THREE RIVERS, LIVE OAK COUNTY - Rent in Live Oak County increased by 275 percent since 2005. Locals and newcomers alike looking for rental houses, mobile homes and apartments have all seen an increase over the last eight years. Houses are leading the trend.
Monthly rental prices for mobile homes and houses taken from the mid-June editions of The Progress' classifieds section show how prices have changed compared to the price controlled apartments at Live Oak Apartments.
“Last year I helped a young coach who came to town and had to be to work by June 15 with a wife and kids; they ended up paying $1,200 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom mobile home,” Executive Director Murrell Foster of the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce said.
“That’s not unusual, I tell people who complain about the rent it is a matter of supply and demand. People can get it, so that is what they charge.”
Foster also said the same is true with hotel rates. He estimated a hotel room in 2005 would go for about $70. According to the Holiday Inn Express’ website, a standard hotel room in George West for a weekday stay now costs $174.42 per night.
“The biggest shift is in RV parks,” Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce volunteer Mike Pierson said. “I’ve met families who live in RVs because they can’t afford housing.”
Janet Turner, a four-year resident of Tips Park, said the park is almost always full of people living in tents or RVs but it wasn’t always like this.
“As fast as they pull out there’s somebody willing to take it,” Turner said. “It’s crazy.”
Three Rivers’ official population is about 2,000 but there are 3,500 water connections. Foster said cities often use water connections to estimate populations between census years.
Pierson added that one connection can sometimes serve a few hundred people at a time such as at the man camps or Tips Park, both of which run on just one water connection.
“You will find few people that want to rent to a family; they want to rent to oil workers because they pay in cash and don’t mind being gouged,” Pierson said. “They get $100-150 per diem; for them to have a bed and a place to shower is great so they are way ahead under those conditions and the people aren’t declaring this on their taxes.”
Because the communities in Live Oak and McMullen counties are small, statistical data were unavailable. However, the classifieds section of The Progress is kept on archive.
Read more at The Progress.