Apr 10, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Developers and investors see student housing as the next big smart investment.

The industry is competitive, with developers looking for innovative ways to capitalize on the student rental markets.

What do students want? High-quality housing next to campus, with amenities. They want to be close to services and they want ambiance.

In a recent article on Property Wire, Philip Hillman, international director of student housing at real estate provider JLL in Europe said, "The student accommodation sector has been transformed by a new generation of students who have grown accustomed to higher levels of serviced accommodation than has previously been available. After graduation, they are pursuing similar high-quality accommodation that provides them with flexibility and consistency, regardless of location."

Simon Scott, director of residential capital markets investment at JLL, added that cities like London at the cutting edge. He said, "Co-living is a natural next step for student housing. It provides a flexible, purpose-built product that is available to the wider residential market." 

What's co-living? It's all the rage in property development--and may just be the next best thing in sustainable housing.

James Kingdom, associate director of alternatives research at JLL explains it this way: "Where land values are higher or pressures on land use are greatest, then there is an obvious need to increase the number of people that can live in these locations."

He added, "Modern student housing has a greater emphasis on communal areas, whether that is for dining space, living or leisure use. This is also the standard template for co-living developments. ... These facilities provide the trade-off for a smaller living space and are features that are unlikely to be present in a house share or self-contained flat. Student housing and co-living clearly have an important role to play."

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Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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