Rental houses higher occupancy rate than apartments in Tri-Cities

Rental houses higher occupancy rate than apartments in Tri-Cities »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- For years, apartments in the Tri-Cities couldn't keep up with the demand. But now, property managers are seeing home rentals take the lead.

Earlier this year, Jody Prior moved to the Tri-Cities with her husband and three girls. They planned to rent, not buy.

"Renting is perfect for the situation that we're living in," said Prior.

Jody is one of many renters who can live in a house, instead of an apartment.

"It's so worth it for the extra space."

It's a trend that realtors are seeing more of. The Tri-Cities used to have a shortage of rentals - not anymore. After a number of new complexes were built, apartments are no longer in as high of demand.
Property managers are finding the price to rent a whole home is often cheaper than what many apartments are charging.

"Home prices have come down, home prices have fallen faster than apartments have, apartments are trying to keep their prices high," said Property Manager, Terry Parrish.

Right now, renting a typical three bedroom, two bath home often ranges from $12,000 - $14,000 across the three cities. That same price would get you a two bedroom, two bath apartment in the newer complexes around town - cheaper prices for more space. Leading to higher than normal occupancy rates for home rentals.

"For a house, if you have a house that's vacant, you can adjust the price a lot quicker and easier on that one house than you could on an entire complex," said Parrish.

This makes the housing rental market strong. He's seen hundreds of customers switch from apartment renting to house renting in the past four years - a time when apartment occupancy was maxed out.

For the Prior family, the affordable price of renting a home, rather than an apartment gives them a two car garage, a backyard, and a secret playroom.

"Honestly I couldn't ask for more," said Prior.