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Early to Rise: Off-Campus Student Housing Starts Prelease Earlier

Northeast, Midwest Markets Among the Early Birds

By Dave Sorter | Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The off-campus student housing prelease season traditionally begins in November of each year. But under the category of “the early bird catches the worm,” many property owners and managers are now trying to fill their spaces for next year almost as soon as their residents get settled in for the current academic year.

In fact, properties in 90 university markets among the AXIOStudent 175 reported some preleasing in October 2016, compared to 51 universities with preleasing activity in October 2016, according to Axiometrics’ new University Trends Report. Nationwide, about 3.2% of privately owned beds were leased for Fall 2017, compared to 2.4% one year earlier.

Several properties targeted current residents in October, offering discounted rents if they want to keep their room for another year. Students received e-mails from their property management company explaining the deal and providing a deadline to receive the early bird special.

The likely result for Fall 2017 will be a situation similar to the Fall 2016 prelease season, which started strongly but tailed off slightly near the end. Properties are trying to fill their beds early and lock in their revenue for the next year.

University markets in the Northeast region are leading the charge, with three of the top 5 prelease rates (in markets with more than 1,000 privately owned, purpose-built beds) coming from that region. Several Midwestern markets also are reporting strong early leasing.

A lot of these markets historically get a head start on leasing season, as shown in the table below. But most are just starting to realize benefits of acquiring early renewals. Below are the top 20 universities (with more than 1,000 beds) for October 2016.

Many university markets have yet to weigh in, so it will be interesting to see how the top 20 shakes out as the leasing season begins in full force.

Dave Sorter

Dave Sorter

Journalist

Dave Sorter is an award-winning journalist who spent 30 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining Axiometrics. He oversees all Axio blogs and newsletters and serves as senior editor of all Axio publications.

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