“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” – Albert Einstein
This quote perfectly illustrates the value of learning and education. And leaders in the Student Housing community are focused on creating the right environment for students where they live and learn – as well as relax, work, research and hang out.
Our team spent last week immersed in all things Student Housing at the NMHC Student Housing Conference in Las Vegas. This is an important event that brings together leaders from all facets of the sector including owners, operators, investors, lenders and university partners. The conference aims to deliver the knowledge, tools, programs and connections necessary to shape the future of this industry.
Here are a few key themes that stood out:
1. Student Housing has been the most stable out of all the MDU real estate investments.
From historically high occupancy rates at 95.1% (source: RealPage, Marcus & Millichap) to bets being placed on this market segment, Student Housing shows a strong footing and positive outlook – despite economic headwinds. Additionally, the 18-year-old demographic (the traditional student profile) is growing, and the consistent Student Housing demand helps with diversification as students attend colleges irrespective of the economic cycle.
2. Centralization will change the pace of onsite operations.
Time and resources are limited, but Student Housing services and onsite staff will benefit from the new focus around centralization of property technology and processes. Whether its automation, applying analytics or scaling and optimizing business processes, student services will increase in nimbleness with this approach. Additionally, we saw that a shared vision among properties and increased collaboration created a better, more consistent experience for both residents and staff.
3. This wouldn’t be a top-5 list without AI.
On the agenda, between-session conversations and in The Hub, Artificial Intelligence technologies headlined the discussions, including phone answering systems from companies like Entrata, service optimization and budget what-if analysis to help with decision making. AI promises to impact day-to-day operations, leasing processes, security, and even optimizing roommate matching.
4. Sustainability, Connectivity and Smart Communities will have the biggest impact on investment priorities.
Today’s students care about sustainability; according to Deloitte, Gen Z is adopting more sustainable behaviors than any other group. Investing in sustainable design and energy-efficient solutions can reduce both operational costs and the environmental impact. Connectivity improvements enable seamless remote learning and collaborative experiences, while smart community features enhance safety and convenience. These investments prioritize the holistic well-being of students, making student housing more attractive, cost-effective and environmentally responsible, ultimately redefining the landscape of student accommodations. Additionally, one of my favorite sessions was titled, “Technological Convergence, Implementing Internet and Property Technology: The What, When and How.” A lot of discussions resulted from this session, and Nomadix’s technology solutions are playing an important role in helping bring connected experiences to life for student housing communities – including increasing net-operating income (NOI) and valuation for property investors.
5. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what truly listening can do.
I love that this industry strives for reinvention. As demographics and student preferences change, it’s great to see the industry looking for new ways to address and exceed expectations. Listening to feedback through direct conversations and from technology, data and AI will be key to staying on top of the market shifts. Our team at Nomadix and our partners regularly attend industry conferences, connect with our customers and build technology that solves real problems student housing properties face.
NMHC and its conferences create an important platform and community that positively impacts our industry. We are thrilled we were able to participate and sponsor a conference for the Student Housing industry that creates impactful experiences for where students sleep, live and learn. I would like to hear your thoughts on the conference. Please reach out to me to discuss and if you are interested in learning more about Nomadix’s Managed Wi-Fi solution for Student Housing.
Mike Womack is VP of Partner Sales – Americas with Nomadix.