Condo developments near colleges and universities give students more options

Gone are the days of broken faucets, makeshift lodging, and frat-house stenches. (Well, almost.)

For those willing to fork over the extra buck, condo developers are attracting a new demographic: post-secondary students. According to a National Post article published in January, “student living has gone upscale as brand new mid-rise and high-rise buildings sprout up in university towns.”

Today, condo developers are being more strategic with where they’re placing new real estate. In Ontario, condos are being erected in the surrounding campus hot spots in Kingston, Ottawa, Oshawa, and Waterloo. Since post-secondary institutions are considered permanent real estate, developers know there will be an ongoing interest from parents, students, and investors.

As parents, it’s a discussion worth having. As many post-secondary students choose to settle in off-campus housing after their first years, the new offerings are becoming more of a viable option.

The pros

You’ll think of peace of mind first: no more student-crammed housing and disconnected communication between tenants and landlords. For instance, upscale campus housing is run by organizations like, who are responsible for fully managing or facilitating conversation between investors and renters.

The condos are definitely an upgrade from what is considered traditional student housing, with furnished suites and full access to the amenities in the building. Students will no longer have to travel far to find the nearest gym, laundromat, and entertainment area. And since these niche developments are going up around campuses, it’s still easily accessible to the school, their friends, and nearby student jobs.

Interestingly enough, parents are the ones in favour of more upscale living for their kids, according to the National Post piece. There’s a sense of ease knowing they’ll be living in a secure environment, equipped with the resources they’ll need to feel comfortable and, as a result, do well in their student careers.

The cons

The obvious downfall is cost. The typically frugal, student lifestyle doesn’t match well with upscale living.

For students relying entirely on school loans and incomes from their student jobs, the “luxury accommodations” are unrealistic. It’s projected that in 2018, condo rental costs at University Studios, near the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, could cost students an average monthly rent of $1,000—twice as much as the average rent for shared student accommodations.

Since ritzy student living is a fairly new focus for real estate developers, the option won’t be accessible to every student looking to live near campus. However, if your college or university is located in a real estate hot spot, it’s valuable to measure both options. Traditional student housing may have significantly cheaper rental costs than upscale living, but it won’t include fitness access, laundry, home supplies, and cleaning services—otherwise inclusive in the latter.

The two options require research by parents and students, so weigh out both and determine which works best for your budget and lifestyle.

This article was written by Megan Santos of, Canada’s largest student job network helping post-secondary students find their internships, co-ops, and entry-level jobs to launch their careers. Follow them @Jobpostingsca.

Flickr: waferboard

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