- Following a slower year for new openings in 2022, total student housing bed deliveries rose to 40,000 for fall 2023, closer to pre-pandemic numbers, according to a report from data provider RealPage.
- Georgia Tech in Atlanta and the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas, are nearly tied for the most new beds at 2,865 and 2,840, respectively.
- Pre-leasing for student housing at the top 200 schools tracked by data analytics firm Yardi Matrix exceeded 90%, according to its August student housing report. Monthly average rents for student housing beds are at a record high, up to $849 per bedroom.
Student housing rents have risen 7.1% year over year from July 2022, according to Yardi. Thirty-eight schools out of the top 200 posted double-digit rent growth, led by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona — all with rent growth over 20%.
Strong enrollment tends to predicate rent growth, according to the Yardi report. Many of the top schools for rent growth also recorded strong pre-leasing, while schools that struggled to grow rents also did not expand enrollment or absorb new supply.
At the same time, schools with strong delivery numbers are, for the most part, large state schools where enrollment is on the rise.
“The big state schools [are] where you’re getting a lot of construction,” Carl Whitaker, real estate economist for RealPage, told Multifamily Dive. “They’ve garnered a larger share of overall enrollment growth since the pandemic so it makes sense that supply follows where the demand is.”
Doug Ressler, manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix, said that student housing is flourishing near tech schools given the tech manufacturing boom in parts of the country, particularly the Southeast.
“What we see is a collaboration [between] these major schools [and] manufacturing and tech providers to develop additional talents,” Ressler told Multifamily Dive, “and with that enrollments are up especially in the STEM classes.”
Top 10 colleges for new student housing deliveries
|Beds opening in fall 2023
|University of Texas at Austin
|University of Central Florida
|University of Maryland
|College Park, Maryland
|University of Minnesota
|University of Florida
|University of Washington
|Florida International University
|Boise State University
SOURCE: RealPage Market Analytics. Estimated as of December 2022.
Beyond the private student housing market, Ressler also points out university partnerships as an avenue for new construction. “A lot of schools have aging inventory in place for dormitories,” Ressler said. “The provosts are looking strongly at getting third parties in to take care of the aging inventory and build new.”
Some colleges and universities have entered leaseback agreements, in which a private developer partners with a college or university to build new on-campus student housing. The school provides the land to the developer, and the developer leases the dorm back to the university for a set length of time, after which the school owns the dorm.
Ressler said that many of Arizona State University’s newest dorms are leasebacks. Another example is Orchard Park at UC Davis, developed by The Michaels Organization and leased back to the school, which will own it outright in 33 years.