More parents opt to buy their child's student home

Student Accomodation: As the scramble for student accommodation continues, Fiona Tyrrell reports on the trend of parents buying…

Student Accomodation:As the scramble for student accommodation continues, Fiona Tyrrellreports on the trend of parents buying homes for their student children.

With soaring rents and prices of apartments in the city falling back, more and more parents are opting to buy property for their college-going children.

Parents look at the purchase of such a house in terms of providing security for their children and an investment for themselves.

It also gives students a lesson in responsibility and some parents can even use the property as a city pad while their children are travelling the world in summer breaks.


The phone calls from parents come almost like clockwork, according to Maxine Pilkington from Bennetts Auctioneers in Dublin's Sandymount.

After the release of the Leaving Certificate results, the phone starts ringing. More calls are made after the CAO offers, she says.

Some parents are very organised and will have a few properties identified ahead of the results, says Sheila O'Flynn from Sherry FitzGerald in Cork. They may even bid on a house but hold off on closing the deal until the offers are out. Others will have organised the finance and done their homework on suitable areas before the offers are out, when they start the search in earnest.

Organised or not, an increasing number of parents are out looking to buy for children in third-level education.

Maxine Pilkington says there are even more parents looking to buy this season.

Of the calls to Bennetts (which handles lettings as well as sales) from parents looking for accommodation for their children, some 20 per cent want to buy rather than rent, she says. She puts this increase down to rising rents.

In the Sandymount area rent for a one-bedroom apartment has gone up by 10 per cent and rents of a three/four-bedroom home have risen by 20-30 per cent, she says.

Proximity to the college is the priority for parents. It must be either within walking distance to college or good transport links.

Security is also a huge consideration. "Parents are quite happy once they know the area is safe," says Pilkington.

Typically students pay €3,000 a month for a four-bedroom house in the Sandymount area. If five of them get together that works out at €600 a month plus bills.

With the rental market "going through the roof, it sometimes works out more advantageous to buy", says Peter Quigley from DNG's Phibsborough office.

The budget for parents is typically between €300,000 to €500,000, he says.

Brian O'Shea from O'Shea O'Toole & Partners in Waterford says that if your child is attending college for up to five years and planning on paying rent it makes sense to invest in property, especially if you have two or more children who are likely to go to the same college.

"In Waterford student accommodation costs €70 a week for a single room and €60 to share a room. Why not buy a property and watch it grow in value and pay back the mortgage with people renting from you," he says.

In addition, parents tend to look at the investment as a way to give their children a "bit of responsibility", collecting rent and taking care of a house.

Parents buying for their college-going kids typically buy beside Waterford Institute of Technology and spend around €225,000 for a three-bedroom townhouse or €250,000 for a three-bedroom semi.

Many parents prefer it if their children go into digs for the first year and look to buy an apartment or house for them to live in during their second year of college, says Sheila O'Flynn from Cork. Typically parents will have a budget that is similar to that of a first-time buyer, she says.

In Cork a small inner city two-bedroom apartment will cost from €280,000 and a six- to eight-bedroom house will cost between €600,000 and €800,000.

In Cork the western suburbs are the popular choice but now, with more and more students driving their own cars, parents are buying as far out as Ballincollig, 8km west of the city.