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Student housing preleasing and rent growth continued its growth trajectory in March, according to Yardi Matrix’s National Student Housing Report.

As of March, 67.7% of beds at Yardi 200 schools were preleased, 2.4% ahead of last year’s pace.

The average rent per bed reached $895 in March, which is an all-time high and a 6% year-over-year increase.

“Rent growth has been high but trending down early in the leasing season. It picked up again in March as students returned from spring break,” noted Yardi Matrix analysts. “Rent growth in student housing is being driven by surging demand, particularly at the schools with the strongest recent enrollment growth, a clear indication of the countercyclical nature of the product type.”

For the 2023-2024 leasing season, Yardi Matrix has found rent growth trends following preleasing and enrollment.

With preleasing data for more than 1,500 properties at 187 schools, 46 had preleasing over 75% and eight that were over 90% in March. The University of Mississippi topped the list at 99.4%, followed by Purdue University at 91.7% and Appalachian State University at 91.6%.

Yardi Matrix also found 46 schools that were under the 50% mark for preleasing last month, noting many are tertiary state schools and private schools that have struggled to grow enrollment.

Among the schools with more than one property, the top 22 for rent growth are, on average, 74% preleased with at least 2.6% enrollment growth.

Out of the large student housing markets, the University of Tennessee continues to be a leader, with 89% preleasing numbers and 20.6% rent growth in March. Closely following are Clemson University with 79% preleasing and 19.4% rent growth and University of Mississippi with 99.4% preleasing and 17.1% rent growth.

According to Yardi Matrix, out of the smaller markets, San Jose State University; Florida Gulf Coast University; University of New Hampshire; and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas had rent growth above 15% last month.

Just as new inventory is up in the multifamily sector, Yardi Matrix projects 46,285 beds will deliver this year, an increase from 37,576 beds in 2023. This is near the peak levels seen in 2013 and 2014. However, supply is expected to drop below the long-term average of 36,233 beds over the next five years.

Transactions in the student housing sector also have been impacted by higher interest rates, with sellers remaining on the sidelines. According to Yardi Matrix, sales are thus far similar to what was seen last year. Twelve properties sold in the first quarter compared with 11 in the first quarter of 2023.