Blackstone, Brookfield Asset Management, and other private equity firms are investing billions to create or buy upscale off-campus housing for college students now that the institutions are unlocking their classrooms, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Deals involving student housing totaled $2.52 billion during the first six months of this year, compared to $1.68 billion during the first half of 2020, the WSJ reported.
In 2020, when most colleges and universities switched to remote learning, many students chose to continue to live in their college-area housing, keeping rent collections steady.
Students “said, ‘Who cares if it’s remote learning?’ The last thing I want to do is stay in the room I’ve lived in since eighth grade’,” Al Rabil, CEO of Kayne Anderson Real Estate, said to the WSJ.
Rabil’s company has developed 50 student housing properties, totaling 34,000 beds across 23 states.
With schools returning to in-person learning, investors expect the student housing market to grow even stronger.
Last month, Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust agreed to buy a majority stake in eight student housing projects, totaling 5,416 beds, for $784 million, the WSJ said.
The properties, to be developed and managed by the Georgia-based Landmark Properties, will be laden with amenities, some including separate game and video rooms, fully equipped gyms, and, in some cases, swimming pools.
Brookfield is talking with Scion Group, a Chicago developer of student housing, to partner in buying $1 billion worth of student residences, the WSJ said. The deal would be Brookfield’s first venture into the field.
Enrollments have been trending higher at four-year schools, despite the COVID virus’s Delta variant, the WSJ reported, encouraging the new investments in student housing.
More than 1,000 colleges and universities are mandating students to be vaccinated if they are to live and study on campus, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
TRENDPOST: Students who rent apartments from private equity companies will be groomed to accept the idea of later renting homes from them, cultivating generations of real estate serfs who pay high prices to occupy homes they can never own.
These renters will be denied the most common way that most Americans have built wealth: through home ownership. Paying premium rents to profit-driven landlords will keep these renters capital-poor, financially frustrated, and driven to press for social and political reform that will create more opportunities for them.

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