Race for a place to stay has begun
The annual scramble is under way for college accommodation. Prices vary from county to county and finding the right place can be tough, writes JOANNE HUNT
WITH SOME 40,000 students having sought a CAO place this year, and half of all students living away from home, the annual scramble for student accommodation has well and truly begun.
While parents may prioritise a place that’s secure, in easy reach of lectures and that doesn’t break the bank, their student offspring may have other ideas.
So how do you navigate the choices? Broadly speaking, the options include on-campus accommodation run by the college, privately owned purpose-built student accommodation known as “Section 50” because of the tax breaks afforded to investors, house or apartment shares or room and board arrangements known as “digs”.
College-run on-campus accommodation is a safe if a sometimes more expensive bet for many. Providing a secure environment close to the library where students can mix with others as they find their feet, it does tick a lot of boxes.
Those seeking on-campus accommodation in some of the bigger universities are already out of luck. The waiting list for first-year accommodation at UCD opened on May 5th and within an hour all of the 737 places were gone. A tip for those bound for Belfield next year is to get your name down early.
Property website myhome.iehas responded to a recent survey showing 80 per cent of students will source their college accommodation online by creating a dedicated area online ( myhome.ie/colleges). According to myhome.iemanaging director Angela Keegan, students need to move quickly due to the demand for rental accommodation.
“As you’d expect, Dublin is the most expensive, with students on the southside paying around €500 per month while those on the northside pay €450. In Cork it’s around €350, while in Galway its €380. Limerick appears to offer the best value at €300. If you share a room, prices will be cheaper again,” says Keegan.
In response to demand, UCD has launched a new accommodation website this year, accessible to UCD students only and featuring only pre-vetted landlords – ucdaccommodationpad.ie.
The site has listings for everything from Section 50 student residences such as the all-female Glenard Residence, to apartments, houses and more than 80 homeowners offering digs. All are within 15 minutes’ walk of UCD.
Rented rooms cost between €80 and €100 a week according to UCD’s accommodation office, with digs ranging from €130 to €170 depending on the meals included.
Over at DCU, the college, which only begins offering accommodation to first years on allocation of a CAO place, is still accepting applications from students for its 300 on-campus first-year rooms. The majority of rooms are in two-bed apartments and cost €4,000- €4,200 for the college year, with a utilities pre-payment of €330 and a damage deposit of €300.