Missionary age change causes housing frenzy

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ForRent01 by Whitnie Soelberg.
This sign, located near University Avenue on 800 N., in Provo, advertises women’s housing contracts. Since the missionary age policy change, female missionary applications have skyrocketed, leaving the Provo housing market in a lull. (Photo by Whitnie Soelberg)

Missionary applications have increased 471 percent since Oct. 6, Church spokesman Michael Purdy stated, leaving BYU dorms and apartments bare.

After President Thomas S. Monson announced that young women could now serve at age 19 and young men at 18, the Church has seen 4,000 applications per week as opposed to the usual 700. “The Lord is hastening this work, and He needs more … missionaries,” stated Elder Jeffery R. Holland in an online Church article. BYU students have heard this call and are more than ready to get out in the field and leave Provo behind.

Kimberly Monroe, a comparative literature major from San Diego, Calif., started working on selling her contract just one week after she received her call.

“The most frustrating part of selling my contract was the fact that there was the pressure; if I didn’t sell it, I would have to pay for this while being on my mission,” Monroe said.

The main issue at hand is that people are moving out of Provo faster than they are moving into Provo, leaving many desperate tenants begging on Facebook, ksl.com and craigslist.com for people to buy their contracts.

The Village at South Campus is one of the largest housing complexes in Provo. This recently completed, 236-apartment and 944-bed complex had about 180 contracts for rent during the month of December, according to the The Village. The complex keeps close track of available contracts and helps tenants find people to take their contracts.

Jordan Wright, co-founder of a new housing website called pingplot.com, noticed the rapid housing changes in Provo. He wanted to revolutionize the way students found housing in the area. Instead of scrolling through page after page of every housing option in Provo, he wanted students to find exactly what they were looking for with just a couple of clicks.

Pingplot.com helps apartment managers and student renters find each other through a simple online profile. One of the features of this site is that it allows prospective missionaries who are incessantly trying to sell their contracts to be directly linked to interested renters.

“We wanted to make the new model in how to find housing in Provo. Now, apartment managers or missionaries can find matches for interested renters within our system,” Wright said.

He hopes that this new site will be successful in helping anyone in the area find exactly what they are looking for.

Despite the amount of students deferring from BYU in the next couple of semesters, BYU Housing has stated it will still push through with plans to construct two more new Heritage Halls housing units.

With such an increase in missionary work, prospective missionaries from BYU might have a harder time selling their contracts. From the help of these new sites and apartment managers, tenants will have more resources to sell their contracts before they enter the MTC.

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