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How Tigers Find Their Homes

By,

Alissa Gibbons, Norine McGovern, Hannah Downs, Angela Gallozzi, and Kurtis Prather

As Mizzou student population gets bigger, so does the demand for attractive off campus housing options for students. We conducted an online survey in order to ask students what housing options they choose as well as how they choose them. Our focus was mainly on Mizzou students who are sophomores, juniors, or seniors because they are more likely to live off campus. We considered things such as price, distance from campus, amenities, neighbors and how roommates were chosen. This research is important because having a comfortable affordable living situation plays a large role in the college experience.

For this study we had three central research questions. They are as follows:

  1. How do undergraduate students find their housing?
  2. What do Mizzou students prefer in student housing
  3. What is the most popular type of housing for Mizzou students?

These questions were the bases for our study. From them we underwent a literature review and developed hypotheses before we launched our online survey.

Through the literature research, we found that most students prefer to have a bedroom with a desk and an apartment with a kitchen and a dining room are ideal (Najib, Yusof and Osman 2011). The importance of having off campus living options is extremely important according to an article written by Waldman (2002). He indicates that it is essential for students to be able to make their own home instead of ‘living in a cube for their college career;’ however he also discusses the monopolization of the housing market by schools by narrowing down the choices for students. We can use this information to look at the housing market in Columbia and see the level of involvement Mizzou has on our choices. In an article by Manino, we found research that there is an increase in the amount of students going to universities; thus causing on campus university housing to not be able to keep up with the rising numbers. Because of this, there seems to be an increase in the amount of luxury style apartments that are being built in college towns- this is something that we can all clearly see happening at Mizzou. In an article named “Trends of Student Housing: Process and Product,” it’s discussed how some schools require freshman and sophomores to live on campus, while upperclassmen often live off campus. The last article that we looked at discussed the factors that can affect a student’s decision of whether or not to live on campus or off campus. These factors include campus activities, the size of the campus, and what the rates for living off campus are comparatively (Petrova).

From this literature review we were able to find multiple sources that had researched similar topics as to ours; thus providing us with enough background knowledge to make educated hypotheses on what our survey data would reveal. We constructed four hypotheses:

  1. Student’s preference for traveling to and from school would primarily be walking
  2. The new luxury complexes would be the most popular style of living for students.
  3. Word of mouth would be the most popular way for students to find out about housing options.
  4. Student’s average budget wouldn’t exceed $1000 a month.

 

For our research method, we created an online survey using Missouri Qualtrics. This survey used a variety of question styles, like multiple choice, ranking, and Likert scale questions.

We used ranking questions in order to get an idea of what is most preferred in regards to housing, method of travel to and from campus, and neighbor preference. These questions gave us an idea about what is the most popular for students and what is the least wanted for students in regards to their housing.

 

We used multiple choice questions for questions where we wanted one, straightforward answer. We used multiple choice for form of communication to find their housing, price range, number of roommates, and gender preference of roommates. These questions were great to cross tabulate to discover what type of people prefer the luxury style of living.

We used Likert scale questions to discover what extras people need/enjoy in their housing. These “extras” include parking being included in the rent, the social atmosphere of the housing, allowing pets, and luxurious extras such as a pool, gym, and private bathroom.

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All participants of our research project had to be undergraduate Mizzou students who live off-campus. This means that the majority of our participants are upper-class students. We recruited people to complete our survey through posting the survey on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, and sending out the survey link to our friends and to our peers through organizations that we are a part of. In total, we received 100 responses to our survey.

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To analyze our data, we looked at our on-line survey results. We compared our results with our research questions and hypotheses to see if Mizzou undergraduate students communicated that they prefer the luxury style of living.

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Timeline of our research project.

 

 

 

The most notable results from our surveys are illustrated by the following graphs.

 

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Percentages of the most popular ways student communicate to find their housing options.

Word of mouth was by far the most common method students used to find their housing, followed by general online searching at a distant second. This question is important because it highlights exactly how students find their housing, and what helps to dictate the trends we see in housing selection.

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Percentage of students who prefer each price range for their housing each month. $400-$700 is the most preferred

This question shows that students consider such luxury amenities as a gym or a pool to be less important, however standard utilities such as a washer, dryer and a parking space to be important.

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Percentage of students who either strongly agree or agree that these amenities are important

This data shows us that students tend to desire reasonably priced luxury housing over cheap or extravagant living. This correlates with the large amount of luxury apartments currently available to students, and that that number continues to grow each year as more luxury housing is built. Students seem to want to stay in the $400-$700 range. 

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Percentages of the most popular style of housing to live in.

Our results show that individual houses are by far the most desired form of housing for Mizzou undergrads, at almost two thirds of the student body wanting to live in an individual house. The close second, apartment complexes, are the first choice of only 21% of those surveyed. This shows us that while students prefer luxury housing, they also enjoy privacy as well.

From our findings, we believe that Mizzou undergraduate students who live off-campus prefer luxury living– to a certain extent. We found that students communicate with one another through word of mouth to find their housing, and we have also seen a growing trend of luxury-style apartments being built throughout the Columbia area. From this we hypothesized that luxury-style living has become an off-campus housing trend among Mizzou undergraduate students. Our survey told us that students prefer to pay between $400 and $700 dollars each month for their housing. We researched popular housing complexes in Columbia, like The Domain and Aspen Heights, and found that some of the popular luxury-style apartments start around $500. These complexes include the luxury amenities, like a pool, a gym, a study room, a private bathroom, etc. Our survey found that these luxury amenities are not as important to Mizzou undergraduate students as the basic amenities, such as a washer and dryer, parking, and utilities included. This is why we believe that students prefer luxury living, but only to a certain extent. Another reason we believe that luxury living is not the most popular, but it most likely will be soon is because the majority of students who completed our survey said their preferred method of travel between their housing and campus is walking, but driving was the most popular second choice. Analyzing all of these results as a whole led us to believe that the housing trend is quickly changing to luxury living being the most popular.

Our goal for this research project was to find out what Mizzou Tigers look for in their off campus housing. We looked into how they find their housing, what amenities they prefer in their housing, and what the most popular type of housing is for Mizzou students. To conduct our research, we surveyed 100 Mizzou sophomore, junior, and senior students over a period of four weeks. We asked them questions about their current living situation, what their housing ideals were, and how they found out about their current residences. We believe this is important research because it gives an insight to how realtors and investors should adjust their properties to appeal to the student population in Columbia. In addition, it helps realtors to better communicate with prospective tenants at their properties. In terms of recommendations for realtors who view this data, affordable student housing seems to be the most important. People are willing to give up certain amenities for a cheaper price. Amenities that are most important include parking and a washer and dryer unit. Having these amenities, but keeping housing affordable is what will make a property the most attractive to a prospective tenant. As the Mizzou student body grows, more housing units will be built; they will only be successful if they have qualities and amenities that are attractive to the students.

 

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