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    How Can Developers Make Their Student Housing Projects More Competitive?

    by Brandon Reed / November 2, 2017

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    The student housing market in the U.S. continues to thrive, no doubt. It has certainly become the gem of housing real estate, and probably the most profitable sector at the time. We’ve got a new generation of students coming along who are very aware of what they can expect– so it’s very competitive. What can you, as a developer, do to gain a competitive edge for your high-level student housing development projects in Utah?

    The challenges presented by the growing competition in the student housing market also drive new ways of drawing student populations and maximizing rental rates and absorption. Therefore, in order for your student housing developments to stay competitive, it’s important to consider the factors described below.

    This is the third installment in our ongoing series exploring some of the most significant issues relative to student housing development across Utah. The goal is to provide valuable insights that can guide architects and developers in creating upscale outdoor environments for students that will result in higher returns on investment (ROI). Follow the links below to read all the articles in the series.

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    Find an edge

    As with every other housing category, prime location is the #1 quality that influences the competitiveness of a student housing community. Besides location, important considerations include robust Internet and Wi-Fi service, bed-bath parity, amenities and outdoor areas for enjoyment and entertainment, which vary widely by region. It all depends on the market and the competitive set within the market. Other considerations include distance from the university campus, where students’ friends are living, and professional on-site property management.
     

    Timing is everything

    Timing is critical in any construction project – but it is even more important in student accommodation. If the timeline slips and the project does not complete on time, the client could miss an entire academic year of rental income. So, what is the secret to delivering a student project on time – or even early? In our opinion, the key is combining experience with a sharp focus from the outset on getting on site as early as possible.
     

    Rethink amenities 

    The amenities you provide in your student housing developments should reflect the needs, wants and lifestyles of residents. These spaces are often primary selling points for a building, but often become repetitive and can get lost among a host of competitive properties. What new features and amenities can be offered going forward? Keeping the proximity of the development from the campus and the end user top of mind and monitoring lifestyle trends will ensure a relevant, competitive offering.
     

    High-level rooftop deck features: bars, hot tubs … and good ROI

    In order to gain a competitive edge and enhance the yield potential of their student housing developments, developers in Utah need to step it up in the rooftop amenity game. In fact, pools at student buildings are becoming so common that in order to stand out, developers are working to create bigger and better pools and hot tubs and placing them on rooftops, including specialty features such as lazy rivers. Other luxurious features offered in some modern student housing facilities to lure students range from state-of-the-art gyms, coffee bars, rock climbing walls, and many more. These value-added features attract both students and, in many cases, the rent-paying parents.
     

    Consider high performance design

    Developers are increasingly pushing the boundaries of design to create projects with the smallest environmental and social footprint that are in line with their client’s visions. So, adopt designs and materials that promote energy efficiency, improve indoor air quality, and factor in environmental impact, and you will take your student housing project to the next level! 

    Examples of high-performance and green elements that you can incorporate into your buildings include high-efficiency boilers for heating and hot water; ventilation/exhaust systems designed to ensure indoor air quality while reducing building heat loss; next-generation energy-efficient elevators; energy efficient appliances and light fixtures; sustainable materials and finishes, among others.
     

    Engage a landscape architecture designer early on

    Developers across Utah and beyond can increase their chances for success by partnering with an experienced landscape architecture design firm early in the design process, gaining from their expertise and knowledge on what will work to stay on top of the trends that students seek for the exteriors. Therefore, to conceive, develop, and ultimately build an outdoor living space that suits your needs, working with a landscape architectural designer before putting a shovel in the ground is a wise move.

    Your landscape designer can also act as a trusted advisor, making sure that the ideas you develop together are actually buildable, sustainable, and work harmoniously with the local ecosystem. Perhaps most importantly, your landscape designer can provide guidance on keeping your budget in check. They know what things cost, how long they take to build, and can offer advice on what you can get for the amount of money you have available to invest.

    Finally, at the end of the design process, you’ll have a set of professional drawings that correlate to architectural design that the builder can work from. These drawings contain all the information builders need to make the actual construction of outdoor areas smoother, faster, and more cost efficient.
     

    Tags: Student Housing

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    Brandon Reed

    Brandon Reed

    I help top level architects and developers create landscapes that elevate the human experience.