There are four waves of students looking for accommodation in the Plymouth area.
The Keen Students
These are the ones who really, really want to get a nice property and therefore start looking as early as late October of the preceding year! Most of these potential tenants have somewhere before Christmas the year BEFORE they intend to move in!
The Mass Students
I think the majority of Plymouth students will start looking when they come back from the Christmas break. Many will have found somewhere to live for the following September by early-mid February.
These are the ones who take it easy. They know they will find something and they don’t really mind if it’s five minutes further to walk than if they had started looking months before. The tricklers will usually be sorted by the time they leave for the summer (so June)
The First Years
Plymouth currently has a shortage of halls places (although this is changing). Reportedly about 50% of first years end up choosing privately rented accommodation (student houses). Some students won’t find somewhere to live until mid-late September when they travel down with their baggage in hands!