University of New Haven

West Haven,

Student Housing Demand Advisory Services

A new student housing development adjacent to the University of New Haven’s campus was under construction in August 2016 when Brailsford & Dunlavey was retained to complete a student market and demand analysis. This housing―the first of three phases of a mixed-use development within easy walking distance to campus―was to include 67 apartment units in studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom configurations. B&D worked with the university to identify student interest in the project, quantify the number of beds that could be occupied by students, and develop a strategy to minimize the university’s system-wide housing occupancy risk.

B&D designed a work plan for this project that consisted of:

• Off-campus research to understand comparable rental properties available to university students
• Development and analysis of an Internet-based student survey to test living preferences and interest in residing in the project
• Projection of total student demand by class and unit types informed by survey results
• A preliminary financial analysis to model various master lease scenarios

While the project was originally estimated to house 134 beds in its 67 units, B&D’s proprietary Demand-Based Programming model revealed that this number did not directly align with the supply because of the greater interest students expressed in the survey for single (private) bedrooms. The revised demand projection then became 119 beds. The demand analysis also showed an opportunity to enter into a master lease agreement and B&D advised that the university take the following steps to ensure the success of such an agreement:

• Develop a strategy to minimize occupancy impact on existing housing
• Review the policies and marketing plan needed to integrate the project into overall housing offerings
• Determine details of the master lease agreement
• Project student demand for future phases of the three-phased project