If one were to designate the most attractive purpose-built student housing unit built over the past seven years in the United States, it would be a four-bedroom floor plan in the South.
The South region – states such as Texas, Florida and Georgia – has received the largest concentration of new student housing since 2011 – more than 193,000 new beds. The Midwest, with more than 63,000 new beds during this cycle, is No. 2 for development. The Mountain, Pacific Northwest and Northeast regions have seen 29,000, 25,000 and 22,000 new beds, respectively, during the same period.
Unit mix is an imperative concept for developers wishing to accommodate students’ desires. Historically, student housing demand has been mostly for four-bedroom floor plans. As a result, purpose-built student housing projects have included more such floor plans than any other nationwide in the past several years.
Since 2011, the South region has received the most four-bedroom floor plans, as per student housing demand: more than 25,400 units or more than 101,000 beds. The Midwest has seen more than 7,400 four-bed floor plans(30,000 beds), the Mountain region has more than 3,100 units (13,000 beds) and the Pacific Northwest and Northeast both have about 2,400 units (around 10,000 beds each).
Not surprisingly, layouts comprising four or more bed spaces fell on the lower end of the rent-growth scale. Four-bedrooms floor plans averaged $774 per bed in fall 2017, while five- and six- bedroom units averaged $771 and $761, respectively. On average, national effective rent for the four-bedroom units – the most developed student housing floor-plan type for the past several years – was about $400 less per month than studio and one-bedroom units, and about $100 less per month than the two- and three-bedroom floor plans.
As seen in the chart above, one-bedroom floor plans generally achieve a higher rent level than any other type, followed by the studio layout. That’s the case in all five regions, as seen in the chart below. In the Northeast, effective rent for the one-bedroom student housing floor plan averaged the highest at $1,527 per month, compared to a $872 average for a three-bedroom – the floor plan type with the lowest average rate – in the same region.
The South region showed the lowest average rents in all floor-plans types except six-bedroom units, for which the Mountain region has the lowest rates). The average per-bed effective rent per floor plan type in the South region in 2017 were:
- Studio, $1,075 per month
- One-bedroom, $1,212 per month
- Two-bedroom, $854 per month
- Three-bedroom, $763 per month
- Four-bedroom, $731 per month
- Five-bedroom, $679 per month
- Six-bedroom, $647 per month
Also of note is that contrary to the student housing norm of paying less rent per bed as the number of bedrooms increase, four-bedroom units – the primary focus of student housing demand — were priced lower than five- and six-bedroom floor plans in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.