National Student Housing Report – January 2024

Preleasing is at a record high, according to the latest report from Yardi Matrix.

Preleasing for the fall 2024 school year reached a new record in December, hitting 47.3 percent, according to the latest Yardi Matrix student housing report. By comparison, in December 2022 the preleasing rate stood at 38.4 percent. While the average asking rent per bed continued to climb, rent growth has been slowing since the beginning of the leasing season.

According to preliminary data collected from 150 universities, enrollment has rebounded in fall 2023 and is up 1.4 percent compared to the previous school year.

The sector’s exceptional performance in terms of preleasing is partly due to a high level of renewals. In December 2023, 51 universities were already 50 percent preleased, while 10 schools had at least 75 percent of beds preleased.

In line with current trends fueled by higher interest rates, sales in the student housing sector have also slowed. Yardi Matrix recorded only 73 properties that changed hands in 2023 across Yardi 200 schools, compared to an average of 205 assets that sold annually in 2021 and 2022. Prices are also down from $78,884 per bed in 2021-2022, to $75,310 per bed in 2023.

Fastest start ever for student housing preleasing

Rent growth has slowed from the beginning of the new leasing season. Image courtesy of Yardi Matrix

December preleasing at Yardi 200 universities was 8.9 percent ahead of last year’s pace, marking the second record year in a row. The schools that showed the highest year-over-year growth in student housing preleasing include James Madison University (63.9 percent), University of Mississippi (53.6 percent) and Binghamton University (46.8 percent).

Other institutions were off to a slower start, with 24 universities less than 24 percent preleased in December. A large portion of these markets start preleasing later in the season, including many West Coast schools.

Rents averaged at $858 per bed in December, up 4.9 percent over the past 12 months. Yet, rent growth has slowed the from 6.4 percent recorded earlier in the leasing season, but was still significantly stronger than the 3.2 percent recorded in the beginning of 2018.

A total of 25 markets had double-digit rent growth in December, with most of these schools also preleasing the fastest. Tennessee–Knoxville, Ole Miss, Purdue and Arkansas were all at least 79 percent preleased.

Read the full Yardi Matrix report.

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