Housing preferences among students: collective housing versus individual accommodations? A stated preference study in Antwerp (Belgium)

Ann Verhetsel*, Roselinde Kessels, Toon Zijlstra, Marjolein Van Bavel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Collective housing or cohousing has gained popularity in the housing market because it promotes social, economic and environmental sustainability, and contributes to a better quality of life. While young professionals are increasingly choosing for peer-shared housing, student expectations are increasing with regard to personal space and comfort. Following the massive expansion of the student population, private sector developers have recently become more involved in the student accommodation market providing high standard expensive single person flats. Responding to a lack of attention to student housing preferences in both student housing and cohousing research, this study aims to discover housing preferences of Belgian students with a focus on the relative importance they attach to private versus shared amenities. We carried out a stated preference experiment among students in higher education in Antwerp. Our results show that the main point of interest for the majority of the students is the type of housing, followed by rent and size. Regarding the type of housing, a studio flat is the most preferred accommodation, while living in a student room in the same house as the landlord the least preferred. Hence, our results show a high preference for private facilities. We conclude that private investors are actually responding to current student preferences. As their high standard student housing projects are easy to construct, maintain and organise, we expect more of them in the near future. However, the willingness to pay of university students is significantly lower than that of university college students who study 1 or 2 years less. Consequently, a demand for a diversified student housing market will presumably persist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-470
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Student housing
  • Cohousing
  • Housing preferences
  • Stated preference experiment
  • Belgium
  • Antwerp

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