I bought a house with my student loan and now have a £1.2m portfolio

A property investor has revealed how he flipped his student loan into a £1.2 million portfolio in just 10 years, including going from owning four to seven homes in the last year.

James Coupland, from York, bought his first home aged 19 using his student loan, motivated by the ‘shocking’ state of his shared university flat, and still thinks property is the ‘safest bet’ for people looking to make investments.

The 29-year-old has always been an ‘absolute saver’ and spent his time away from his studies working until he had saved enough to put down a deposit on a modest £53,000 house.

‘It’s the most rewarding asset in the world, and always will be in my opinion,’ he said. ‘Always try to keep it and not look to sell on, as true wealth is created in capital over time when naturally house prices will increase.

‘Right now, this isn’t happening, but long-term, this will be the best option to maximise income.’

James Coupland, 29, bought his first house with his student loan 10 years ago, and in the last year he has built his portfolio from four to seven properties

Motivated by the state of his shared flat, James spent his free time working to save for a deposit before he bought his first place for £53,000

Since inflation reaching its peak in autumn 2022, the slump in people buying homes has allowed James to increase his portfolio from four to seven properties

James revealed that the recent spike in interest rates on mortgages has actually benefitted him in some ways. 

He explained: ‘Due to interest rates rising, buyers have been panicking and the demand for property has slowed down. 

‘This has enabled me to buy more, as they’re going for much less than market value.

‘My last purchase was at an auction where only myself and one other person showed up – which is far different from before when over 50 people would show.’

This is backed up by recent research by Zoopla, who said in October house prices had gone down in 80 per cent of UK markets over the preceding year. 

‘I’ve gone from owning four rental properties to having over seven in the space of a year,’ James said.

He added that he is a firm believer in the saying: ‘Don’t wait to buy property, instead, buy property and wait.’

To get the most out of his investments, James is sticking to his roots and renting out his properties to university students – who will hopefully leave them in a better state than he found his student accommodation in. 

‘I invest next to a university, as there is a huge demand for student properties at the moment,’ he said.

‘They have a choice, just like me when I was a student, to either rent a room on campus for high rent or look at private housing with a better quality of living at an affordable price.’

One of his properties earns James £35,000 per year, with another raking in £24,000.

Despite this, he insisted that property ownership is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’, and that ‘I strongly disagree with landlords buying up loads of properties, refurbishing them to a low standard and renting them out for a rate dependent on demand.’

Despite being open about the success of his property ownership he said: 'I strongly disagree with landlords buying up loads of properties, refurbishing them to a low standard and renting them out for a rate dependent on demand'

James how now started his own 'property university' to teach others how to get on the property ladder

Inspired to follow through on those beliefs, the property mogul has now launched James Property University, an online course aiming to help others get on the property ladder.

‘Yes, you can make very good money and you can increase your income by buying further properties.

‘But money isn’t the best thing in the world, even though I enjoy making it, as I’ve learned to appreciate the journey because it lasts longer than time spent at the destination when a goal is achieved.

‘It’s never going to be quick or easy. But as I always say: take care of the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’


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