Real Estate

Grand Rapids second-hardest city to find an apartment

Grand Rapids is one of the most competitive rental markets in the country.

A national report from RentCafe found Grand Rapids to be the second-most competitive market for rental homes behind Miami-Dade County in Florida. Several other Midwest markets also found their way into the national rankings.

Grand Rapids clocked in at a 112.6 on RentCafe’s Rental Competitivity Index. The national average of the 135 markets in the report was 59.9, with Miami-Dade topping the list at 118.

“This thriving yet laid-back location in western Michigan continued to attract lots of young professionals and families from more expensive cities from throughout the country, including Detroit, Chicago and Phoenix,” the report said. “Due to a surge in popularity in the past few years, finding an apartment for rent in Grand Rapids was no picnic in 2022, especially as hardly any new units were opened in the first part of 2022, which pushed the city’s occupancy rate to a high 96.9%.”

Grand Rapids was No. 6 on RentCafe’s mid-year report.

According to the report, nearly 97% of apartments for rent in Grand Rapids were occupied in 2022. Those that opened were vacant for an average of 28 days.

There was a low increase in supply, as well, growing less than 1%, according to the report. Almost 70% of renters opted to renew their lease.

“Simply put, there was not enough housing to go around, which only increased demand in Grand Rapids in 2022,” the report said. “As a consequence, no less than 18 prospective renters, on average, competed for each apartment here and vacant units were filled in about 28 days.”

The new report tracks with similar reports over the past few years in the needs for housing. A study commissioned by the city of Grand Rapids in 2020 found the area needs at least 9,000 housing units as the community continues to grow. With interest rates rising and home prices still appreciating, entry-level home buyers are likely to stay in rentals for the foreseeable future as well, which could continue to add pressure on the rental market.

A study from HelpAdvisor earlier this year found Grand Rapids rental vacancy rate at 1.3%, well below the national average of 5.7% and Michigan’s average of 5.2%.

The Lansing-Ann Arbor markets came in at No. 20 on the list.

More than 44 million Americans live in rental homes, the highest level in at least half a century, according to RentCafe.

Top 10 competitive rental markets in the U.S.

  1. Miami-Dade County
  2. Grand Rapids
  3. Orlando, Florida
  4. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  5. North Jersey, New Jersey
  6. Milwaukee
  7. Central Jersey, New Jersey
  8. Orange County, California
  9. Rochester, New York
  10. Omaha, Nebraska

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