Rental rates decelerate across state — except in Grand Rapids

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Rental rates in Michigan are slowing down compared to last year, but growth still is positive based on a recent report.

A new report from RentCafé showed the first effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on rental housing across the state.

The slowdown was most visible in Warren, where apartment prices decelerated from a 4.4% rise in February to a 3.6% increase in March.

Grand Rapids didn’t appear to be impacted by the new coronavirus yet. Prices went up by 5.9% year-over-year in March, growing faster compared to February’s 5.4% yearly rise.

The fastest-growing annual rents in March were registered in small cities: Wixom topped the list, up 13.7% (or $100) since last year. Comstock Park was up 9.1% ($76).

Rents decreased most in Dearborn Heights alone, down by -0.9% (-$8) over the past year.

Allendale remains the most expensive city for renters, with a $1,616 average rent and a 1.6% year-over-year change. At $1,577 per month, Ann Arbor is the second priciest city in Michigan with a 2.7% year-over-year change.

In Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, rent averaged $1,065 in March with a year-over-year increase of 0.7%

The national average rent was $1,474 in March, having gone up by 2.9%, in stark contrast to February’s 3.2% yearly rise. This is the first time since 2016 that RentCafé has seen a deceleration from February to March when the rental season is supposed to kick off.

Under normal circumstances, interest for apartments goes up this time of year, and rent prices would be expected to pick up speed in March. But as more and more states urge social distancing, both landlords and residents have begun seeing the effects of the pandemic, according to the report.

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