AF Bostäder continuously monitors the student housing market in order to maintain a balanced rate of expansion. There are many actors involved and the student housing market is steered by supply, demand and the customers’ wishes. Lund attracts many people with its good housing and one of the world’s best universities. The sense of community in Studentlund – Sweden’s best student life – is equally important.
Lund University has 40 000 students divided between Lund, Malmö and Helsingborg. In Lund there is student housing for approximately 10 000 people. AF Bostäder owns properties offering just over 6 000 of these places and the student nations own 1 700. The rest are offered by the university and a number of small actors. On the open market there are rented properties, cooperative society properties and rooms in private homes.
“AF Bostäder is the students’ own housing company”, says Henrik Krantz, CEO at AF Bostäder. “We develop student-adapted housing that is allocated fairly in an open queue system. The nations focus strongly on the social side and therefore give precedence to those who are involved in nation life. In the open market for rented property, the waiting list time can be 5 to 10 years, which requires a place in the queue long before the studies start. Some students buy housing through cooperative societies and share the rent payments with lodgers. The students are creative and there are many solutions.”
To understand how the students move within the market, AF Bostäder carries out regular market surveys in cooperation with Lunicore. The surveys describe the students as a heterogenous group with varied interests and differing wishes regarding housing.
“New students prefer to apply to AF Bostäder or a nation”, says Henrik Krantz. “Many thrive on a corridor and live there throughout their period of studies, whereas others start on a corridor or at a nation and then move to their own and perhaps larger housing. During 3 to 5 years of studies, life and needs may change several times, not least because of changes in relationships, which is one reason why we offer flexible housing for friends for 1 to 3 people.”
“For us, it is important to know how many people who live in other ways would rather have moved into student housing, if it was possible”, says Henrik Krantz. “Price and location are obviously crucial factors, but price is not always the most important aspect. As an example, our newest area, Marathon, is highly sought-after for its location, its design and its adaptation for students, even though there is more inexpensive housing on the market.”
Seen in terms of the students’ wishes, Lund has a shortfall in student housing of approximately 2 000 to 3 000 places. At the same time, there are plans to build new student housing that will offer 2 000 places in Lund and AF Bostäder will account for half of that total.
“In our sustainable activities goals, we state that AF Bostäder is to increase its property portfolio by providing new housing for 1 000 students between 2020 and 2024”, states Henrik Krantz. “It is a balanced goal which is based on demand, other actors’ initiatives and our own capacity. Going forward, we are planning for one new construction start per year, a good building rate in terms of resources and a suitable tempo for increasing our know-how.”
Higher education institutions in smaller places can market themselves by offering housing guarantees, which appeals to one category of students. However, an important question for most students is “Where is the best student life?”
“That’s why Lund is always highly sought-after. Those people who apply here are, of course, attracted by the high quality of one of the world’s best universities, but equally appealing is the sense of community among the students. Lund has Sweden’s best student life with a brand that is well-known nationwide. Here, students become a part of the AF Family, which together with the nations and the student unions form the cooperative organisation Studentlund. Through Studentlund, students gain access to the whole of Lund’s student life in a single membership. There is no other place that can match it”, concludes Henrik Krantz.
Latest update April 14, 2020