Atlanta — Landmark Properties, Campus Apartments and Capstone On-Campus Management shared their unique positions in the marketplace.
Atlanta — A panel of executives explained key points of student housing to a room of journalists, attending the 47th annual National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) conference in Atlanta June 6. Student Housing Business editor Randy Shearin moderated a panel of industry executives Miles Orth, executive vice president and chief operating officer with Campus Apartments, Wes Rogers, president and CEO of Landmark Properties and Doug Brown, president of Capstone On-Campus Management (COCM). The panel discussed a series of topics intended to help those who cover the sector understand it more thoroughly.
Brown represented trends on campus, telling the audience his company is required to be "stewards of enrollment management," explaining how different COCM's role is compared to a firm solely developing luxury off-campus housing. While Capstone is often credited as developing the first purpose-built student housing, the company split into four separate businesses in January 2012. COCM operates housing primarily for first and second-year students on university campuses, often functioning as though they are the university itself.
While Rogers shared with the journalists the difference of the housing Landmark Properties builds and manages. With approximately $400 million worth of student housing under construction, Rogers talked of the upper market of students, looking for big, resort-style amenities and single-family living at the same time. Landmark is credited for developing the cottage concept and says the key to his company's stability and success are developments in good locations, that include green space, amenities and differentiation among the types of cottages students can live in.
Orth said Campus Apartments operates somewhere in between the other two businesses, with 36,000 residents and leases, Campus Apartments builds on and off-campus and tries to capture a large and diverse swath of renters, offering amenities, proximity to campus and value to its student renters. Orth told the audience that the industry is sound and attractive because the number of purpose-built student housing beds only accounts for 2 percent of demand and that the money has changed since the early days of the sector. Now, he said student housing three REITs are performing 300 basis points better than comparable REITs on the NAREIT Index.
The three panelists agreed on the industry's challenges: overbuilding and supply and demand fundamentals, saying that many projects are built that shouldn't be. Keeping an eye on high barrier-to-entry development is more important than ever before.