If the timing is right, real estate experts say a Stanford on-campus housing project could have a domino effect – easing rental prices across the Peninsula for students and non-students alike.
“It also could have an effect on the overall housing market because if rents are dropping, the people who own those properties could consider selling them. Which could create a ripple effect on the Peninsula, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County,” said Dale Warfel, a Keller Williams real estate consultant.
Currently, the median Palo Alto rental price is $5,600 per month, according to Trulia. That is about double what graduate students make every month.
In order to make a dent in all rental prices, Warfel says Stanford University leaders would need to open the new units all at once.
“If housing opens up and if they release 20 units a month, for example, there may be no impact. But if there’s a rapid availability of those new properties, there could be a local impact,” Warfel said, explaining any drop in prices would last only for one to two years before new people working for tech companies such as Google and Facebook moved into the area.
Sky-high prices on the Peninsula have university officials looking to build four new on-campus housing complexes with 2,400 beds, a net gain of 2,000 beds after knocking down some existing two-story units. That is enough to house about half the graduate students currently living off campus.
Stanford has applied for a permit from Santa Clara County to build. At the moment, County and City leaders want more information about traffic and air pollution. Stanford will present more information on these at a meeting on Monday.
Current graduate students say wait lists for on-campus housing are long.
“It took me almost one year,” PhD student Hatef Monajemi said. He says needed to move from his off-campus studio after his landlord raised the rent $400 per month. “People are definitely taking advantage of the situation here because there’s a lot of demand.”
Graduate students say even rents on campus eat up about 70 percent of their monthly income.
“Once or twice a year I’ll have a moment where I’ll have an inclination to move off campus, but I don’t get very far in the search process because the prices are even higher than they are on campus,” neuroscience student Chris Miller said.