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Student housing remains a strong investment market. Major metropolitan cities are usually the best locations for student housing, and currently the top markets include San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco, along with Houston and Dallas in Texas as well as the Southeast in Tampa, Orlando and Atlanta. Top markets for student housing, however, are also focused on the school, sports and student population.

“In student housing investment, we always start by focusing on the anchor university.  We believe the strongest opportunities are at large, public, power five football conference universities, as well as at group of five universities that are located in major metropolitan areas,” says Frederick W. Pierce, IV, president and CEO at Pierce Education Properties. “Within those subsets, we seek universities with 20,000 or more undergraduate students or 25,000 total enrollment.  Individual market dynamics will be unique as to opportunities for core, core plus, value-add and/or ground up development.”

Because the school is so important to the success of a student housing development or investment, Pierce recommends that investors work alongside the school. However, that can often be a challenge and not always a necessity. “We endeavor to build a strong relationship with local universities in all instances,” he says. “That being said, it is the exception rather than the rule that there would be some type of formal cooperation or master lease arrangement with the nearby university.  Such a contractual relationship is not required to have a very successful off-campus student housing community.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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