New student housing projects could impact private landlords

New student housing projects could impact private landlords

USC student Kyle Pittman was looking for a place to stay with a good location.

He says he found that when he moved in with his friends who leased a small home off of Pine Street.

"It's nice," he said. "It's convenient to being downtown."

Years before Pittman and his friends moved in, this location was important to the owner of the home. Scott Lane has been renting properties in Columbia since 2002.

"Being close to the university," Lane said, "we like that…knowing we'd probably have a good market of students in this area."

Despite a growing number of students on some college campuses, some landlords wonder if the demand for housing will keep up.

Recently, a private developer had made some progress to building a new 660-bedroom student apartment complex at the corner of Gervais and Harden Streets near Five Points. That would be coupled with another housing project that USC is involved in going up behind the Carolina Coliseum which is scheduled to open at the end of next summer.

"My thought is it's probably going to help us," Lane said.

Officials with the Columbia Development Corporation say they see positives for now. They believe these projects will lead to more students living near the city center. At the same time, they say that could come at a cost to other apartment complexes further outside of Columbia.

"To this point, we haven't had any difficulties in getting students," Lane said, "And a lot of students once again...they do prefer more of the house more of the home environment."

So far, private home renters like Lane are counting on other markets. He says many of his tenants continue to live in his homes sometimes for months after they graduate. But when it comes to the effects of having more competition, Lane says time's "Probably going to tell."

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