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UI releases rental data

BY TING XUAN TAN | JULY 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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Some University of Iowa students are not surprised by high rent.

Recently, the Housing and Land Use Policy Program at the University of Iowa Public Policy Center made information on affordable housing available in an interactive map.

“Access to those numbers, navigating and trying to get all that information is not easy,” said Associate Professor Jerry Anthony, the director of the UI housing and land use policy program. “So we wanted policymakers at the city, at the state, at the county, and even at the national level to have easy access to this data to make informed policy decisions.”

Anthony, Alex Sukalski, a senior IT support consultant at the UI Public Policy Center, and Grant Shirts, former research assistant at the Public Policy Center, worked on the map part-time since December 2013 to make the information readily accessible to policymakers and the public.

The goal of the data map was to help improve the affordable-housing situation, because, according to the data, the need for affordable housing has increased quite a bit in the last three years.

Information on the map shows Johnson County’s steady increase in the percentage of cost-burdened renters from 44.2 percent in 1990 to 48.8 percent in 2000 and up to 55.6 percent in 2010.

While a large percentage of people leasing property in Johnson County are cost-burdened, the data were not startling.

Dwight Jaffee, professor of real estate at the University of California-Berkely, said in an email that with a “captive” rental audience because of so many student renters, it is clearly a factor in high rents.

Jaffee said that this would make an interesting study as other factors will have to be considered.

“I think it’s crazy, but not surprising, because everyone’s rent has been increasing each year …” said UI junior Kelly McGinnis. “… It’s almost like a monopoly in the long run, because we don’t really have any other choice.”

McGinnis said that many people she knows have had rent increases every year, but she was lucky enough to not have a rent increase this year.

Cabel Gray, a property manager at Keystone Property Management, said the market dictates prices. Other factors contributing to the prices are how close the residence is to downtown, the age of the building, and what amenities are included.

UI senior Logan Butler said he lives the farthest he can from downtown to get a better rent. He also said the rent downtown is much higher than the rent in the Coralville and North Liberty.

“It would be really hard to change, though, because there are many different landlords in the area, all renting privately,” he said. “It could be done, but I think it would take a lot of effort and time to get it working.”


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