Kelsie O’Connell | Collegio Reporter
Buying a house has become more common in the real estate business — that is, for families of college students at Pittsburg State University.
More parents of PSU students are buying houses rather than renting for their students. As it turns out, buying a house in
the long run may be cheaper than renting for four years or more.
According to a CNN report from May, home buyers’ costs are down 32 percent at the national level since the peak in 2006, when homes averaged $305,900. In the next two years, the cost of rent could rise nearly 7 percent.
“With the market the way it is, it’s a good time to buy,” said Brian Pasteur, real-estate agent at Pitt Realty. “A lot of (parents) are buying (houses) as investments. If their kids are going to come here for four or five years, they would just as soon buy something and have roommates move in to help make the payments.”
Pasteur adds that parents of students do not make up the majority of buyers in the Pittsburg area, but he deals with about 20 parents a year who are looking to buy houses for their college students.
Tina Arb, parent of two current PSU students from Altamont, John and Aaron Arb, bought a home for her oldest son in 2005. Arb says that by renting, she would essentially lose money in the long run. With two sons in school, the house will be used for more than the typical four years.
“If we were paying rent every month, we would never get any of that money back,” Arb said. “Whereas if we bought something, then hopefully property values would go up instead of down, and we would still get our money back out of it.”
Although buying a home in Pittsburg seems to be the less expensive option for some, the vast majority of students and their parents still choose renting as a smarter choice because of their lifesty
le and current plans.
“I don’t know that I would consider buying a house in Pittsburg because I don’t plan on staying here very long,” said Halley Sageng, PSU student. “This isn’t my home. This is just where I am for school.”
Sageng agreed that buying a house would be the cheaper option for a student planning on attending the school for a definite four years or more. However, not all families can afford the purchase of a house for their student. The typical down payment for a house in Pittsburg is about 20 percent.
“It is cheaper than just renting,” said Sageng. “It makes sense. It would be awesome if my parents had that and could do that. I would totally appreciate it.”
Preston Page, a PSU sophomore, recently moved into a house his parents bought for him, accompanied by roommates. Page says living in a house his parents bought for him throughout college, will make it easier when it comes to academics.
“I don’t have to worry as much about how I’m going to pay rent,” Page said. “I’m allowed more time to study and concentrate on my classes.”
For some parents, buying a house allows their children to gain experience they wouldn’t have from renting a house. In some instances, students are put into real-life situations such as repairing and maintaining fixtures in the house. That’s what Arb is hoping.
“My son is willing to do some repairs in the bathroom and stuff like that, which if he was renting he probably wouldn’t do. He’d just call the landlord up on the phone and say, ‘Hey, come and fix it,’” she said. “Whereas now, he’s kind of responsible for it.”
By buying, parents are also able to control where their students live.
“We could make sure it was safe and make sure it was clean,” Arb said. “We would not have to worry about the three months in the summer – what to do with all of their stuff.”
A lot of factors go into purchasing a home as well, and a student’s college career is one that could affect the cost. If a student decides to transfer or stop attending PSU for any reason, the buyer may still have some hope when it comes to making a profit.
“Even if your kids don’t go (to PSU), you’ll probably be able to find someone that could rent from you,” Arb said. “So I just think it’s silly to pay rent. Even if there’s a turn in the market, eventually it’s going to go back up. You’ll never actually see rent money again.”