By Mary Salmonsen (MultiFamilyExecutive.com Article) — Based on a survey of New Jersey’s real estate owners and multifamily property managers, The Center for Real Estate at Rutgers Business School has found a strong relationship between the number of school-age children in a given rental development and the development’s household income, project density, and building age, among other demographic factors.
In the “School-Age Children in Rental Units in New Jersey” white paper, a team of academics and industry professionals examined demographic data from over 44,000 market-rate and affordable rental units in New Jersey to determine how community features affect the number of school-age children in a given community.
“The issue of school-age children in new multifamily development is frequently a contentious debate, and one that can benefit immensely from robust, hard data that takes into account a multitude of variables,” said Professor Morris A. Davis, Paul V. Profeta chair of real estate and academic director of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate, in a statement. “This research is emblematic of the Center’s mission as a whole, as we’ve interfaced closely with leading practitioners from the commercial real estate industry to uncover new academic insights with real practical applications.”
Across all income levels and building product types, the study shows that apartment units with more bedrooms will lead to a greater number of school-age children. Provided that income and bedroom numbers are fixed, lower-density developments, such as garden-style apartments, have a greater number of school-age children than higher-density mid- and high-rise developments. For any given number of bedrooms and product types, the number of school-age children decreases as household incomes rise.
Across all income types, the number of children per 100 affordable units (62.9) is far higher than the number of school-age children per 100 market-rate units (20.4). Market-rate buildings constructed before 2000 have a far higher number of children (25.9 per 100 units) than buildings built after 2000 (9.8 per 100 units). Affordable buildings built before and after 2000 have a similar number of children per 100 units.
For example, in market-rate communities where the average household income is below $50,000, there are 126.4 children per 100 two-bedroom units in low-rise buildings but only 43.6 children per 100 two-bedroom units in mid- or high-rise communities. In market-rate communities where the average household income is between $50,000 and $100,000, there are 56.7 children per 100 two-bedroom units in low-rise communities but 13.4 children per 100 two-bedroom units in high- or mid-rise communities. At average household incomes above $100,000, there are no more than five children per 100 high-rise units at any number of bedrooms.
“Because of the Center’s illuminating research, we no longer need to have discussions about the impact of school-age children from new development in theoretical or abstract terms,” said Ron Ladell, senior vice president of AvalonBay Communities, one of the paper’s collaborators. “This comprehensive study will serve as a planning tool for developers while empowering and educating municipalities to make smart development policy. It’s a true victory for the private and public sectors alike.”