Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on-campus accommodation is facing some unique challenges, and there is increased demand for private student housing that not only has desirable amenities, but takes students’ health and wellness into consideration. Today’s guest, Zach Feldman, is the VP of Development at Aptitude Development, which is one of the nation’s top student housing firms. Aptitude currently owns 1,500 beds with another quarter million dollars of student housing under construction or set to break ground. Prior to Aptitude, Zach launched Enjoy 77 Holdings, which is a real estate investment company specializing in student housing and multifamily investment in the northeast and is still active today. In this episode, Zach shares his perspective on safe and affordable student housing, why COVID has been a tailwind for their business, and how Aptitude stays competitive. He also weighs in on metrics for multifamily versus student housing, building ground-up as opposed to buying existing, and how Aptitude uniquely designs their buildings with students in mind. Tune in today!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Zach shares a bit about himself, what he does, as well as how he got into student housing.
- The student housing landscape pre-COVID – Zach saw it heading in the right direction.
- Why COVID has been a tailwind for the private student housing industry.
- Zach’s thoughts on why college education will never go 100% online.
- What operators can do to protect their downside – know the risks, be prepared, have a plan.
- Being in roll-out-of-bed locations from colleges – how Aptitude stays competitive.
- Student housing metrics are similar to multifamily, but things like enrollment growth and occupancy rates must also be considered.
- Considering the student body’s needs and how Aptitude designs buildings.
- The importance of a leasing office and to-scale models when it comes to student housing.
- If you properly underwrite, manage construction, and have realistic timelines, you should never have occupancy issues.
- Ground-up versus buying existing – rather build and sell at a 5 cap than buy at a 5 cap.
- While student housing is similar to multifamily, it is uniquely designed with students in mind.
- Why the one tool Zach can’t do without is his iPhone; beware the paralysis by analysis mentality.
- Zack attributes his success to keeping his head down and being confident in what he’s doing.
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: