Student Housing Rent Growth Faltered as Schools Closed

  in   Insights

Before COVID-19 caused college campuses to close nationwide, rents in the nation’s student housing stock were growing at roughly the same rate seen in the recent past. And when the pre-lease season ended in August, the big picture story was that prices were still growing a little, despite the chaotic leasing environment seen this year. The pace of growth has faded, however. In Fall 2020, rents grew 1.4% annually, compared to 1.7% in 2019 and 2.2% in 2018. That figure reflects annual change for each month of the leasing season with the overall calculation weighted by each month’s share of all leases. Looking at how the shift in rents came together, annual price change for student housing leases essentially matched year-earlier results up through March – the same month most colleges closed. Beginning in April, however, pricing power cooled. Average annual rent growth from October to March was 1.6%, but that average fell to 1.2% from April to August.