Student Housing Market Update - Fall 2020

Posted on October 20, 2020

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment among undergraduates is down 2.5 percent this year across all types of institutions, while the head count of graduate students is up 3.9 percent. That places overall enrollment in higher education down 1.8 percent compared to the same period last year.



As of Fall 2020, approximately 88 percent of student beds at the core 175 universities tracked by RealPage were leased for the 2020-2021 academic year, the weakest result in a decade. This compares to 91% leased for Fall 2019 and 93% leased for Fall 2018.



Student housing rents are up slightly for Fall 2020 according to RealPage. Annual effective asking rent change for Fall 2020 was a positive 1.4 percent compared to a positive 1.7 percent and 2.2 percent for Fall 2019 and Fall 2018, respectively. Strong leasing performers as of Fall 2020 (95% plus leased) are select universities in the Southeast where there were limited COVID-19 restrictions and strong population growth.



There were 51,000 beds delivered for Fall 2020, which matches the annual total seen during the previous 5 years. One university worth noting is the University of Florida, which is set to deliver 3,317 beds this year, the 2nd largest block of beds ever delivered to a university around the country.



By August 2020, $1.6 billion in mortgages backed by 101 student housing properties have requested or were already granted COVID-19 financial assistance according to Trepp. Additionally, the rate of student housing mortgages in “special servicing” and on the “watchlist” rose to 11.2% and 19.4%, respectively.