Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a multi-week series looking into all sides of the effect of Tarleton State University and its students on the Stephenville community. As the university continues to grow and thrive, the community does as well. But as with any growing community, while there are numerous benefits, there are also drawbacks to a larger population.
This week the Empire-Tribune took a look at the affect Tarleton has on the local housing market and discovered, as with any growing community, when the population grows so does the need for housing.
This increase in housing is not only for the growing student population, but for the growing faculty and staff as well.
City officials said the number of houses and apartments being built in and around the city of Stephenville has increased dramatically in the last 10 years, with new properties continuing to spring up. However, they maintain that while a majority of the housing demands in recent years are Tarleton related, a number of local industries also bring in new individuals and families to the community.
David Smith of Stephenville Realty said that while more than 60 percent of the apartments and homes the company rents are to college students, there are a number of families that also rent and some that are looking to buy.
"While the majority of our rentals are college students, we also have some properties rented to people and families who are not associated with the university," Smith said. "However, we are a largely college-based business, and with the increase in students attending the university, we have seen a large increase in the amount we bring in. Tarleton's growth is good for business."
With the need for more homes and apartments, real estate and apartment companies are purchasing property and building new houses and complexes. This brings more jobs to the area through construction and management, thus increasing the impact on the economy.
Smith said in the past few years, Stephenville Realty has been able to take on more property and continue to see the vacancy rate decrease while still selling homes to parents of students, students and others associated with the university.
"I've been working in real estate for about eight years in Stephenville, and over the past few years we've continued to see that as the school grows, so does the need for housing," Smith said. "It may not all be related to the university, but I would say 60-65 percent is either students, faculty or staff from Tarleton."
Jo Corbell, manager of Stephenville Apartments, said her company is extremely happy to serve Tarleton students, faculty and staff. With Tarleton students making up over 70 percent of the renters of their 625 units across nine properties, Corbell said the company continues to grow as the university does.
"We have seen an absolute increase in our business and the number of renters in the past few years in regard to the student population," she said. "The school and students are great for our business and they have an obvious affect."
Next week's story will examine the university's affect on the local entertainment industry.