Rental housing has been hard to come by in Bloomington-Normal. (Photo by Eric Stock/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - As more displaced homeowners seek a shorter-term place to stay because of the economy, it's getting harder to find a place to rent in Bloomington-Normal.
Nick Butzirus, owner of Main Street Brokers and Associates who runs the website rentallane.com, said it's tougher than he's ever seen it for students and others looking for an apartment.
"Right now, we are calling around three or four months in advance just asking if they happen to know if they are moving or not this year, so we know well in advance for the people now trying to find something for this fall already," Butzirus said.
Butzirus said his website typically lists hundreds of available rentals but the housing market, coupled with Illinois State University decommissioning Atkin-Colby and Hamilton-Whitten dorms last year, there are fewer than 100 spots available now.
Butzuris said in some cases, tenants are doubling up in one-bedroom apartments because they can't find a two-bedroom place or two, one-bedroom units.
He said new apartments in Bloomington-Normal aren't going up fast enough.
"A lot of apartment communities are trying to expand. There are some people in the area that own several different communities that are trying to start some new ones to expand. That will all help, but that all takes time," Butzirus said.
Butzirus said he expects the local rental market to remain saturated until more people are comfortable enough financially to buy a home.