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Student Apartment Struggles in San Marcos, Texas

Texas State University students who decide to live off-campus at any point in their college career are faced with obstacles when trying to locate an apartment complex that fits their budget and location needs. 

San Marcos being a neighboring city of rapidly growing Austin and experiencing population increases can impact the rent values as shown in the data above. In addition, the Texas State campus also attracts more people to the area and creates difficulty finding short-term leases and affordability.

Apartment Pros locater and real estate agent, Michael Bonilla, works for over 100 properties around the Central Texas area and provides assistance to anyone looking. Bonilla has been working at Apartment Pros for four months

“Well, since COVID-19 hit, there has been an increase in prices of rent and availability has been a little more scarce than usual, because the housing market is in a rough situation,” Bonilla said.

Data Source: https://www.ir.txstate.edu/student/Public-Student-Reports/Enrollment-by-Demographics.html 

Even though rent prices have continually increased for the various reasons, the conditions of select apartment complexes further away from campus are unkept and rundown Bonilla says.

The renting industry had to deal with an increases amount of subleasing, lease breaking, and resident who lost their income during the start of the pandemic. As a result, students have returned to San Marcos with unique living situations and only needing a short-term lease.

Data Source: Data Commons 

Students and local residents looking for a short-term lease are limited in terms of location and pricing of the apartments.

Most apartments set their leasing terms around the academic year of Texas State, and it is rare to find six month leases outside of this area in general.

“There is a lot of movement during those times of the year. Because of the college students, most properties that do that are student-living properties rather than conventional properties,” Bonilla said.

Data Source: https://www.ir.txstate.edu/student/Public-Student-Reports/Enrollment-by-Demographics.html

The student complexes that do offer the shorter lease term are often set with a higher rate. At Cabana Beach Apartments, a 15 minute drive from campus, the option of signing a short lease is available with the requirement of a $200 premium rate on top of the base rent. The property is open to anyone not only Texas State students.

Ryan Reed, leasing consultant at Cabana Beach and business major at Texas State, has worked there for over a year, and is familiar with short-lease terms.

“We see the value in not having a 12-month lease and having a six-month lease. People are graduating, a lot of people are relocating for job purposes, so our lease ends on the 20th of December. Usually graduation is the ninth or tenth, so that gives people a week to get situated and then move out,” Reed said.

Data Source: Data Commons 

For students that are interested in the lease term, it is important to understand and research on the additional rates that apply and the conditions of your contact Reed says.

“Student housing is a business as well, so they have to make up margins someway,” Reed said.

Saving money is still an option when signing a shorter lease with the premium rate, because the total lease agreement will be less than signing for a full year.

Luis Ortiz, 20, is a graduate student in the communication department at Texas State and lives off-campus apartment complex that does not offer a short-term lease.

“If I needed a short-term lease, the first place I would look is Facebook Marketplace or talk to some friends. I’m sure they would know someone who is looking to sublease,” Ortiz said. “If either of those don’t work, I can go to any apartment locaters in town.”

With more people with high incomes moving into San Marcos, the prices will lean towards the higher side of scale for most students.

As it seems difficult to find an affordable short lease, there are options of subleasing and seeking seek from apartment locators to help students make a decision.

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Apartments Pros has their only location in town at the San Marcos Center.
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Luis Ortiz, graduate student at Texas State, works at the testing center as a lead proctor.
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Leasing consultant, Ryan Reed has worked for the apartment industry for over one year.
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Leasing consultant, Ryan Reed, answering questions from future residents at the Cabana Beach office.
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The most common lease term for apartments is a 12 month term.
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Real estate agent, Michael Bonilla, began working four months ago for Apartment Pros.
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Apartment Pros offers free help for anyone looking for a new apartment.
This year the university has over 30 apartments complexes that house students. 
Luis Ortiz, graduate student at Texas State, has lived in San Marcos for over two years.
Real estate agent, Michael Bonilla, joined this industry for the flexible work schedule and being about to put in hard work to see results. 
Audio story with Micheal Bonilla and Luis Ortiz on apartment leasing and locating

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