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Posted on Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Looking for an apartment? Rental market in Ann Arbor 'extremely tight'

By Lizzy Alfs


Ann Arbor resident Aspen Davis carries a desk chair past a pile of free items stacked outside her apartment on Friday morning.

Melanie Maxwell |

When Lauren Goldstein found out in June that she’d be moving to Michigan for GE’s Financial Management Program, she faced a major obstacle: finding rental housing in the Ann Arbor area in less than two months.

Goldstein, who’s only in Michigan for six months on the rotational program, started calling apartment complexes and looking at Craigslist postings for availability and prices.

“Every place I called that had availability, they were disappearing by the second,” Goldstein said. “I needed a specific timeframe, I didn’t have flexibility because I was coming from Connecticut, and I couldn’t come out and see something.”

Goldstein was looking to move to Ann Arbor by the end of July — months after most landlords have leased their units for the following fall.

In Ann Arbor, many renters — both student and non-student — start looking for housing nearly a year in advance of move-in. Landlords often fully lease their properties by early summer for the fall turnover.

“What I gathered from my research…a lot of people sign a year in advance, especially on campus and downtown,” Goldstein said. “Apartments were disappearing. I would call an apartment complex at 9 a.m. and it would by gone by noon.”

After nearly 60 inquiries, Goldstein signed a lease for Westwood Apartments on West Liberty Street, east of Stadium Boulevard.

Her experience is not unusual: The rental market in Ann Arbor is extremely tight, especially this year, according to local landlords and real estate experts.

Dozens of people are posting ads on Craigslist every day seeking housing in the area. On Tuesday, 25 people posted “Housing Wanted” ads on the classifieds website.

Jason Costello, president of Cabrio Properties in Ann Arbor, said Cabrio’s 200 units are 100 percent occupied for fall 2012 and have been since May.


Ann Arbor resident Brick Green gestures to Aspen Davis as they attempt to maneuver a table out of a side door to their apartment as they move out on Friday morning.

Melanie Maxwell |

“We are still receiving a number of calls every day from people wanting apartments that are coming to town,” Costello said. “When we tell them we don’t have anything left, people are so deflated. There’s just nothing available, certainly not anywhere near campus.”

Even though new student apartment complexes like Zaragon West, Landmark and City Place, are coming online and bringing nearly a thousand beds to the downtown this fall, it’s not helping to alleviate the demand for rental units in other areas of the city, said Jennifer Fry, an apartment rental consultant with The Charles Reinhart Company.

She said both the student and non-student rental markets are “extremely tight” this year, more so than she’s experienced in her 15 years working at Reinhart.

“There’s an increase in people looking (for rentals), and there’s a decrease in availability,” she explained. “Between the two, it’s a deadly mix.”

Fry, who runs Reinhart's apartment locator service, said the combination of an improved economy — which has resulted in more Ann Arbor businesses hiring — and an increase in renters could be affecting the market.

She’s even had to temporarily place people in hotels until rental units open up.

“I’ve had a lot of people call, especially within the last month, and you can just hear the desperation in their voice when they ask, ‘What am I going to do?’” she said.


The 200-bed, 14-story Zaragon West, located on East William Street, opened its doors to tenants this month.

Melanie Maxwell |

Albert Berriz, CEO of Ann Arbor-based McKinley, said he’s noticed that the rental supply for non-students is very constrained.

Aside from the new complexes opening this fall, several apartment projects are in the pipeline for the downtown area. Among them: 618 South Main, The Varsity and Ann Arbor City Apartments.

A prime piece of downtown real estate next to Sloan Plaza at 413 E. Huron St. also sold recently and there are talks of another high-rise being developed there.

In recent weeks, local developers have proposed building apartments on top of or behind their downtown buildings, including one location on South Main Street and one on South State Street.

But Berriz said these projects are limited in their scope because they are downtown and many are targeting students.

“There is relatively no new supply coming into the market,” he said. “Everything coming into the market is student housing. The person who is going to work at the (University of Michigan), or McKinley or for Washtenaw County…they can’t live in one of those buildings.”

He said the leasing at McKinley’s 5,300 units in Washtenaw County is “very strong” — particularly on the north side of Ann Arbor following U-M’s purchase of the former Pfizer site.

“(Ann Arbor) is McKinley’s strongest market I would say in the Midwest for sure, and one of our strongest rental markets in the country,” he said.

McKinley has little-to-no availability for fall 2012 — something Berriz said has been standard for the past two or three years. The company also retained 60 percent of its tenants this year, he said.

“Ann Arbor has historically not had occupancy problems,” Berriz said. “We always have a lot customer loyalty…by and large, it’s a very strong market in general.”

Costello said that when one of Cabrio’s units open up due to people’s fall plans changing, the company gets flooded with 10 to 20 inquiries in a matter of 48 hours.

High demand — and Cabrio’s approach to renovate buildings that are in poor condition — also allowed the company to bump up rents across the board this year, Costello said.

And those price increases, Fry said, are occurring at most rental units in Ann Arbor.

“Rents have increased significantly, unfortunately, I would say in the past year,” she said.

But for Goldstein, a Connecticut native who went to college in Boston, her $400 a month rent in Ann Arbor is a steal compared what she’s used to, and she’s just happy to have found an apartment.

“I literally just took this apartment because it was somewhere — anywhere — to live,” Goldstein said. “I had an awful time trying to find a place.”

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Alex Swary

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

I was in a similiar position to Lauren in this story exactly a year ago. I graduated college and accepted a full job offer in Ann Arbor last August, and had to find a place to live here before I started working in early September. Every place I looked into either had no availability or was way below my standards (I'm not a student, I don't want to live in the slums anymore). A couple of the McKinley apartments had one or two openings, but of them would actually let me tour one of their apartments to see what I would be paying $700-$800 a month for, which I didn't like. Every other place I've rented has always actually let me inside one of the apartments beforehand to see if it will suit my needs. So that rubbed me the wrong way and I ruled them out. Luckily, I stumbled upon a very nice apartment complex that would let me tour a unit but who didn't have any openings until that October. They said that I should just keep calling to see if anything opens up, and that's what I did. Thankfully, someone had to drop out of their lease at the last minute and I was able to move in before I started work that September. I pay ~$900 per month, plus all utilities. I resigned my lease for one more year, and I plan to purchase a condo when it's up next September. I fully expect my mortgage and insurance payments to be much lower than my rent is now. I guess that's just how the rental market works in A2.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Now why on earth would anyone want to do something intelligent like invest in property when City Council has rolled out the highrise rental carpet woven and marketed exclusively for like professionals?


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Seems to me like another Planning Commission promo. Just in time for ,,, you guessed it ... more apartment construction. Recently the city (only) wanted to know what local residents felt about State St. And then lo and behold a builder announces more apartments on State St. Are we transparent here or what? The temporary UM housing shortage is about 1,000 student units this fall. So lower commercial vacancy is logical (this fall). Thanks to our mini-bubble economy, aren't these incoming professionals snapping up all of those Zaragon cubes and City Place floppers as advertised? And if there were such a demand for such expensive habitation why hasn't housing prices/occupation here returned as well? A U.S. GE manager can only afford a $400/mo. unit? Clearly GE is a very competitive global corporation.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 9:08 a.m.

everyone wants to live in ann arbor,over rated apartments and houses.Well it,s a college town,all they care about is money and that damm football team! Most of those apartments look terrible for 1,400 a month,you can get get a better apartment or house in ypsilanti area, and live like a king or live poor and cheated in ann arbor.Ann arbor has grew out of it,s size and schools are overated also 34,40 students in one classroom,teachers not that great but it,s ann arbor i guess that makes it good.

Richard C

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 5:22 a.m.

Back in the late 1980s, I rented a 1 bedroom apartment on North Ashley near Felch for around $400/month. A few years back, after getting divorced, I was renting a 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath townhouse for $1500/month. I can't imagine what kind of slumlord pit you can find for $400/month these days - maybe someone's garden shed with blankets on the walls for insulation.

Kai Petainen

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:36 a.m.

the apartment complex i'm in, raised my rent by 12%. why? they told me, that it was from a tighter market.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 3:11 a.m.

A big part of the equation in terms of high rental prices that are set by owners/landlords seems to be how high A2 taxes are. Then there are other fees for a condo (association fee) or rental building/house (maintenance costs) on top of that. Especially for new developments and properties transferred in the last few years (tax assessment re-equalized?). Hoping the newer incarnation of city council spends more wisely so we do not see taxes jump as much as they have in very recent times, thus (hopefully) not giving downtown rent prices as much of an excuse to escalate further faster.

Lynn Liston

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

Lizzie, it would be interesting to see an article on the many, many fraudulent Craigslist listings for Ann Arbor. I've been screening for clients since last October and have encountered so many fraudulent listings, I've started documenting them- it's great reading if you like stories about 'missionaries in Africa so just drive by the house, send us a check and we'll send you the keys' or 'our last listing led to our home being broken into so just follow this link to give us all your credit information including account number and your SSN' and then we'll make an appointment with you.' Since these come word for word for different listings, one can assume they're not honest about something... I also wanted to let you know that you should find out if Ms.Goldstein took a room mate situation because Westwood doesn't have single apartments at $400. Was this a shared apartment or a sublease?


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 3:11 a.m.

Wow! Fraud on Craigslist. Who would've thought? And another story about fraud on the World Wide Web on for that matter? Yeah, that'll stop it!


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

When my two older kids were in school, they found very nice places to live in Ypsi...friendly, helpful neighbors. Quiet area...very nicely appointed apartments. Ypsi is not Mordor.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 5:17 a.m.

Wow. If there are vacancies for rent in Ypsi, why NO rent them to students. My kids ate in Ypsi, filled their cars up with gas in Ypsi, had auto repairs done in Ypsi. They attended events in Ypsi. When they moved on, they left their houses in pristine condition. For the record. I'm happy EXACTLY where I am. I must say yours was a VERY odd comment, given the financial status of the city of Ypsi.

Ben Petiprin

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 5:30 a.m.

Even so, please don't come here if you're from Ann Arbor. Ypsi isn't here to accommodate your excess population.

say it plain

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 7 p.m.

This is such obvious boosterism lol... The bit about McKinley getting higher rent/ greater demand particularly for its properties near the "recently purchased ex-Pfizer site" is implies that demand there has gone up *because* of that acquisition, which is patently false! Very few new hires there, and those that have moved to that site are *not* going to be renting McKinley properties for too long before finding better pastures lol. Any increase in demand there has to do with UM's taking North Campus dorms off-line, and the expensiveness of some of the newer housing built there, likely increasing competition for the non-student population who'd like to live in that section of town. To me, in part, the bigger story here is that while it may be harder than even to get something affordable near campus, it seems that despite McKinley porfolio-promotion rhetoric about Pittsfield Township commanding the same rates as in-town properties, places just outside of downtown--like Westwood!--are renting units for a mere $400?! Hmm....


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

I don't believe that 3,000 "new employees" are coming to Ann Arbor's North Campus Research Complex by the end or this year, be they UM or otherwise... maybe over the next five years (or maybe not). Sounds like a little fact checking is in order. Would you have a source for that stat, Sparty? Most of the "new" University employees there will probably be transferred from leased space elsewhere within the U, so they can save some bucks.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:13 a.m.

3,000 employees projected at the former Pfizer facility by year-end, many of them new, many from the 20 private companies housed there along with UofM. Many may have needed or wanted closer housing options, I'd think.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

I would imagine some of the folks looking for rentals were the people who lost their homes to foreclosure over the past few years.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Hasn't rental housing always been tight in A2?

Michigan Reader

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

Absolutely not. Back in the 70's during the summer months, you could rent dirt cheap when the students were largely gone from town. Also, even in the early 80's, you could rent a room in a frat house for $100.00 a month, of course, in the summer only.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

The website for Westwood Apts. on W. Liberty says they offer 1 bedrooms for $725-$775 including water, but NOT heat or electric, and 2 bedrooms for $825-$875 - same arrangement. At 850 sq.' and up, they are likely to be pricey to heat and cool, unless well insulated. Since they were built in 1980, I doubt the insulation is very good. Nevertheless, unless the young lady from Conn. is sharing a 2 bedroom w/someone, her rent can't possibly be anywhere near 400/mo. Maybe Lizzy could clarify this with her source.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

Dryers vent into the units?!? That is hilarious - got to be one of the dumbest design lapses ever - but then again, they were built in 1980 when most people didn't pay much attention to such things in an apartment setting. Interesting what you said about the management, as the various apartment rating sites I looked at gave the management decidedly mixed revues.

Bryan Ellinger

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

My friend lives at Westwood on the top floor. It has a lovely view of the woods, and very responsible management. There is no cross ventilation, so even on cool nights like this it gets very warm upstairs. Her peak electric bill this summer was $120. It doesn't help that the electric dryers vent into the apartments. The range hoods vent outside, though. The "garden level" apartments would probably have a more stable year-round temperature. On the topic of venting -- the bathrooms evidently share ventilation ducts and, therefore, unpleasant smells.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

maybe not downtown but there is no shortage of apartments in the 700 to 900 dollar a month range.You can move in tommorrow and have many choices.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

@ jpud - Why would you want the U to spend money on housing??? The U is an educational entity and should focus on that.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

No, the U closes them to renovate them. Big, temporary difference.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

What she is saying is that the university has a shortage of DORMS. Colleges do provide dorms. The U just keeps closing them. Students have to live somewhere, and most schools do provide dorms.

Lizzy Alfs

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

For more information on how some other areas compare to Ann Arbor, read the following from McKinley CEO Albert Berriz: "All markets are fully occupied, and we see very strong market acceptance for our Pittsfield Township, Ypsilanti Township and Ford Lake properties.  We consider all those areas to be Ann Arbor, and all are widely accepted as such.  While the north side of Ann Arbor commands the highest rents, all surrounding markets have approached rents that we are able to ask for in the city (of Ann Arbor) as well.  For example, it's very easy to get to north campus from our Pittsfield Township properties and they command the same rents as our properties in the city of Ann Arbor."


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

It's nice to see that rental demand is so high in all surrounding areas. It corresponds to better upkeep of existing properties (seen of few articles on related to this trend). It also brings in new revenue for the areas. Furthermore, an increase in rental housing demand means fewer deadbeats as in if someone doesn't want to pay their rent or be a good tenant, landlords will be more willing to take action to get someone in that will.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

@simone666 Of course rents are different from community to community. Some of the McKinley properties in Ann Arbor proper have LOWER rents than the townships as well. Building age, square footage, ameneties all factor in to the rent. Three miles in real estate terms is the Grand Canyon. The best example I can give would be housing along Woodward in metro Detroit. A house at Woodward and 8 mile versus a house at Woodward and 11 mile would have HUGE differences in price.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

No one in their right mind would pay A2 rents in Pittsfield Twsp. From personal experience of living in a Pittsfield Twsp apt and transferring to an A2 apt just 3 miles apart, with the same apt mgmt company, my rent went up $120. But my car insurance payments went down, so it balanced out. I gladly paid the higher rent for comfort, security, and an easier commute within the city.

Angry Moderate

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

I have lived in McKinley apartments in Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township. They absolutely do not charge the same rents.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

This dreadful situation is the result of poor University investment in on campus housing. Nowhere in the article does it state how UM has shuttered Baits, displacing 600 residents into the private sector, while also shuttering East quad for renovation. Next South quad will be shuttered for renovation, then West and on to Markley. With so many housing units rotating off line for years, supply has been constrained. When you constrain supply, prices rise. UM should be investing in dorms for their students, and setting affordable housing prices for their students, not allowing them to become victims of vultures in the ruthless free market driven by wealthy investors who exploit the University's failure to invest adequately in their core mission, which includes providing exceptional residential educational environments for all undergraduates who wish to live in on campus housing. Unfortunately, some of the landlords are high ranking present and former University officials which creates an appearance of conflict of interest which has been poorly managed to the detriment of the University!


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

If the University of Michigan does not demand a significant profit from housing its students then University residence halls should lease space for less than is charged for private sector housing. The University can build to exact numbers and can require students to live on campus for any part of the students' education. The advantages of student dormitories include building relationships that can last a lifetime and enhanced education through group and student-with-student learning. Social and sporting (exercise) activities are easier to support as well. Living on campus facilitates movement from class-to-class and the choice of quickly returning home anytime that students find it desirable. I would not have given up my residence hall experience in Champaign-Urbana during college even though I gave up some privacy by doing so.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Why should the U get into the housing business? This is a poor use of public funds. Let the U focus on education.

Angry Moderate

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

They are investing in on-campus sounds like that's what you're mad about. P.S. - the "ruthless free market" drives DOWN the price of housing, via increased supply and competition.

Lynn Liston

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

I had just finished communicating with a new corporate transferee on the difficulty in finding suitable housing for professional families relocating to Ann Arbor when I read this article. Every word is true, although I'm amazed that anyone found an apartment for $400/month anywhere in the area. I struggle to locate family housing on budgets 8x that size. Despite the housing shortage, Ann Arbor is still one of the most desirable locations for corporate transferees. Unfortunately several factors have contributed to an overall housing shortage- no new family housing starts, UM closed a large dormitory for renovations tossing all the residents onto the housing market, the economy in Michigan caused families to lose their homes and move to rentals, people aren't taking jobs elsewhere and opening up housing, and the sales market is improving meaning more home sales and fewer rentals. The shortage and high rental prices apply to our entire area, including the townships, Dexter, Chelsea, Saline, Brighton, Farmington, Novi- it is a very tough rental market right now.

Basic Bob

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

"I literally just took this apartment because it was somewhere - anywhere - to live" Well, she didn't even have to go 3 miles from downtown. Not what I would call an exhausting search. Perhaps she was speaking to some other Ann Arbor transplants who heard from someone else that everything east of Platt is the ghetto, everything west of Stadium is the boondocks.

Basic Bob

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

@Angry Moderate, you can always work downtown and live someplace else. Downtown is not exactly the safest place to be after dark.

Angry Moderate

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

Either that, or wasn't willing to pay the appropriate market price to live downtown in a nice, safe, city with good job opportunities.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

One of the reasons the rental market is tighter this year that the reporter failed to mention is that three dorms on campus are closed this year. Baits I is closed permanently, and East Quad is closed for renovations as well as the Lawyers Club at the law school. These last two will re-open for the 2013/2014 school year

Lizzy Alfs

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Yes! Great point. Thanks for adding

Dog Guy

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

As with most Ann Arborites, I am playing with tax money. How silly of anyone non-rich to attempt to come to or remain in Ann Arbor using their own, real money!

Ashley Zimmerman

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

In Aug 2011, My husband and I bought a house in Ann Arbor to SAVE money. Our mortgage, taxes, and insurance is cheaper than our rent was at Village Green (geddes and 23). That is just wrong. Thankfully, we were planning to be here 4-6 years, not everyone is.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Enough. The rental market has plenty of available apartments. The thing that should be stressed is that most are not suitable for low income or students, so therefore the market appears tight. One must also consider that students who's parents are covering their expenses never have a problem finding apartments. This article should really be more about the availability of cheap apartments and nota tight housing market which is very misleading and false!


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

Yup, corporate transferees are the common RENTAL housing placement in AA and Ypsilanti. Both towns located in blue-collar regions, with a smattering of professional situations (most low-end as they are at universities). Oh and about 70k mainly-broke students. Corporate transferees? Perhaps Pizza-chefs short-term for Domino Farms? What corporation is present locally that doesn't treat Michigan as a third-world cost savings? If one wants to do this realtor thing full-time, one should learn more about the business realities. Else one becomes an errand-running nanny for a couple families.

Lynn Liston

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

As a professional home finder for corporate transferees, I can tell you that there is a real shortage of quality, upscale rental family housing right now, in any price range, apartment, house or condo. You don't have to be a student looking for cheap housing to feel the pinch. We have had clients in bidding wars over rather ordinary condos. Professional quality housing is very hard to find.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Build Baby Build! Thank Goodness we have those nice "GREEDY CAPITALIST" investing their hard earned money trying to get approval to build more places to live in Ann Arbor! While these Noble people are trying to solve the housing shortage, some of our Residents and City Council members continue to be anti-business and anti-development and only cause more pain and suffering for its residents and future residents! How Cruel these people are!


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

There it is! Myth-Man cometh.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

This is we have learned on these pages, A2 is a socialist nightmare. Not only that but the local government is totally incompetent, chasing out businesses and therefore the jobs. Who would want to live there? Who would want to have a business there? Turns out, lots of people find A2 to be a pleasant place to live and have a business. Whoulda thunck it?


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Brad turned off his sarcasm detector this morning. The fact that he says 'we" pay for their transportation is one of those silly right wing arguments. Taxpayers pay for MOST transportation. You drive on a road (taxpayer government funded) that has stop signs (tax payer government funded) and is plowed and maintained (taxpayer government funded).

Angry Moderate

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

A common myth, but Ann Arbor is actually fairly good for developers and businesses.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Chasing OUT the businesses? Hardly. Heck, they're paying them just to move eight blocks! They're building them gilded parking structures. They're (we're) heavily subsidizing the transportation costs of their employees.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Unfortunately, new construction costs have remained high during the recession which explains why only high-end apartments and condos have been built in downtown Ann Arbor and will continue to be built. Checking the apartment available advertising on-line reveals few offerings for less than $600 per month leasing but listings become plentiful at or above $900 per month leasing. So the tight market exists with less expensive housing but many choices appear available for those with money to burn.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

In the 12 months to June 30, 2012, employment in Washtenaw County rose 4.8% according to the Commerce Department, one of the fastest rates of any region in the Midwest. According to the Census Bureau, the population of Washtenaw County is rising, and rose 0.9% in the year ended June 30, 2011 (latest data). If there is no new construction, the pressure from a rising population driven by rising jobs in the area will build.

Duc d'Escargot

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

I would have been interested in comparisons with the rental markets in Pittsfield and Ypsilanti Townships, and in the city of Ypsilanti. Granted, the story is about rental properties in Ann Arbor. However, McKinley and other large property management companies have hundreds of units in the neighboring communities; if their Ann Arbor properties are full, are they referring prospective tenants to other areas?


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

A friend of mine rented in A2 for two summers. Nasty rooms in two different older homes. No air, no screens in upstairs windows, just awful. Approx. 400 a month and that was in the summer. Now he has a beautiful loft in Ypsi for not much more, with air, dishwasher, granite counter tops, laundry etc. The bus goes both ways and he doesn't have to worry about parking or gas either!! Of course if you are looking at zip code, etc some may find those horrible older not taken care of homes good enough for them. For as much as they ask for rent in A2, one would think they could put a screen in an upstairs window!!


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

@Angry Moderate, the single man in question wanted Ann Arbor, and the zip code. Trust me, I spoke with the man in detail.

Lizzy Alfs

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Great question. Check out a comment I posted below from Albert Berriz. I will have to look more into the other areas of Washtenaw County and how it's comparing.

Angry Moderate

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Perhaps they are more interested in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and being able to walk to work, than the Ann Arbor zip code.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

When I briefly worked for a rental agency last year, our A2 properties were all filled for the Fall 2011, I suggested to the man some alternatives in Ypsilanti and he bulked at the suggestion with great indignation. And this attitude came from someone who didn't hadn't relocated to Michigan yet. Sadly, the moral of the story is that people relocating to A2 WANT Ann Arbor... and nothing else. There are nice places in Ypsi and in the surrounding communities, but people want an Ann Arbor zip code.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 11:32 a.m.

I found it interesting that the first - and only - price "range" was mentioned in the third-to-last sentence. I suppose this was to give the impression to the reader that supply is tight across the price spectrum, as opposed to in the absurdly-low range Ms. Goldstein was searching in. In the Connecticut town Ms. Goldstein *probably* works in (GE is located in Stamford), she's looking at her share of rent approaching $800...for a "steal". That is, of course, for her part of a rental, not the whole thing. I too tried to find housing in Ann Arbor for $400 or less on Craigslist, and found that it just isn't available. I also searched for a $500 Rolex, a $1,000 undergraduate U of M education, and a mint 1998 Porsche 911 Turbo S for under $25k. I was unable to find any of them. I was, however, able to find apartments at *market* rates, Rolexes at *retail* prices, and at least one of the famed 911's I was searching for on eBay, albeit for a price I was unwilling to pay. Moral of the story: Price is the market-clearing mechanism. Without price, nothing (including Ms. Alf's entire article) makes any sense.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

I'm a Realtor in Ann Arbor, and that is usually one of the fundamental problems when I'm contacted about rental properties. People just don't know the market, and have unrealistic expectations. Or their desires far exceed their what they would get for their price point.