UC Davis Study: City Apartment Vacancy Rate Essentially Unchanged, Rental Rates Up


By Julia Ann Easley

City of Davis apartments are full and rental rates are up since last year, according to a survey commissioned by Student Housing and Dining Services  at UC Davis and released today (Jan. 22).

The blended vacancy rate — including apartments leased by the unit and by the bed — is estimated to be 0.4 percent, essentially unchanged from 0.3 percent in fall 2016.

The 42nd vacancy- and rental-rate survey, designed to provide the campus and the Davis community with information, comes as UC Davis is planning the most ambitious student housing construction campaign in its history.

According to the fall survey, 13 apartments, or 0.2 percent, of 8,122 leased by unit were vacant, the same percentage as last year.

Among the 1,266 units leased by the bed, 74, or 1.6 percent, of the 4,504 beds were vacant. Last year, 1.0 percent were vacant. The number of apartments leased by the bed increased by 29 percent over last fall.

Rental rates

All survey respondents reported static or increasing rents. The average monthly rent for unit-leased apartments of all sizes was up 6.2 percent, from $1,576 last year to $1,673. The average monthly
rental rate for a bed lease was up 1.9 percent, from $875 in fall 2016 to $892.

The survey also reports on the provision of utilities, appliances, amenities, and parking as well as incentives and move-in specials.

A total of 138 apartment complexes and property management companies representing 10,188 rental units responded to the survey. Only the 9,348 market-rate units were included in the report’s calculations.

Plan raises goal for student housing

UC Davis, which guarantees housing to new freshman and transfer students, recently announced that it is raising the goal for new on-campus student housing in its Long Range Development Plan to 8,500 beds from 6,200. This increased goal would bring the number of beds from 9,818 in 2016-17 to 18,318 at full implementation.

Last fall, UC Davis opened the Tercero 4 complex of three residence halls to about 605 students. The campus has started construction on Webster Hall and is proceeding with demolition of the Old Orchard Park family housing area. Campus plans for Orchard Park now include buildings for 1,400 students, and the proposed expansion of West Village now identifies housing for 3,800 students.

Help to find housing

Student Housing and Dining Services coordinators and property managers in the city of Davis host workshops in fall and winter quarters to help students prepare to look for and secure housing. Topics covered include finding an apartment, living with a roommate, the importance of credit and finance, and leases.

The Associated Students of UC Davis hosts an annual Housing Day — this year on Feb. 1 —  to help students find housing for the following year. Representatives from many Davis apartment complexes provide information on complexes, floor plans and rental rates.

Julia Ann Easley is with the UC Davis News and Media Relations

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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19 thoughts on “UC Davis Study: City Apartment Vacancy Rate Essentially Unchanged, Rental Rates Up”

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Why isn’t UCD reporting their vacancy rate on campus, particularly at West Village which many students have reported has had plenty of vacancies?

      The audacity of UCD is astonishing for them to complain about a low vacancy rate in Davis that UCD is most responsible for because they have been so negligent. For three decades UCD has been grossly negligent in providing the on-campus housing needed for their over-ambitious student population growth, and particularity the massive increase in non-resident students. UCD is  extracting triple tuition of over $40,000 per year, yet does not even have the on-campus housing for these kids who are hundreds to tens of thousands of miles from their family and friends. This is inexcusable and shameful behavior by UCD to act so opportunistically and then this massive revenue is going toward an over abundance of six figure administrative salary raises rather then on-campus housing needed for these kids.

      UCD has over 5,300 acres, the largest UC in the system with one of the worst track records of providing on-campus housing. Currently, they are at the bottom of the UC on-campus housing bed count second only to Berkeley which has a campus with far less land which is built out at this point.

      This article by UCD is embarrassing. Six other UC’s including UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara,  UC Riverside and UC Merced are all committed to providing at least 50%  on campus housing because they understand that that is the only way to control student housing costs long-term. Yet, UCD has grossly under-performed to provide on-campus student housing for years despite having over 5,300 acres and over $1 BILLION in endowment money (which is not all ear-tagged). Yet, UCD still lags behind only offering 46% on-campus housing at this point after two years of pressure from the community, the City and four resolutions form the City Council, the County, ASUCD and the Sierra Club Yolano Group. UCD can and needs to do better then this.

      The only way the vacancy rate is going to improve is is UCD stops stalling and provides at least 50% on campus housing and 100% of new incoming students as four resolutions have asked for with the 50/100 plan as well as a community petition.

      UCD claims it strives for “excellence”, well UCD is certainly isn’t accomplishing what six other UC’s are regarding on-campus student housing. The hypocrisy of UCD teaching “sustainability” which they themselves are not practicing is also astonishing. Nothing can be more sustainable than UCD providing at least 50% of on-campus housing that avoids the need for thousands of students needing to commute to and from the campus. That is what would help not on the environment but would help improve the vacancy rate in Davis for non-students as well such as families and local workers. That in turn reduces the City’s and the UCD campus carbon footprint and would help the vacancy rate to improve.

      This article is nothing more than UCD trying to excuse their own inadequate planning and trying to get way with less than 50% on campus housing which they are fully capable of providing.

      1. David Greenwald

        I’ll ask: “Why isn’t UCD reporting their vacancy rate on campus, particularly at West Village which many students have reported has had plenty of vacancies?” What would that prove in your estimation?

        1. Eileen Samitz

          It would clarify if they have beds not being used for one thing while UCD continues to try to get the City to compensate for UCD’s negligence regarding the need for them to provide far more on-campus student housing.

          1. David Greenwald

            I’m still not clear as to your point. Is your position that there are sufficient empty beds at UCD that we do not need additional housing in the city? And for what purpose would that serve them since they are also having to provide housing for students? Is it your position that they are trying to stick it to city? I’m really not following you here?

      2. Ken A

        The chart above shows that Davis has more than a dozen vacant units (some may say that is “plenty”) .

        I’m wondering if any of the West Village students that “reported” the “plenty” of vacancies to Eileen gave her a number (some would say that a “few” vacant units was “plenty”)…

      3. Richard McCann

        Eileen, you write “UCD has over 5,300 acres…”

        How much of that is prime agricultural land that the City has worked to preserve through growth limits? And how much is devoted to research that improves agricultural productivity for the entire world?

  1. Eileen Samitz

    Yes, Howard. UCD continues to try to blame its gross negligence to provide adequate on-campus housing on the City.

    Here are a few good questions for the Vanguard to ask UCD:

    1) UCD please report what the cost of on-campus housing at the various UCD student housing projects on- and 0ff-campus?

    2) What is the history of costs and increase of costs of UCD on- and off-campus student housing?

    I am sure that the UCD students would be interested in this information as well.

    It would be most interesting to see if UCD would provide this info.


    1. Howard P

      Anything new to offer?

      Why don’t you ask your current/former employer? Why David? the VG?  Sorry, David and the VG are not “that special”… a number of UCD employees have problems with the UCD policies… when I’m convinced they are doing everything (and I mean everything) to get answers/change things, I tune you out.

      Whining and looking for others to “solve” perceived/actual problems isn’t likely to be productive.

      BTW, I agree that UC/UCD should ‘come to the plate… I disagree with the notion that the City should not act absent UCD’s actions.


    2. Ken A

      Don’t expect anyone to give you the cost to build housing on campus.  UCD (like most other institutions that spend taxpayer money) work hard to hide the actual cost of everything from compensation (often spreading things out to report a low “salary” that does not include a “housing allowance”, “car allowance”or “per diem”) to development costs (since taxpayers get upset when they find out that a typical “dorm room” or “affordable housing unit” costs the public sector more to build than it costs the private sector to build a typical 4 bedroom home)…

    3. Richard McCann

      Eileen, you ask, “UCD please report what the cost of on-campus housing at the various UCD student housing projects on- and off-campus?”

      If you mean costs to students, UCD has published estimated costs each year for many years. (I downloaded the data a few years ago to estimate my son’s college education costs.) It has both on and off campus costs broken down by category. Start there.

  2. Don Shor

    This is not a complaint by UCD. It is the same survey that they have been doing for over 35 years, done at the same time of year and using very similar methodology each time so it gives us uniquely comparable data. It tells us what the trend is. I have been tracking this since the mid-1990’s. The trend is obvious and speaks for itself as to the impacts.

    This article is nothing more than UCD trying to excuse their own inadequate planning

    No, they issue this press release with the survey results every January.


    1. Howard P

      BTW… appreciate the chart you posted…

      If you have access to the median rental rates in those few years where vacancy rates were relatively “up”, that might be useful to the conversation…  if not, still informative… thank you…

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