College Football Is Impacting Housing Markets Nationwide

( — Small US cities that rely on college sports to boost their economies are having their housing markets destabilized by short-term rentals fueled by wealthy sports fans and investors who are transforming single-family homes into de facto hotels during sports seasons that often leave them vacant for the rest of the year, the New York Times reported.

Adrien Bouchet, the director of the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business Management Program, told the New York Times that college sports, particularly football, have become enormous in the US, especially in the Southeast, causing “this phenomenon of short-term rentals.”

While short-term rentals create value, at the same time, they hurt the long-term residents who live near campus, Bouchet said.

In the last year, the number of short-term rental houses has increased by 34 percent in the city of Tuscaloosa, the home of the University of Alabama. Likewise, short-term rentals have climbed by 33 percent in the University of Missouri’s home city of Columbia and by 11 percent in South Bend, the home of Notre Dame.

Bookings in these short-term rental houses usually peak in November, which is also the peak of college football season.

The glut in short-term rentals affects not only the long-term rental market but also the price of home sales as investors are overpaying for the single-family homes they turn into rentals, increasing home prices for local homebuyers.

Bouchet told the New York Times that wealthy alumni who can afford to buy a second house, either for their kids to live in during college or just to rent out several weekends a year, are causing home prices in the area to skyrocket and pushing long-term residents out of the neighborhoods.

Advocates for affordable housing warn that if there are no limits placed on how or where these rentals can operate, college football towns will be unable to stop the cost of rentals and home sales from going through the roof.

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