In the past, construction of multifamily apartments has been viewed and regarded as the superior option to student housing construction. However, new interest and funds are being poured into the student housing sector, which has turned it into the place to be for many industry insiders.
The reason so many are now finding value in student housing is that it’s a safe, long-term investment. This is particularly true when compared to other ventures. Consider that of nearly 200 student housing properties examined on or nearby college campuses, occupancy rates since 2004 have averaged nearly 98-percent. That’s about 135-thousand students filling those properties each semester.
Student housing is also, to some extent, regarded as economy proof. When the market fluctuates in other areas, student housing tends to stay more stable, and even thrives in some cases. For example, an inverse relationship exists between job growth and college enrollment. Immediately following the recent recession, enrollment growth exploded with people who were out of work and seeking higher education.
Even as job growth has recovered, and enrollment growth has slowed, the 18 to 24 year old demographic has experienced continued growth at about 1.5-percent each year. While more than 200 thousand jobs were added each month in 2015, college enrollment still continued to grow by about 1-percent. In 2016, experts expect enrollment growth to reach 1.5-percent and pre-leasing for 2016-2017 has been extremely positive.
These aren’t your traditional cinder-block dorm rooms being constructed, either. Amenities like Wi-Fi, study rooms, and fitness centers are all considered standard. Students also expect to have access to private rooms and baths, air conditioning and other comforts. Modern student living much closer resembles luxury multifamily construction than ever before.
At Cowen Construction, we’re currently at work on a student housing project for Pittsburgh State University in Kansas. The Summerfield Apartments will feature 3-stories with 114 micro-units. Each unit features a full bathroom, full kitchen and laundry. Additionally, a courtyard is included in the plans to provide residents with a common place to gather for community events.
We examine current trends in order to recognize opportunities like student housing. Contact us at Cowen Construction to learn more about our capabilities.