Canada Gets More Purpose-Built Student Housing


As of January 2019, a projected 51,747 purpose-built off-campus student beds were available or were under construction across Canada, says a white paper released this year by SVN Canada Inc. and SVN Rock Advisors Inc. Brokerage.

One of those purpose-built student accommodations is the Quad, a luxury student living facility located at York University Campus, which provides fully amenities living experiences for students.  Each unit offers a fully furnished kitchen, high-speed internet, and gas. In the facility, students get to enjoy adequate parking spaces, large shopping areas, restaurants, and entertainment without having to leave campus.

What sets the Quad apart from other purpose-built student accommodation is that it is located right on campus, so all student renters have to do is walk out their front door to be at their university.This has made the facility a top choice for student renters.

Due to the success experienced in the business of running The Quad student residence near York University, a decision was made in 2017 to build The Arc in Winnipeg near the University of Manitoba; the building is presently under construction and is expected to open in September 2020.

The business is also building The Hub in Calgary, which is also still under construction.The Hub was proposed in May 2017, and construction commenced in January 2019. The project is expected to change Calgary's northwest skyline and, once completed, the Hub will hold 328 rental units, with most of these units specially developed for students. The building is located adjacent to the University of Calgary, making it perfect for students who wish to live right next to their university. The Hub is also just a short walk away from the Banff Trail LRT station and very close to Calgary's Foothills Medical Centre.

The recent influx of purpose-built student accommodations is a welcome development in Canada because, in the past, rising rents and lack of housing supply made housing unaffordable for students in Canadian cities.The situation is even worse for students who have to rely on part-time jobs or financial assistance from home to pay for accommodation.

"Fifty percent of students graduate with debt, and the average debt in Canada is $26,000 per student," said Derek Lobo, chief executive officer and broker of record for SVN Canada Inc. and SVN Rock Advisors Inc. Brokerage,quoted on

Previously, student accommodation needs were fulfilled by private sector developers who built conventional rental houses that were hardly geared at specific student rental needs. Students either had to make do with this or live in university-owned dormitories, which were often inadequate to accommodate all students, leading them to rent from homeowners around their university locations.

These types of rentals often come along with problems since they are often not protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act, which means that the students in these facilities are neither guaranteed quality nor safety.

The development of purpose-built student housing has come along with a couple of advantages.One apparent advantage is the economic benefit it offers to the country. The United States and many European countries have, for the past 20 years, developed the student housing industry, but Canada is only starting in this area.

“It’s ironic that the Canada Pension Plan makes investments in student housing in America and Europe and not in Canada because there isn’t any to buy,” said Lobo.

“Ten years ago, it was a tertiary cottage industry. Now it’s moving more toward a secondary industry, but it’s not like condos, apartments and hotels yet. It’s still a business that’s developing.”

Privately operated, purpose-built student housing is the most appealing type of off-campus accommodation for students. It provides similar, if not superior, innovativeness, quality, and facilities that can be compared to any other on-campus student residences.

In addition, these residences are often protected by the provincial Landlord and Tenant Act and typically implement codes of conduct and guidelines provided by the university for university-owned on-campus residences.