National Student Housing Report – March 2024

As of February, preleasing was still at a record high, according to a report by Yardi Matrix.

As of February, student housing preleasing at Yardi 200 schools reached 61.5 percent, marking a 450-basis-point increase on a year-over-year basis. The average rent per bed hit $883 and was up 5.2 percent since the same period in 2023.

Based on preliminary data gathered from 178 schools, overall enrollment for the 2023-2024 school year seems to have grown by 0.8 percent compared to the previous one. A total of 50 universities registered a more than 2 percent bump in enrollment, while 19 universities saw growth exceed 4 percent.

Yardi Matrix expects that in 2024 a total of 46,285 beds will come online, marking a significant uptick from the 35,610 beds delivered last year. The data points toward a successful absorption of this new supply by the end of the year.

Student housing investment activity has slowed in 2023, with only 78 properties changing hands. By comparison, in 2021 and 2022 an average of 205 traded annually. Prices were also down by roughly 5 percent and reached $75,000 per bed. In the first two months of 2024, a total of nine sales were recorded.

Highest rent growth across commercial real estate sectors

At 61.5 percent as of February 2024, preleasing was well ahead of the previous five-year average of 48 percent. Some of the universities with the highest year-over-year growth in preleasing were University of Mississippi (32.8 percent), University of Missouri (22.4 percent) and Central Michigan (20.7 percent).

As rent growth reached 5.2 percent in February, the student housing sector continues to outperform other real estate sectors, including the general multifamily market. Albeit rent growth has decelerated, it is still significantly higher than the average of 3.5 percent going back to the beginning of 2018.

As of February, 32 markets had double-digit rent growth and many among these were also leading the nation when it comes to preleasing. This list included Tennessee–Knoxville, Ole Miss, Clemson, Purdue, Texas State, Kentucky and NC State, with an average preleasing rate of 82.6 percent and 14.8 percent in rent growth.

Read the full Yardi Matrix report.

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