Renting vs Buying in Grand Rapids Michigan | Summer 2015 Update

You think you’re having a tough time looking for a place to buy in this market? Try renting one! Grand Rapids is currently at nearly 100% rental occupancy, the lowest rental vacancy rate in the US. Home prices have been back to pre-crash levels for about a year now, and the market is increasingly competitive if you are looking to purchase. No surprises here!

So, what’s the best route to go? You’re putting all of this effort in…should you rent or buy? Lets take a look at typical scenario in a great rental area, Eastown, a popular Grand Rapids neighborhood near downtown, where there is a high demand and quantity of both rentals and purchases.

The Eastown Comparison:

52 homes recently sold
(What’s currently for sale in Eastown? Glad you asked.)
Average sale price: $131,780
Average #BRs: 3.5
Avg SQFT: 1743

Average Rent for a 3-4 BR 1750 sqft home in Eastown: $1400/month.

Here’s how it looks, running this scenario through the calculator:


The Upgrade

Looks like buying in Eastown quickly pays for itself, comparing $1400/month rent to a purchase of a $132,000 home. But what if you’re already leasing a home in that price range, but you’re ready for an upgrade and/or increased square footage. You want a home with a nice bit of land, an entry-level home in East Grand Rapids, maybe a distinctive spot in East Hills, or something in an historic district. Your lender says you can afford a $230,000 purchase price. Here’s how that looks:


Try out your own scenairo! Here’s a tool from

Rent Vs Own Calculator Link

Downtown Grand Rapids: Art of the Collaborative City


Art Prize 2013: A Moment in the Sun for Grand Rapids

Some 400,000 people will pay a visit to downtown Grand Rapids over the next month. It’s hard to avoid Art Prize Fever, especially with the “Ninkasi, Goddess of Beer” installation (by Kolenda) at the new Founders Tap Room! I don’t have any more 2013 spoilers for you, but here are some links to a few national and local ArtPrize articles, as well as a few of my favorite photos from 2012.

“Ninkasi, Goddess of Beer”
at Founders Brewing, 2013

Art Prize Articles

The Rapidian: Some of the Best ArtPrize Coverage, Written by Citizen Journalists

MLIVE: Art Prize by the Numbers

Grand Rapids Press: Archive

Time Magazine: Five Festive Events You Won’t Want to Miss in 2013

GQ: So You Think You Can Paint

Wall Street Journal: Critical Mass

New York Times: West of Chelsea: A Local ArtPrize?

BBC: Oil Painting Wins $250,000 Prize

MLIVE: Is Music Art?

Examiner: Synopsis

Washington Post: Travel

Markdahle: Tips for Visiting ArtPrize


Here are some photos I took in 2012

camera picture








Time magazine names ArtPrize one of its five favorite festivals worldwide for 2013


TIME magazine says ArtPrize is a place to party. Time’s travel section today named ArtPrize on its worldwide list of “Five Festive Events You Won’t Want to Miss in 2013.” ArtPrize 2013, which returns in September, is listed alongside an event in Indonesia, one in New Zealand and two in Europe.