Research shows construction of LSU student apartments could slow down

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Many students at LSU don't care much for the dorm life, and that's why off-campus apartments such as Sterling Burbank are so attractive.

One student tells 9News he and most of his friends prefer living off campus. "I feel like you have more freedom than like a regular dorm," said Brad Frazier, a junior at LSU. "Like you can have pets here, it's more adult, if that makes sense. Like it feels more mature than living in dorms. Like dorms have stuff going on all the time, here it's kind of chill."

Sterling Burbank is one of the newest complexes, built a year and half ago. There's been a surge of student complexes built near LSU in the last 25 years, such as Burbank Commons, University Crescent, and The Cottages, but according to some researchers, that surge could come to a halt.

The National Center for Education Statistics projects a nationwide decline in college enrollment starting in 2018. "Right now, we're riding a little trend down, our enrollment is down just a little," said Brian Andrews, assistant director for the LSU Real Estate Research Institute.

Andrews says the declining enrollment will have two major effects on these apartments in Baton Rouge. For one thing, rent will go down because there will be more competition.

"They have to, when you have fewer students looking for spaces in your apartment complex, the only way you can keep your vacancy where it is is to steal from other apartment complexes."

Andrews also expects that construction of these complexes will eventually slow down, and possibly stop altogether. "I think you are going to see a reduction in new construction. For a couple of reasons, as the rents go down, the feasibility of building an apartment complex goes down. If construction costs stay the same or they go up, and rents go down. Investors may say, 'You know, it's just not worth it to build a student apartment complex right now.'"

Most students at these complexes say they pay between $500 and $600 a month for rent, with two to three roommates.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.