Student Housing’s Lux 10 Percent

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Real estate investors are plunging into the high tide of college enrollments, and they build luxury for the top 10 percent. Here’s what’s going up in Tuscaloosa and Auburn for the most affluent — or lavishly indebted — scholars.

Marketing phrases like “World Class Luxury” and “Student Living Redefined” are among those used in Tuscaloosa and Auburn to illustrate the distinct trend in upscale off-campus housing for today’s college students.

It’s common to find resort-style living with pools, volleyball, fitness centers, tanning beds, putting greens, dog parks, game rooms – along with more standard touches like study lounges and computer labs. Not to mention high-end finishes like granite and stainless steel in units. Security and high-speed Internet also are important.

Newer on-campus residence halls have enhanced offerings to cater to students seeking more privacy and conveniences. Individual bedrooms and bathrooms, and sometimes, flat screen TVs, queen-sized beds and washers and dryers are included.

“It’s a burgeoning industry driven by what has been perceived as tenant demand and demographics with the wave of college age kids entering the pipeline,” says Jim Andrews, an Alabama real estate expert. “It’s also driven in part by the aging housing stock of what is available.”