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Rethinking student housing and rent

Thinking beyond the usual student housing procedures of rent, utilities and other expenses.

Photo of Curtis Leister
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According to an article from and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ( student renters spend $12,843 on annual rent and $2,413 in other expenditures such as utilities, gas and water. Rent is becoming a larger issue for students in the goal to make college affordable. This $15,000+ annual expense inspired one UT-Austin student to construct his own portable home (pictured in the thumbnail) to serve as his form of student housing.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Though this house cost almost $20,000 to construct, the absence of monthly payments to renters, city services and other costly utilities would pay off the average rent expense referenced by the BLS in a little over a year. Would this inspire other college underclassmen to research ways to build their own houses that serve as dwellings and a future investment?


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Photo of An Old Friend

I'd imagine we could also leverage economies of scale in order to make this option even more affordable for students!

Photo of Curtis Leister

This is definitely plausible and a good conceptual idea of how this could work. Building multiple units in the same block or property, however, could drive prices up if they are not owned by individuals. I believe that the individual ownership of these personal, mobile units is what makes them cost-effective and a viable option for students.

Photo of An Old Friend

Agreed, but if 4 or so people could go in on building a slightly bigger version, they could reap some savings.