More Than a Third of College Students Still Haven’t Finalized Fall 2021 Housing Plans, Realtor.com Survey Shows
Thirty-five percent of college students headed to school this fall say they cannot afford to rent an apartment in their college town and 19% say their parents are helping them pay rent this year when they didn’t need help last year, according to a new Realtor.com survey.
When asked what’s impacting their struggles, 44% blame the overall real estate market in their college town.
“The shortage of affordable housing inventory in the U.S. pushed prices to record-highs and forced more prospective homebuyers into the rental market in June, driving the U.S. median rent price to a new high of $1,575, an 8.1% increase year-over-year,” said Realtor.com Economist George Ratiu. “In addition, many university towns have become attractive destinations for retirees and remote workers, further adding pressure on local real estate markets. With the uncertainty brought about by COVID compounding the rising prices and lower inventory, students are facing a more challenging housing market in their college towns than ever before.”
Danny (21), a college student in Illinois said, “The rent is incredibly high from where we are and they know they’ll get away with it because they know we’ll pay it… we’re literally in a cornfield in the middle of Illinois. There’s no reason that there needs to be rent this high.”
While finances are playing a significant role in housing plans for this year, so is timing. Thirty percent of students delayed confirming fall 2021 housing due to a lack of certainty about their school holding in-person classes.
Those delays have had a ripple effect with 34% of college students not having finalized their housing for fall and 22% of those students saying they waited too long to secure on-campus housing and now it’s full, forcing them to change their plan.
Despite the challenges, students are eager to get back to school. Half of those who lived at home last year are planning to move out for the fall, but they’re really having to pound the pavement to find the right fit.
Nearly 40% of those planning to live off-campus and away from home said they looked at 6 or more listings in person while searching for a place to live and over 30% said finding an apartment this year was much harder than last year.
Nearly a quarter said the places they looked at rented very fast because there was so much competition.
“With speed a necessity for searchers in the fast-paced market, tailoring your home or rental search to listings close to campus will help keep you focused,” said Realtor.com housing and lifestyle expert, Lexie Holbert. “Our school search filter lets you search listings around schools of all levels, including universities, to find rentals and for-sale properties near campus. It also lets you save the search and set an alert, so you’ll know when something matching your search criteria hits the market.”
“There’s multiple people going for the same house and it’s super competitive, almost to the point where people will gatekeep their agents’ information,” said Kayla (19), a college student in Eugene, Ore.
“We’ve been looking since a little bit before Thanksgiving of 2020. We looked probably until mid April. We were waking up literally every morning and searching… and then just go back in later in the afternoon and check again,” said Owen (19), a college student in Bozeman, MT.
Financial challenges aren’t just impacting students’ ability to find housing but how students will live this year too.
Fifty-one percent of students say they have adjusted their living situation in order to save money with 21% moving home to save money, 13% taking on more roommates and 10% choosing to live in lower quality accommodations to save money.
Methodology: Realtor.com commissioned JUV to conduct a national survey of students planning to attend college in the fall of 2021. This survey was conducted online within the United States from July 12 – July 17, 2021.
The survey was conducted among 501 young adults who are current college students or recent graduates by JUV Consulting. The sampling margin of error of this poll is 4%.
Realtor.com pairs buyers and sellers with local agents in their market. The company developed its digital real estate offering more than 20 years ago, and today through its website and mobile apps is a source for information, tools and professional expertise.
Find out more at www.Realtor.com.
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