6 Rising Trends in Student Housing
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Today's college students have grown to desire and to expect a living space that is integrated with technology, privacy, convenience, and creature comforts. The following are six rising trends that developers and investors should consider in college housing.
1. Cutting Rug
The number one complaint to property managers, on move-in day, relates to the state of the unit's carpeting. Worn down fibers, unsightly stains, and lingering odors are all unfortunate side-effects of college housing carpet. Carpeting in student housing, let alone any housing, can be difficult to clean and maintain. Sub-par carpeting can turn away potential tenants. It can also become a costly and time-consuming headache to property managers, especially when it comes time to turn a unit. Initially, new carpeting can provide the student with the comforts of home, but it can quickly turn ugly. Often times, cheap VCT (vinyl composite tile) is laid in units as a cost-effective and maintenance-effective solution to carpet. VCT is the 8-12% vinyl tiling that one may find in school buildings or medical facilities and definitely does not give a tenant the feeling of home. No one wants to feel like they live in a facility. The porous nature of VCT requires regular maintenance, stripping, and resealing, adding to the initially low cost of VCT. So, students desire a floor that looks like home, is strong, and is easy to maintain. What is the solution? LVT (luxury vinyl tile) is a win-win for both tenants and property managers. Yes, LVT can be up to $4 more expensive, per square foot, compared to VCT, however, this 100% vinyl tile pays for itself over time. With a 100% vinyl composition, LVT is stronger and lasts longer than than VCT. LVT does not require stripping or sealing and it even accurately mimics wood grain. Students get the feeling of home with a floor that doesn't hold stains, doesn't trap odors, and is very easy to maintain.
2. Lose the House Keys, In a Good Way
Affordable keyless entry has eluded lock companies for many years, but many still saw the practice as convenient and secure. As technology advances, keyless locks advance and become more affordable. Some companies, like Dorma Kaba, offer these types of locks as low as $150 per door. Forget physical keys, keycards, or even remembering a PIN. Modern locks can safely open with a quick scan of a smartphone. Students are not only already familiar with this concept, they push for their college homes to be keyless. Students can gain entry to their homes and do not have to worry about losing a physical key or PIN. This can bring peace of mind to students and to parents. No more security risks of a key or PIN ending up in the wrong hands. For property owners, this eliminates the cost of work orders for lost keys, cutting new keys, or replacing locks.
3. A Bathroom of One's Own
Who doesn't love a private bathroom? Your own sanctuary where you get ready to tackle the day or you wind down after a busy schedule. A private bathroom can often be a mental and physical retreat as much as it is a useful utility. It may sound luxurious, but a 1:1 bedroom and full-bathroom ratio is commonly demanded by students. A private bathroom is very attractive to a potential tenant and properties with this ratio typically perform better than those without. During the time of a global pandemic, private bedrooms and bathrooms have apparent value in the containment of germs and bacteria. This type of living could help schools safely reopen and be better prepared for future problems.
4. Here's the Mail, Don't Let it Fail
Many students are dependent upon online shopping and meal delivery. From ordering goods to fresh, hot meals, students demand safe access to packages at all times. In order to meet this demand, property owners need to offer secure, 24/7 access to packages and online meal deliveries. One way to accomplish this goal is with automated smart lockers. Delivery persons may leave packages and food in designated lockers and the recipient may retrieve with the scan of a smartphone. For many this will be their first time living away from home and their first time living amongst so many people. Secure and accessible package delivery is a simple, but impactful pleasure for students and for parents. Students should rest easy knowing that the box of cookies that mom sent will be waiting for them, after class.
5. Integrated with the Internet
Today, the internet is no longer a luxury. The internet is a necessity and practically essential to education at a higher level. Providing high speed internet to students is nothing new. However, students have very low tolerance levels for sub-par internet speeds, service disruptions, and lack of WiFi hotspots. In order to remain competitive, modern student housing complexes should be integrated with quality internet, both wireless and wired. This is not only where students work and study, but also where they relax and have fun. The internet is a big part of that. Students have come to expect strong internet connections as they relax in their rooms or move about the complex. Simpson Building Enterprises recently conducted a survey of 130 Salisbury University students in which, 76% ranked integrated internet as the most important amenity and 96% of students ranked it in the top 2 of their most important amenities.
6. Farewell, Cable TV
Across the country, people of all demographics are cutting their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming services. As the market becomes more and more reliant on online streaming content, many property owners are removing cable television subscriptions from their all-inclusive rental fees. Many students will be expecting high speed internet at school and will be bringing their own streaming subscriptions with them. As cable companies sit on the losing