Saturday, 30 August 2014

The student housing crisis

The Edmonton Journal reported on the challenging issues for student residence (read the article here).  With Edmonton's vacancy rate at 1.4% and student housing at the schools selling out for year and years in a row, it is significantly difficult for students to find a place to live that is even remotely near their school.  International students find it even more difficult; often they are navigating a new language, have never rented before and have never seen a lease document and don't know the country let alone the city; all on top of what a young adult experiences when they leave home to attend school.

I'm currently working on a project that could fill this need.  I want to build a mixed use multi-family building on Whyte avenue.  This innovative building would be marketed to international students as value added housing, I'll explain what that means in a bit.  Many students coming from Asia use study abroad agencies to locate a school for them and the agencies would only be able to offer student residence, if available.  Once this building is constructed I would form some sort of partnership with these agencies to promote my building.  The services I would offer the students when they arrive would be support in getting a bank account set up, phone set up, travel and tourism information, connection to a community; that is the value added part.  Having these partnerships with the agencies would allow for more regular - prescreened applicants; which in turn would allow me to have more flexibility in the lease terms (not offer only one year lease terms).  These additional services would warrant a higher monthly lease rate, or when times are bad differentiate the product from the competition.

But....The building is not constructed, and why - well that story is for another day!

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