The “over amenitization” of properties is one of the biggest trends I’ve witnessed over the last five years in the student housing -- and it’s one we continue to see today.
We’ve seen the installation of amenities like lazy river pools, spas and rock climbing walls, in some markets these are actually considered necessities, not luxuries. Of course students love these over-the-top features, but my concern is with parents who think it’s just too much. They may start to worry that these high-end amenities are a distraction from their child’s studies. Parents may say to their child - "I want you to live in a nice, safe place, but I don't know that you really need a lazy river at your community.”
Many developers only add these high-end amenities because people think they’re cool, not because of an overwhelming want or need in the market. Over the next five years, I believe that developers will finally realize that these luxury amenities are just escalating construction costs and creating student housing that caters only to high-end affluent students.
What residents really want is the best Internet and information technology (IT) features in their community. Students won’t stand for inconsistent Internet service, and every unit must be well-equipped for wireless Internet connections. Students’ lives and studies revolve around the Internet, and they typically have three-to-five devices connected to the Internet at any given time. Residents expect their community to provide the IT infrastructure that fits their constantly connected lifestyle. We know that the emphasis on Internet delivery will continue to increase as content consumption shifts from broadcast television to Internet streaming. Property owners can no longer buy a technology service simply because it came in at the lowest price - they have to consider the quality of service. Now and over the next few years, owners will need to increase engagement with their technology service providers to be sure they are providing resident’s with high-quality services that meet their needs. Students are becoming more and more reliant on the Internet and owners will need to keep up with the constant demand for better, faster services.
David J. Adelman is the President & CEO of Campus Apartments