The Waterloo Region is home to a number of excellent colleges and universities, including the world-renowned University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. This means, among other things, that every year a new set of students comes to the Waterloo Region from all over the country, and indeed the world.
All of these students need a place to live, and traditionally that has been within the residence halls of the universities themselves. However, with the costs of room and board rising across the board a new trend is emerging not just in our real estate market but in ‘college towns’ across North America; parents buying their college student ‘a place of their own’.
Although that sounds a little excessive at first, especially if a student is only likely to remain in the Waterloo Region for the duration of their studies, there are a number of advantages that make the idea worth further consideration:
A Sense of Stability – It is rare that a student gets to stay in the same dorm room for the course of the study, and even if they do, it’s likely that their roommates will change. By buying them a place of their own parents help give their child a sense of stability – at least as far as their living situation is concerned – that can make the university experience at least a little easier.
Lower Housing Expenses – As mentioned, the costs of room and board increase rather frequently at most universities and colleges. In 2018 at The University of Waterloo the cost of a single room in a 4 bedroom suite (that means sharing with three other students of the college’s choice) is around $3,020 per semester, and a basic meal plan costs at least $1,450.
Some parents, when they do the maths, find that the mortgage payments on a home – which will have a kitchen where students can prepare their own meals – actually end up being the more economical choice. Other potential financial benefits include possible appreciation in value, possible tax benefits, and debt reduction on an amortized loan which increases equity build-up.
Set Storage Space – Having a single place to live in that they own means students will not have to worry about storing furniture and possessions over the summer break should they decide to travel or return to the family home for the duration of their time off.
There are of course potential problems and downsides as well. If the student and their parents decide to rent out space in the home to other students as well (which many do) they do have to take on the responsibilities of landlords, something some young people may not be ready to do. There is also the issue of proper property maintenance. And what will happen if the student decides to move on after their studies are over, will the property sell?
However, it is an idea that is growing in popularity and perhaps a thought to keep in mind for those whose children are considering attending one of the excellent Waterloo Region universities and colleges in the near future.