It's A Good Time To Be Apartment-Hunting In Houston

It's a great time to be looking for an apartment in Houston, assuming you have the money to do so.

O'Connor & Associates reports that vacancies are up and rents are down across Houston. November "marked the fourteenth consecutive for declining occupancy, while rents on both a per unit and per square foot basis fell over the previous period," the company said today. "During the fourteen-month slide, occupancy has declined approximately 3.5 percent, a trend that is sure to continue given the elevated under construction supply remaining."

The drop in rent was a little more surprising; the firm says it is unlikely to be a trend.

Apartments are giving out specials these days to attract renters, but the offers tend to be a month of free rent or no-deposit-necessary.

What ever happened to the glory days of apartment specials? When the enticing Gulfton Ghetto encouraged you to come with TV ads like this?

We've posted this ad before, but it deserves a closer study. The kind of study we gave to the Matt Houston intro.

1. Sucky music? Yes! Within seconds, the ear is assaulted. Which is worse -- the Alvin & the Chipmunks-type singers, or the stinging guitar note after the first "Colonial House!!!" You decide.

2. Bizarre fashions? Only if you have "taste." Pause it as rugby-shirt boy ineptly attempts a break. Is the woman next to him wearing a headband? Yes. Yes, she is. You might think it's awful, but it does fit with the whole Wonder Woman vibe of her dress.

3. Oddly stilted activites? Check. A pool volleyball game featuring a brunette with the world's poufiest (and perfectly dry) hair, a woman in high heels and cargo shorts getting a hot dog, a random make-out session and the Man Who Taught Elaine Benes How to Dance: It's cinema verite at its best. Especially the most depressing bumper-pool game ever.

4. Brutal lyrics? Oh yeah. "Colonial House. Colonial House. Let us show your future; if you're looking for great changes: Now's the perfect time!!" No rhymes need apply.

5. Free VHS offered? Yes!  Of course, it's soaking wet, so you'll have to sign a release absolving the owners of any responsibility for frying you. But, seeing as you're living in Gulfton (or, as the owner puts it, "beautiful southwest Houston"), there's a good chance it'll be stolen soon anyway.

So take heed if you're out there apartment-hunting: Demand a bumper-pool table in the clubhouse, shitty dancing and a wet VCR. Otherwise you're just getting ripped off.

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