University of North Carolina Student Housing Report 2018-19

Contributing Author: Sean Lyons

An in-depth analysis of the private student housing market at University of North Carolina conducted by Triad Real Estate Partners. Triad Real Estate Partners concentrates in private student housing and multi-family real estate brokerage. Triad Real Estate Partners’ research team compiles in-depth student housing market research reports on leading Universities in the United States.

Total Enrollment: UP 0.33%

Total enrollment at University of North Carolina’s flagship campus in Chapel Hill during the fall 2018 semester is a school record 30,011. Enrollment had been flat for a period of 5 years between 2010 and 2015, hovering in the low 29,000’s, before achieving three consecutive record fall semesters in the years since.

Freshman Enrollment: DOWN 0.69%

First-time freshman enrollment declined for the first time since fall 2012, decreasing by a total of 30 students. The slight dip is nothing for student housing owners to worry about, as the 4,326 new freshmen on campus is still the second highest total in UNC’s 200-plus year history. Furthermore, freshman applications increased for the 13th consecutive year, growing by more than 6% with over 43,000 students attempting to gain admission.

2018-2019 Occupancy: UP 2.47%

Average market occupancy among purpose-built student housing units increased from 94.08% in fall 2017, to 96.56% this September. The uptick in occupancy can be attributed to a lack of new inventory – either on or off campus – as well as slow-but-steady enrollment growth. With a number of proposed projects stalled at planning/approval stages, it looks increasingly likely that there won’t be any significant additions until fall 2020.

Average Rents: UP 4.39%

Asking rents exhibited year-over-year growth of over 4% for the third consecutive fall. Average asking rents increased across all unit types, with 4 and 2 bedroom units showing the strongest growth, increasing by 6.27% and 4.96%, respectively. One bedroom rents grew by just 2.31%, although that is following back-to-back years of over 5% annual growth. One bedroom apartments rent for an average of $1,055 per-month.

Expected Market Additions – Fall 2019: 0 Beds

As of publication, Chapel Hill – and most of the Carolinas – is dealing with widespread flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. While the Research Triangle was spared from the brunt of Florence, such waterlogged conditions are, at best, challenging for construction crews. Apart from acts of God holding up construction, a number of the projects are pending approval from the city council – some of which are no closer to becoming a reality than they were 12 months ago.

Expected Market Additions – Fall 2020 & Beyond: 1,000+ beds

After more than a decade of planning, the Residences at Grove Park looks poised to become a reality. Greystar broke ground on the 364-unit (850-bed), mixed-use complex this past summer on 12-plus acres that was previously home to the 216-bed Townhouse Apartments. While the Residences at Grove Park is not a pure student housing play – 52 of the new townhouses will be dedicated to low income residents – the property will be less than a mile from campus and is adjacent to the successful, 562-bed Lux at Central Park, which opened in 2014. Greystar is shooting for a fall 2020 move-in date.

Of the numerous projects in the pipeline across Chapel HIll, the Graduate project on Keenan Street is the only one specifically targeting UNC students. As its name – and mix of studio, one , and two bedrooms units – would suggest, the Graduate will cater mostly to the 11,000-plus individuals seeking post-bachelor’s degrees at UNC.

Sean Lyons | Partner

Triad Real Estate Partners
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