With over 20 million college students in the United States, students are looking for comfortable, secure, social places to call home – and are turning to off-campus student housing properties to fit their ever-changing needs. Properties are now challenged with keeping up with important student housing trends to ensure resident satisfaction.
According to CBRE, only 21.5%of college students lived on campus in 2019. As more students look to off-campus housing, they’re also brining a unique set of expectations and experiences for properties to accommodate.
Here are current student housing trends influencing properties today and into the future.
With the recent shift toward hybrid-style learning, where students attend some classes in person and some online, many students are seeking properties that provide ease and convenience to necessities. Students are gravitating toward properties that have retail, restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores all within steps of the lobby.
Students are also searching for quick but affordable healthy food options. Student housing properties that offer close proximity to these types of restaurants have experienced higher rates of resident satisfaction and decreased turnover.
Sustainability is not only a current student housing trend, but a trend that will impact many industries in the coming years. According to Forbes, 54% of Generation Z are willing to pay more for sustainable products – this goes for their housing as well.
Environmentally conscious living has been ingrained in college students through their curriculums, social media consumption and perception of current events. Therefore, sustainability has become a main aspiration for more students than ever before when choosing a residential community. Energy efficient appliances, green roofs and recycling accessibility are key selling points for student housing communities.
Privacy is becoming a highly sought-after amenity in student housing. Students want to choose how and when they socialize. While students still want collaboration, they have also made it clear that they value privacy as many of today’s students have never shared a bedroom or bathroom before coming to college.
On campus, many students are choosing apartment-style dorms and expect this same level of privacy when they transition to off-campus student housing. Layouts with shared bathrooms are becoming increasingly less popular as more students look for floor plans that provide individual bedrooms and bathrooms.
Perhaps the most significant student housing trend is technology. Today’s college students have lived their whole lives with access to technology such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. As a result, technology is considered among many students to be a utility. Students also expect modern spaces, well-equipped to handle their tech savviness.
Smart room technology, like lighting that can be controlled via mobile phone, voice-controlled devices and smart locks for increased security, will become normal for student housing. As the number of personal devices continues to rise among students, in addition to online learning and other smart room features, there is little to no tolerance for slow bandwidth or service volatility.
Student housing communities should continue to prioritize access to reliable Wi-Fi that can support the growing needs of the student population and will properties better prepare for future trends as well.