OSU Students Will See Housing Hard to Find

Last year, a large number of people who would have been living in Corvallis as Oregon State University students either chose to attend classes remotely from their home towns or did something else entirely. They were missed by everyone, except perhaps at 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoons, but especially by landlords. 

Even though COVID-19 is in Benton County, life in Corvallis is beginning to return to something a little bit closer to normal. Students are coming back to attend OSU, and some have it in mind to live off campus. And those who do will need to be prepared for increased housing costs.  

Official city figures say that rent has more than doubled since 1997, rising especially fast since the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year. 

David Mckenna-Foster is a Housing Planner for the City of Corvallis Community Development Department. He says that there is simply a lower supply of housing, caused in large part by an increase in construction costs. He also says that low Federal interest rates, which might be expected to reduce housing costs, have actually contributed to the higher prices. In a situation like this, it’s especially difficult for first-time home buyers and students looking to rent housing for the school year to find a place, Mckenna-Foster told The Daily Barometer. 

“I would wager that prices will continue to increase as long as interest rates are low and there is an underproduction of housing,” Mckenna-Foster said. “One of the most important things students can do when living here or to prepare for changes to the housing market is familiarize themselves with Oregon’s housing laws, particularly those related to tenants and landlords. Hopefully this will help them shop with confidence here in the Corvallis market.” 

Teresa Cornwell, a landlord with Doty & Cornwell Properties in Corvallis, told The Baro, “In general, I think students will get the fairest deals and be treated more equitably from a renting company. If you’re renting from a private owner, you’d probably want a recommendation from someone who rented from them before.” 

OSU student Nick Burrell, who stayed in Corvallis through last year, told Dodd that “visiting a house in person is definitely something that students should take advantage of. Some places look great on paper but turn out not to be so good once you go there in person.”  

By John M. Burt