Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tight housing market in downtown Grand Rapids continues to expand

The diversified and growing West Michigan economy has benefited Grand Rapids residents and communities in the past several years, making this area a desirable place to live and work. This has lead to a tightening market for housing downtown, however. Not only are condos and apartments difficult to find in Grand Rapids, they’re also getting more expensive for those who can locate them.

Triad Real Estate Partners released a December report which found that, for the 50 apartment complexes surveyed, 98% of units are currently occupied by tenants. Many factors are at work in the city’s renaissance, but solid city planning, a growing number of jobs in the educational, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors, and a low cost of living are luring new people to the area to stay and settle in the city Forbes Magazine ranked as #1 in the country for raising a family. In fact, the unemployment rate in the area dropped to 3.1%, making it one of the lowest in the country.

Currently, the average rate for a one-bedroom apartment in the Grand Rapids area is $728 a month. Rates on all types of apartments increased an average of 5% in 2015, but analysts do not expect this trend of inflation to continue unchecked. More and more developers have been feeling out the West Michigan market, and construction is already well in process in many places around the city.

Just this week the Woda Group, an Ohio-based developer announced plans to build a $12 million dollar affordable housing development on Front Avenue NW. The project, to be named Grand View Place after its location on the Grand River, will have 68 units and consist of both apartments and townhouses. Construction will begin this coming summer.

Also this week the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation announced a $500,000 grant to Habitat for Humanity of Kent County for renovation and revitalization of housing on the city’s West Side. This money should allow 120 homeowners to achieve affordable housing for themselves and their families.

Other projects, such as the Clancy Lofts overlooking Division and the Medical Mile are expected to be completed this year and will offer further variety for downtown renters seeking a place to live. Whether the planning and construction of these projects will continue apace with burgeoning demand is something that remains to be seen, but for now area renters can expect to have to search and pay more than they’ve had to in the past.