Ah, summertime in Fayetteville: the students have left town, traffic is light, and you can sidle up to a table at your favorite restaurant, no waiting. And while we like downshifting the tempo for a hot second, what we love most about Fayetteville is its college-town energy. So we are thinking ahead to late July/early August when the co-eds will flock back in a frenzy to secure housing for the coming semester, and we’re curious… Will there actually be enough this year?
Last August, you probably heard tales of the student housing dilemma. The total student population for Fall 2022 at the University of Arkansas was 30,936, including 7,096 incoming freshmen. Spoiler alert: Fall 2023 is projected to have an even larger freshman class! And while there are some exemptions to the on-campus residence rule for incoming freshmen, the majority are required to reside in the dorms for the entirety of their first year. To put these numbers in perspective, there are currently 19 Residence Halls on campus, for a total of 6,200 beds. You don’t have to CLEP Calc 101 to decipher the obvious shortfall.
U of A spokesman Christopher Spencer, Assistant Director for Marketing and Strategic Communications for the University of Arkansas, tells NWALook: “There are no immediate plans to build additional dormitories for students”. But in response to the anticipated shortage, the University is diligently working to obtain contracts with four additional apartment complexes to accommodate the influx: The Cardinal, The Locale Fayetteville, The Marshall, and Ozark Villas. Rates and availability are expected to be announced in June.
The University also has an existing contract with the Duncan Street Apartments for housing upperclassmen. These off-campus apartments cost $3,526 for a one-bath and $3,734 for a two-bath unit (per semester). Compare this to the median cost for a single-room residence hall at $4,663 and double room cost of $3,756.
Here at NWALook, we believe the increasing collaboration between the University and local apartment complexes is likely to cause a pricing ripple throughout the Fayetteville area. Amid fewer options and a potential rate hike, the entirety of prospective renters in the area would be affected— particularly upperclassmen who are not required to reside on campus. As of this writing, there are 149 active rentals in Fayetteville, with an average of 17 DOM and a median asking price of $1,873 per month— the average size being 3 bed/2 baths and 1,502 sf. We’ll keep a finger on the pulse This may also impact upperclassmen as they may have to search for apartments rather than student housing since they’re not required to live on campus.
The outlook is not as grim as facing a 7:30am Statistics final, however. Along with the downside of the student housing shortage, we can also foresee a potential upside here at NWALook! The situation presents a great opportunity for larger investors to enter the Fayetteville market and contribute to the construction of additional apartment complexes. And by increasing the overall supply of rental units, these investors could thereby help stabilize rental prices, offering a potential win-win for both students and the local community. We also see a chance for smaller investors to purchase single multi-family homes within easy driving distance to the University, for use as rental properties.
The bottom line? The University is striving to secure contracts with local complexes, but in the meantime, we could see an uptick in rental prices. With the door wide open for bold real estate investors to step in and help alleviate the shortage and thus potentially stabilize rental prices, there’s a tremendous opportunity. Do you know someone looking to invest in NWA? Share these timely insights and let NWALook be your trusted guide through this change in the local rental landscape. After all, you’ll need something to talk about over that dinner you won’t be waiting in line for…
Arkansas Off-Campus Housing Link
New rates will be posted in June.
Duncan Avenue Apartments are designated for upperclassmen housing. Four students occupy each apartment.