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  11 Mar 2023

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Student Housing Trends : All You Need To Know

Student housing is rising in value throughout the global market. Over the past few years, cross-border capital has increased in the global market for student housing. 

The commercial sector and higher education institutions (IHE) are unable to provide adequate housing to fulfill demand for students, notwithstanding the rise in internationally active capital.

When building or upgrading on-campus residence and student competitive housing, both developers and investors must take the supply shortfall into account as well as other factors including affordability and shifting student preferences. 

Keeping these ideas in mind, the purpose of this essay is to discuss new developments in student housing that are driven by market demand and student tastes. We will also discuss the significant problems that the student real estate market faced before and during COVID-19.

Student Housing Trends: COVID-19-related Difficulties in 2024

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 1,800 American colleges and institutions have reported over 397,000 cases. 

Despite this, administrators of US higher education let students to return to their institutions for the upcoming autumn term. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saw a 55% increase in COVID-19 cases among young adults between the ages of 18 and 22.

Student housing in the United States is now required to function and most likely will for the foreseeable future. In the past, availability, rent collection, and other persistent challenges in many student housing records have been some of the most urgent challenges in student housing.

Today, administrators of colleges and universities as well as those in charge of school housing are suddenly faced with a huge number of brand-new issues. 

This list of urgent issues is often centered on the need to safeguard students' health and safety against COVID-19, guard against virus infection in housing facilities, and maintain the financial viability of facility operations.

In 2024, effects of Covid 19 yielded different activities unique to each landlord/school. 

For instance, to ensure a safe and healthy environment, the University of Utah provided some updated COVID-19 guidelines in 2024. They strongly encourage residents to get vaccinated and receive boosters when eligible. 

If exposed to COVID-19 or unvaccinated, follow the 5-5-5 rule: stay home for five days, wear a mask for five more days when around others, and immunocompromised patients are encouraged to stay home for the entire 10 days.

While face coverings are no longer required on the main campus, individuals at high risk are encouraged to continue wearing masks. Off-campus isolation plans are essential, and residents able to return home upon testing positive are encouraged to do so. 

On-campus residents testing positive should contact Housing & Residential Education for isolation instructions, limiting interactions to essential activities. Roommates of positive cases should get tested and follow university guidelines. 

There's no dedicated isolation space, so residents should be prepared for off-campus isolation or isolating in place.

According to a poll by the Association of College and University Housing Officers, 70% of campus housing administrators have opted to lower bed counts in their student housing facilities or plan to do so.

The de-densification of on-campus accommodation, according to industry analysts, will allow the off-campus student housing market to attain high occupancy rates while also making up for any probable enrollment declines.

Design Objectives for Student Housing

While there are many variations between dormitories and student housing, they both have similar fundamental goals. The promotion of renters' physical and mental wellbeing is the aim of effective student housing design.

The following are the three key goals of excellent student housing design:

Operating as a Community. 

A genuine home away from home is what residents of student housing should receive. Community-building features are greatly desired by students, regardless of how far along in their studies they are. 

While preparing students for their first experience living away from home, thoughtfully constructed student housing creates the ideal mix between seclusion and community.

Improving Safety on Campus. 

One of the main worries of both new and returning university students is safety on campus. Therefore, excellent student housing design calls for additional safety precautions. Communications systems, key fobs, and even package rooms are examples of property access solutions that offer students all-around protection.

Enhancing Education 

While attending college offers valuable experiences, the main objective is to study. Therefore, include features in your dwelling design idea that make it simpler to study, finish tasks, and get degrees. These consist of free public WiFi, study spaces, and quiet hours.

List of Student Housing Trends For 2024

There is ongoing demand on universities and colleges to offer housing that meets the requirements and standards of today's students. However, creating facilities that promote engagement, socializing, and academic performance has proven to be a difficult nut to crack given the constantly shifting trends in student living.

However, the introduction of COVID-19 in dorms and campuses across the United States and other countries adds another level of complexity to this already compelling set of issues.

The most recent developments in student accommodation that are influencing this market's future will be examined in this article.

Understanding these patterns will enable universities, colleges, and owners of student housing to design safer, more technologically advanced structures that will boost customer retention rates and wellbeing. However, students may use this knowledge to prepare for what to expect from property owners.

So, the following are the main trends influencing the student housing market:

Smart Technologies

With the internet of things and artificial intelligence, smart technology is revolutionizing the student housing business throughout the US. In other words, the new reality when talking about student living will heavily entail technology and internet-powered residences.

Therefore, student housing management must ensure constant internet access throughout their spaces. As a result, the normal bandwidth throttling or service outages will be eliminated or greatly reduced going forward. 

Additionally, this trend indicates that building managers should take tenants' habits into account, such as by ensuring WiFi is constantly available throughout the complex.

Increased Privacy

With many of the freshmen at school, having never had to share a bedroom with someone prior to school resumption, privacy is quickly becoming a highly desired asset. 

While the communal room is unlikely to totally fade away, universities and colleges are starting to offer a variety of privacy options, from the number of individuals in a bedroom to the number of students to a shared restroom. Students want to select how and when they interact. 

Modern resident halls seldom have shared bathrooms. The suite design, where two students share a bathroom, is far more common. 

Different Living Styles Preferred by Different Unit Types.

Successful student housing complexes provide a wide variety of unit types to accommodate a variety of living preferences. 

This design technique gives students the freedom to live. However, they will give the school additional versatility in the future as the school population changes by combining a range of one- to four-bedroom flats inside a building. 

Designing a variety of unit types may be the most significant aspect of this trend because it gives universities the chance to create a student housing technique that complements their campus uniqueness and provides the best academic and social perspective based on each student's life preferences.

Wellness-Focused Spaces

Recognizing the importance of holistic well-being, student housing providers are increasingly incorporating wellness-focused spaces. 

On-site gyms, wellness centers, and outdoor recreational areas contribute to the physical and mental health of residents. This trend aligns with the growing awareness of the connection between a healthy living environment and academic success.

Safety Measures 

As safety remains a top priority for students and their families, student housing providers are implementing enhanced security measures. 

Smart locks, surveillance systems, and well-lit common areas contribute to creating a secure living environment. These measures not only address safety concerns but also provide residents with peace of mind.

Hybrid Learning Spaces 

The rise of remote and hybrid learning has prompted the need for designated spaces within student housing for online classes and virtual collaboration. 

These areas are equipped with the necessary technology and infrastructure to facilitate seamless participation in virtual academic activities, catering to the evolving dynamics of modern education.

Proximity to Student Transit

A student housing development's location is equally as crucial as its design. Despite the fact that many students drive, parking is typically limited on campus. In order to get to and around campus, students rely on the campus transportation networks.

The location of the property must be close to or on a shuttle route when developing student housing. If your student housing complex is not on a transit route, one alternative is to offer a private shuttle service to your tenants.

Although this is a possibility, working through the school is simpler and more dependable. By doing this, you may enhance an existing transit route or design a brand-new route that stops at your property.

Innovative, Versatile, Communal Areas

Common areas are designed by universities and colleges with a clear purpose in mind: to promote academic performance by fostering social engagement, retention, relationship-building, and new connections among students. 

Common areas, which are valuable places in a residence hall, need to be adaptable and appealing so that students will want to use them. 

To support this, design ideas include lounges, study areas, kitchens, and laundry rooms furnished with cozy furniture that is simple to move or rearrange to meet various occasions, both scheduled and unplanned. 

Today's college housing is very different from the homes from the mid-20th century that many institutions now have to replace or repair, as evidenced by innovation incubators, pool and ping pong tables, maker spaces, green screens, and faculty-in-residence.

The idea of a "living-learning environment" has gained traction and is adaptable to different campuses and student demographics. 

Studies demonstrating that informal learning environments are superior to the typical academic setting only for college-level learning are generating increased interest in a trend we have been presenting to customers. 

In these communities, classes and housing for both learners and instructors may be housed in the same structure. Alternatively, collaborative study spaces may be included in buildings that are primarily residential in order to give students convenient access to study facilities.

The live-and-learn community concept encourages greater academic performance and engagement, improves the student experience, and helps with retention and recruiting.


The Generation Z generation grew up during a time when civic engagement and the value of environmental preservation were often discussed. 

Colleges and universities are utilizing truly innovative green features and technology to impact student behavior, facilitate integration, offer learning services, and enrich the entire curriculum. Sustainability is a lifetime learning tool. 

In addition to offering accommodation, residence halls have a special chance to operate as sustainability training centers. 

The environments in which students live have an influence on their knowledge and comprehension of sustainability, from rooftop gardens to outdoor classrooms to environmentally friendly design options like low-flow shower heads and toilets, solar or LED lighting, and high-efficiency washing machines.

Flexible Lease Options 

The traditional one-year lease model is gradually making way for more flexible arrangements. Short-term leases and co-living options are on the rise, reflecting the evolving lifestyle preferences of students. 

This flexibility allows students to adapt their living situations to changing academic and personal circumstances, providing a more accommodating housing experience.

Social Spaces

Creating a sense of community is paramount in student housing. Collaborative study areas, communal lounges, and shared kitchens are designed to foster interaction among residents. 

These spaces go beyond being functional; they play a crucial role in building a supportive and vibrant community within the housing complex.

Wi-Fi Connection and Outlets

The student lifestyle is heavily reliant on electronic devices. Students (and professors) want Wi-Fi access to be available around school for anything from study to socializing. This includes smart phones, iPods, iPads, Kindles, and computers. 

For schools and universities, offering high-speed service is essential to ensuring that students and faculty have a great experience and can function effectively. The accessibility of electrical outlets is also crucial to enabling the proliferation of mobile devices. 

Colleges and universities may be effective by offering student living areas that include the best features of commercial locations like a coffee shop.

Property Managment System (PMS)

Professionals working in the property management sector will face a number of legacy difficulties, especially transitioning to the post-COVID future in 2024.

Even the most skilled landlords and management companies continue to face difficulties with rent payments, debt, less educated employees and higher wage expenses, increased maintenance and finance costs, rent restrictions and decreased revenues, and other issues. 

While dealing with all of these things, there is a way to ease up the stress; it is called property management system (PMS).

Every student property requires a single, specially-designed platform with the strength of a top-notch property management system, and student leasing & rents provides just what they need. You can choose to manage the room, bed space, or unit. 

Whatever the case may be, property owners and property managers need to adopt a student housing property management system like Booking Ninjas. It is an affordable cloud-based management system that includes accounting, upkeep, access control, an online student portal, and more

You'll have a tailored, unified property management system that takes into consideration the particular difficulties that only student properties encounter, regardless of how you decide to handle your student properties.

Balancing Privacy and Community 

We have previously highlighted the encouragement of privacy and community building as a very important student housing trend. As a result of these two, there’s a different trend that needs to be put into consideration, which is, balancing privacy and community. 

As the landscape of student housing evolves, the delicate balance between privacy and community has become a central consideration for architects, developers, and housing providers. 

Striking the right equilibrium between individual space and communal living is crucial to creating an environment where students feel both connected and respected. 

In the next few paragraphs, we delve into the challenges and strategies associated with achieving this delicate balance in student housing.

The Importance of Privacy

Privacy is a fundamental need, especially for individuals navigating the challenges of student life. As young adults transitioning to greater independence, students often crave personal space to study, reflect, and unwind. 

Ensuring the provision of private living quarters becomes paramount in fostering a sense of security and autonomy, crucial elements for academic success and personal growth.

Challenges in Shared Living Spaces

However, the communal nature of student housing brings forth challenges in preserving privacy. Shared dormitories, common areas, and facilities can create an environment where personal boundaries might be unintentionally crossed. 

Noise disturbances, differing schedules, and diverse lifestyles can contribute to an atmosphere that compromises the sanctity of personal space.

Strategies for Balancing Privacy and Community

Flexible Room Configurations

  • Designing living spaces that allow for flexibility in room configurations can empower students to personalize their environment. Movable furniture, dividers, and versatile layouts offer options for creating private study nooks within shared spaces.

Communication and Community Agreements:

  • Establishing clear communication channels and community agreements helps set expectations. Open discussions among residents about quiet hours, shared responsibilities, and respect for personal space foster a sense of community while preserving individual privacy.

Designated Quiet Zones

  • Incorporating designated quiet zones within communal areas respects the need for solitude. These spaces can serve as havens for focused study or personal relaxation, providing a retreat when a break from communal activities is desired.

Technology for Communication

  • Leveraging technology for communication can minimize physical intrusions. Virtual notice boards, shared calendars, and communication apps allow residents to stay connected without the need for constant face-to-face interaction.

Personalization of Living Spaces

  • Allowing students to personalize their living spaces helps create a sense of ownership. Personal touches, decor choices, and customizable elements contribute to a feeling of individuality within a shared setting.

Common Spaces for Social Interaction

  • Designing common areas that encourage social interaction ensures that community building occurs outside of individual living spaces. Lounges, game rooms, and communal kitchens provide opportunities for bonding without encroaching on personal privacy.

Inclusive Programming

  • Implementing inclusive programming can strike a balance between communal engagement and personal downtime. Offering a variety of activities that cater to diverse interests allows students to choose their level of participation, respecting their need for personal space

Student Housing Portfolio: Sample

Student housing portfolios are very important. This is the most significant way a potential tenant can vet you as a housing provider, and it subsequently determines if they’re going to choose your property.

Students' residences tend to be the most memorable spots since they are not only a room but rather a cheerful place full of memories. 

These areas must be properly planned for the users because they are used continuously for a variety of activities including studying, eating, socializing, sleeping, playing, exercising, etc.

The housing must meet all of their fundamental requirements and provide a setting for both private and public activities. A beautiful atmosphere with contemporary amenities is now demanded of students, who spend years here, in addition to the necessary amenities.

Let's look at some contemporary student housing portfolio samples:

St. Andrew’s Student housing

There are two student housing structures at St. Andrew's College in Gurgaon, one for males and the other for females. They were created utilizing vernacular architectural design and were tailored to the local environment. 

The double-story summer court transition space below is supported by vertical and slanted columns that also support the two levels above it. The direct radiation is reduced by 70% thanks to the outside thermal walls, which also let in soft light and fresh air into each space.

The interior's color scheme harmonizes with the hues of the building's exterior. With the aid of many programs including, Ladybird and Ecotek, a mortar-free jaali wall was able to be built using steel rods of 1 inch in diameter and unique bricks with holes.

Henry Koerner Hall Student Residence by Atelier Kempe Thill

You still feel confined while spending the entire day in a room, no matter how large it is. By gradually reducing the inside volume, this contemporary home dispels the impression. 

Every room has a two-story-high gap that visually divides the rooms and gives the inhabitants a sense of comfort.

The living space may be accessible by climbing down the internal staircase, while the top-floor bedrooms are accessed by the communal staircase, which leads straight to the rooms.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

This contemporary home, created by Zaha Hadid Architects and Leigh & Orange, is renowned for its rooftop footpath or walkway, which serves as the main corridor. 

Utilizing the site's steep slope, residences are built so that they lead directly to the academic building, saving walkers the trouble of navigating the mountainous landscape.

The rooftop fosters a vibrant campus culture by providing a large number of outdoor gathering places for students and employees. 

To instil a feeling of community and accountability in the pupils, there are three different sorts of arrangements that may hold anywhere from 18 to 36 people. 

Final Thoughts

The student experience investment practice, like student housing real estate, examines emerging trends in other industries to assess how they can influence student tastes and improve things for our college and university customers in 2024.

Together with our customers in higher education, we work to develop vibrant student life communities that support students' overall performance and their ongoing intellectual development, as well as their socialization, participation, and unity.

To learn more about Booking Ninjas and what we do, schedule a free call with us right now!

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