Real estate developers and investors, as well as, colleges and universities are under constant pressure to stay innovative and meet residential students’ needs and expectations in the ever-evolving digital age. COVID-19 has provided its own significant impacts in the way in which student housing is designed, constructed and managed, which leads to interesting 2021 predictions for the student housing industry.
This article will go into a comprehensive deep dive into the latest construction trends surfacing within student housing, providing developers and real estate investors with data to improve retention rates.
Leading Development Trends – Technology
Even with remote learning being at an all-time high this past year, the desire and expectation for top-notch internet speed and technology within student housing is still a heated demand. Students not only want high-quality WiFi, but it has also now become a necessity for learning, and one that is pedestaled to support academic success. This, along with leveraging smart technologies that are favored by the Gen Z crowd, will likely be prioritized the next school year since 57% of them are enrolled in both two and four-year colleges. Technology is an ever-evolving trending area, and one that will more than likely continue to be a leading implementation now and for generations to come.
Accommodating Physical and Mental Health Concerns
Not only does this trend target the safety and well-being of students with the still uncertain reality of COVID-19, but it also touches on the fact that newer generations are more health-conscious than ever before. This means more access to healthy food choices, high-quality exercise equipment, and a strong emphasis on mental health within resident programming. This craving can also foster ideas that allow students more private time, such as establishing flexible study locations and even opening housing to allow pets for even more “feeling like home” vibes.
Direct COVID-19 Predictions
With the pandemic, there is undoubtedly going to be predictions that are directly related to this crisis, one of them being the probability of developers incorporating more square footage to support social distancing efforts. You may even find that student housing will become much more air centric, meaning that the floorplans will have additional access to windows for them to soak in the fresh air. Now, before you think that this is something that is entirely influenced by COVID-19, sure, it pushed the drive, but this was something that was already non-negotiable. Students wanted their flexible living space, more room, and more natural light exposure early on. This means that this trend may have surfaced faster because of the pandemic, but it was one already bound to happen at some point or another.
Student Housing Continues to Move Forward
With the student housing market enduring the pandemic in 2020, predicting what the future looks like in still an uncertain time is deemed a tricky one. Though the first half of 2021 may have the same dust as 2020, the second half will hopefully pick up more speed as general contractors work rigorously to accommodate the current trends and economic circumstances. In summary, the efforts that are being done today are what will shape the future overall, and even if the present times are challenging and not precisely predictable as a whole, the value from the efforts being done now have promising outcomes.
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