College Kids Ride Out The Recession In McMansion Foreclosures

Were you forced to abandon your dream home thanks to the economic downturn? That must be sad for you, but buck up: Right now spoiled college kids may be filling your walk-in closet with baseball caps and positioning that poster of two ladies kissing in their underwear above the fireplace you thought you'd be gathering around with your loved ones.

Today the New York Times reports that some students at the University of California, Merced are having an awesome recession. The school doesn't have enough dorms to house its expanding student body, with only 1,600 rooms for 5,200 students. But luckily for some, Merced is ranked third nationally for home foreclosures, so many students have been able to rent out a room in a depreciating McMansion. They typically pay about $200 to $350 a month, which is less than half of what they'd pay to live in some cinderblock tower on campus.

Several years ago, real estate developers flocked to the area and developed Desperate Housewivesy neighborhoods. Now the remaining homeowners, many of whom are struggling to make their mortgage payments, are seeing their streets turn into frat row. One resident says "somewhat bitterly" of his new neighbors, "I think they're the luckiest students I've ever come across." Indeed, the students are smart and fortunate to ride out their college years in luxurious digs, especially since post-graduation they'll probably be paying five times as much for an apartment bedroom formerly classified as a closet.

However, the Times' description of the students' living situation is guaranteed to make anyone a bit bitter. The paper notes that many of the homes include chandeliers and private bathrooms, as well as "three-car garages, wall-to-wall carpeting, whirlpool baths, granite kitchen countertops, walk-in closets and inviting gas fireplaces." To top it all off, the article is accompanied by a photo of sophomore Jaron Brandon "studying" in the Jacuzzi of his six-bedroom house with a laptop perched on the "waterproof countertop that he rigged over the top." It's one thing to take over the home of a family that's fallen on hard times, but you don't have to flaunt the fact that you're young, have few financial burdens, and are unafraid of electrocution.

Animal McMansion: Students Trade Dorm For Suburban Luxury [NYT]

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