Students prepare as Corvallis housing market inflates

The housing market price bubble affects everyone, even people who don’t own homes. This illustration shows the sensitivity of the market.

Elijah Dodd, News Contributor

Oregon State University students looking to live off campus next year should take steps to prepare for the increasing price of rent of local housing coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to housing data collected by the City of Corvallis, the price for an average single-family residence has increased by more than 100% since 1997. With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, prices for renting and purchasing a house have started to rise much more quickly.

Daniel Mckenna-Foster, a housing planner for the City of Corvallis Community Development Department, attributes this rise to three major causes: lower supply of houses, increase in construction costs and low federal interest rates.

For student renters and first-time buyers, Mckenna-Foster says it’s very challenging to find a home in these circumstances. 

“I would wager that prices will continue to increase as long as interest rates are low and there is an underproduction of housing,” Mckenna-Foster said.

Before students rent, Mckenna-Foster says that they should take the time to get to know Corvallis’ housing laws.

“One of the most important things students can do when living here or to prepare for changes to the housing market is familiarize themselves with Oregon’s housing laws, particularly those related to tenants and landlords,” Mckenna-Foster said. “Hopefully this will help them shop with confidence here in the Corvallis market.”

Teresa Cornwell, a landlord with Doty & Cornwell Properties in Corvallis, also sees the value in a student having confidence with the people that they rent from. She says that students should primarily consider renting from an agency instead of a private landlord in order to make sure their needs are fairly met.

“In general, I think students will get the fairest deals and be treated more equitably from a renting company,” Cornwell said. “If you’re renting from a private owner, you’d probably want a recommendation from someone who rented from them before.”

Nick Burrell is one of many OSU students who wanted to stay in Corvallis through last year, and he understands the difficulty of finding a reliable house to rent during the pandemic. He says that last year was even harder looking for houses because most weren’t open for in-person visits.

“Now, visiting a house in person is definitely something that students should take advantage of,” Burrell said. “Some places look great on paper but turn out not to be so good once you go there in person.”

Most specifically, Nick says it’s important to keep options open when looking for a place to rent. He ended up renting with three other people, and he says he was able to find a house that worked for him because he kept an open mind about where he wanted to live.

“Fortunately, nothing much changed when OSU announced that they wouldn’t have in-person classes,” Cornwell said. “Students are still looking to have as much of a college experience as they can.”

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