Volume 95, Issue 55

Thursday, January 10, 2002
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Baxter and Rafiq survive crucial vote

Kids love piercing, hate infections

More student housing, but at what cost?

SSSC still suffering budget blues

Elvis lives, vows to run again

News Briefs

Sunny Days

More student housing, but at what cost?

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

It may be easier for future Western students to find a place to live in London, but rent will not necessarily be any more student-friendly.

Construction of single detached homes in the London area was up 23 per cent in December, according to figures released yesterday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the federal government's housing agency.

Additionally, a large amount of construction of new row house rental units, condominiums and apartment buildings targeted at student tenants also started in December.

"It's been a positive year for residential construction in London and the London area," said Ken Sumnall, manager of market analysis for the CMHC in London.

Sumnall said the construction of row house units and apartment buildings is related to the expected increase in enrollment at Western in 2003 due to the double cohort. "Western is not a university where enrollment is shrinking," he added.

The apartment buildings are being constructed at locations convenient for students – near Masonville Mall and on Wharncliffe Road, he said.

While there might be more places for students to live in the coming years, rent will not necessarily be affordable.

"The trend we're seeing is [the rent for] housing immediately next to the university is going up," said Glenn Matthews, Western's housing mediation officer. "Housing within walking distance has gone up in the last year or so – students looking for something cheaper might need to look at a bus ride away."

Matthews said many landlords are constructing new student housing in response to the double cohort, but does not feel there will be a huge demand for space in 2003.

City council is currently working to deal with a shortage of affordable housing in London, said Susan Eagle, Ward 7 city councillor.

"We're very aware that students are people that are often looking for affordable housing," she said.

However, Matthews said the new housing is not likely to be affordable due to its proximity to the university.

"There is a fair bit of building going on – [the new housing is] going to be more expensive because the building is happening close to campus," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002