- June 1, 2015: Vol. 27, Number 6

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Making the grade: Real estate goes to school, and investors are coming along for the ride

by Michael Lester

This isn’t your father’s dormitory. This isn’t even your dormitory.

In the past 10 years, student housing in America has changed dramatically. When you went to college, you probably shared a room, and the bathroom was at the end of the hall. Today’s college dorms usually have private bedrooms and bathrooms. After your freshman year, you probably lived off-campus in a funky house shared with too many fellow students or in a run-down apartment rented from an absentee alumnus. Today, new off-campus housing built for the millennial generation has James Beard restaurants, spas, sundecks, and supportive, accessible staff.

As the student housing sector has ascended in amenities and investor acceptance, rewards and returns for owners and operators also have trended upward.

In part, the sector is riding the coattails of the broader multifamily sector. “In the last few years, the employment picture has been stronger, household income has been rising, and the eco

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