Finding Upside in Real Estate’s Downturn

By Ben Steverman - 2011-09-27T18:19:45Z

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Going to College Towns

Instead of canceling construction plans like many developers, Asset Plus Companies continues to build. Its niche: apartment buildings for college students, such as a 683-bed complex in College Station, Tex., near Texas A&M University. "Student housing was very resilient during the downturn," says Jeff Knowles, senior vice-president at Asset Plus. "Demand increased while the rest of the economy was declining," as scarce jobs meant people returned to or stayed in school. Asset Plus chooses schools with growing enrollment and looks for sites convenient to campus. A new complex in Lubbock, Tex., looks into the Texas Tech University stadium. REITs specializing in college housing include American Campus Communities (ACC) and Education Realty Trust (EDR).

Photograph by Getty Images