Often in need of relatively short-term housing while completing their studies, college renters have long been key drivers of the apartment rental market. But what, exactly, are they looking for in an apartment?
From short-term tenet agreements to increased risk of property damage, renting to college students has its obvious pitfalls. However, college towns remain one of the best markets in the United States to own rental property.
This is particularly true of states, like Indiana, in which people generally own homes rather than rent. Forbes Magazine points to Indiana as a prime example of this fact. Although the percentage of renters in most Indiana counties is less than 25 percent, in Monroe County (home to Indiana University at Bloomington) that rate rockets to approximately doubles to 48 percent.
So what can you do to capitalize on the key college student rental sector? Here’s a brief look at what college renters really want from their apartment communities.
Cost, location, and overall value
As the cost of a college education continues to skyrocket, students are generally wise beyond their years when it comes to choosing rental apartments that are reasonably priced.
Surveys of students and recent graduates have increasingly shown that on-campus dorm living has become incredibly expensive. In light of this fact, more and more students are turning to off-campus apartments as a way to stick to their budgets.
In addition to overall apartment cost, college students list location as one of their top concerns, indicating that they may be willing to pay a bit more for a place that is close to campus.
Security, home technology and access to public transportation
After coast and location, renters are highly concerned with security and convenience, ranking gated access high on their list of must-haves. They also value high-tech security measures such as app-controlled door locks. Other home technology devices and infrastructure that renters list as important include built-in USB charging outlets, smart digital thermostats, and Amazon lockers.
Among renters who must live a considerable distance from campus, the convenience of nearby public transportation is also a top concern. According to Apartment Guide, 31 percent of renters are seeking properties with shuttle service to public transportation.
Reaching out to a consumer base that tends to value practical concerns, apartment communities can forget about frivolous incentives. Apartment Guide points out that lease-signing gifts such as free iPads or gift cards may have effectively filled vacancies in the past, but today’s students are looking for something far more substantial.
However, there are many apartment amenities that might be potential deal-breakers regardless of their inessential nature. With 92 percent of renters listing it as a priority, air conditioning is an amenity that many renters simply won’t live without. Other top amenities, such as automatic dishwashers (86 percent) and in-unit washer/dryer combos (77 percent) are equally practical in nature. When it comes to less practical amenities, renters particularly value outdoor spaces such as patios, balconies, and rooftop terraces.
In addition to these key on-site features, apartment complexes can benefit from close proximity to a variety of off-site amenities. For example, 32 percent of renters want to be close to a café or coffee shop while 24 percent of renters want a library nearby.
For more information
If you want to learn more about the top concerns of renters in the college environment, you should talk to an agency with specific expertise in the fields of apartment marketing and resident advertising. A highly innovative and forward thinking marketing firm, Bigeye has countless ideas when it comes to reaching college students in the residential housing marketplace.