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New app helps UK university students finding accommodation.Reuters

The number of university places allocated in the UK might have fallen, but finding accommodation remains a tough task for newly-enrolled students.

Students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland got their A-level results on Thursday (17 August) and figures released by UCAS, the university admissions body, said the number of confirmed places stood at 416,000, 2% lower than last year.

The decline reflects a reduction in the number of applications and means thousands of places will be available to students who are still looking for places.

Last year, students who successfully found a university placement through clearing hit record levels of 64,900 applicants, and is predicted to be a similar number of students this year.

However, a greater influx of students finding placements through clearing means increased demand for student accommodation.

University accommodation is particularly limited and whilst some rooms are reserved for students finding a place through clearing, many will have to find accommodation in privately-owned properties.

"Once university students have successfully secured a place at university, they must prioritise securing accommodation as a matter of urgency," said Danielle Cullen, managing director at StudentTenant.com

"Every year we experience a surge in demand for student properties in August, as thousands of students from clearing opt to use our service to secure accommodation for the year."

Finding a room in privately-owned accommodation can often be difficult for students, particularly the number of individual rooms keeps decreasing as many landlords prefer group bookings over individual room bookings.

"It's a huge problem for new students heading to university," Cullen adds.

It's likely they won't know anyone at the university they have secured a place at, and can often struggle to find the right people to live with when attempting to form a group with strangers."

To address the issue, the website has unveiled a new feature, which aims to make it easier for students to find people to live with.

Launched on Thursday, the "Find a housemate" tool automatically matches students together based on their preferences, similar to a dating app.

The matching is based on their university and location, interests, values, and the type of housemate they would like to live with.

Each matched user is rated by a percentage match, which increase depending on the number of matching answers two users have. Once students have been matched, they are free to directly message each other on the platform, and organise booking a property.

"Every year we are faced with so many individual students struggling to find somewhere to live, as landlords just refuse to accept them," said Cullen.

"There's currently no other tool like this on the market, so we wanted to create something to really streamline the process - particularly during such stressful times like clearing."