By Claire West

Students in a third of the 25 largest university towns are in for a shock this semester as the amount of rent they are willing to pay is lower than the average on offer in their town, according to flat-sharing website

Research carried out by showed that the maximum amount of rent students are willing to pay each month stands at £411 on average, 15% higher than the average rent of £357pcm currently being charged by student landlords. However, on a regional basis, average rents in eight of the largest 25 student towns are higher than the maximum students are willing to pay.

The average cost of renting a room in a student flatshare across the major British university towns has risen 8.5% over the last year from £329 per month to £357. This is a much higher pace of growth compared to that seen between 2011 and 2012 when rents rose just 5%.

This higher rate of growth has been spurred on by extra demand created by higher student numbers. In 2012 the number of university applicants fell 6.3% compared to the year before to 404,000.

But in 2013, university applications have grown 7.2% to 433,330 — their highest level in the last five years. The rise in applications comes despite a rise in the average tuition fee being charged by universities. The average tuition fee across the UK is now £8,500 per year, up from £8,385 in 2012.