STUDENT HOUSING TRENDS
As Ireland changed significantly over the last twenty years so have the needs and wants of Students leaving home to attend University or Colleges throughout the country. The traditional dormitory with hall bathrooms is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Private developers with thanks to Section 50 (A scheme of tax relief for rented residential accommodation for third level students) are providing modern, stylish and attractive alternative to on-campus housing. These days about a third of all third level students live in purpose-built residential accommodation, both University owned and independent.
The ability to attract students and to maintain high occupancy relies on the development to provide adequate housing that meets student’s needs in terms of taste, level of study, location and affordability.
The Centre for Facilities Research of the APPA conducted a study of nearly 14,000 students. It is interesting to note that 11.1% of the respondents preferred to live in a privately owned and operated apartment complex that is designed for students and featured private bedrooms and baths and 36.3% of the respondents preferred other off-campus housing. Thus, including the commuter students, almost half (48.6%) of the students would rather live off-campus.
When the students surveyed were asked to rank the most important consideration in choosing their college accommodation security was ranked first, followed by proximity to campus and cost. For a majority of respondents, a hugely important factor in the housing decision included: no Internet access (92.9%), no laundry facilities on premises (84.9%), no cable TV (75.7%) and no kitchen (57.4%). For approximately half of the respondents (49.3%), sharing a bedroom was not acceptable. While security and cost are important considerations, the survey revealed other amenities that are important to students;
- Private bedroom (95%)
- Proximity to campus (74%)
- Fitness centre (74%)
- Private bathroom (73%)
- Nearby restaurants (50%)
In conclusion, evidence shows today’s students have significantly higher expectations for student housing than the generation prior and are willing to pay an additional fee for certain amenities. It’s imperative that any new student developments have all modern conveniences necessary including self contained bathroom off the bedroom and quality internet facilities within each room. Location is important but may not be as paramount as previously years due to improved transport links and to many of the Irish third level Institutes.