Trend Alert: What Student Renters Want

Trend Alert - reports on the latest trends in the rental marketWelcome to our newest column, Trend Alert! We’ll report here on what the numbers are telling us about rental housing trends in Seattle and across the country. Since it’s that time of year when the college students start flocking back to school, we thought we’d make todays’ focus¬†student housing.¬†Because while not all of us have a dorm to run (thank goodness!), plenty of us rent units to student renters–let’s see what unit types and amenities they’re looking for these days.

Today’s data was prepared by J Turner Research and first reported here. The info was gathered by surveying over 7,000 college students, both graduate and undergrad.

Housing preference: Mid-rise buildings most popular

When asked what type of building they preferred to live in, the response showed that college students still prefer to have a sense of community in their living spaces. Mid-rise buildings were the most popular, with micro-units coming in last:

  • Mid-rise building: 38%
  • Community cottage/townhouse: 33%
  • Single-family home: 13%
  • High-rise building: 9%
  • Micro-unit: 7%

Apartment design: The future is now

When it comes to the design and decor of their apartments, students are all about modernity. An overwhelming number preferred to live in a modern-styled space, while some responded that they didn’t care at all:

  • Modern design: 50%
  • “Homey” or traditional design: 34%
  • “Funky, eclectic community” design: 6%
  • No preference: 10%

Communal spaces: Fitness center most utilized

Students were asked to rate communal spaces on a scale of one to nine, with one being very likely to use, and nine meaning unlikely to use. Surprisingly, bike storage came in at the bottom of the list (which we have abbreviated):

  • Fitness center: 2.49 (most likely to be used)
  • Study areas: 3.76
  • Computer labs: 3.89
  • Coffee shop: 4.08
  • Game room: 5.86
  • Bike storage: 6.97

Apartment size vs. cell phone service: the showdown

Finally, we’ll contrast two factors students look at when selecting housing. While just 27% of respondents said that apartment size was extremely important, a whopping 49% stated that cellular reception was extremely important. Looks like cell service trumps apartment size by quite a bit! It’s good to know where students’ priorities lie.

For the rest of the numbers and some very colorful graphs, check out the full report here. And have a great weekend–we’ll see you again next week!