Guest Blog by ResMan
As the summer season nears an end, students everywhere will begin to think of fall. Although orientation and the first day of class may be a ways away, there are certain things that must be achieved by strict timelines – including finding a place to live for the year.
When it comes to catering to students, it’s challenging to pinpoint what students want most. More and more, amenities are treated as expectations rather than add-ons, and student housing developers are paying attention. However, it can be difficult to know which amenities to offer and which to tag as overrated and skip altogether. With this post, we take a look at which amenities are promising the most ROI.
This may come as a shock to some people, but when you take a moment to think it through, it becomes clear. With many campuses accepting higher numbers of students, study facilities are often at full capacity. Add to this situation – roommates on different schedules and a general lack of larger spaces for group study sessions – and it becomes obvious why student residents rank study spaces as a major housing amenity.
The Callaway House at University of Texas in Austin, TX, features study rooms that represent what many students have in mind. The facility has added six study areas and lounges throughout the building, as well as six iPad stages to meet student’s academic needs. These spaces allow students to pick a study style that meets their needs, without ever leaving home.
These spaces can differ greatly across complexes, from rows of computers withhigh speed connection and lounges, to conference style rooms. But keep in mind the goal is the same; to offer students accessible academic facilities that allow them to work now and play later. Having this specific amenity offers a competitive advantage and higher retention of students who value this type of space.
Bike Amenities and Storage
As the primary mode of transportation for most college and university students, the ability to walk or bike to campus has long been important to student housing. But many locations fail to translate this transportation method into the further needs of the resident. Whether it’s the ability to store a bike, or even rent a bike for recreational needs, students are looking for bike-related amenities when they rent.
At the Union Apartments at Oregon State University, featured amenities include indoor bike parking to protect from inclement weather, and what they call the Bike Bar; an outdoor bike maintenance and cleaning station, where students can tend to bike repairs.
By creating secure bike storage centers and even offering space for tool rental and maintenance repairs, students can enjoy spaces that offer a remarkable value for their on-the-run lifestyles that translates to a strong competitive advantage among other properties.
Skyline views and rooftop pools may seem a luxury component, but in building these communal style spaces, properties are creating the opportunity for better return. The fact is, many residents expect these communal spaces — pools, tanning chairs, or gardens — as a way to meet other students or spend time with friends. Creating these on a larger scale, such as on a rooftop space, translates into larger returns as well. Why is this? Residents are willing to pay more per square foot when luxury amenities provide social recreation and serve to enhance the quality of the interactions among residents.
Take SMU’s “Mockingbird Flats” for example. As an off-campus apartment, this community offers a wide array of rooftop amenities including a sundeck, outdoor grilling area, and infinity pool with a view. This property exemplifies maximizing rooftop space in order to not only create communal areas for students to relax, but also to provide a luxury that students will value.
Trends in real estate, particularly in the student housing industry, can change over time; but investing in these three particular amenities can offer ROI that’s durable, as these amenities slowly turn into expectations for students.
The Places4Students.com Team