Top Athletic Conferences by Student Housing Pipeline

Here are the national leaders, according to Yardi Matrix data.

Image by annca via Pixabay

Student housing has proven to be one of the most resilient asset classes, with the sector flourishing post COVID-19. While development and construction has been paused in most real estate types, student housing is still going strong.

With a new record preleasing rate of nearly 70 percent achieved in March and a surging annual rent growth, the sector’s performance was exceptionally strong in the first quarter of the year, according to a recent Yardi Matrix report. As of early April, Yardi 200 universities boasted a pipeline of 144,000 beds in various stages of development, marking a 20,000-bed increase since January. At that point in time, The University of Texas at Austin—part of the Big 12 conference—had the largest under-construction pipeline, comprising 5,555 beds.

College sports are not only highly entertaining to watch, but constitute important sources of leverage for universities. The leading Power Five conferences continue to boast high enrollment rates and great demand for dedicated student housing. Here are the top athletic conferences by student housing pipelines as of the end of March, based on Yardi Matrix data.

5. Pac-12 Conference

Annex of Pullman rendering

Annex of Pullman. Image courtesy of The Annex Group

Operating in the Western U.S., the Pac-12 Conference’s members are situated in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington. As of March, 1,960 units and 5,497 bedrooms were under construction across the member universities, representing 9.0 percent of total under-construction student housing stock at Yardi 200.

Among Pac-12 schools, Washington State University had the biggest development pipeline, with 928 units under construction at the end of March. Currently the third-largest student housing project taking shape across Pac-12, The Annex of Pullman will create 399 beds in Pullman, Wash. The Annex Group and Eastmark Capital Group are developing the $47.8 million community.

4. Big 12 Conference

A member of Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Big 12 Conference comprises 10 full-member universities, located in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. At the end of the first quarter, Big 12 schools had a total of 1,961 units and 5,555 bedrooms under construction.

In March, The University of Texas at Austin held the largest development pipeline in the country, while the Big 12 conference’s under-construction stock was also mostly concentrated here. In late 2021, Greystar secured $600 million in financing for three student housing projects, two of which will cater to students at UT Austin.

Developed in a partnership with St. Austin Catholic Parish, Union on San Antonio is set to comprise 991 beds, one block from the UT Austin campus. The Union on 24th, a $262 million project under construction on the west side of campus, will create an additional 1,448 beds.

3. Atlantic Coast Conference

Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., the ACC has 15 member universities from 10 states, namely Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. As of March, 2,639 units and 7,881 beds were under construction across these institutions, ranking the conference third on our list.

The biggest student housing development currently under construction across the ACC members is Viridian One in Tallahassee, Fla. Zimmer Development Co. is behind the 446-unit, 1,294-bed project that will serve students at Florida State University. The institution has the biggest pipeline across member universities, comprising 1,053 units under construction, followed by University of South Florida with 1,000 units.

Core Spaces is constructing Hub Atlanta, a 278-unit, 807-bed student housing community at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Rising in the Midtown district of Atlanta, the 19-story tower will include 5,600 square feet of retail. The project broke ground in April 2021, with opening scheduled for summer 2023.

2. Southeastern Conference

SEC’s fourteen members are spread across Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. In 2024, the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma are slated to join the conference. At the end of March, 3,364 units and 9,749 beds were under construction at SEC institutions.

Rev rendering

Rev. Image courtesy of Rhode Partners

Theory Gainesville is one of the largest projects under construction within the cohort. A partnership between PeakMade Real Estate and Blue Vista Capital Management are developing the nearly 865-bed community in Gainesville, Fla., to serve students at the University of Florida. The school has the biggest under-construction pipeline among other SEC institutions, comprising 2,426 units.

Another large-scale student housing property is taking shape in College Station, Texas, and will cater to students attending Texas A&M University. Developed by Parallel Co. and, the 18-story project dubbed Rev is planned to encompass 298 units. The completion date is set before the 2023 fall semester.

1. Big Ten Conference

The Big Ten conference’s 14 member institutions saw a total of 5,540 units under construction as of March, constituting the largest pipeline among athletic conferences in the U.S. Headquartered in the Chicago area, the Big Ten is the oldest Division I collegiate conference. Its institutions are significant research universities, situated within the states of Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Union on Knox rendering

Union on Knox. Image courtesy of Greystar.

Indiana University-Bloomington boasts the largest under-construction student housing stock in the Big Ten and the second biggest among all universities, reaching 1,348 units at the end of March. Developed by Landmark Properties, the 440-unit The Standard at Bloomington project is the largest student housing property underway within the conference’s footprint.

Union on Knox, a 341-unit community, is also rising near the University of Maryland. Greystar is behind the project that landed a $240 million construction loan in 2021.

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