Little Room Left for Late Season Student Housing Demand

After the uncertainty brought by the global pandemic for the last two years, the student housing industry can now be summed up in two words: impressive performance. Considerable demand has propelled pre-lease rates to record levels across the core 175 universities tracked by RealPage.

After the pandemic-stunted performance in Fall 2020, Fall 2021 picked up a considerable amount of late season pre-lease demand in June, July and August. That late season demand for Fall 2021 accounted for over a quarter (26.1%) of all pre-lease occupancy, registering a good 600 basis points (bps) above the long-term norm. While that may have been expected again in 2022, such strong pre-lease performance through May 2022 leaves little room for additional demand.

Through May 2022, pre-lease occupancy stood at 77.8%, marking the highest figure on record since 2014 and a huge rebound from the past two pandemic years. For the past several years, month-over-month pre-lease rates have grown by an average of 8.3% in the month of May. In 2020, the pandemic dampened those results to a lackluster 4.7%, only to rebound considerably in the next two years. Pre-lease rate grew 9.6% in May 2021 and 9.2% in May 2022.

There are simply not a quarter of beds left to be pre-leased this summer with these strong readings. Even if late season demand runs in-line with the long-term average of about 20%, Fall 2022’s final pre-lease rate will be nearly 100%.

For more information on the state of the student housing market, watch the webcast Market Intelligence: Summer Student Housing Update.