Only one of the two dozen houses on the block of Bristol Street nearest to Yale Health is currently leased to Yale students, but landlords with properties in the area are expecting the number of Yale tenants to grow soon as the housing market in the area shifts.
Several landlords who own properties on Bristol Street have remodeled homes and raised prices in anticipation of student demand created by the fall 2017 opening of Franklin and Murray Colleges just blocks away, said Mendel Lionheart, the owner of Lionheart Realty. Three months ago, he bought the house at 89 Bristol St. and added granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. Rent there is now at $2,225 per month, while comparable homes rent for roughly $1,300 per month, according to the real estate website Zillow.
“I know this street is not downtown, but it is already becoming like downtown,” Lionheart said. “We took a place there and decided to make it nicer. It’s more expensive than the others, but comparable to downtown.”
Over the summer, nine members of the fraternity Chi Psi rented 85 Bristol St., which was bought and refurbished in April. Each member is paying roughly $500 for the seven-bedroom home.
As the block transitions from one with long-term Elm City residents to Yale students looking for a yearly lease, City Hall hopes to ensure that those who can no longer afford rent in their neighborhoods will not have to move far, said Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81, city economic development administrator.
“These are obviously things that we want to closely monitor,” Nemerson said. “We don’t have a lot of things to do about it. But we want to make sure that neighborhoods and communities remain intact.”
Nemerson added that the city has a Fair Rent Commission that helps tenants control excessive rent charges. State laws also mandate how quickly a landlord can raise rents and the services landlords must provide in exchange for higher rent.
Over the past several decades, landlords along segments of Lynwood Place, Dwight Street, Orange Street and Crown Street also raised their monthly rates to market their housing to Yale students, Nemerson said. But rent along Mansfield Street already increased several years ago from the construction of higher-end apartment buildings. Those units may absorb the majority of new demand for higher-end homes in the area, he added.
The new real estate investments along Bristol Street fit into a decadeslong trend in which the city’s center has been moving north, said Barbara Pearce, president of Pearce Real Estate. Yale’s expansion along Prospect Street, along with new businesses, substantially increased foot traffic up Whitney Avenue, she said.
In the decades after Ezra Stiles and Morse College opened, foot traffic along lower Whalley Avenue became busier, she added.
Because Bristol Street is zoned to be residential, more shops will likely open up along Whitney Avenue to meet the demands of the coming influx of students, she said.
Correction, Sept. 2: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the fraternity Chi Psi is renting 85 Bristol St. In fact, the house is being rented by nine members of the fraternity.