After two years of high demand and dwindling space in on-campus housing draws, relief may be on the horizon.

Though spring housing draws have been plagued by overcrowding in recent years, the number of students living off campus spiked this year — 625 this fall, compared to 580 last fall, said John Meeske, associate dean for physical resources and planning and the official who oversees undergraduate housing. As a result, more space may open up for students seeking suites in residential colleges and annexes.

“This fall was not that crowded, and usually we have fewer students living on campus in the spring than the fall,” Meeske said. Between the fall and spring semesters, about 100 fewer students enroll in Yale College, he said, mostly due to the popularity of spring study abroad programs.

While annexation is not uncommon for juniors, two Silliman College juniors were annexed this year for the first time in recent memory, said Silliman Dean Hugh Flick. Overall, Flick said more students chose to live on campus this year. Though Meeske said it is hard to tell whether this year’s spike in off-campus living signals a new trend — and a possible reduction in annexing next year — he said it is possible that the prospect of living in annex housing outside the residential colleges encouraged some students to live off campus. Still, he said, data to support that theory is hard to obtain, and Yale has not taken steps to encourage students to move off campus.

Four students interviewed said they chose off-campus housing this semester instead of risking annexation. Edward Delman ’12 said he preferred living in a house to Saybrook College annex housing, which consists of suites left over in other colleges instead of a dedicated annex building.

“Since I would probably be annexed out of Saybrook [as a junior], my best option was to find a place off campus where I could be guaranteed to be with friends and to have a great room all to myself,” Delman said.

He added that the experience of living off campus “without custodial staff” and slight savings over Yale room and board also convinced him to make the move.

Beanie Meadow ’11, a Saybrugian who lived in annex housing last year, disagreed that the prospect of annexation causes students to move off campus.

“Annexing has always sucked, and juniors have always expressed how much it sucks to their sophomore friends,” Meadow said in an e-mail Tuesday, adding that the individual personalities of students in a given class determine the number of students who move off campus.

Christopher Pagliarella ’12 concurred with Meadow, saying he has no strong desire to live off campus despite being annexed to Vanderbilt Hall along with three other suites of Berkeley College juniors. Vanderbilt is predominantly occupied by Berkeley and Branford freshmen. Pagliarella said he is not bothered by the freshmen, adding that he would feel “separate” from Berkeley if his suite was the only one to be annexed to the hall.

Trumbull College faced housing crunches in recent years because of its small size relative to other colleges. The uptick in Trumbullians living off campus — 63 in 2010-’11 compared to 47 in 2009-’10 — has freed up space for those returning from abroad, said Trumbull Dean Jasmina Besirevic-Regan. Last January, returning Trumbull students said they found it difficult to find rooms on campus.

“We had more upperclassmen deciding to move off campus this year than ever before,” she said in an e-mail Saturday.

In an e-mail Friday, Pierson College Dean Amerigo Fabbri said his college, which experienced overcrowding last year, “will have no housing difficulties this spring term.”

Administrators will begin planning for fall 2011 housing arrangements this February.