Finding rentals a real problem in Traverse City

The demand for rental housing in Traverse City is on the rise.

Sarah Lucas of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments said in the Traverse City area over the past few year there has been a rise in people looking for rentals.

To meet the rental need in Traverse City Lucas said 300 to 500 rental homes or apartments would need to be built. But she said since 2009, only about 60 to 80 rentals have been built or are being built.

"It's not just affordable or low income rental housing, it's rental housing for all incomes and different household types," said Lucas.

According to Lucas 40% of households in Traverse City rent.

She says there are three major reasons why so many people are renting.

One reason is people who have foreclosed on their homes now have to rent.

Another reason is a lot of seniors would rather rent than buy.

Many young people are also renting because they're not prepared to buy.

Lucas said some people have a more difficult time finding rentals than others.

"People with lower incomes have a hard time, people with disabilities have a really difficult time finding both affordable and accessible units," said Lucas.

Ilah Hodson of the Housing Commission in Traverse City said people applying for Section 8, or low-income housing, should expect to wait a minimum of one year to find housing.

Right now there are about 100 people waiting for affordable housing at Riverview Terrace in Traverse City.

"Rentals are not readily available in any way shape or form in our area, not even close," said Hodson.

Marcia Minervini of REMAX Bayshore Properties said even as a real estate agent she has a lot of people contacting her to find affordable rentals at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

They have about 70 rentals but Minervini said they are not easy to get.

"When they first did the first group I sent 200 names myself of people who were looking for a place to live," said Minervini.

Lucas tells people looking for rentals to look on housing search sites, craigslist and classifieds.

Minervini cautions people searching on Craigslist to watch out for scams.

"If you live here and you're looking, drive by the house," said Minervini.

Minervini said if there is a sign in the yard call the realtor to make sure the place is actually for rent.

Some of the housing search sites Lucas suggests include: MI State Housing Developement Authority, Housing Search NW, and Craigslist.