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

Mortgage Rates Dip, Hover Around Record Lows

Full Article from


The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage reached a new all-time low this week, while the 30-year mortgage edged nearer to matching its record low, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

The low mortgage rates are helping to push housing affordability to record highs. The National Association of REALTORS® reported this week that the average family has more than double the income needed to purchase a median-priced home.

Here’s a closer look at rates for the week ending March 8:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.88 percent — only 0.01 percentage points above its previous all-time low. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.88 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged a new record low of 3.13 percent, with an average 0.8 point, dropping from last week’s 3.17 percent average. The previous record low for the 15-year mortgage was set in February when it reached 3.14 percent. Last year at this time, 15-year rates, a popular choice among refinancers, averaged 4.15 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.81 percent, with an average 0.7 point, falling from last week’s 2.83 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.73 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.73 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, rising slightly from last week’s 2.72 percent average. A year ago at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 3.21 percent.

Recent Grand Rapids Market Trends from NAR

The National Association of Realtors has released some end of the year market trends for our area.
For the full report, click here (50K PDF).