Is There A Housing Shortage In Kalamazoo?
While there appears to be a plethora of apartment buildings in Kalamazoo, the housing options are actually very minimal. Since Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College the majority of housing is dedicated to the surplus of college students in the area. Due to this, the majority of housing options are constructed as student housing, which isn’t ideal if you are a family looking for your forever home. Then you have to ask: what will happen to the already limited housing options in Kalamazoo now that spring and moving season is upon us?
Kalamazoo Housing Price
There are many technicalities that determine the price of available housing. In Kalamazoo, the average apartment price for a 1-2 bedroom is roughly $1,100. With the average size for these 1–2-bedroom apartments being 850-950 sqft. Though this average is still better than the national, pricing in Kalamazoo is going up while available units decrease with the arrival of new people to the Kalamazoo area.
When it comes to housing in Kalamazoo, location is everything. Whether you’re concerned about being close to the night scene, looking for a safe family friendly neighborhood, or trying to find the sweet spot between the city and suburbs there are unlimited factors to consider. No matter your preference to style of housing, there are plenty of options for small groups, most targeted towards the younger crowd due to the local college’s.
With the majority of Kalamazoo’s housing directed towards young adults, 3–4-bedroom options are easier to find and provide more sqft. Though, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other housing options for young adults, but finding a good renting location as a non-student young adult can be more challenging. However, with Kalamazoo continuing to expand and develop, options, and pricing, will likely grow as well.
For a family, there are a few neighborhoods that are safer and more kid conscious. While there are certainly plenty of activities, museums, and venues for the entire family to visit throughout Kalamazoo; depending on your location, safety fluctuates throughout the city. Oakland-Winchell neighborhood is ranked as the second-best neighborhood in Michigan, with Hill N’ Brook right behind. However, both of these neighborhoods are near WMU’s campus, so noise from events and games should be taken into consideration.
Texas Corners is also a good area in Kalamazoo for a family because it has more of a suburban atmosphere than the downtown cityscape, and meets that sweet spot of not being too far from activities and businesses.
When it comes to realty, most people know that the bigger the place, the higher the price. Kalamazoo is no exception. However, when it comes to housing costs in Kalamazoo, pricing can vary significantly depending on if you are choosing to rent or buy. Though Covid-19 severely affected the housing market, Michigan has actually experienced a 13% increase in residential homes within the past year. With the median cost for a Michigan house standing at $207,000, we are slowly growing to the national average of $292,000.
When renting there are a few things to consider. While renting provides you with the luxury of temporarily putting up with/adjusting to certain quirks that come with each unit, there are still things an avid renter should ask before moving in. With more requested up to date amenities like washer and dryers, covered parking, and potentially included utilities the cost of a unit will increase.
Then for those tenants who have pets they are going to have to pay a pet deposit, and most apartment complex’s charge roughly an additional $150+ each month for the pet; some complex’s even charge PER pet. Also when renting, you should check whether the complex has breed restrictions. Personally, I believe Pitbull's are one of the best breeds of dog you could have; like with any other animal, or even children, their personality and reactions to things are determined by how you raise them.
When buying, you need to take even more things into consideration. Does your new neighborhood have and HOA fee? Will you have access to well or city water? Are there severe or minimal repairs to the roof, walls, or flooring? Did the house pass a mold, termite, pipe check? What will the closing costs be after everything else? There are so many factors that go into buying a house, it can become overwhelming; no matter what market or state you are looking at.
Kalamazoo’s Availability: Renting vs Buying
When renting in Kalamazoo, since it is a predominantly college aged town, the majority of leasing offices begin the renewal/sign-up for housing around October or November for the upcoming year. While this doesn’t mean the apartments are all filled up that early, many offices take tours and have availability year-round but at a first come first serve basis. When it comes to finding apartments for rent in Kalamazoo, it is better to look at what area you are wanting to move to. Then you should look up complexes near in and around that area, the best way to apply and find housing is straight through the complex's website. If you are looking to rent a 1-bedroom apartment around Kalamazoo, check out this article with the cheapest options.
Buying can be trickier in Kalamazoo because of the location and pricing factors. Location is everything when moving to Kalamazoo, and if you’re going the more permanent route of buying you need to look into everything that works best for you and what you would be willing to compromise on. Pricing for housing near Kalamazoo can vary significantly depending on the location factor, bedroom and bathroom count, and overall size of the home. When it comes to purchasing a house, there is always the option to renovate and make the space more your own, but the majority of the time people are looking for a more move-in ready home rather than a project. There are plenty of sources of information and local realtors that can help you find the best fit for your family.
Kalamazoo residents, what do you think of the current housing market? Do you think there is a good amount of available space, or have you noticed the growth that Kalamazoo has been experiencing which means less housing in the long run? Would you rather rent or buy in Kalamazoo? Why?