Where Has Affordable Student Housing Gone?

Monday, March 26, 2018

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For the better part of the last five years, luxury student housing has been one of the hottest topics of discussion in student housing. The emergence of luxury purpose-built student housing led many developers into an amenity arms race; each looking to outpace the competition with lavish accommodation options.


This, along with other market factors, has contributed to the rise of rental rates in student housing. Some markets have seen it more extensively than others.


According to Forbes last year, the top five most expensive cities for students to rent in:


  • New York, NY - $431/week
  • Boston, MA - $403/week
  • London, UK - $359/week
  • Washington, DC - $329/week
  • La Jolla, CA - $298/week


So, where has affordable student housing gone?

The answer is smaller, less populous college and university towns.


Forbes also reported the five most affordable cities for students to rent in:


  • Auburn, AL - $96/week
  • Athens, GA - $104/week
  • Tallahassee, FL - $106/week
  • Hull, UK - $111/week
  • Norman, OK - $112/week


Rental rates and the overall cost of living tend to be profoundly more affordable for students who attend academic institutions in small-to-mid sized cities.  This is not to say that all smaller cities will have a cheaper rent; there are other rental market conditions that will impact average rental rates such as rental housing stock, vacancy and turnover rates, amount of purpose-built student housing, and more. However, smaller communities commonly have more affordable rental conditions.


In Canada, between 2016 and 2017 the cheapest rental rates:


  • Windsor, ON - $250/month
  • Brampton, ON - $275/month
  • Sault Ste Marie, ON - $300/month
  • Sydney, NS - $300/month
  • Wolfville, NS - $350/month
  • Kingston, ON - $380/month


While there are still several cities with affordable student housing options, there are many without such accommodations. As a solution, an emerging trend of micro student housing has been seen – some academic institutions and private investors have started these developments to combat higher costs of living for students.


SEE ALSO: The Best Cities to Invest in Student Housing in Canada – 2017 Edition

The Places4Students.com Team