In early March 2014, the UC Davis Office of Student Housing released its yearly Apartment Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey. The Office worked with BAE Urban Economics, a private real estate consulting firm located in downtown Davis, in order to conduct the yearly survey.
According to the UC Davis Office of Student Housing, “The objective of the survey is to provide information that will help inform planning decisions on campus, and throughout the broader Davis community. For example, survey results help campus officials to assess the current housing market conditions faced by UCD students, and to determine the likely feasibility of proposed housing projects.”
The vacancy and rental rate survey has been conducted annually for the past 38 years.
In past years the survey had been conducted on paper through mail. There was an increase in participation this year by offering the online version via SurveyMonkey, a website used for administering surveys through the web.
“The Vacancy and Rental Rate survey participants consisted of apartment complex managers, property management companies and property owners on campus and in the Davis community,” said Faye Perata, business and financial specialist of the UC Davis Office of Student Housing, in an email. “The incentive for managers and owners to participate in this survey is to get comparable information about the market. For example, the average rental rate or vacancy rate for a specific apartment type. Individual students were not asked to participate in this survey.”
Out of the 486 rental units, the survey reported that 160 apartments, or 1.9 percent, of 8,206 leased by unit were vacant.
“The introduction of units rented out by beds is one of the more complex dynamics of the local rental housing market,” said Julia Ann Easley, senior public information representative at UC Davis. “Among the 818 units leased by bed, 81, or 3.5 percent, of 2,302 beds were vacant.”
The 2012 survey showed 1.7 percent of about 7,800 units captured in the survey were vacant.
During the last 10 years, the apartment vacancy rate in Davis has varied from as low as 0.7 percent in 2007 to as high as 4.2 percent in 2005, according to the 2012 survey.
Most of the apartments responded either constant or increasing rents from the previous year.
The mean rent for an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment was approximately $1,275.
The majority of leased units by unit size are two-bedroom and one-bedroom units. Forty-six percent of the distributions are two-bedroom units and 31 percent are one-bedroom units.
“These questions were asked because they provide enough detail to determine a vacancy rate and average rent for each unit type as well as offer insight into the need to offer special incentives or programs to fill units,” said Ramona Hernández, business director of UC Davis Student Housing.
It was concluded by the survey that it is often in a property owner’s best interest to provide certain services and incentives to residents. This often helps to encourage resident attraction and retention. For properties that offer bed leases, a roommate-matching program can often be an important tool for leasing up units.
“Given the lack of housing growth in the Davis community, it has been decided going forward the survey will be conducted biannually,” Perata said. “There are currently no apartment projects being developed in the city of Davis that would serve UC Davis students. Given that the total number of apartments in the community is not changing significantly, one can infer that the information collected this year would be very similar next year.”
The next Vacancy and Rental Rate survey will be conducted in 2015.
“Overall, this survey benefits the students because it provides insight into the rental market that shapes decision[s] about future planning and rental rates offered,” Hernández said.
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