Rental vacancy rate drops in Yakima County

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima County's longstanding shortage of rental housing doesn't seem to be getting much better. That's despite new construction providing more apartments. Action News learned places are being rented as soon as they become available.

Dustin Lumos recently moved to Yakima from Oregon to study at Perry Tech. Finding a place to live didn't come easy.

"They said it was actually pretty difficult to get into a lot of places around here," said Lumos.

He looked around for a newer place in a good location. Lumos found one he liked, but wound up on a waiting list for about two weeks.

"I was lucky someone was moving out and got in pretty quick," said Lumos.

Waiting is not unusual. Castle Creek apartments currently has 18 hopeful tenants waiting. Complexes are staying close to full in Yakima County.

The Washington Center for Real Estate shows the vacancy rate in Yakima County was only 2.7 percent at the end of last year. That dropped from 3.3 percent from 2012. It's harder to find a place to rent in Yakima County than the state overall. The vacancy rate statewide is almost four percent.

"Everyone wants to rent in Yakima and we'll take what we can get," said Devin Rinaldi, property manager at University Parkway Apartments.

Construction is trying to keep up with the demand. University Parkway Apartments is the newest complex in Terrace Heights. The first 12 apartments will open this week and they've all been rented. There's a waiting list of 112 with 120 apartments expected to open this year.

"It went a lot quicker than I was expecting," said Rinaldi.

Rinaldi says people started calling when they saw the construction. He gets 50 to 100 calls a week. There will be 350 units when it's done.