Student housing in high demand

2015 redesigned Pioneer logo.

Tam Duong Jr.

2015 redesigned Pioneer logo.

Taylor Fedorenko,

It was a warm Sunday afternoon when I left Sacramento and set off toward what would become my new home: Hayward. Finally, freedom was attained. I had just moved out of my parents’ house to attend college at Cal State East Bay.

I received warm welcomes from family friends who were kindly letting me stay with them for two months until I found a place of my own. However, I quickly realized how expensive it is to live in the Bay Area.

The average rent for an apartment in Hayward is $1,982 a month, a 4 percent increase compared to the previous year’s average of $1,901 according to RENTcafe, a website that hosts listing for apartments and houses for rent. Studio apartments in Hayward rent for $1,899 a month, while one and two bedroom apartments ask on average $1,819 and $2,287 respectively.

The hunt is on and the Bay is not cheap. According to East Bay’s Student Housing and Residential Life, the 2017-2018 average room and board fees are $14,184 for a single room for one year; averaging a monthly rent of $1,576.

According to U.S. News and World Report, among all schools that submitted data to U.S. News, college students paid an average of $10,389 in the 2015-2016 school year. UC Berkeley was ranked in the top ten for highest room and board, coming out to total $15,422 with East Bay a close runner-up.

Luckily, I found a Facebook page called “CSUEB Off Campus Housing/Apts/Rooms/Roommates, Housing and CSU East Bay,” created to help students caught up in the search for off-campus housing. Group members do not know who created this page, but believe it was a former student.

This page is a forum for renters and prospective renters. It is a focused housing “free-market” marketplace where hopefully all parties benefit. There are 1,146 students who take part in posting on the Facebook page, interacting with 76 posts in the month of September following with hundreds of responses.

CSUEB students can choose from three types of rooms: triple, double or single. Yearly prices for these dorm rooms vary from $8,947 for a triple to $12,420 for a single; a considerable amount for a student living on campus.

These rates include a basic meal plan of 60 entries for fall quarter and 55 for the winter and spring quarter in the Dining Commons.

“I definitely think they are a little high but that’s the price you pay if you wanna live out here,” said Christy Nghe, a student working at East Bay’s Student Housing. “I mean, a lot of freshman students have parents supporting them but transfer students come in here thinking it’s going to be a lot cheaper than an apartment or house and are shocked.”

Nghe encourages fellow students to apply for scholarships and grants, and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). CSUEB officials state that today over 70 percent of Cal State East Bay students applied and received need-based financial aid.

Rising housing costs is an issue all over the Bay Area. The region saw a 12.3 percent yearly price increase, according to the Mercury News. Prices continue to climb and I have two more weeks until my move out deadline. Websites like Craigslist, HotPads, Trulia and RENTcafe have been somewhat helpful. City View Apartments, a three-minute drive to and from campus starts at $1,923 for a one-bed, one-bath floorplan. This complex offers four different floor plans, a two-bed, two-bath starting at $2,567, according to Essex, another easy-to-use site to search for apartments.

On Trulia, I found Mission Heights Apartment Complex, also located within walking distance and seven minute drive to CSUEB starting at $1,895 for one-bed, one-bath with the option of adding a second room starting at $2,290.

Comparing Hayward to nearby cities, Oakland and Fremont have higher average rent and following right behind Hayward is San Leandro, according to Yardi Matrix, a commercial real estate intelligence source. The cheapest listing I found on RENTcafe started at $1,898 at The Bridge in Hayward.

It is no surprise that prices are higher in the East Bay in comparison to other cities. Including my hometown, Sacramento, where average rent for one-bed, one-bath in downtown comes out to $1,268 a month on average, a 12.54 percent increase from last year. Two bedroom apartments rent for $1,487 on average, a 8.88 percent increase from last year, according to Rent Jungle.

After being in school for about two months, I have met two potential roommates who just happen to be in the same situation. We found a potential house and will need three more students to fill the space. The goal is to have a lease signed by December.

Financially, my parents are helping me out with rent, which is going to help me out and prevent me from taking out loans. However, next quarter I am considering pulling out a small loan to avoid about having to live paycheck to paycheck, even while working and going to school full-time.

After months of searching, speaking with classmates and exploring the area, my hunt for a home is finally coming to a close. By December, I will have a home, possibly a home for the next two years while attending Cal State East Bay.