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Student Housing in a COVID-19 World (go-forward edition)

Student Housing in a COVID-19 World (go-forward edition)
Nov. 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every industry in some way or another from the very start. Student Housing was thought to be no different and predicted to be one of the most heavily impacted industries, as colleges and universities made the move to remote learning.

The good news? From an occupancy standpoint, student housing hasn’t seen the negative impact as initially presumed. While most colleges and universities are offering remote options, many students remain on or local to campus, tied to lease agreements that either they themselves or their parents are adhering to (for now).  

Though we’ve seen significant stabilization in economic occupancy and collections in the broader student housing market, the hiring of senior and executive-level roles has been relatively quiet. Luckily, most leadership teams in this space are well-positioned to carry their respective firms through the pandemic.

Based on our executive searches and consultative discussions with Student Housing CEOs over the past nine months, our team at IBR predicts the largest upcoming hiring trends will be in the equity space. This includes capital raising and acquisition professionals.   Meanwhile, for obvious reasons, development initiatives are on hiatus.

Capital raising and acquisitions are synergetic. The demand from ultra-high net worth family offices, the majority located in the Pacific Rim, for U.S. student housing is substantial. These firms take a patient approach in comparison to domestic institutional investors.  This allows them to acquire properties facing some degree of economic distress or debt coverage issues with current ownership should the pandemic continue to worsen in 2021. Or, quite possibly, the current ownership could already be feeling the sting from economic troubles over the past two years.

As the pandemic continues, the team at IBR will continue to work diligently and uncover emerging trends in Student Housing while devising strategy, succession, and recruiting plans for our clients.  We have over two decades of experience working with acquisitions and capital raising professionals should you be considering these functions to advance your corporate goals. Reach out to Wes at or 412.709.6966.


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