Search for housing proving difficult for UC Merced students

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UC Merced will house a little more than 2,500 students this year and the school plans to expand by 2020. But for some students today, the struggle to find a home around Merced is a big problem. (KFSN)

With more students getting into the university, there's more demand for housing.

Allison Gabouer would consider herself lucky. She is getting ready to start her first year of grad school at UC Merced in a couple of weeks, but moving to a new place is hard, and for Gabouer, it was even harder.

"Every place we went to I had to be on a call list -- which is scaring because I don't know anyone here," she said. "I'm moving so far away to -- not even a house really. I don't know where I'm going."

Gabouer says every apartment she called didn't have any space available. "It's stressful because you have to come to school but... they don't give you somewhere to live, so you don't have anywhere."

She is now living at Granville Luxury Apartments. A manager at the complex said they see the demand for housing, but there's just not a lot of rentals in the city and said all 84 of their units are full.
"We're really overwhelmed with the a lot students coming in to our office," Julie Ann McCully said. "I guarantee every apartment complex in Merced is probably booked."

Andy Krotik with Coldwell Banker Realty said, right now, more than half of the people in Merced are renters.

"Our company manages 850 rental properties and we probably have less than a dozen available," he said.

He says more students renting means more fuel into the economy, but more pressure on the housing market.

"That's why in the last year you've seen rent go up 10 percent in Merced," he explained.
UC Merced will house a little more than 2,500 students this year and they say with their new 2020 plan, they hope to house more.

"We'll be building four residence halls in the next four years to accommodate an additional 1,700 more students," vice chancellor of student affairs Charles Nies said.

As for Gabouer, she's said she's glad the search is over. "I was so relieved... even though it's still so far away it's nice to know that I have somewhere to be."

The university will present their 2020 plan to the city council on Monday.

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