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June 17, 2014

Rental market slowly improving

Area property managers, rental owner say available units fill fast

Logansport’s tight rental market is slowly improving, but good rental units still fill up fast, local property managers say.

Two property management firms in the area say small family-size units — especially two- and three-bedroom single-family dwellings in the country — are in high demand.

About 21 percent of Cass County’s housing units were occupied by renters in 2012, according to five-year estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. About 26 percent of the state’s housing units were renter-occupied.

“Quite frankly, I’ve talked people into buying rentals because the rental market is so hot,” said Steve Schwering, owner of Schwering Realty which manages several rental properties in town. “There’s still very high demand but it’s a little better than it was. The waiting list gets a little shorter.”

The firm’s units have about eight vacancies with 20 to 25 people on its waiting list. At this time last year, the firm had around two vacancies with about 50 people waiting, Schwering said.

MPR Realty, which manages a few rentals, has no units available at all, broker Memi Rennewanz said.

“I get phone calls every other day. Do you have any rentals?” Rennewanz said. “But a lot of the demand has been for the bigger units, preferably single homes. Duplexes and more, it’s hard to rent because you’re dealing with sharing a wall. You’re dealing with noises.”

On the other hand, the units owned by local landlord Steve Harris — mostly apartments — are 98 percent full.

“I’ve only got three open, I believe,” Harris said, out of the 152 units he owns. All the 18 single dwellings he has are rented out.

“There’s still some problems that need to be addressed” in the local rental market, Harris added. “When property owners don’t take care of some of their properties, it’s a stigma on the rest of us.”

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