The Challenge for College Students: High Rents, Limited Options for Apartment Living

The Challenge for College Students: High Rents, Limited Options for Apartment Living

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If you’re sending a child off to college this fall, you might already have discovered a challenge: It’s not easy in all markets to find an affordable apartment unit fit for college students.

That’s because demand for apartments, especially modern units, has steadily been on the rise since the housing crash back in 2007 and 2008. Simply put, more people want to live in apartments today. Finding the right one in popular markets, then, can prove challenging.

Fortunately, developers are racing today to add new apartment units in cities across the United States. That’s a bit of good news for anyone looking for apartments for college students.

But just where are these new apartments coming? What neighborhoods are getting the most new units?

recent report from RENTCafe provides a good idea. The report lists those neighborhoods that have seen the greatest number of apartment units added to them since the Great Recession.

Topping the list is Long Island City in the Queens section of New York City. This neighborhood has received 12,533 new apartments since 2010. Coming in second on the list is downtown Los Angeles, which has been hit with an influx of 7,551 new apartment units since 2010.

North San Jose, California, has received 6,814 new apartments since 2010, while fourth-place finisher Clinton in New York City has seen the addition of 6,058 new units during this time. The Uptown neighborhood of Dallas ranked fifth on the list, with 5,839 new apartment units since 2010.

Just because new apartments are coming online, though, doesn’t mean that they are affordable to the majority of college students. That is the second big challenge: Apartment rents continue to rise across the country.

The May national apartment rent outlook released by ABODO found that in April, the median one-bedroom apartment rent jumped to $1,012. That’s the highest this figure has been since January of this year, when the median one-bedroom rent rose to $1,016.

Of course, median rents are higher in certain cities. In San Francisco, ABODO found, the median one-bedroom rent for April was $3,415. In New York City, it was $2,705, while it stood at $2,549 in San Jose, California.

What’s a college student to do if monthly apartment rents are too high? Students can also consider alternative housing options, such as living with their parents or in their college dormitories.

This isn’t always ideal, and dorm life isn’t always cheap, either. Students can also search for apartments that maybe aren’t quite as modern. These apartments might lack some of the amenities of more modern units, but they are also usually far more affordable. Those high rents will drop considerably in an older apartment building.

And for college students, all those high-end amenities might not be necessary anyway. Most college students simply need a place to study, a place that is located close to their university, restaurants, shops and nightlife options. Even in those cities with sky-high apartment rents, it is possible to find lower-priced options for college students.

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