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Is Student Housing Still A Niche Market?

Is Student Housing Still A Niche Market?
Rewind to a decade ago and major REITs would have quickly dismissed student housing as a small niche market with minimal investment potential. The concept of purpose built student housing was almost exclusive to on-campus housing; aside from a few early adopters who helped usher in a new era of student focused accommodations. Outside of on-campus housing, students would by and large rent properties from independent landlords or local apartments. However, in 2015, the student housing sector has seemingly outgrown its status as a small niche market.   A niche market is typically characterized as serving a very specific need to a relatively small market segment. While student housing can still technically be considered a niche market, the size of the market has grown to a point where it’s drifting from this characterization.   This holds particularly true in the United States, where in 2014 alone, nearly 60,000 new private student housing beds were delivered to the market. The Canadian market, on the other hand, has seen slower growth; but it too is developing quickly. Rock Advisors stated that in 2013, there were over 950,000 full-time students enrolled at the 82 largest university campuses in Canada and 55% of these students attend universities outside of the communities they grew up in. Rock Advisors go on to say that there are over half a million students in need of places to live. This number will continue to increase, and as it does, the Canadian student housing sector will inevitably follow a similar path to its American counterpart. ......
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Why I Pay Twice As Much For A Cup Of Coffee

Why I Pay Twice As Much For A Cup Of Coffee
I'm at Starbucks almost every day. It's not because I'm rolling in the dough. Starting your own business means you have to be scrappy. You have to tighten up your belt. Nope, I still pay almost double for my morning cup of Joe because Starbucks pays attention to the small details.  Starbucks, in other words, is premium. Think about those two things for a second. One, offering premium services means a hyper focused attention to small details. And two, people are willing to pay ridiculous prices for your product if you do.  Here's my typical experience when I go hang out at Starbucks. Logistics Design: I walk in and order my coffee. The line is usually short but, when it's not, it moves quickly. Since I'm ordering a drip coffee, they immediately pour it for me when I get to the register. I don't have to wait behind someone that ordered a double frappuccino with skim milk, whipped cream and chocolate syrup. I hand the card to the Barista (instead of having slide the card myself.), no "debit or credit" question, no entering in a pin, no waiting for the software to log onto the internet. Nope, just hand my card, they hand it right back. Done. That is not an accident. That is a well planned logistic design strategy.  Interior Design: I grab my venti cup, walk over to a table and place my backpack on the back-end of the seat. A seat that is purposely heavier than normal chairs so the weight of my bag......
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Combating Student Housing NIMBYism

Combating Student Housing NIMBYism
NIMBY [nim-bee]: An acronym standing for not in my backyard. It’s commonly used to express opposition by a group of people towards the development of a residential, commercial or civic project, such as student housing. In such a circumstance, the group believes that the project will have adverse effects on the surrounding community, often leading to decreased property values. In many cases, these community members identify the need for such a project, but prefer it be developed outside of their neighborhood.   So how does NIMBYism relate to student housing? To start, it’s a relatively common occurrence for local or neighborhood collectives to voice opposition towards the development of major student housing projects, citing reasons such as increased noise, decreased property values and vandalism. Many groups often paint a pretty negative portrayal of student housing.   This sense of NIMBYism is often echoed through media channels, as these stories are picked up because they stir up a lot of controversy and attention. Almost every other week there is a story about student housing being opposed or rejected. Here are just a few examples:  Concerns over new student housing development near McGill Student-housing plan faces opposition in Fort Collins Homeowners complain of student housing growth in Hamilton Purpose-built student housing will not be permitted in the downtown urban core   While scanning student housing news, it quickly becomes clear that NIMBYism is a big problem in this sector.   One of the most troublesome things about NIMBYism in student housing is how the opinions of few......
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Hey Student Housing, Stop Playing Top 40 in Your Clubhouses

Hey Student Housing, Stop Playing Top 40 in Your Clubhouses
Important Update: I recently discovered, thanks to an industry colleague (Thanks Lindsay B!), that playing music in the manner described below does not comply with the terms and servicing of music providers. UGH. You can read more about this in this article. In short, the major music distributors see this type of streaming as a way to increase the customer experience and they want a cut of the action. So, unless we're willing to dish out more than 9.99 per month (a lot more apparently) the method below is a no-no. What a shame, I know. My new mission is to figure out how to get good music into our clubhouses while appeasing the musical gods. So sorry for the confusion, stay tuned. --- Music in our clubhouses and models isn't something we tend to put a lot of thought into. Most of us throw on Pandora or a top 40 radio station. But is there more to it than that? Is there a more scientific approach to stimulating this one of five senses we're taught to cater to? I think there may be, especially for student housing and the 18 – 24 year old demo. In our college years we tend to break away from the norm, from the mainstream. We're on a mission to define who we are. What better defines us than the music we listen to? During our prepubescent to teenage years we tend to listen to whatever pop culture says we should be listening to - N'SYNC, O......
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The Best Cities in Canada To Invest In Student Housing - Province by Province

The Best Cities in Canada To Invest In Student Housing - Province by Province
It’s a widely known fact that many Canadian cities suffer from a shortage of off-campus & purpose-built student housing. There are a handful of Canadian cities that have capitalized upon the demand for student housing, but there is still a great deal of investment potential within the student housing market across the country.   Here’s a look at each of the provinces, with the leading student housing cities highlighted, based upon a variety of criteria. The criteria includes: student enrollment & projected growth, rental rates, availability of on-campus housing, vacancy rates, number of academic institutions and more.   Ontario – Guelph:   Without question, Ontario is the most developed province in terms of student housing. Ontario is home to approximately 40 universities (both publicly and privately funded) and over 25 colleges. Choosing a top city for student housing in Ontario is difficult, as there are many profitable markets for student housing investments.At one point in time, Waterloo was the champion; however, it has been contended that Waterloo has become overbuilt with student housing since then. Henry Morton, President of Campus Suites, claims that there is a trio of southern Ontario markets that are being overbuilt: Waterloo, London and Oshawa. These three cities previously were in contention for the top Ontario city for student housing, but in recent years have become less attractive markets. These three cities still do have a great deal of investment potential, but the competition has heated up dramatically, making it less appealing to investors.  In November 2014, Rock Advisors indicated that ......
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Is Buying Student Housing For Your Children a Good Investment?

Is Buying Student Housing For Your Children a Good Investment?
The number $22,958 represents the average cost of tuition and fees in 2014-15 for out-of-state students attending a public university, according to the College Board. On top of that, room and board is estimated to cost $9,804 per year, bringing the grand total to $32,762 per year to attend a public, out-of-state university. These figures explain why many students will rely on their parents for financial assistance with their academic careers.   In many instances, parents will not only help finance a student’s tuition, but also their rent. In 2012, the National Apartment Association surveyed 3,605 parents with children attending college or university and found that 56% of respondents paid for 100% of their students rent. Only 13% reported that their children paid for rent entirely by themselves.   This is likely why some parents contemplate the option of purchasing student housing, instead of paying rent to landlords. But is it a smart financial move for parents to purchase student housing for their children?   The answer isn’t exactly a definitive “yes” or “no” and several considerations come into play. There is a calculated risk involved with making a financial commitment and investing in student housing. Too often, parents make their decision by only looking at the “potential” amount of money they could save, but fail to take into account other important factors.    Here are several factors that need to be assessed before making the decision to invest in student housing for your children.   1. Profitability: In certain instances, inexperienced student housing landlords can overshoot the profitabili......
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How To Increase Lease Renewals By Using Renewal Incentives

How To Increase Lease Renewals By Using Renewal Incentives
Resident retention is a particularly challenging facet of student housing. This is largely due to the renting tendencies of students, who are often considered as transient renters. What we mean by transient renters is that they frequently change their living accommodations over the course of their academic careers. This can be rather taxing to landlords and property managers, as low renewal rates create the constant need to find replacement tenants. But what if there was a simple way to boost lease renewals? Renewal incentives are incredibly easy to implement and often aren’t particularly costly; yet surprisingly, they aren’t very common in the student housing sector. In many cases, renewal incentives can help boost lease renewal rates and can also increase tenant satisfaction.A survey was conducted by The Rent Roll, which contains valuable information about what types of incentives are preferred. Some of the key findings were: Rent discounts were the most widely preferred monetary incentive. Covered parking facilities and gym memberships were the most preferred non-monetary incentives. The best time to offer incentives was during the lease signing or right before a tenant’s lease expires. Furthermore, the survey listed four key types of incentives and asked respondents their preferred type: Monetary – 52% Unit Upgrade – 27% Free Service – 11% Household Item – 11% Without a doubt, monetary incentives hold the most weight. The survey went on to detail what types of monetary incentives were most preferred: Discount on rent – 58% Cash – 28% Security deposit rebate – 10% Gift card to a popular r......
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The 7 Most Outrageous Student Housing Amenities

The 7 Most Outrageous Student Housing Amenities
As student housing expectations continue to rise, an increased number of unique and luxurious communities are being built; individual units are also being renovated. Along with this, property owners are including some crazy amenities. For example, some of the facilities below have placed great emphasis on standing out in their community.  University of Twente - Exterior Rockclimbing Wall This dorm is a 9-story building built with shipping containers; it has 87 apartments. Not only is this eco-friendly and cost saving, it also has the added excitement of a rock-climbing wall on the exterior! Why not take a break from your studies to catch a fresh breeze out on the wall. University of North Florida - Lazy RiverAt first glance, many might mistake this as a luxurious Florida vacation resort; but in fact, it is student housing at the University of North Florida. Residents of Osprey Fountains dorm enjoy a beautifully crafted lazy-river and spacious pool area.  The Castillan - Gaming & Arcade RoomPing-pong, foosball and billiards tables, plus multiple arcade games; what more could a student ask for? The Castillan takes leisure to the next level by offering an elaborate arcade and gaming room where residents can let their inner-child out to play. High Point University's Residence Halls - Prime Steakhouse Most students at the university are required to live on campus until senior year, but who would contest to the onsite 1924 Prime steakhouse! It provides 5 course meals and can be accommodated through meal plan points. Dress codes apply!......
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Canada Vs. The United States: Comparing Student Housing Markets

Canada Vs. The United States: 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. 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.   The CFAA Rental Housing Business Magazine released the 2014 RHB Student Housing Report, which states that the United States has 10 ti......
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The 10 Most Luxurious Student Housing Communities in North America

The 10 Most Luxurious Student Housing Communities in North America
Over the past decade, we've witnessed the trend of luxury student housing and its exponential growth. Virtually every major college and university town is now home to at least one purpose-built, luxury-laden student housing community. Here’s a look at some of the most luxurious student housing properties in North America.    The Hub at Tuscon - Tuscon, AZ Talk about luxury! This fully furnished student housing facility has everything from a sparkling rooftop infinity edge pool to a 22-Foot LED Outdoor TV Screen amongst the comfort of hammocks. Not only does it have a variety of great amenities and is in a convenient location, it has all the security features most parents could ever ask for. A student’s paradise and a parent’s dream!   The Lorenzo, Los Angeles, CA The Lorenzo is a brand new, jaw-dropping student housing Renaissance. It exhibits a Dancing Water Bellagio Style Interactive Fountain, a spa with steam showers and high intensity tanning domes. It has a spectacular balance between social activities and creative study accommodations. It accommodates commuting needs until wee hours of the morning.   Micro Boutique Living, NSMicro Boutique Living takes a unique, creative approach to luxury student housing. They offer minimal, yet highly functional, suites with cutting-edge designs. The suites have gorgeous kitchens, chic bathrooms with massage showers, queen beds with plush pillow-top mattresses, as well as floor-to-ceiling wardrobes and shelving units. Micro Boutique Living accommodates any desired length of stay from a few days to year round. These fully furnished suites are hidde......
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