Friedman's Success with Student Housing Continues as Demand for Sector Increases

Posted on July 10, 2014

Farmington Hills, Michigan (July 10, 2014) – Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions, one of the nation’s leading providers of commercial real estate services, is closely monitoring the student housing market as demand continues to increase across the U.S.

From coast to coast, demand for off-campus student housing has literally exploded. Once a niche property sector in only certain parts of the country, over the past two decades student housing has become a primary property type nationally in practically every location with a collegiate presence. The increase in demand is due, in large part, to an uptick in university enrollment. According to the May 2014 issue of Real Estate Forum, public university enrollment increased 40% from 2000 to 2010. Along with the rise in enrollments during this time, there was a 21.4% growth in students seeking off-campus housing.

The university enrollment growth trend is projected to continue through 2020. A Fannie Mae Multifamily Market Commentary recently reported that the average occupancy at university-owned residence halls nationwide is expected to exceed 97.5% through 2017. With occupancy meeting or exceeding capacity on many college campuses, the need for privately-owned off-campus student housing is great.

For student housing developers, owners, managers and investors, this is extremely good news. Eager lenders and record low interest rates are helping fuel these opportunities for the recession-resilient darling of the multi-family industry. With success stories in markets across the U.S., it is clear the future of student housing is very bright.

These opportunities are not without their challenges, however. Unlike traditional multi-family communities, there is a high level of turnover in the highly competitive sector of student housing. In addition, new technologies and social media platforms drive marketing and leasing campaigns to attract and retain residents. Ultimately, owners and managers must be adaptive to the ever-changing needs and trends of the Gen Y student population.

Friedman’s Multi-Family Division has a proven formula for success with the sector throughout the U.S. Friedman recently managed University Ridge Apartments in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The 512-bedroom community is located minutes from the main campus of Middle Tennessee State University which has an enrollment of over 26,000. Along with an attentive management staff, the property’s numerous amenities played a key role in keeping residents engaged and happy: shuttle service to campus, 24-hour study room, pool/Jacuzzi, movie theatre, indoor gym, tanning beds, and wireless internet connectivity. Under Friedman’s management, the property’s physical occupancy increased to 96.7% and its economic occupancy increased to 93.5%. Friedman has since sold University Ridge Apartments.

Here in Michigan, Friedman maintained 100% occupancy while managing the 382-bed community of Hidden Hills Apartments. Located in Kalamazoo, the property which has since been sold, is minutes away from three college and university campuses with a total enrollment of over 40,000. Economic occupancy also increased to more than 94% while Friedman retained management responsibilities.

“While proximity to campus is a key component for success in student housing, so is a commitment to creating positive residential experiences for students through on-site management, innovative marketing and leasing campaigns, and a deep understanding of what students want in terms of amenities,” said Tracy Brown, Director of Multi-Family Management. “Friedman’s reputation as an industry leader was built upon our extensive experience in managing over 8,000 multi-family units across the country.”


Recognized as one of the largest privately-held commercial real estate organizations in the nation, Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions provides clients with a single point of contact for the full range of services it offers.

Friedman manages over 140 facilities encompassing more than 16M SF of commercial and 8,000 multi-family units across the country. Friedman’s brokerage team has over 800 current listings with $10 billion in closed transactions. As owners and managers of commercial property for over 25 years, Friedman understands what it takes to achieve results that maximize the client’s objectives.
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