Even as the coronavirus pandemic upended the higher education world, student housing developers are pushing ahead to bring new beds to universities all over the nation.
As of April, about 41,000 student housing beds were in the pipeline and set to deliver by Fall 2020. That number is slightly below the 2019 delivery total but in line with the average volume since the development cycle began in 2011.
Of the over 400 projects in the works at the core 175 universities tracked by RealPage, the average size is about 455 beds.
More than a third of this year’s new supply is scheduled to deliver at 15 schools around the nation. At each of those universities, more than 1,000 new beds are scheduled to come online by the Fall.
Arizona State University is set to gain 2,302 new beds this Fall in four new off-campus projects. This marks the largest one-year increase in new, off-campus beds on record at ASU since 2009. ASU didn’t receive any new supply in 2019, and about 800 new beds in both 2017 and 2018. In total, developers brought about 4,700 new beds to ASU since 2011.
The University of Florida will get 2,275 new beds as four projects are set to complete this Fall, which would grow this cycle’s deliveries by about 40%. The school has seen new off-campus supply every year since 2014, though 2020’s rate is the highest on record for the Gainesville university.
Utah Valley University is the only other school set to see more than 2,000 beds deliver in the Fall as two massive 1,000-bed projects will be delivered at the Orem school. This year marks only the second year since 2011 in which Utah Valley has received new beds. About 400 beds came online in 2017.
In looking for other similarities between these 15 universities, it’s obvious that healthy enrollment growth is playing a role in developer decisions to build. At schools like Utah Valley and ASU, enrollment has grown significantly in the last few years. At virtually all of these 15 schools, enrollment has maintained steady growth throughout this economic cycle.
At some of these schools, such as at Kennesaw State, Rutgers University – New Brunswick, Texas State and Penn State, enrollment has been less consistent. Ups and downs in enrollment year-to-year at these universities has resulted in either modest growth or flat enrollment figures.
Noticeably absent from 2020’s development leaders are last year’s supply leader, Purdue University, as well as Texas A&M University and Florida State University, which have led for new supply this cycle. At Purdue, work has scaled back since the university received roughly 2,200 new beds in 2019. Only 100 new beds are scheduled for delivery over the next few months at the Indianapolis campus.
Developers are taking a breather after delivering about 17,500 beds at Texas A&M since 2011.
At Florida State, only 600 beds are on tap for 2020. The university has already received 12,800 new beds since 2011.
Of the RealPage 175, only about 35% of schools are forecasted to receive new off-campus beds in Fall 2020.