Freshers Fundamentally Misunderstand Law of Supply and Demand
Critic has received reports of first years already signing up for flats, marking the start of the great annual student flat hunt.
Further investigation revealed that this year’s spectacle pales in comparison to previous years. “Now’s not ‘early’,” a member of staff from the University of Otago Accommodation Office told Critic. “Last year it started in April.”
While the Accommodation Office had heard of leases being signed for flats “in key areas”, such as Castle Street, the experience of property management companies Critic spoke to suggests there has been a cooling off in the early demand for student flats. Most companies have signed up few new flats so far, although some tenants have re-signed their leases to continue living in the same flats next year.
Despite a recent survey showing that 60% of New Zealand landlords have increased rent in the past year, Dunedin students have a strong incentive to hold off signing their tenancy agreements for 2013, with the number of available properties outstripping the number of flat-seeking students. A representative from one property management company told Critic, that in contrast to national rent increases, some Dunedin rent prices are going down. “With the drop in student numbers, landlords would prefer to have them rented rather than sitting there.”
OUSA President Logan Edgar has urged students to hold off signing up for flats, citing economic analysis informed by his B- grade in BSNS104. “Supply has caught up with and exceeded demand. There’s no reason why you should be signing for overly expensive flats. Definitely wait, it stresses landlords out. If my economics is serving me correctly, rent prices should then go down.”
The University Accommodation Office shared this sentiment, saying they tell students to “wait until you don’t have any doubt about what your plans are. Take the time to figure out who you’ll be flatting with and to properly check out the flats. The biggest things we see every year are not problems with flats, but inter-tenant problems. Make sure you’re not just in ‘honeymoon mode’ when you pick your flatmates.” It may be hard to understand right now, but Critic would like to gently remind first years that your new willowy BFF, who may or may not have thrown up last night’s hall lasagna to avoid the dreaded fresher five, may not turn out to be your flatting soulmate.