Early Arriving Students Filling Up Campus-Adjacent Apartments

The surge in U.S. apartment demand recorded during 2021’s first half includes a big wave of leasing by young adults.

Some of these young adult renters are college students eager to leave Mom and Dad, and head back out on their own rather than enduring another minute of remote learning from their childhood bedrooms.

Quite a few are spending the summer near where they attend college, showing up well before the Fall 2021 school semester begins.

In covering the market for purpose-built student housing, RealPage also tracks performances in what’s generally referred to as student-competitive properties. These student-competitive properties are conventional apartments that are located immediately adjacent to college campuses. Many residents are students, but the renter base isn’t limited to just students. The projects lease by the unit, rather than by the bed, with that per-bed leasing being the norm for student-only housing.

Student-competitive properties took a performance hit in 2020. Occupancy got as low as 94.2%, declining 170 basis points from the peak recorded at the start of the Fall 2019 semester. That occupancy drop was bigger than the minor backtracking seen in student-only properties as well as in the total conventional apartment marketplace.

However, student-competitive apartment occupancy is making big strides now. The rate is up to 95.6%, a figure last seen in October 2019.

With this sort of momentum, students who want to live in campus-adjacent conventional apartments better hurry up and make their decisions. Stocks at some schools will be jam-packed full well before the typical move-in dates for the Fall 2021 semester.