Student rent soars above other college markets
CU students searching for fall pre-lease prospects face some of the most expensive housing costs of any college town in the country, according to a real estate research group.
The annual Coldwell Banker College Home Price Comparison Index, which measures the average cost of a 2,000 square foot home, named Boulder as having the eighth most expensive housing costs of 119 Division 1-A colleges. Students hoping to find affordable housing will also fight zoning restrictions and a growing landlord-friendly market.
“In general, Boulder is an expensive place to live, and in comparison to other college towns, is very expensive. I mean, just in comparison to Ft. Collins, it is almost night and day,” said Hugh Boles with the off-campus student services office.
According to the 2005 census, the more populous Ft. Collins has 23,054 renter-occupied properties in contrast to Boulder’s 19,747.
Of Ft. Collins’ rental housing, 31 percent falls within the $500 to $749 monthly rent range, with the median rent being $784. Thirty percent of Boulder’s rental properties fall within the $1,000 to $1,499 range, with the median rent at $979.
Palo Alto, Calif., home of Stanford University, has a median rent of $1,349 and topped the HPCI in average home selling price at over $1.5 million.
The list of the least expensive college towns ranked Lubbock, Tex., home of Texas Tech University, number one. Lubbock has a median rent of $649.
Boulder held the eighth spot on the HPCI for 2006 because the average cost of a home is $526,000.
“It’s very frustrating to try and find housing here. I’m from Colorado Springs and most rent seems double here what it is there, and it’s for lower quality places,” said Morgan Littlewood, a freshman open option major.
Littlewood and her friend Brittany Hanna, also a freshman open option major, attended the Off-Campus Housing Fair on Wednesday and complained they were having trouble locating an apartment close to campus within their price range.
“We know that we don’t want to leave Boulder, but some of these places seem really run down and not worth the rent at all,” Hanna said.
Boles and Wesley Robison, a senior sociology major and ambassador for off-campus student services, pointed to a recent upswing in housing demand in Boulder as the cause of high rental rates.
Eight years ago, the housing market experienced a lull due to a drop in Boulder’s technology industry that forced many to move. This created a vacuum which students did not fill.
“Back when the housing demand dropped, vacancies remained vacant because students were also realizing living opportunities outside of Boulder,” Boles said. “However, the demand for rental housing has been climbing in the last few years, and it is a much more landlord-friendly market now.”
Boles said though rental rates have been rising in recent years, he still believes costs to be lower than it was before the technology fallout.
According to the off-campus student services Web site, in 2003 the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment was $765, $734 in 2004 and $726 in 2005. The average cost of a two-bedroom property rose and fell over the same time; from $1,073 in 2003, to $996 in 2004 and back up to $1,010 in 2005.
A recurring problem many students face when locating housing is the “three unrelated” ordinance. Boulder city ordinance mandates no more than three, and in some zones four, unrelated people may live together under one roof. The Hill, the area most densely populated with students, is only zoned for three.
The off-campus student services office has several resources for students looking for housing, including an in-house lawyer to review leases. They also have an online database of available properties and an ambassador program designed to educate students on ordinances and lease violations.
For more information, visit this site.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Cassie Hewlings at email@example.com