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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

Grand Rapids Housing Market: Ideal for Millennials According to NAR & Huffington Post

Huffington Post:

Grand Rapids, one of The Best Cities For Millennial Homebuyers, According To The National Association Of Realtors

Article/List link on


source: Flickr / cncphotos

Median Home Price: $123,000  Job Growth: 4.2 percent

“In your 20s and early 30s, it’s hard not to notice the siren song of real estate. After all, mortgages rates are still at all-time lows and in many markets, buying can be cheaper than renting. You might also have been brought up to consider housing an investment and renting as ‘throwing money away.’

“If this sounds like your experience, then you might want to read up on this latest survey by the National Association of Realtors, who rounded up the hotspots where strong job growth and affordable home prices might persuade you to consider making the jump. According to their report, these are the markets that “are well-positioned to soon experience a rise in first-time buyers as the economy improves.” And, surprisingly enough, of the 100 metro areas that were analyzed (see below for more detail), some of the more popular millennial-based citiesdidn’t make the cut.

NAR Identifies Best Purchase Markets for Aspiring Millennial Homebuyers

Full Article Link


source: NAR

“NAR analyzed current housing conditions, job creation and population trends in metropolitan statistical areas1 across the U.S. to determine the best markets for aspiring, leading edge Millennial2 homebuyers. Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City were identified as top standouts for Millennials for having a young adult population with solid job growth rates and still relatively affordable home prices. Seven of the 10 metro areas recognized are in the Midwest and West.

“Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, says the homeownership rate for young adults under the age of 35 peaked in 2005 (43 percent) and fell to 36 percent in the first quarter of 20143.

“‘Limited job prospects, student debt and flat wage growth have combined with tight credit conditions and low inventory to price Millennials out of some of the top cities such as New York and San Francisco,” he said. “However, NAR research finds that there are other metro areas Millennials are moving to where job growth is strong and homeownership is more attainable. These markets are well-positioned to soon experience a rise in first-time buyers as the economy improves.’

“NAR analyzed 100 metro areas that have a large Millennial presence, solid local job market conditions and strong migration patterns of young adults moving to that particular area to determine the best purchase prospects for young buyers. Housing affordability and inventory availability were also considered.”

10 Years!




Celebrating 10 Years!

Today is Facebook’s 10-Year Anniversary, and also my 10-Year Anniversary as a Realtor. In commemoration, I started a Facebook Business page, and I hope you’ll join me by clicking here!



Vice President of 5 Banks Paid 10 Dollars Per Hour.

Jaw drop lately? 60 Minutes explains one reason for delays behind economic recovery.

Fox 17 Adopts My Real Estate Sign as Stock Footage

Featured Neighborhood Profile: Heritage Hill

Market Data Compiled 1/25/10 by Pete Bruinsma, GRI.

Sales in past year:

Frequently Requested Heritage Hill Info:

  • Heritage Hill is one of Grand Rapids’ oldest neighborhoods. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971
  • Downtown location borders downtown businesses, schools, US-131, I-196/96, as well as the Medical Mile and Uptown.
  • Property tax millage:  Homestead: 29.76 / Non-Homestead: 47.76
  • Price/square foot $91.23
  • Health facilities
  • Parks and recreational facilities
  • Convenient to many restaurants, cafes, shopping in all directions
  • Population: Population 4,429  Age 18-64: 86%
  • More info on Crime statistics Population Density, Owners vs Renters, School District, can be found here.
    Great Article:

    Portfolio Items


    Pete Bruinsma, Broker/Realtor

    Pete Bruinsma

    Realtor/Broker, Grand River Realty | Owner/Broker, Life Cycle Property Management

    Pete is a licensed Michigan broker with over 15 yrs experience, focusing on representing buyers and sellers the Grand Rapids area. He lives in Heritage Hill, loves local music, cuisine and entertainment, and has renovated many homes. He is a strong but equitable negotiator, and can offer advice on a wide variety of topics. Expertise is balanced evenly between listing and purchasing.

    Certifications and Designations
    Licensed Michigan Real Estate Broker and Saleperson
    Member NAR, MAR, GRAR
    C2EX (NAR Commitment to Excellence)
    Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI I,II,III)
    Master of Brokerage Principles
    Grand Rapids Association of Realtors Leadership Academy
    At Home with Diversity
    Certified Tourism Ambassador (In process)
    E-Pro (Internet Professional)
    Accredited Buyers Representative


    Revue Magazine – Top 3 “Best Realtor” 2019
    Revue Magazine – Top 3 “Best Realtor” 2018
    Grand Rapids Real Producers – Top 300 Agent
    Zillow 5 Star Agent
    Trulia Top Agents
    Westdale Company “Rookie of the Year” 2004

    Grand Rapids City Commissioner (Historic Preservation) 2019-2022
    Music Director of Community Radio Station, 88.1FM WYCE 12 Years
    Volunteer Programmer at Community Media Center 1995-Present
    City of Grand Rapids | Downtown Management Board Marketing Committee, Former Member
    Big Brothers Sisters of Grand Rapids | Former Big Brother

    Employment and Business History
    Grand River Realty | Broker/Owner 2017-Present
    Life Cycle Property Management | Broker/Owner 2001-Present
    Real Estate Certified Investor
    Westdale, Coldwell Banker, Grand Rapids Realty | Licensed Real Estate Salesperson 2004-Present
    Cosmopolitan Home Magazine | Sales 1997-2003
    Alt & Witzig Engineering | Senior Engineering Technician 1992-1996

    Services I Offer:

    Buyers Agent
    Listing Agent
    Transaction Coordinator
    Investment Property Consultation
    Property Management (Life Cycle Property Management)

    Pete Bruinsma reviews



    B.A. Telecommunications
    A degree integrating marketing, business, communications and technology
    Calvin College, Grand Rapids MI