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Grand Rapids Real Estate Investment Properties

The Next Great Real Estate Investment Opportunity?

In January, 2011 Newsweek labeled Grand Rapids, Michigan a dying city. So why would anyone in their right mind recommend Grand Rapids Real Estate investment properties for the next great investment opportunity? Let’s look a little further.

You can find lots about the Newsweek article (mostly criticism regarding its very narrow scope) on the internet. There is even a very fun music video that the city produced to dispel the rumors created by that article, which gives a very entertaining tour of the beautiful Grand Rapids downtown area. Complete with a pillow fight in a downtown square, a wedding party, a football game and their marching band, swing dancing on the bridge, all ending in a helicopter ride over Grand Rapids, you get a real feel for the spirit of Grand Rapids and its people. But ironically, you can’t find the actual Newsweek article anywhere on the web today. Since its publication, the business and local government leaders in Grand Rapids have been busy making a mockery out of the article, with their record breaking community and real estate statistics proving that Grand Rapids Real Estate really could be the next great real estate investment opportunity

 Very fun music video

Grand Rapids #1 City to Raise a Family

Grand Rapids Real Estate Investment - Great for FamiliesReason #1 Grand Rapids real estate investment properties are the next great investment opportunity: A strong stable community. In an article dated April 4, 2012, Forbes rated Grand Rapids the #1 city to raise a family. The reasons Grand Rapids gets this distinction is low cost of living, school systems in the top 1/3 in the nation, easy commuting, low crime rate and affordable housing. These are all reasons families choose to live in a community, and a strong stable community is one of the variables needed for a stable real estate investment.

Grand Rapids #2 Best Place to Live

Reason #2 Grand Rapids real estate investment properties are the next great investment opportunity: a strong economy.  In August of 2011, Market Watch lists Grand Rapids as the #2 best place to live. The article notes that Grand Rapids made RelocateAmerica’s Top 10 list for its “solid schools and strong economy.” It also makes note that the city has the best of everything in a smaller large city. A strong economy is another variable needed for a great real estate investment.

Also, in March of 2014, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, NerdWallet used some data to determine the country’s fastest growing metropolitan areas for retirees. Grand Rapids came up as #10 best place to retire.

April 2014, MSN Real Estate listed Grand Rapids as #8 Most Exciting Midsize City in America. They listed great eating destinations like Yesterdog and Stella’s Lounge to places like The HopCat and Founders Brewing as why Grand Rapids made it. The nightlife is exciting and refreshing. Music venues are aplenty. It’s just a great place to live, work and play.

Grand Rapids #8 in Economic Recovery


Reason #3 Grand Rapids real estate investment properties are the next great investment opportunity: Strong economic growth
.  In December of 2012, the Metro Monitor, published by Brookings Research
Institute, ranks Grand Rapids #8 in economic recovery. The institution based its rankings on 4 major areas: employment, unemployment, output or GDP, and housing prices. Most impressive is the city’s improvement in unemployment, a decrease of 4.9%, placing Grand Rapids at #3 in the nation. Another impressive number is 12.4% increase in GDP, indicating a very strong growing economy. This usually means people moving into the area – more good news for Grand Rapids real estate investors. The lowest scoring variable, housing prices, is also good news, indicating that housing prices have not yet caught up to the improvement in the other economic indicators. Overall, Grand Rapids is rated the 8th city in the nation for overall economic recovery showing very strong economic growth.

Unemployment at Pre-Recession Rates

Reason #4 Grand Rapids real estate investment properties are the next great investment opportunity: Low Unemployment. Grand Rapids unemployment rate has steadily decreased in 2012 for a total decrease in unemployment of  1.2%, starting at 7.5% in Dec of 2011 and dropping to 6.3% in Dec 2012. Grand Rapids unemployment rate is 1.6% less than the national average at 7.9%. In fact, unemployment rates are currently where they were in 2003 before the recession. As a real estate investor it is important to have renters that are employed and stay employed. Therefore low unemployment is a great indicator of the strength of a local economy, and most real estate investors watch it closely in markets where they are invested or planning to invest.

The Medical Mile – $1 Billion and Growing

Grand Rapids Real Estate Investment Properties - Great Opportunity!Reason #5 Grand Rapids real estate investment properties are the next great investment opportunity. Over $1,000,000,000 has been spent on development during the last 10 years along what is now known as the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids. Another $1,000,000,000 is expected. There are now over 50,000 people who live, work or attend school along Michigan Street, creating issues with transportation and housing. In 2011, Grand Rapids received a federal grant in the amount of $459,224 for improvement to  the congested area around the medical mile to balancing economic development, housing and traffic. That project is now underway, and plans for future expansion and development continue. You can read about Grand Rapids Planning Director, Suzanne Schulz’s big dreams for the future here. Grand Rapids is fortunate to have forward-thinking leaders in business and local government. They are open about forecasting the fact that study and development funded by the federal grant “should pave the way for the next $1 billion.” The Metro Monitor also indicated a 1.2% increase in real estate and rental leasing in Grand Rapids over the last quarter. All of this indicates an increasing demand for local housing.

Real Estate Investor Interest Increasing

Reason #6 Grand Rapids real estate investment properties are the next great investment opportunity. Other real estate investors around the country are seeing  that now is the time for Grand Rapids Real Estate investment. These investors include Fox News contributor Greg Rand, CEO of OwnAmerica (out of New York),and host of Rand on Real Estate on nationwide WABC talk radio. In his May 2012 interview on the Fox Business channel,  he cited 2 cities that would top his list of  recommended real estate investments. And you guessed it, Grand Rapids was one of them! Watch the interview yourself…

In addition, there are other investment advisors around the world that are recognizing and recommending Grand Rapids Real Estate as a great investment…

“RealtyTrac and RentRange Release Top 25 Hidden Gem Single Family Rental Markets” – Sept 18, 2013

Crain’s Detroit Business – “Apartment rentals are hot property in downtown Grand Rapids”

Toronto Based DDS Investors Group – “Top Reasons to Invest in Grand Rapids” 

All of the above reasons are why Grand Rapids Real Estate investments realized a significant increase in value in 2012, while the national  average was only 2.3%.  The Average Home Price in Grand Rapids Township is still a very affordable $95,000. Unbelievably, this is still a 10.7% increase from last year’s average and 10 year low of $86,000 (zillow.com). Browse the entire MLS inventory of Grand Rapids Real Estate investment opportunities at Compass Realty Services. Then come back and learn more about how we can help you manage your properties in Grand Rapids for maximum profit.

The above research was compiled at the writing of this article, March 4, 2013. Statistics may change over time.  All indications at the time of this article point to the continued strength and growth of the Grand Rapids economy and real estate market. Since we have yet to discover the crystal ball, there are no guarantees or warranties associated with any of the above statements.

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