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'It's changed standards'; UA high-rises leaving traditional student rentals empty

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

'It's changed standards'; UA high-rises leaving traditional student rentals empty

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Aug 21, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - If Tucson is feeling a tad more crowded lately, that's because the students are back, and so is their money.

 
On and around the University of Arizona campus, this is the season local businesses look forward to.
 
But, in case you haven't noticed, there is one industry that, this year, seems to be struggling to sell its product!
 
It is the luxurious lifestyle taking the U of A by storm.
 
"The view is so great, it's clean," said one student.
 
And it's courtesy of a growing crop of off-campus high-rises.
 
"Does the pool on the roof hurt though?" asked 9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa.
 
"Oh man, it's so amazing," she said.
 
That includes the brand new Hub complex, which 9OYS toured earlier this week.
 
Thursday, as tenants poured in, the allure was clear, especially for those who know what they like.
 
"There's attractive girls for all the guys out there," said one male student.
 
"The girls are hot here," added another.
 
Whatever the reason, we wanted to know, what do these new digs mean for their more modest counterparts down the street?
 
"It's really changed the standards that students are putting on their rentals," said Alex Mastrangelo.
 
Mastrangelo owns Habitation Realty.
 
More than a third of the houses he manages are student-rented.
 
He says these high rises have raised the bar and left some homes empty.
 
"I would say a house that, at normal market rate is $1,000... Somebody trying to rent it to students getting $1,700 a month but it wasn't really a very nice house at all, that house saw an impact," said Mastrangelo.
 
Mastrangelo adds, these apartments have also put a premium on location.
 
Students are keeping closer to campus and away from fringe neighborhoods like Sam Hughes.
 
Longtime resident Ann Banwell isn't too worried.
 
"If we were to rent our guest house, it would be to a grad student," she said.  "More mature... Not like undergrads."
 
It's a reassuring attitude when all signs point to a changing market.
 
Mastrangelo tells us, the good news is Tucson's rental market is alive and well..
 
The uncertainty lies in what will happen with those cheaper properties.
 
Will they sit empty?  Will demographics on and near campus change? 
 
Time will tell, and 9OYS will stay on it.