Student Housing Business

MAY-JUN 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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community for more than three consecutive years, and the incentives increase over time," says Huereque. "This is counter to the traditional model where we, as an industry, give ridiculous concessions away upon entry, only to lose our resident base in year two when the honeymoon is over." To use data predictively, Huereque says operational data can supplement third-party research but only if you already have a good understanding of the city set. "Migration patterns (including university enrollment), discretionary income and overall consumer behavior will give you a strong indication of what the future holds in store for your asset. I would recommend survey- ing pertinent businesses in the area and watching activity from chains that have a reputation for doing their homework before entering a space. If your demographics align, it may give you some additional peace of mind when making your final decisions." Similar psychographic analyses back up data- driven strategies for on-campus development as well as off-campus development. According to Julie Skolnicki, EdR's senior vice president of university partnerships, EdR evaluates roughly three areas when considering a deal: market data; design and construction data; and operat- ing data. The REIT accesses widely available sources, such as IPEDS (integrated post-second- ary education system data), common data sets and Axiometrics data, as well as their own inter- nal database that benchmarks comps. "To really make a proposal exceptional, you have to have a unique understanding of what makes that university special," Skolnicki says. "Each campus is committed to its own brand and mission. Understanding their strategic goal is incredibly important. So you take that cultural understanding and then you apply it to data. This helps you understand who they are really trying to recruit and why, and this leads you to outline the type of project that makes the most sense and will help them truly differentiate." Dare to be Different Data is helping many companies carve out a unique market share by cultivating a brand and identity that keeps properties distinct from their competition. "People have been using data for years," says Jennifer Casey, director of leasing and training for GMH Capital Partners. "What does enroll- ment look like? How many competitors are in town? Is the college growing? But I think now it's shifted more toward defining what your product really is. How much of the market is available for this product, and what part of that market share could you take with a different twist or concept?" Casey, a PhD, relies partially on generational studies to understand how to shape such con- cepts. She's been intrigued by a recent insight that indicates students today are drawn to old- fashioned values. "The generation that is just now entering col- lege is mirroring my grandparents' generation, the Greatest Generation. They have a very strong work ethic. It might look differently with all the technology in their lives than it did when our grandparents were working in offices or factories, but their work ethic and desire for knowledge is quite strong. They want ties but they don't want helicopter parents like the Millennials had. And they very much want to feel connected. They don't just want to live with you, they want to go out on a Habitat for Humanity build with you. All of this impacts what we build and how we build it." Design wise, Casey recommends looking at retail sales trends in a par- Impossible Meets Possible. We approach student housing differently at Capstone Real Estate Investments and have built our portfolio on a unique end-to-end value-add process that makes even the most impossible project possible. With aggressive, long-term growth in mind and multiple acquisitions already complete for 2018, we are seeking talented individuals to join our team. Opportunities exist across our portfolio as well as at our corporate headquarters in Birmingham, AL. View Career Opportunities at: C A PSTO N ER E A LE STAT EI N V E ST M E N TS.C O M 402 OFFICE PARK DRIVE, STE. 150 | BIRMINGHAM, AL 35223 Southern Grown, Nationally Recognized For Over 28 Years! DATA AND ANALYTICS May/June 2018 62 JENNIFER CASEY Director of Leasing and Training, GMH Capital Partners JULIE SKOLNICKI Senior Vice President of University Partnerships, EdR

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