The student housing industry has become an asset sector that’s seen as a safe and rather lucrative bet, a hedge for investors and property managers in commercial real estate. However, this also means greater competition as more players have entered this property market and with the fall college semester now beginning, student housing managers and developers should already have secured tenants. Nevertheless, it’s never too late to start planning and putting in place the strategies to ensure future tenancy.
Students can be a picky bunch as it’s not guaranteed that one style of living will fit the multitude of preferences. However, there are some tactics that if implemented and executed correctly, can go a long way in attracting and maintaining student tenants.
Just like any other purchase it always boils down to ‘what you’re getting for what you’re paying for’; the same applies to the student housing industry where students will be deciding on properties based on what is provided. It takes the modern student a few minutes to get out their mobile and research multiple other properties within the same price and location.
Items like flooring, carpeting, bathroom finishes, kitchen fixtures and gadgets may not seem substantial, however for the student they could be deciding factors. In fact, students are even willing to pay extra to have items like a flat screen TV, large refrigerator or a separate washer and dryer. Make sure you are aware of what other providers in the locality are offering.
Most students, if possible will want to live on campus however, with minimal options they will have to look for something off campus. Property managers can capitalize on this by building or developing as close to the university as possible. However, do keep in mind other amenities such as grocery stores and ease of transportation.
It’s important to establish fees based on a combination of factors such as student demographic, cost of living in that area and location. These factors can then be compared to the amenities provided and the outcome should be a reliable base to work from. If you are planning to charge a premium, ensure that you’ve gone above and beyond to provide a top facility and amenities. Knowing what others in the market are charging is a given. But when you are looking to maximise those profits, cost savings can sometimes come from those hidden factors like efficiency of processing, maximisation of banking, smart refunds – sometimes big savings can be sitting there right under your nose.
One of the first things a student does once confirming their acceptance to a university is to search online for housing. With technology developing so rapidly students can now take virtual tours of the rooms they wish to occupy. Most housing searches are now done online so a strong online presence is essential to being visible to a student. Investing in a solid SEO/SEM strategy can dictate occupancy rates and even the type of clientele you want to attract.
University tie ups
One of the best ways to ensure occupancy is for developers of purpose-built off-campus student housing to team up with local universities. These partnerships can be profitable for both the developer and the university. In addition, being associated with a university also provides authenticity and confidence to students considering tenancy.
Don’t forget mom and dad – their views count, especially when they are likely to be paying the rent. So look at your property from their view point – security and safety are going to be pretty high on their list of what they want to see.
With the student housing market growing every year there are great growth opportunities on the horizon. Furthermore, international student mobility trends are also moving in a favourable direction for property managers to capitalize on. To get even more tips about filling up rooms see our article about 10 ideas for student housing property managers who want to fill up all their properties.
QX Finance & Accounts delivers accounting services to many top student housing companies. Our teams work with a wide range of software and our F&A services have helped student housing owners reduce the operating costs for accounting functions by up to 50%.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any advice or want to explore our services.
Originally published Sep 15, 2017 12:09:49, updated Mar 10 2022
Topics: Student accommodation