The fundamentals surrounding investments in student housing has never been stronger, and concerns that growing online learning — rather than on campus — would erode the business has been debunked by the COVID-19 experience, during which student housing assets continued to perform. What’s more, the niche real estate sector has strong tailwinds, thanks to increased college enrollments now and into the near future.
That is the assessment from Christopher Merrill, co-founder and CEO of Harrison Street, a real assets investment management firm with positions in the student housing space.
“Online learning really did not work; students didn’t like it,” Merrill said during a Real Assets Adviser podcast on the subject. “Parents didn't like it. Educators didn't like it. Students wanted to be part of that college experience and setting.”
Merrill observed that Harrison Street properties remained occupied during the pandemic, both because students wanted to b