Have You Thought About Investing in Student Properties?
What?! That might be your knee-jerk reaction to the idea of investing in properties for students. That’s understandable. Many of us remember our own college days—perhaps living with several housemates, their dogs and most certainly weekend couch surfers. We remember run-down houses and maybe even tight budgets that had us eating Ramen noodles and Cheerios, more often than not. We might even still remember the crunch of both underfoot. Even if that wasn’t quite our reality, it was easily the reality of other students we knew.
But, that’s not necessarily the experience of today’s students. Why?
• Rental properties have undergone much-needed updates in the last two decades—and shiny and new, tends to inspire more stewardship and pride.
• Students’ tastes have changed. They typically desire improved living standards and more amenities.
• Budgets are higher. Students are more willing and able to pay for better accommodations.
As a result, today’s prospective student renters are interested in clean, convenient and up-to-date properties that support serious study and mature habits. But, is that enough of a reason to invest in student properties? It could be, if you consider additional benefits:
• Security. With the main campus of The University of Phoenix and ASU located in Tempe, a constant stream of undergraduate and graduate students guarantees the need for housing, not to mention summer internships, residencies and apprenticeships available year-round.
• Increasing Demand. It’s no secret that students are applying to more colleges than ever—which means that the desire to go to college is as strong as ever. That translates to greater demand for housing.
• Higher Returns. Student properties are known to produce higher returns, as the market becomes more competitive while median rent and student budgets increase.
What do I look for in a student property?
If you are tempted to invest in this market, it pays to do it right. Luckily, it’s not so different than other property investments:
• Ideal Location. Look for properties in close proximity to campus and other likely student haunts—with walking and biking in mind. Consider easy parking for those who do drive.
• Invest in Quality. If you plan to renovate, find a place with strong structure and update it with student life in mind. Or, look for existing properties that serve student habits and needs. Dilapidated and dirty is a thing of the past.
• Consider Privacy. Yes, students relish community (particularly international students), but that doesn’t mean they don’t also embrace privacy. Provide housing that fosters a balance of the two—whether single flats or apartments with common areas or households that allow students to determine when and how they socialize.
• Be Deliberate About Management. The student population presents unique challenges and needs. Consider how management of student properties differs from other properties and adjust accordingly.