Saturday, November 04, 2006
Apartment Hunt: The Prelude
Today is the day for D (D is the short-form for daughter as used in the online discussion forums of CollegeConfidential, a website for prospective college students where all kinds of information and advice on the college application process are freely accessible). She has been slated to sit for three SAT II subject tests at the Tampa Prep School, about 5 minutes’ drive from our apartment (see a view of the school at right where a line has already formed in the school compound).
We arrived at 7.41am, before the appointed time of 7.45am. But the crowd seemed smaller by normal standard, presumably because only SAT II test were conducted for the day. There we bumped into our Korean neighbor whose D is a school-mate of our D. My wife hitched up a conversation with her mom that shifted from the lamentation on the increase in the apartment rental to attending a show at the Center for the Performing Arts, right across the Hillsborough River from the school.
Apparently, she has just renewed her annual apartment lease and was charged a whooping 25% increase. We are glad that when we did the same thing last year, we had negotiated for an 18-month lease, thereby averting, or rather deferring, the increase for a period of six months. What we thought was an expeditious decision to lock in on the rates then turned out to be a pleasant surprise because of the quantum of the increase imposed, which usually hovers around 5% in the past years.
While house prices have been dropping uniformly across the US, the apartment rental has actually shot up in Tampa. One reason could be the spate of conversion from rented properties to homes for sale, fueled no doubt by the housing boom experienced in the past few years. This has created a shortage in rented apartments, and the forces of demand and supply then dictate it to be a renter’s rather than a rentee’s market.
So it seems we would have to start our apartment hunt come early next year in the eventuality that we failed to negotiate for a favorable rate this time around. And we look forward to an exciting search and whatever pleasant surprises that would spring forth along the way. And yes, we are that optimistic.