As the 2017-2018 school year winds down, college students are securing their spots at student housing properties for the next school year. Those considering off-campus student housing tend to gravitate to the floorplan type that meets their expectations. Of course, their budgets are also a driving factor, and rents at the floorplan level differ across regions.
The most affordable unit type at a national level in February was the four-bedroom unit, which averaged a monthly effective rent of $610. That was followed by the six-, three- and five-bedroom layouts, respectively. Not surprisingly, the one-bedroom, studio and two-bedroom layouts were at the highest price points of the scale.
Looking at rent levels from a regional perspective, the South region is the most affordable. Students in that region saw the lowest average rent in February at $628 per bed. The Midwest was the second most affordable region at an average of $642 per bed in February, followed by the Mountain region at $656. The Pacific Northwest and Northeast saw the highest rent levels at $853 and $787, respectively.
Despite higher effective rents, the Northeast region saw the lowest rent growth. Effective rents there were only 0.7% higher than in February 2017. By comparison, regions with the highest year-over-year rent growth levels – Pacific Northwest and Mountain – each averaged 3.6% rent increases among off-campus student housing properties.
Looking at floorplan-level rents, the most affordable South region differs from the national trend. In the South, the six-bedroom layout saw the lowest rates, with rents averaging $556 per month and annual rent growth averaging 1.6%. The average rent per bed was only $29 less than the four-bedroom rate. One reason that six-bedrooms are generally less expensive is the age of properties having six-bedroom options. Most were built during the current development cycle. The majority of this layout is concentrated in Texas State University and University of South Florida.
Despite being the most affordable nationally, four-bedroom floorplans saw the second lowest rent in the South, averaging $585 per bed and 1.1% average rent growth. This floorplan type is far more common than the six-bedroom layout. Mainly due to the overall level of existing supply, the University of Texas at Austin and Florida State have the most four bedrooms compared to other universities in the region.
The floorplan types in the South region saw the following rental rates and rent growth levels:
- Studio, $904 rent and 3.8% growth
- One-bedroom, $993 rent and 2.1% growth
- Two-bedroom, $693 rent and 1.3% growth
- Three-bedroom, $592 rent and 2.0% growth
- Four-bedroom, $585 rent and 1.1% growth
- Five-bedroom, $615 rent and -0.3% growth
- Six-bedroom, $556 rent and 1.6% growth
Meanwhile, in the highest-priced Pacific Northwest, the four-bedroom floorplan saw the lowest rent in the region, averaging $762 per bed in February. That average rent was up 4.2% year-over-year. Lower rents for four-bedroom units can be attributed to the fact that there are more of this layout than any other floorplan types in the region. Most of the four-bedroom layouts are concentrated at University of Oregon and Oregon State University.
The second lowest effective rent at the floorplan level in the Pacific Northwest was the three-bedroom layout. Three bedrooms achieved an average rent of $830 per bed and 3.6% same-store rent growth. Most of the three-bedroom floorplan units are concentrated in University of California – Irvine, University of Oregon and University of Southern Carolina. These three markets make up 37.4% of the total three-bedroom floorplans available in the 29 universities tracked by RealPage in the region, and are big drivers of the overall average effective rent in the area.
The floorplan types in the Pacific Northwest region saw the following rental rates and rent growth levels:
- Studio, $1120 rent and 4.1% growth
- One-bedroom, $1156 rent and 4.1% growth
- Two-bedroom, $897 rent and 3.7% growth
- Three-bedroom, $830 rent and 3.6% growth
- Four-bedroom, $762 rent and 4.2% growth
- Five-bedroom, $920 rent and 6.2% growth
- Six-bedroom, $883 rent and 6.4% growth