We all know how hectic apartment hunting can be here in Tallahassee, but as people are in the midst of the search for apartments this year, it seems to be particularly horrible. These past few months, there has been a noticeable issue and struggle concerning students finding affordable housing or even housing at all. I was curious why it seems to be harder recently, what could this mean and if there’s anything we can do about it. Here’s what I’ve learned:
I’ve heard from many students the struggle that they have been facing, specifically in Tallahassee, and the hum is getting louder as more and more people begin the hunt and struggle to find a place to live next year. Statehouse apartment complex had so many people trying to get a lease that students were around the block in line in hopes they could get one in the upcoming school year. Many students report that their rent prices have increased in apartments they’ve stayed in for multiple semesters. Kathryn Ellwanger, a sophomore here at Florida State, is in her second year living at UClub and plans to live there next year as well. She says, “Not only did my rent increase, but I used to be able to park for free, and starting next year, they’re charging us to park.” As these prices rise in almost every aspect, it seems that there is no limitation to these increased charges. So, the question remains, why are students having this problem, and why are rent prices skyrocketing?
For some background information, I looked into what rent prices look like nationwide and how it compares to Florida. Unsurprisingly, the rate at which rent has increased is majorly disproportionate compared to even some of the most densely populated states, such as New York and California. An article by the Florida Tax Watch even mentions that it’s gone up 31.4 percent over the past two years. Economic experts explain this increase as a response to the growth in the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic and less housing available than students who need it.
Many are asking why not build more, but that seems like a difficult option. According to WTXL Tallahassee, “The cost of materials has surged 30 percent higher in the last year alone. Land is more expensive, and pandemic supply-chain issues are slowing construction down.” It is simply too expensive for many to build new housing.
The problem seems to come down to a simple supply and demand issue: not enough housing and too many students. This gives apartment companies the ability to continue to increase the rates because well, they can. Each year, the prices seem to reach new highs, and students are given few choices regarding what they can do about it.
To students in the midst of the struggle to find housing, good luck, and I wish you the best. This can be very a stressful time, and it can be extremely difficult to make these decisions. Keep looking and do your research as to what exactly you’re paying for.