8 Student Housing Statistics to Consider for Your 2020 Marketing Strategy

by McKenna Hogan, on Apr 8, 2020 8:30:00 AM

Did you know that in preparation for last year's fall semester, the student housing market was 59.5% pre-leased in March 2019?

This means that over half of on-campus beds were already scheduled to be filled within the first month of actual pre-leasing. So how are students conducting the entire home search process in such a short amount of time?

To ensure communities continue to meet lease-up goals, below we’ll cover 8 student housing statistics to consider for 2020s marketing strategy.

1. Almost 20 million students attended a college as of fall 2019

Of those 20 million, 12 million were full time. Additionally, the female to male ratio was split 11:9 with more females attending a college or university.

These facts are important to consider when strategizing your target market as well as lease-up goals.

2. Student housing leasing velocity reached 93.9% in August 2018

Thanks to lead generation as well as an increase in enrollment rates, lease velocity reached an all time high in 2018. 

But that’s not to say it can only go downhill from here - although student housing providers believe there’s much room to grow, it will be detrimental to leasing goals to overcome the decrease in students opting for non-student housing options.

This is where strategizing property marketing from the get-go will be detrimental to a businesses success.

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3. Students increasingly opt for student housing within close proximity to campus

The national pre-lease rate through May is 78.2%, while properties farthest from campus were 72.8% pre-leased, according to RealPage.

This leaves distant properties at a huge disadvantage compared to competitors - and since changing location isn’t an option, student housing marketers will need to integrate alternative benefits that will make up for their distance.

This could include the following:

  • Updated amenities
  • New renovations
  • Convenient transportation
  • Flexible lease terms
  • Hosted events

4. Southern schools have the highest off-campus housing rates

Contrarily, due to more off-campus housing in general, the off-campus bed-to-total enrollment ratio is about 10% higher in southern states.

While many universities require freshmen and sophomores to live on campus in student housing, upperclassmen aren’t as restricted and often opt for a more independent housing option.

5. International students account for one million students enrolled in US colleges

Why is this important? Well, because it dictates how you market your student housing properties.

With the likelihood that international students are conducting the home search from a distance combined with how many there are, digital tools that are immersive and informative will be detrimental to converting them.

This could include the following.

Virtual tours

360 virtual tours provide an immersive panoramic view of a space that can easily be navigated by prospects or a host.

By embedding it to your Google listing or to your website, this can benefit international students who can’t visit a property before signing a lease.

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High-quality photography

It may sound obvious, but providing high-quality photography that is up to date and shows essential spaces within a property will help peak interest quicker than low-quality photography.

Not to mention the high bounce rate for websites or listings with low-quality photography - especially for this technology savvy and visually stimulated generation.

Virtual staging

Virtual staging is the process of taking a high-quality photo and digitally rendering furniture and decor into it.

International students can benefit from this content because it allows them to have a better idea of the dimensions of a room, therefore making it easier to plan for living there.

Not to mention the percentage of renters that prefer to see staged properties during a home search.

3D renderings

If you are a student housing marketer for a new development, then this tool is for you.

Providing a 3D makeup of a property either under construction or in the process of being built has shown an exceptional increase in signed leases sight unseen.

Drone videography

Drone videography that shows the exterior of a property as well as the campus and surrounding neighborhoods is one of the best ways to help prospects make an informed decision.

With many students opting for housing close to campus as well as planning routes to classes, restaurants, stores, etc. drone videography can answer all of their important questions in one short video.

These digital tools aren’t just limited to international students, either. 

Whether a student is out of state, has a chaotic schedule, is physically impaired, or would generally benefit from advanced tools made to streamline the leasing process, this type of content is helpful as well as marketing gold.

6. Universities with 100% occupancy have seen high enrollment growth

With increasing leasing velocity and occupancy rates comes a high demand for student housing.

Whether increasing enrollment or new supply, student housing marketers must properly prepare to accomodate for the rapid influx of college students.

7. Housing quality is a major consideration when deciding where to attend college

According to the National Apartment Association, a survey of more than 25,000 students conducted by American Campus Communities showed that more than 78 percent of respondents said the availability of high-quality student housing affected their college or university selection.

This data is extremely important to both housing providers and universities as a whole.

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Having the potential to work as a determining factor as early as the initial school search, budgeting for things like renovations, updated amenities, and general aesthetic for student housing could greatly affect the success of an institution.

8. Technology has been put on the same level of importance as basic utilities

Whether it be wifi, connectivity, or accessibility, the current generation of college students will write you off entirely if your technology is outdated.

And this pertains to the entire leasing experience - including the home search.

With that being said, integrating new and improved technology to websites and properties will give your community an essential selling point for students.

Topics:Virtual ToursPhotographyStudent Housing

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