Downtown Columbia Feels Housing Squeeze
(COLUMBIA) - Real estate agents say housing in some areas, particularly downtown, is becoming hard to find.
"Pretty much, if you can walk to campus, there's nothing you can find there," said Ryan Cunningham, an agent from Century 21.
Jessica Kempf, the president of Columbia Board of Realtors, said there is one house available for sale in the blocks between Worley Street and University Avenue (North to South) and College Avenue and Providence Road (East to West) as of December 9.
"Housing is being targeted more to students downtown just because of the proximity to the university," Kempf said.
The map below was provided by the Columbia Board of Realtors. The green spaces represent homes available as of December 9.
The map below offers a more detailed view. The downtown area has a gray space, which shows that no homes are available there.
The downtown area has a gray space, which shows that downtown homes are not available.
Jordan Malin, who lives in the lofts on Cherry Street and Sixth street, said he considers himself lucky for finding a house in downtown.
"It's been a drastic change. I remember my freshman year, a lot of the older people I knew lived over in the east campus area," he said, "but now with so many students who came in, a lot of the housing moved to the downtown area. I think everything is centered around the downtown area now."
The boundaries of what is considered downtown are from Providence Road to College Avenue, and from Ash Street to Elm Street.
Columbia welcomed a new seven-floor loft complex in downtown in December. It is on Walnut Street.
A Re/Max agent Cynthia Laboile said: "They have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a common space, a fireplace and two balconies where you can see the view of downtown Columbia." The prices range from $2,600 to $3,100.
Malin said, "I think that's outrageously high."
His loft on Cherry Street has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and a living room, but it costs him just $600 per month.
He said the pricier lofts are more fitting for adults.
"I would assume that it would really be difficult because all the students are taking over all the good locations in downtown," Malin said, "so as an adult, I think paying that much money would be your best bet in finding a place in this location."
Cunningham and Kempf said they see a positive future in Columbia's housing market.
"In September, we had a 33% increase from last year, which is huge, August was 17% and in July, we had a 43% increase from last year," Cunningham said.
"There are tons of buyers and sellers in the market and the prices are slowly increasing and trusts are great," Kempf said. "So it makes for a great housing climate in Columbia, nationwide as well, but especially in Columbia," Kempf said.