Dec 02, 2009
Sam Sawyer featured in the SMU Daily Mustang
SMU Students Struggle to Find Off-Campus Housing
November 17, 2009
Taylor St. Eve
Off-campus housing options for SMU college students today are changing drastically. Living in off-campus housing has always been a necessity for college students at SMU, but with the downturn of the economy students are finding it difficult to secure housing.
“The increase in demand for SMU students to live locally around campus is an ongoing issue,” says SMU grad and real estate agent Sam Sawyer. Sawyer, who currently works for Rogers Healy and Associates, which deals with local SMU students wanting to rent apartments and houses, says he deals with students who are clamoring for housing.
Renting around SMU has become difficult for some students who find it hard to pay for the high rent. If you’re looking to rent a three-bedroom apartment around SMU then expect to pay high prices.
According to Sawyer, monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment near SMU can run on average $1,000 per person. For most college students, this is way out of their budget.
“Living locally around SMU is a plus, but for me it’s too much money,” said SMU sophomore Fordy Gates. “You really have to out-weigh your options when it comes to searching.” Gates currently lives in on-campus housing at SMU, but plans to live on lower Greenville next year.
SMU’s on-campus housing is an expensive and unappealing option for many students. Students who live on-campus after their first year are still paying high prices, but don’t get to experience what Gates calls “living to the fullest.”
“It’s a vital part of a college student’s career while in school to live in off-campus housing,” said Gates.
A student wanting to live on-campus in his or her second year will pay on average $8,000 per semester. This is a 14 percent increase from the previous 2007-2008 school year average of $7,000.
Students living outside of the area around the SMU campus have lesser expectations because of the lower prices they pay, but the convenience of walking to class is hard to beat. A big issue for students is safety around their homes. If a student is willing to move out of University Park, the cost of living goes down, but most students don’t want to risk their security.
In 2008, the Dallas crime rate was down 10.8 percent from the previous year, when there were a total 110,000 crime alerts. This is the lowest crime rate in Dallas in over 40 years, but many still say East Dallas is a haven for theft and robbery.
“I used to live near the M Streets and would always see people walking around my house at weird hours,” said SMU senior Dan Freeland. “I never had anything stolen or broken into because we had a car garage, but I’ve had some friends that bought hand guns because they felt unsafe.”
SMU senior Kyle Bennett chose to live near SMU in his last year and admits that living locally is definitely a plus.
“I will go weeks without ever using my car,” said Bennett. “I never quite got outside the bubble of SMU, but I think living close has its perks.”
The biggest concern for students looking to rent is the high demand. Not only are students competing for places with other students, but also many University Park and Highland Park families live near the SMU campus.
“If you want to get a good place around campus then it’s all about timing,” said Sawyer. “Students who wait till the last minute will definitely regret their decision.”E-mail This Story to a Friend