Grand Rapids’ rental vacancy rates lowest in country

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --- Grand Rapids has the lowest vacancy rate for rental properties in the nation, according to National Real Estate website Zillow.  The study, released on March 11, shows vacancy rates at just 1.6 percent for Grand Rapids, compared to a national average of 7 percent.

Developers saw this coming. "There are lots of projects going on which tells you there`s a need for rental housing," said Tom Koetsier, the incoming president of Rental Property Owners Association of Kent County. "Lots of (housing) projects going on. There's a four-story unit going up by 616 on Michigan, there's some other ones coming downtown, some coming in the Medical Mile area."

Koetsier added that rental prices have been going up steadily for the past year or two, and while the rate of increase has slowed, prices are still going up.

Koetsier credits the low inventory of homes for sale as part of the reason for the low rental vacancy rates. "Inventory is very low, so I think that keeps people in rentals a little longer, as they maybe look to purchase a house. And also, 20-somethings at this point are holding off on buying houses, which is a little different than it's been in the past. So, if they`re holding off on buying houses, then they`re staying in rental properties longer."

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