Central West Michigan Sees Firming Labor Markets

A study by All Property Management recently found Grand Rapids to be one of the best rental markets in the nation. Looking at the data, this is not a surprise. The vacancy rate of rental units in the 2015Q2 was an extremely low 2.5 percent, compared to the U.S. at 6.7 percent. Days spent on the market for rentals was also significantly lower than the U.S. average. The Grand Rapids Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales were up nearly 18 percent year-over-year in September, and homes spent an average of 38 days on the market. Central West Michigan housing starts were driven by multifamily development in 2015Q3, seeing its highest quarterly number in over a decade. Further, Grand Rapids could see the development of two mixed-use towers, with preliminary estimates of the cost exceeding $50 million. A $77 million mixed-use development has also been planned for Lansing. Livability will be improved with new road and bridge funds.

Unemployment rates in the region are low, finishing 2015Q3 sub-four percent. Mining/logging/construction, manufacturing, and leisure/hospitality jobs are seeing greater than five percent year-over-year growth across Central West Michigan in September. Grand Rapids has also maintained strong professional/business services and education/health services job growth. The West Michigan Purchasing Manager’s Index indicated an expectation for hiring to flatten over the next six months, with cooling general business conditions in the area. Switch, a Nevada company, is considering Grand Rapids for a $5 billion data facility, pending tax incentives.

Artprize recently wrapped up, contributing an estimated $20 million economic impact in Grand Rapids. A craft beer culture has emerged, as Grand Rapid’s breweries impart an estimated $12.3 million of economic activity, and attract tourists. The $34 million Grand River restoration project is also closer to becoming reality.


Click here for the complete Central West Michigan Regional Economic Update: CentralWestMI 2015Q4.

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