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Preleasing for the 2024-25 school year has jumped ahead of last year’s record pace, according to Yardi Matrix’s National Student Housing Report. Preleasing reached 47.3% for the Yardi 200 in December, compared with 38.4% in December 2022.

The strong preleasing is indicative of heavy renewal activity in markets with limited demand. Fifty-one university markets had already filled over 50% of their beds, while 10 were at least 75% preleased. The largest of these markets include schools that experienced strong enrollment growth in recent years as well as above-average rent growth—Ole Miss, Tennessee–Knoxville, Arkansas, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

According to Yardi Matrix, rent growth has reached new highs. In December, asking rents were $858 per bed, a 4.9% year-over-year increase. However, growth has slowed from 6.4% in October and 6% in December 2022.

“Many of the markets with the fastest preleasing are seeing the strongest rent growth as operators take advantage of the surge in demand,” stated the report. “Twenty-seven schools with over 10% rent growth in December are, on average, 5% ahead of preleasing last year.”

Rent growth has varied by market: 25 markets posted double-digit growth in December, while 28 markets experienced declining rents year over year. According to Yardi Matrix, more than half of the markets with 10%-plus rent growth are primary state schools, while only five out of the 28 with rent declines are primary state schools, including University of Texas–Austin; Nebraska; Nevada–Reno; University of California, Berkeley; and Binghamton.

On the investment side, higher interest rates continue to impact transactions. Preliminary data from Yardi Matrix found only 73 student housing properties changed hands last year across the Yardi 200, compared with an average of 205 properties sold in 2021 and 2022.