University of Wisconsin: Student Housing Report 2018-19

Contributing Author: Sean Lyons

An in-depth analysis of the private student housing market at University of Wisconsin 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 1.35%

Total enrollment at the University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus in Madison for the fall of 2018 clocked in at 44,411 – breaking the previous school-record set last fall by 591 students. In general, enrollment growth at UW-Madison has been slow but steady, increasing a total of 741 students between 2010 and 2016. By contrast, over the past two academic years (AY) enrollment has grown by 1,075 total students.

Freshman Enrollment: UP 3.81%

First-time freshman enrollment was up 252 students from last fall for an all-time high 6,862 students. For those keeping score, that’s now record-breaking incoming classes for the past 3 consecutive fall semesters.

International Enrollment: UP 7.05%

The University of Wisconsin’s sustained positive international enrollment growth over the past few years makes it an outlier, as the vast majority of institutions across the country have experienced declines. The continued growth is a testament to the strength of UW’s academic reputation abroad and the total year-over-year increase of 417 students was the largest single year increase in University history. In fall 2018, the 6,306 students attending UW from other countries comprised 14.20% of the total student population

2018-2019 Occupancy: UP 1.45%

A lack of additional purpose-built student housing, coupled with sustained enrollment growth, allowed annual average market occupancy to increase for the first time in the past 4 fall semesters. The student housing fall 2018 average occupancy was 97.30% – which is outperforming the Downtown Madison market rate multi-family occupancy of 96.60%. 

Average Rents: UP 2.17%

Average asking rents increased moderately across all unit types, with beds in studio and three bedroom units reporting the strongest gains, increasing by 2.72% and 2.43% respectively. One bedroom unit rents increased 1.37%, and are now renting for an average of $1,336/month.

Market Additions – Fall 2018: 426 Beds 

While there weren’t any significant by-the-bed student housing properties completed in Madison over the past 12 months, a handful of smaller sized market rate properties – consisting almost entirely of one and two bedroom units – hit the market. Local owner/developer, McGrath Property Group wrapped construction on two properties in Downtown Madison – 151 East Wilson (176 beds) and a redevelopment of the Ols Warehouse Flats (162 beds). Verona-based Forward Developments Group put the finishing touches on The Edge – an 88-bed development located on the 300 block of South Blount Street.

A couple miles north-east up the isthmus (and not included in the total above), Houston-based M-M Properties wrapped construction on The Marling – a 228 market rate complex  with high-end finishes and luxurious amenities.

Expected Market Additions – Fall 2019 & Beyond: 1,000+ beds

Even with unprecedented development this past cycle – which has outpaced an also rampant Milwaukee market – there are still a variety of projects throughout Downtown Madison at various stages of planning, approval and construction. 

Madison-based Palisade Property Management is currently under construction on 700 East, which will feature 54 units (96 beds) and – while it is listed to rent by-the-unit – it is being geared toward students and will be completed by the end of the summer. Urban Land Interests – another Madison-based group – will add 65 units at 1722 Monroe by fall 2019. 

Construction is underway on the parking garage for the Doyle Square redevelopment, which will be a massive, multi-phased, multi-year undertaking. Although exactly what will be built above and around the parking structure is still yet to be finalized, it seems reasonable to presume that in the first phase there will be between 150 and 250 units of both work-force and market-rate housing, as well as a significant retail component.

Sean Lyons | Partner

Triad Real Estate Partners
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