Chico is getting expensive

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Alex Horne

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Rent: $600; authentic Mexican food: $9; cover charge at a bar: $3. How is a college student supposed to afford it all?

It feels like Chico is getting more and more expensive every day.

The numbers are very small, but it seems that many places are slightly raising their prices.

All these tiny incremental price raises are beginning to add up, and my wallet is starting to notice.

I think housing, food and general prices in Chico are on the rise and will continue to do so.

The first time I truly noticed a dramatic rise in price was when I heard that the Creekside Manor apartment complex was raising its prices. I lived in Creekside my sophomore year and rent was $500 a month per room. Currently, the rent amounts to $640 per room according to its listing on Zillow.

A recent five-bedroom home in downtown Chico four blocks closer to campus is pending at an approximate $418,000 sale price. Therefore, I will say an individual four-bedroom Creekside apartment is valued at $200,000, which is an extremely generous estimate.

Using the return on investment formula and my estimated value, each Creekside apartment makes a 12.8 percent ROI every month. Very seldom can landlords charge this high. According to SFGATE, ROI is usually between four and 10 percent.

Price increases of this caliber are happening all over the Chico housing market and prove it is getting more expensive.

According to the Chico Enterprise-Record, the reason for the rise in rent is because the economic recession has delayed many people from purchasing homes. Therefore there is an excessive amount of people in the rental market. This caused a nationwide surge in rent prices that is exceeding the inflation rate.

Chico is known for having an affordable housing market, and I believe that the rising prices will make it more difficult for students to live close to campus.

One of the main things that inspired me to write this article and has been rampant around town and the country as a whole, is the rise in food prices.

I, like many college students, do not posses the desire or skill to cook a decent meal. Therefore, eating out is always an appealing option. I try to abstain to save money, but the convenience and taste of eating out is too much to resist.

Bulldog Taqueria downtown has raised its prices across the board $1. I know from being a frequent customer, but there is also tape over the first number of everything on the menu complete with sharpie writing that makes it obvious.

Papa Murphy’s location on Mangrove has also raised its prices $1 on all pizzas, according to an employee.

I have noticed that Taco Bell’s prices have risen sharply recently. It has been quite the phenomenon for me having to wonder whether Taco Bell is worth the money, when I never thought twice about it.

The reason for the rise in food prices is multiple droughts in the United States. The drought in California has raised prices on fruits, vegetables and nuts, and the drought in Texas and Oklahoma has caused the rise in meat prices.

Five Guy’s CEO blames Obamacare’s regulations for increasing prices by requiring employers to pay more employee benefits.

I am also positive general prices in the town will rise everywhere due to the recent increase in California’s minimum wage, which will be $15 per hour by 2021.

With housing cost and food already on the rise and general goods yet to come, how can students afford to live?

When it comes to housing, centrally located and amenity-filled apartments like Creekside charge so much rent because they are in high demand. But there are still good deals on houses and apartments that aren’t so central or nice.

When regards to food, eating out less is a simple fix. In addition, WinCo has already been paying almost all its employees over $10 an hour and still offers incredibly low prices. This means that it will likely be less affected by rising labor cost.

One could argue that the rising minimum wage will help to diminish the rising costs, but I believe that the costs will rise just as much and the new minimum wage will serve no purpose.

The low cost of living is one of the many things I love about Chico, and it is unfortunate that this seems to be changing.

It’s very clear that prices in Chico are on this rise. How high will they go? Only time will tell.

Alex Horne can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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