Off-campus housing is not like it used to be; today, college students can live very comfortably in newly developed apartments complexes.
It’s an exciting day, that day when you move your college-age child into their new temporary home at the university of their choice. It might be dormitories, it might be a fraternity or sorority house, and it might be off-campus housing, but it is always complicated and emotional.
However, if you are moving your child into off-campus housing at one of the nation’s largest campuses, the experience might also produce a high level of jealousy.
These kids are moving into the apartment of your dreams.
Gone are the days when off-campus housing meant living in the basement of a townie’s home. Today, many campuses offer housing in apartment complexes that can only be described as “luxury.”
“What you have seen over the last several years has been more of an urbanization of student housing, where more institutional players are coming in and developing these higher end, more urban-style properties to cater to the needs of today’s college students,’’ said Landmark Properties’ CEO Wesley Rogers to CNBC.
Apparently, the “needs of today’s college students’’ include a swimming pool, a fitness center, a concierge of sorts and other deluxe accoutrements that certainly were not standard in college living spaces 20 years ago. In most cases, every bedroom in every unit comes with its own bathroom, and the apartments have full kitchens and dining areas.
Landmark Properties is one of the major players in developing these modern new off-campus apartment complexes that are operated on the kind of leases college students need: short-term with multiple signors.
There is a website, studenthousingbusiness.com, which displays some of the many new developments on college campuses, including a series of single-level houses spread out over acres of land called The Retreat. The University of Alabama and the University of Central Florida have these developments, and they are sweet.
The construction is not just taking place off-campus. Many schools are regularly updating their dormitories in part to keep students from rushing to the off-campus sites. Adding new designer dining facilities add to the package of amenities on-campus students are offered.
While there are still schools that expect students to live in on-campus housing (Princeton University has 98 percent of its students in college-sponsored living spaces), many large schools operate dormitories for freshman only. After the first year, students are expected to move into Greek or off-campus housing, and the competition for those rental dollars is fierce.
The market first blossomed when Baby Boomers began sending their entitled children away to school. Then, the Generation X children started showing up, with their own updated expectations.
Another student segment that has grown and expected upgraded accommodations are the foreign students, who often arrive in better financial situations than their American counterparts. Those foreign students, too, like their luxury.
“They end up living off-campus more often than living on campus, so there is this tremendous wall of demand for student housing coming from foreign students, and so the players are trying to jump into the business and take advantage of that increasing demand,’’ said PWC Real Estate Advisory national practice leader Mitch Roschelle.
These housing units are not inexpensive, and a recent story in the Wall Street Journal warned that universities have not yet caught up with the cost in their information brochures telling incoming and returning students what the average cost of off-campus is.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.