Wake Forest University / Signet Enterprises

Winston-Salem,

Student Housing Market Assessment

B&D was engaged by Signet Enterprises in 2015 to determine if a market existed for a proposed 328-bed Deacon Place project located near Wake Forest University’s Reynolda campus. The university had a three-year live-on requirement for undergraduates but did not have plans to provide additional senior housing. The objective of our market assessment was not only to confirm demand for the purpose-built student housing project, but also to identify market opportunities for it. Methodologies employed in this study included:

• A review of Signet’s proposed project’s site plan, building program, amenity package, and proposed rental rates
• A review of the university’s campus master plan, student demographics, and other pertinent reports
• Stakeholder interviews to gain qualitative information about housing policies, campus dynamics, and the vision for on-campus housing’s future
• Focus groups with students to understand their current housing situations, determine what factors influence their housing decision, gauge their interest in the proposed project, and gather feedback about proposed unit configurations and amenities
• A demographic analysis of the university’s students to identify the project’s likely target market
• An existing conditions analysis of on-campus housing with respect to location, quantity, housing type, rental rates, and policies
• An off-campus market analysis to understand the competitive arena in which the project would compete
• A student housing demand analysis to confirm demand for the project, based on key market data

We confirmed sufficient demand existed to move forward with the proposed 328-bed project. We provided further recommendations and considerations, including that two-bedroom units should be included to cater to graduate and professional students wanting a more private living arrangement, and that some two-bedroom / one-bath units should be included to provide a lower price point option. We also determined that the project’s key selling points were its superior location proximate to campus, its design and amenity packages (which fostered a strong sense of community), and its competitive price compared to competitors.