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Santa Barbara facing housing crisis as rent skyrockets

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – Santa Barbara is currently facing a housing crisis.

It's becoming more and more difficult for people like Lizzy Hogensen to find affordable housing in Santa Barbara.

“I started looking for a place as soon as I accepted my offer from UC Santa Barbara in the spring, and I would open up Zillow and all the other different online sites. And there were just no inventory, really," said Lizzy.

Lizzy is starting her pHD program at UCSB. But she feels frustrated she can’t afford the cost of living.

According to, the average rent for apartments in Santa Barbara is between $3,545 and $5,850.

This is up approximately 238% annually for one bedrooms, 62% for two bedrooms, and about 13% for studio housing, according to's data last updated on Tuesday.

A one bedroom apartment averages $3,545, whereas a two bedroom apartment averages $4,345. 

“It would just be cheaper for me to get an Airbnb on the nights that I needed to be in consecutive days on campus and just kind of sit and hope and pray on the graduate student housing list," said Lizzy.

Peter Rupert is a UCSB professor and the Director of the Economic Forecast Project. He says this has to end at some point.

“I think things will slow down. There's just no way that those prices, both house prices and rental prices, can grow at numbers like 20, 30, 40 or 50% a year," said Rupert.

Rupert explained that without increasing supply, renters will not see a change in the rising rents.

He isn’t the only person who believes these housing prices are not sustainable. Lizzy hopes things will change for her fellow students.

If you make housing unaffordable and students can't afford to live where they're going to school, then they can't go to school, or they have to take out more student loans," said Lizzy.

For now Lizzy will be commuting from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara by car or train to attend class.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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