What’s on the Horizon for the Student Housing Industry

student housing industry


If there’s one word that sums up the current state of the student housing industry, it’s growth. With an average of 48,000 off-campus purpose-built beds delivered per year, the industry is predicted to grow at a healthy and sustainable pace. Opportunities are popping up across America to invest in Student, and there’s no end in sight.

Taylor Gunn, Student Housing Analytics Lead from Axiometrics, shared a bird’s eye view of current trends along with some opportune advice for property managers. She’s one expert who takes Student seriously.

“Student housing,” Gunn said, “is a maturing asset class that is much more complex than students living in apartments.”

She pointed out the potential of Student to go beyond the reaches of the conventional market, alluding to “leading companies in the industry that have achieved results above even the conventional apartment market.” The question property managers are asking now is, what is driving the student housing industry boom and how do we stay ahead of the competition?

Supply and demand

There’s a reason behind the success of the student housing industry. According to Gunn, Student growth is most affected by supply and new demand, and new student enrollment increases housing demand year after year. Things are looking up for Student – as long as demand stays ahead of supply.

“If demand and supply are in balance, or if demand is outpacing supply, the effects are positive,” Gunn said. If supply outpaces demand, the effects are the opposite. In the current climate, however, demand appears to be well ahead of supply.

Performance trends

“Leasing velocity is a key performance metric looked at in the student housing space,” Gunn said. For the past few years, leasing velocity has outpaced the previous ones, pushing occupancy to its highest levels. “We’re seeing leasing velocity moderate compared to last year, which is a result of increasing competition and shifting leasing strategies.”

The forecast? Gunn predicts that with these conditions, we can expect moderation in some markets, but also higher revenue potential.

student housing industry

New opportunities

Opportunities to own and develop continue to grow, and the harvest is ripe for development. “There are still many universities with limited student housing options,” Gunn said, “and many that don’t have any off-campus options at all.”

She even predicted hope for aging dormitories and conventional apartments. “There are opportunities to update properties built in the earlier years of the student housing industry and many conventional apartments that can be repurposed,” Gunn said.

How to stay ahead

There’s a wider playing field now, and competition is on the rise. Gunn recommends knowing your market to stay ahead.

“The competition is increasing, though this is expected with a growing industry,” Gunn said. “It’s even more important to know what’s going on in your market and how to stay ahead – know when to start leasing and what your competition is offering in terms of rents, amenities, concessions, etc.”

Taylor Gunn will present an overview of what drives and limits success in student housing properties at “Trends in the Student Market” on July 17th at 3:15 pm. at the annual 2017 RealWorld conference.


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Sarah is a Dallas-based journalist who writes local news, blogs and content for major media outlets. She’s contributed to NPR, 91.7 KVRX and South by Southwest and has worked with international teams in Japan, China, Italy and Africa

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