As of July, 90.1% of beds at Yardi 200 universities were preleased for the upcoming fall semester, according to Yardi Matrix’s August National Student Housing Report. The percentage is a 4.6% increase from June and closely in line with last year.
With solid occupancy for the 2023 to 2024 school year, the year-over-year rent growth throughout the leasing season has been ahead of last year and is equipped to handle economic challenges, Yardi Matrix notes.
“Preleasing has slowed recently from rapid growth at the beginning of the leasing season. Month-over-month rent growth has also decelerated,” the report reads. Despite the decline, fall occupancy is projected to match last year at roughly 96%, while rent growth remains impressive at 7.1% year over year.
Development continues to be fueled by strong fundamentals. Yardi Matrix estimates approximately 40,000 new beds will be delivered this fall at Yardi 200 universities, compared with 27,000 last fall, while firm preleasing and rent growth suggests that much of the supply has already been absorbed.
For the 2023 to 2024 school year, 21 universities in the Yardi 200 were 100% preleased, including seven schools with four or more dedicated student housing communities. Additionally, 45 universities were over 95% preleased, and 34 included four or more properties. These markets’ average rent growth was above the national rate.
While fundamentals are solid nationally, a handful of schools are underperforming on preleasing and rent growth due to a variety of factors ranging from weak enrollment growth to low new supply. Within the Yardi 200, 35 universities were 5% or more behind last year’s preleasing pace, and 33 schools experienced rent declines year over year in July.
Dedicated off-campus student housing rent per bed averaged $849 in July at Yardi 200 universities, a new high for the sector and 7.1% above July 2022. As preleasing has cooled monthly, so has rent growth, but growth this year has significantly outpaced previous years, Yardi Matrix states.
At the university level, rent growth varied with 38 schools in the Yardi 200 posting double-digit rent growth and 33 schools with rent declines. Most top schools for rent growth also had strong preleasing. The top six schools with four or more properties were on average 99.9% preleased with 20.1% rent growth, and the bottom six were 75.1% preleased with a 6.7% rent decline.
Including the top 200 investment grade universities across all major collegiate conferences, Yardi Matrix’s student housing data set includes over 2,000 universities and colleges nationwide.