Canadian Purpose Built Student Accommodation: Huge demand for student housing makes it a lucrative opportunity for investors

As enrolment at Canada’s universities and colleges continues to grow, the space for lecture halls, labs and academic offices is becoming scarcer. The same goes for on- and off-campus student housing.

More than 1.5 million full-time students are currently enrolled in Canadian universities and colleges. They collectively generate a huge demand for rental student housing and, in particular in large urban centres where rents are high, present a predictable source of demand for rental units.

But these days, students aren’t the only ones with an interest in student housing.

The previously ignored sector has become a niche opportunity for investors as well, lured by yields that U.K.-based real estate services provider Savills notes are “currently higher than in many sectors.”

Earlier this year, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) announced that their joint venture, Scion Student Communities, acquired a student housing portfolio worth US$1.1 billion. The portfolio comprises 13,666 beds in 20 university campus markets across the U.S.

Opportunity exists in Canada as well. The growth in the number of post-secondary students here has not been met with a commensurate increase in student-centric housing. The need is most acute in cities such as Toronto, where a collaborative initiative, StudentDwellTO — sponsored by the presidents of the four Toronto universities — aims to find solutions for student housing challenges.


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Apartment Multifamily Brokerage AdvisorsSVN Rock Advisors stays in the know. We are Multifamily Specialists in Brokerage, Feasibility Studies, Purpose Built Apartment Development Consulting, Student Housing Advisors, Canadian Purpose Built Student Accommodation Advisors, Asset Management, Lease-ups & Value Creation.