Hawaii college students see their housing dollars go further off campus

Hawaii college students see their housing dollars go further off campus
Published: Aug. 22, 2016 at 7:26 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 22, 2016 at 9:22 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lack of inventory. Sky-high rents.

Hawaii's hot housing market is only getting hotter.

But there's one group of renters who are faring quite well: College students.

Jillian Glenn, a University of Hawaii at Manoa political science major, started her senior year on Monday. And after a month of searching for the perfect place, she and her roommates just signed the lease on a rental home.

"I used to live on campus. I think it's like $800 a month for not very good conditions," he said. "So for me, I'd rather pay the same price to pick the place I want with nicer conditions."

College students are finding that their strength is in their numbers.

Developer Peter Savio privately operates off-campus student apartments, and this is the first school year he's seeing vacancies.

He says the reason for the empty rooms is simple.

"A dorm is more expensive. Students can actually rent a two-bedroom apartment for $1,500 and they can put four kids in it and they are each spending between $400-$500," Savio said.

Glenn said finding something in her budget wasn't an issue. What took the most time was finding a landlord willing to accept college students.

"Being a young adult, a lot of us don't have our credit built up so we have to use our parents credit," Glenn said.

Meanwhile, there's no shortage of rooms on campus this year.

University of Hawaii officials say the school was able to accommodate every student in need of a dorm.

UH student Brenden Donahue found his off-campus rental on Craigslist.

"I didn't want it to be too expensive and we found somewhere where, with four roommates, it was doable with work and paying for bills," he said.

Looking ahead, it appears UH-Manoa could get even more housing competition. A developer has taken out permits to demolish a nearby shopping center to build another private high-rise dorm.

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