea, Oxford and Bath, with other UK cities in the pipeline over the next few months.
Although this platform is aimed specifically at the student market, it does open up opportunities for other sectors such as tenants from overseas, who may prefer to view properties online. Other niche markets may include commercial or farms.