The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a major impact on all aspects of on- and off-campus student housing. In an attempt to better assess that impact and the sector’s outlook for the future, Student Housing Business conducted a survey of industry professionals over the course of several weeks in May.
The survey was segmented by industry function for specific elements of the business, allowing SHB to better understand the pandemic’s distinct influence on each segment of the industry.
Of the survey’s 569 respondents, 119 defined their company’s role in the industry as that of a vendor or service provider. In this segment of the industry, 26 percent of companies laid off or furloughed employees at the corporate level and 31 percent of companies instituted pay cuts.
With 84 percent indicating yes, the vast majority of respondents saw an impact on their company’s sales and volume of business due to COVID-19. Less than 8 percent saw a positive impact on sales due to the pandemic, with 50 percent incurring a negative impact and 19 percent defining the pandemic’s impact as very negative.
When asked to further detail COVID-19’s impact on sales and volume of activity, nearly half of respondents noted that business was down by 20 percent to 30 percent. Nineteen percent of those polled indicated no change in levels seen through the month of May.
The verdict was an even split on the topic of whether business will return to normal at some point during 2020; fifty-one percent of those polled indicated yes and 48 percent indicated no.
In terms of production timeline and supply chain, 47 percent of vendors noted that they had been impacted by COVID-19, with nearly half of respondents describing the impact as medium. Only 22 percent of respondents experienced strong impacts to their production timeline due to the pandemic.
Over half of the vendors polled by SHB were somewhat concerned about getting paid by student housing owners and operators in this environment and about getting their products and delivering their services in a normal fashion.
— Katie Sloan