The Effects of COVID-19 on Off-Campus Housing

Monday, October 12, 2020

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As the first semester of the 2020/2021 school year is nearing the halfway mark, we are beginning to see how COVID-19 has impacted the off-campus housing rental market so far. 


With most college and university campuses having to reduce their on-campus housing units, or close their student residences, we have seen an increase in the demand for off-campus housing in various communities across North America.


In the USA, this has been the case for one of our partner schools, Lehigh University. The university’s student paper, The Brown and White, released an article stating that almost 500 more students are living in off-campus housing compared to the fall of 2019. Nicole Koenig, Leasing Manager with Campus Hill Apartments stated that around mid-summer, they saw a spike in demand for off-campus accommodations. Now Campus Hill has a vacancy rate of 2.5%, down from their usual rate of about 3%. Fifth Street Properties is also quoted as having zero vacancies in their units, even after quickly renovating additional spaces to add to the supply in the area.


In Canada, there is also an increase in demand for off-campus housing. Students are trying to get as much as they can from their higher education experiences. Geoff McTait, Timbercreek’s Executive Director of Origination stated, “There is an increased demand and occupancies are actually higher in the interim this year than they were at the same time last year". With space remaining to be limited on-campus, we continue to see a rise in demand for off-campus housing, as students strive to be as much a part of college life as they can.


The Canadian government has also released information on changes to the requirements for international students to study in Canada. Starting October 20, 2020, international students studying in Canada will be able to enter the country, as long as their school has a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their province or territory in place. Requirements for 14-day quarantine upon arrival are still mandatory.


As this pandemic continues to unfold, we remain committed to monitoring the effects it is having on the off-campus housing rental market and keep our readers informed.


SEE ALSO:  COVID-19 and Off-Campus Housing

The Team