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Student Living Trends to Follow in 2023

by | January 24, 2023

'Student living' is the new watchword for student housing. See which student living trends can make your property more competitive.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The days of cramped, crumbling dormitories are over. While most universities still require first-year students to live on campus, today’s student living trends translate to higher standards for all student housing. 

COVID-19 has changed how many schools approach campus housing. From cleaning initiatives to private bedrooms, the pandemic’s influence on student living is still felt worldwide. 

Living on campus still provides a strong sense of community. It helps students stay involved in campus events and social scenes. Off-campus student living trends seem to support this idea. There’s now more focus on inclusive communal spaces, accessibility, and even going green. 

Here are six student living trends to consider, especially if your target market includes college students:

Communal Living Spaces Over Dormitories

Three students lounge on a sofa while studying on their devices.

Student housing properties have become so much more than a place to sleep and shower. The “new normal” is communal living — where students work, live, eat, study, and even shop. Students also like to be close to sporting events and other campus activities. These shared spaces are meant to encourage student engagement and boost academic success. 

Many of these “mixed-use” living areas feature common areas, such as lounges, kitchens, laundry rooms, gyms, and excellent dining halls. Rather than just a living space, universities hope to help students create communities. 

Along with daily living comforts, these communities are intended to be fully immersive and inclusive. Gender-inclusive spaces help ensure all students have access to the same amenities the rest of their classmates do. 

To create welcoming spaces, schools like the Rhode Island School of Design set aside gender-inclusive floors. The school’s housing applications asked students about their preferences and comfort levels. 

Affordable Student Housing

Students moving into their new apartment.

Since 2019, student housing properties have become the most sought-after asset in commercial real estate. With 8 million students in need of student housing, only 21% of universities are able to house enrolled students on campus. 

Despite this demand, most students are still considered middle-to-low income. Student living trends show most want mixed-use facilities with functional amenities, but expect to find affordable options. 

How can the student housing industry create more affordable living options? Non-traditional housing may be one of the best options:

  • Co-operative living spaces
  • Temporary stays for commuter students
  • Public-private collaborations to decrease construction costs

Privacy Please

A student finds a quiet place for study.

Despite the interest in communal living spaces, students still expect privacy. Demand is up for single-occupancy units, with fewer students living in shared rooms or buildings. 

The pandemic has raised the demand for private living quarters, favoring studio-style apartments with fewer roommates. As a partial solution, many universities have decreased the number of students who share a bathroom. 

However, it’s more expensive to build spaces with single rooms. Despite this increased cost, privacy is one of the largest student living trends. Due to ongoing pandemic restraints, this seems likely to continue long term. Pre- and post-pandemic, only 5% of student housing properties were constructed for double occupancy.  

Room to Study

Closeup of a group of students working outdoors.

Now more than ever, students who share a common space expect a living-learning community. Research supports the idea that students learn better in informal environments compared to the more traditional settings of old. In fact, 14% of students said they require a dedicated study space that allows them to better participate in their classes. 

More than just quiet rooms to work, student living trends have moved towards:

  • Outdoor spaces
  • Spaces equipped with interview technology
  • Shared study spaces with co-learning opportunities

Eco-friendly Everything

A woman puts vegetable scraps into a compost bin.

Sustainability is the way of the future. Gen-Z students are attuned to climate-change issues. They expect residence halls will be environmentally friendly. 

This means more student living properties are being built with green space in mind. From access to nature to non-enclosed living spaces, students are no longer satisfied with cramped dorm rooms. 

The Sierra Club tracks which universities are the most environmentally friendly. Stanford University often tops the list due to its heat-recovery technology that uses recycled water to heat campus buildings. Atop the list is the University of California-Irvine, which boasts leading energy-efficient science laboratories. 

Here are a few ways student living trends are going green:

  • Composting
  • Energy smart appliances
  • Fewer cars on campus
  • LED light bulbs
  • Low-flow showers and toilets
  • Recycling programs
  • Solar panels
  • Student run gardens

Wi-Fi for All

Wi-Fi for all.

This generation of students functions almost entirely through wireless devices. College students wield laptops, iPads, smartphones, and Kindles. They expect to be connected to the internet no matter where they are. Access to outlets and campus-wide Wi-Fi are a must. 

More than just a method of social media entertainment, accessible wireless networks help students and faculty share information and assignments. Students also expect to connect for real time video sharing and communication. Tech access not only improves the quality of living, but it enhances the college experience.

Let Us Help Market Your Property

College Marketing Group has deep experience in marketing student living. Whether you need expert advice or a team of specialists to extend your reach, CMG can help promote your brand to college students and parents.

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