Comparing Student Housing Markets

Over the past decade, the student housing market in the United States has been rapidly expanding with the boom of purpose-built student housing. With each passing year, the number of student housing bed deliveries seems to be increasing alongside enrollment rates. The same, however, cannot be said about Canada.

darrenBy Darren Vanecko, President, Places4Students.com

Over the past decade, the student housing market in the United States has been rapidly expanding with the boom of purpose-built student housing. With each passing year, the number of student housing bed deliveries seems to be increasing alongside enrollment rates. The same, however, cannot be said about Canada. Yes, enrollment rates are increasing in Canada, but student housing isn’t advancing in conjunction with these rates.

There are a variety of potential reasons why Canada is lagging behind USA, such as smaller population, regional disparity, lack of market research, unwillingness from major REITs to invest and more. Despite this lack of advancement in the student-housing sector for Canada, great investment potential still exists. So why is Canada so far behind?

According to the Canadian University Survey Consortium, in 2011, only 16 percent of undergraduate students in Canada lived in on-campus housing. American REITs that have witnessed this statistic in the American market have invested heavily in student housing. Yet for some reason, this investment potential has been largely overlooked by many major REITs in Canada. Perhaps these REITs see the Canadian market as a gamble, since there isn’t a great deal of research or statistics on the Canadian student housing market. In actuality, this market is full of potential, but there isn’t a lot of off-campus housing development happening around major Canadian colleges or universities by REITs or third-party investors.

Read the entire blog here.