Final Fall 2023 Pre-Lease Rate Falls Below Last Year’s Record

In the final pre-lease reading of the Fall 2023 academic year, the student housing pre-lease rate fell a bit shy of last year’s all-time high, but still well above the pre-pandemic norm.

As of August, 94.4% of beds at the core 175 universities tracked by RealPage Market Analytics have been leased for the Fall 2023 school year. That was marginally below August 2022’s record clip of 95.7%. A typical pre-COVID final pre-lease reading hovered around 90%. The monthly pace of pre-leasing slowed in the final months of the pre-lease season, as is typical toward the end of the summer when there are both fewer beds available to lease and students on campus to lease them.

Final pre Lease Rate

Broken out by distance from campus, those properties within a half mile of campus and also those more than one mile from campus reported essentially the same final pre-lease rate of 94.6% and 94.5%, respectively. Properties within a half mile to one mile of campus reported a final pre-lease rate of 93.1% for the Fall 2023 school year.

Not every school reported uniform final pre-lease rates. At 20 of the top 175 schools, pre-leasing hit 100%, meaning no beds remain to be leased for latecomers. At another 24 schools, the pre-lease rate hovered at or above 95%. At only a handful of challenged schools did the pre-lease rate fail to clear 80%. Those schools included University of Nevada – Reno, Sam Houston State University, University of West Georgia, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of California at Santa Barbara and University of Washington.

August’s final annual effective rent change reached 9.3%, easily an all-time high. August 2022’s then-record rate of 5.9% stood head and shoulders above a typical pre-COVID annual effective rent growth rate of under 2%. In 2023, properties within a half mile of campus claimed the highest annual rent growth of 9.7%, followed by 9.3% in properties greater than one mile from campus and 8.1% growth at properties within a half mile to one mile of campus.