Whats the farthest student housing should be from campus?

13 Replies

Hey guys what would you consider to be max distance/time student housing should be from their campus? Thanks! I'm looking at a property right now that might be good for renting to students.  I believe the closest campus is about 13 mins away. Is that too far or would be desirable for a student? Thanks -Peter

Depends on the market and what is normal for the area. If there is a lot of student housing, 5 min walk from campus, then 13 min is too far. 

You don’t say if it’s 13 min walk or drive?  

In my market 13 min walk would be too far for me, since the competition is much closer. Proximity is a huge driver for students. 

I agree with @Tim S. that it depends on your market. I try to keep mine within a couple of blocks of campus. Also, be aware that the farther from campus you go, even if it is still considered desirable, the lower the rents you will most likely be able to command. But, it will probably be less expensive to buy the property as well. Lots to consider :-)

Hi I appreciate the input. It would be about 13-15 min drive. Although it may be a bit “far” there looks to be about 2-3 other colleges in the area. Thanks again!


The closer the better and as soon as you are not close, it is not really student housing anymore, even if you think you might also get a student to rent. I would say anything within 1/2 mile is probably a good general rule, but of course each campus has it's area where the students live and that could be along a bus line - who knows.

LOL. The other investors can have all the student housing they want. Around here, the properties are high priced in relation to rents and with students, you never know how much damage they might do in 9 months. Too much variable, too much cost and too much turn over for me. I never quite understood the allure, because there are renters in pretty much every market. I always hear people say "it's so easy to rent" and I think, "really?". Different strokes for different folks.

@Merritt S. you make some great points. Several reasons I am considering student housing is 

1) the unit I’m considering renting to is large. 4-5 bedrooms. So I wonder if id be able to get a tenant interested in paying that much for that’s many rooms. 

2) I will be living in a unit so will be in close proximity and should be able to keep a close eye on them. 

3) i don’t think The college students will be as critical on the looks of the property when I rent it out.

Thanks everyone for the input!


If you’re living in one of the units I think you’ll have a hard time renting to students. They are at school away from their parents, they sure as hell don’t want to move into an apartment with their landlord right there telling them no parties. At least I sure wouldn’t have in college.

I think that you may be a little far for most students. As many of the other posts have mentioned, it's all about location and proximity to the school. In Fort Collins, most student housing is within 0.5-1 mile away from campus. BUT, if that distance is pretty typical for your area, you could be successful in renting to students. Best of luck! 

@Merritt S.    I can rent my 6br 3ba house for $3700/mo.  If it was regular housing I could get maybe $2400.  It is set up for student housing, it's not pristine, some puke here and there isn't a problem, maybe  a broken window or two, clogged toilet now and then, no big deal.  I have turn over once a year. like clockwork.  I want a few more just like it. 

Benefits: I put a sign on the lawn and in 1 week I have more groups of students than I can handle.  I have zero vacancy.  They always pay their rent.  For the most part they are nice and responsible kids. It's a small expensive private school, the parents are usually upper middle class to wealthy.  The school is not going away, there is nowhere to build competing housing. 

Every market is different.  If I was 4-5 blocks from the school it would be very different. harder to rent, lower rents, and probably would not make sense. 

Some of it depends on how big a presence you have. If you have a lot of other student rentals, a lot of students will come to your site and look at what you offer. If you have nice properties a bit further from campus, they might consider it whereas they wouldn't if you only have that one. Generally, you want to be no further out than the competition and within walking distance, which is probably about 10-15 minutes at most. 

I wrote more about it here: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2015/07/29/introduction-student-housing/ and my dad talked a lot about student housing on his podcast that you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GArzKgkLrSE

13 minutes walk seems reasonable. I would even say a 20 min walk is fine, as that amounts to a 4-5 minute bus ride, and i can't see any students being that averse to riding the bus to school.  

@Peter Arboleda I currently rent to ~130 students across 50 units. It's been my experience that proximity to something fun (i.e. Football stadiums and bars) is as important, if not more, as proximity to the school.

Almost of my properties are walking distance to the college bars and/or football stadium and I've had some properties for 6 or 7 years and have had zero days of vacancy.

Despite what they tell their parents, most kids are in college to have fun.

It depends on campus... for a big campus, you can be 5 minutes from the Engineering building and 20 minutes from the Medical Campus......that’s my case and I have renters anywhere from a 5 min to 20 min walk from different parts of campus they may need to get to. I aim for the med students.... so I try and buy near that part of campus .