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U of G residence waitlist creates 'perfect storm' for surging rental prices

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It’s likely to be an expensive summer for anyone entering Guelph’s rental housing market.

With an already scarce supply, and potentially hundred more unexpectedly entering the market, an expert told CTV News it a “perfect storm.”

“Guelph already has one of the historically tighter rental markets, so it’s not as through we have a broad availability of rental supply in the city.” said Tyson Hinschberger, Guelph real estate broker and former president of the Guelph District Association of Realtors.

The catalyst of the storm was an announcement from the University of Guelph this week that 1,300 hundred students would be put on waitlist for first year residence.

It’s a situation that has happened before. In 2022 Guelph had waitlist of around 200 people. Hinschberger said he saw the market jump that summer.

“You had people lined up out the door for rental properties, the rents overnight went from $800 per room, which was already exorbitantly high, to over $1,000 per room in some cases,” said Hinschberger.

This summer Hinschberger expects more of the same.

“We’re projecting that student rents per room can go anywhere from the $1,000 range to $1,250 per room range, so again that’s a 20 per cent jump,” he said.

While it will be hard to make a significant increase in the rental supply, more property owners are looking to get into the market.

“The scrambling is definitely happening even on properties that aren't student oriented. We're getting leads from people looking to provide student rentals or turn it into a student rental, our property management contact are getting overrun looking for what can be done,” said Hinschberger.

Guelph mayor ‘quite disappointed’ 

The mayor of Guelph is expressing his disappointment with the fall semester housing options at the University of Guelph.

Mayor Cam Guthrie released a statement sharing his concerns over the available residence options. He said he is worried about what may happen if solutions are not immediately found.

“Not only for the impacts to first-year students but to the greater Guelph community with the planned over-recruitment tactic employed by the university,” Guthrie said in his online statement.

More than 7,000 new students will become Guelph Gryphons this September but the university only has 5,050 residence spaces currently available.

Guthrie said this will lead to considerable and compounding ‘ripple effects’ for the community for years to come.

“It’s completely unacceptable,” he said online.

Guthrie is calling out university leadership, asking them to actively participate in finding solutions.

Earlier this week, the University of Guelph said they’re facing significant financial pressures that’s forced them to expand enrollment. They also said they understand why many people are expressing their concern about the situation.

“We recognize that people are frustrated and upset. We are doing our best to get as many students into residence as we can, and then provide other supports where we can for those students who don't get into residence,” explained Gwen Chapman on Tuesday, the university’s provost and academic vice-president.

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