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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Students still looking for fall housing

    Marketing senior Carrie Bawolek helps students find housing Wednesday in the Student Union Memorial Center.  The Commuter Student Affairs office helps students find roommates and housing year-round.
    Marketing senior Carrie Bawolek helps students find housing Wednesday in the Student Union Memorial Center. The Commuter Student Affairs office helps students find roommates and housing year-round.

    The fever for student housing is beginning to boil in Tucson as prospective tenants search through dusty neighborhoods for inexpensive places to call home before the fall semester begins.

    Henry Schwartz, a philosophy senior, said he is feeling the pressure to find new housing before the end of July, when a fresh round of tenants moves into the house he shares with five roommates near Speedway Boulevard and Euclid Avenue.

    So far the roommates’ real estate hunt hasn’t yielded many leads, Schwartz said.

    “”We haven’t been able to go out and look much, partially because of work and school, but other than that, it’s pretty much been our own laziness,”” Schwartz said.

    However, Schwartz said he has been eyeing a small house near Second Street and Third Avenue, which could be a future residence for him and two of his current roommates.

    “”The main thing is location. You can walk to the University and grab some coffee or food on the way,”” said Schwartz. “”Plus you’re only a block away from Fourth Avenue and the bars, so it’s ideal if you’re a senior still trying to have a social life and have a job when you graduate.””

    Although many rental homes and apartments have an advantage due to their proximity to amenities that students often frequent, many of the rentals in the university area seem to be affordable for student budgets, compared to other universities around the country.

    A search on the Web site shows UA-area rentals averaging around $1000 for a 3-bedroom house, while students at other Pacific 10 Conference schools, like Stanford University, can expect to pay as much for a studio.

    But as the housing market in Tucson continues to appreciate in value, so rises the monthly rates that students will be shelling out, and fellow undergraduates aren’t the only competition for snagging ideal leases, said local renters.

    “”The respect for the West University district is becoming higher and higher, so one change that we’re seeing is the amount of people moving into the area who aren’t students,”” said Bill Sanford, manager of the Tabard Apartments, 415 E. University Blvd.

    This summer has been different for Sanford’s apartments and others in the area, with tenants holding onto their leases throughout the season instead of vacating at the end of May.

    The one-year lease is becoming the standard across the area in all housing, Sanford said, as existing tenants are deciding they’d rather stay put than join the renter’s fray.

    “”It’s definitely different this year,”” said Sanford. “”People are sticking around, though I’m not sure why. It’s definitely made the turnover easier on us.””

    For the 80 percent of UA students living off campus, university resources are available, such as Off-Campus Housing Services located in the Student Union Memorial Center, to prevent the overload that can come with jotting phone numbers from the endless “”For Rent”” signs that are ubiquitous during the desert monsoon season.

    On June 23, the OCHS sponsored a bus tour for 20 students, showcasing apartment complexes in the area and exposing many first-time renters to the details involved in moving into their first apartments, like getting the lights turned on.

    The 6-hour Off-Campus Living Expo was a success, said Carrie Bawolek, OCHS student coordinator.

    “”Everyone was dragging by the end of the day,”” said Bawolek. “”But we’re expecting it to be much larger the next time around.””

    Still, there are those students who have sworn off the rental rush altogether, like Drew Davidson, a junior majoring in computer science and business.

    Davidson purchased his own home in 2005, near Fifth Street and Columbus Boulevard, securing a quieter place away from the university bustle.

    “”It’s great and I love it,”” says Davidson. “”If you have a car, look away from campus.””

    Concerns of maintenance and mortgages that accompany home owning aside, purchasing a house can jump-start the financial security that many students go to college for in the first place, Davidson said.

    The culture of investment that causes many to purchase homes in Tucson seems only to expand students’ options of finding suitable housing, said Sandy O’Konek, a local agent for Hoot Gibson Realty.

    O’Konek said that many of the buyers she dealt with in the last year were out-of-towners with one or more students attending the UA.

    “”They’re letting their kids use the units and renting to roommates to cover the mortgage,”” said O’Konek. “”It’s a smart way to go.””

    All of those extra rooms will doubtlessly increase students’ chances of scoring sleeping and study quarters – particularly those who are getting pushed to the point of imminent packing.

    If the house Schwartz and his buddies are looking at fails to pan out, they’ll be right back to pounding the pavement during this summer’s upcoming housing rush, hunting down a lease, Schwartz said.

    “”We’re going to have to,”” said Schwartz. “”Especially if someone vetoes because of the swamp cooler.””

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