Should You Invest in Student Housing?

Here in Niagara and across Canada student housing has become a major investment opportunity. The reason for this is simple: university and college enrolment has been steadily increasing across the country, and post-secondary institutions are struggling to keep up with the housing needs of their students. On top of that, the Federal government has taken measures to help students financially; for instance, last year a 50-per-cent increase was made to the Canada Student Grant amounts for students from low and middle-income families.  In short, this means that more students are actively looking for housing, and they have more money in their pocket to be pay for it.

Experienced investors have been aware of this opportunity for a long time, and they have been buying single-family and multi-unit properties in order to convert them to student housing in post-secondary education hubs like London, Ontario and Kitchener-Waterloo. However, new investors without real estate experience are now seeing an opportunity to invest as many big developers are building new condos aimed at students, and they are looking for buyers to rent those condos out. Due to the high demand for student housing, it is no surprise that condos located near college and university campuses have been among the best-selling condos in the past few years.

Here are a few quick ways to spot a strong student housing investment opportunity:

1.      Location – Students don’t like to travel far if they can help it and bus routes can be a challenge, so make sure that the property is relatively close to campus and other amenities, and check the public transportation routes and schedules to ensure that students can get where they need to go in a timely manner.  

2.      Schools – The bigger the post-secondary institutions in the area and the more of them there are, the more potential renters for your property. If the location you are investing in is relatively close to both a college and a university as opposed to just one or the other (think of the area between Fanshawe College and Western University in London ON), you have a better chance of finding renters quickly.

3.      Expansion – Look for colleges and universities that are undergoing a significant expansion, because this means that their enrolment will increase and with it the demand for student housing.

If you follow these steps closely, you will be well on your way to spotting a strong student housing investment opportunity. For more information on how to invest in student housing, feel free to e-mail me at Barbara.Grumme@Century21.ca.