Much of Geneseo’s off-campus rental housing is signed and leased a full year in advance, following a trend of high-urgency renting that has been occurring in Geneseo for years. While renters still have available space in longer walking and drivable locations, Geneseo’s harsh weather and town layout mean that almost all the spaces on Court Street, Wadsworth Street and Main Street are signed and leased in the first eight weeks of school.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” High Street Property Management student leasing agent Marilyn Dragani said. “It’s a student-generated thing, which astounds me.”
“I think students just get overly anxious,” landlord Mark Scoville said. Scoville’s family has been renting to students for decades and he reported that students have incrementally pushed the peak rental time back.
Most of Scoville’s properties—which are all located below Second Street—were rented by the third week of school. According to Scoville, about 15 years ago, most rentals were happening after Thanksgiving break and they have steadily happened earlier and earlier each year.
Geneseo landlords see what Dragani described as a “frenzy” in the first weeks of the semester as students—often in large groups—try to find the best and closest off-campus houses. Dragani reported signing someone for fall 2016 as early as August 2015.
“It’s very unrealistic to expect students to know where they want to live or who they want to live with basically a year in advance, but unfortunately I guess that’s how a small college town market works,” junior Carly Anzalone said.
“Everyone is concerned about grabbing a place that they like that is close to campus,” High Street Property Management manager Rocco Dragani said. Despite housing being scattered around the town, almost every student that calls about rentals asks about streets that border campus such as Court Street or Main Street.
“I don’t think there’s a good student rental market above Second Street,” Scoville said.
“People realize how nice it is to live close to campus when the weather turns sour,” Rocco Dragani added. “I sensed—in the market—a really high demand for houses close to campus.”
Rocco Dragani noted that high-urgency calls for housing have been occurring in September and October ever since he and Marilyn Dragani began renting in large numbers in 2008; but this year, the demand was particularly rushed.
“You’ll be getting calls all year long, but not with the intensity of September and October,” Marilyn Dragani said.
The rush is no different for established Greek housing because they are also expected to fill their houses for the following year by the middle of the fall semester. Landlords receive inquiries from larger groups looking for housing and will rent out Greek housing to other bidders if the demand is there.
“It’s the students that are creating the market,” Rocco Dragani said. As of Tuesday Nov. 3, the Draganis have rented all their property on Main Street and Wadsworth Street except for about 10 bedrooms in total.
According to Rocco Dragani, demand in Geneseo comes from the harsh weather and small, spread out geography of the town. He expressed his belief that Geneseo has very few commuter students and limited parking spaces, so students are not as willing to drive to school as they would be on some other campuses.
“It’s just the way the village is laid out, I think it kind of sets that up,” he said. “You care a lot about living closer to campus.”