It’s that time of year again. Whether you come for the complimentary pens and bags or you are legitimately looking for an apartment, countless apartment representatives will come to the annual ASUCD Housing Day on Jan. 21.
With housing plans on students’ minds, the UC Davis Office of Housing released its yearly survey of off-campus student housing. According to the voluntary survey, Davis’ 2009 apartment vacancy rate was 3.2 percent, higher than it has been since 2005. In the two years prior to 2009, the vacancy rate was below one percent.
Emily Galindo, an associate director for Student Housing, said the higher vacancy rate provides students with more choices for housing.
“This will also put pressure on apartment complexes to be more competitive and provide more amenities,” Galindo said. “In terms of student housing in the UC system, Davis has a unique situation in that it has affordable housing in close proximity to the campus. There are lots of choices for students to really develop a sense of independence through living in Davis apartments after freshmen year.”
Arren Medina, assistant manager for the Lexington Apartments in South Davis, said that during the next marketing seasons apartment prices will probably drop and owners will be fighting to find renters.
“Though we had a hundred percent occupancy this year, in general the economy has been so bad, and tuition is up, so a lot of students are choosing to double in rooms,” Medina said. “Vacancy rates are up because no one is taking single rooms, compacting more people into one apartment.”
Although the vacancy rate is higher than past years, some do not think the numbers are accurate.
Davisville Management’s chief operating officer Janna Buccieri believes that, since the survey is voluntary, there are a lot of apartments that report lower vacancy rates than they actually have.
“From what I hear, there’s a lot higher vacancy than 3 percent,” Buccieri said. “You just have to drive around town and you’ll see the large number of vacancy signs. I’m not saying that these apartments are lying. Some apartments might be anticipating that they will get full, but then this just doesn’t happen.”
Buccieri believes that in order for the survey to truly reflect Davis apartments’ vacancies, people need to be truthful in reporting their numbers.
Davis is also developing new housing, such as the Tercero South dorms opening in Fall 2010. The West Village housing development will also provide mixed-use community housing for about 4,350 people: 475 new homes for UC Davis faculty and staff and housing for 3,000 students. West Village Community Partnership, the developer, plans to have the village square and apartments for 600 students ready for occupancy in Fall 2011.
Nolan Zail, senior vice president of development for Carmel Partners, another developer of West Village, believes the Village will not be affected by 2009’s increase in vacancies, since it is a long term project.
According to The Sacramento Bee, UC Davis surveyed 187 apartment complexes with five or more rental units in Oct. and Nov.; 166 complexes responded. Out of a total of 8,720 units reported, 278 were vacant. The 21 complexes that did not respond to the survey have a total of approximately 245 units.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.