Student housing is experiencing a tremendous boom in the U.S., and one of the most prominent aspects of new developments has been the luxury, high-end, hotel-like amenities that come with them. As developers try to one-up each other in the amenities race, student residences are starting to resemble all-inclusive resorts with lavish exterior amenities.
The boom started when developers throughout the country saw great opportunities to build student housing around major universities. It began with dorm-style, off-campus residences with an added pool or basketball court. This sparked a national trend, and it became a much more competitive field. As a result, today’s student housing developments are transforming into nothing like we have seen before.
Welcome to our ongoing series exploring some of the most significant issues relative to student housing development across Utah and beyond. The goal is to provide valuable insights that can guide architects and developers in creating upscale outdoor environments for students that will result in maximized occupancy rates and higher returns on investment (ROI). Follow the links below to read all the articles in the series.
The first challenge that student housing developers face in this changing landscape is attracting and retaining students. And, believe it or not, amenities play a huge role in their effort.
Students entering college today are of a different breed than those who attended 10 years ago. They are far more discriminating and have higher expectations for luxury and comfort amenities as a norm. They want resort-like living.
As a result, the traditional dorm-style apartments are fast becoming a dinosaur. New student buildings are like miniature apartments, featuring separate single-student sleeping areas that open up into common living areas. They boast the top-of-the-line exterior amenities now expected in such housing projects, ranging from fully equipped workout facilities, and Wi-Fi lounges, to music studios with cutting edge technology.
The growing value of outdoor amenities
As far as attracting and retaining students, high-level outdoor amenities play a significant role in their decision-making journey.
Today's students prefer off-campus housing for a variety of reasons, such as freedom and more space, but they also appear to be most interested in the social opportunities these properties enable and encourage. They are particularly drawn to properties that include a "communal space" that combines recreation amenities, and promotes the social interaction they want.
When it comes to searching for off-campus apartments, students report that the right amenities are priceless, rated as more valuable than academically oriented amenities, such as study rooms. Giving students spaces that work for the ways they live and learn is at the core of innovative student housing development.
That’s why more and more architects and developers across Utah are turning their attention to making the most of otherwise dormant outdoor space for optimal engagement of students.