Increased demand putting pinch on Wichita rental market

Apartment seekers report waiting several months in some cases for a unit to open up.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 11:12 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - For many people looking to rent in Wichita, the search is challenging. Apartment seekers report waiting several months in some cases for a unit to open up.

Commercial real estate firm NAI Martens Senior Vice President Jeff Englert said Wichita as a whole doesn’t have a lack of potential development, construction just isn’t happening here as fast as it is in larger markets like Kansas City.

“Our just picked up in the amount of units we were building here because we went too long without building anything,” Englert said. “That’s because our rents are so low compared to other markets. It’s hard to justify building here when construction costs are pretty much the same as anywhere else, but your rental rates are much lower.”

While the pandemic slowed new-apartment construction, driving up demand on available units, interest in development is picking back up.

“There’s been pent up demand created because of the lack of new units coming on the market, but we’re seeing more and more this year and next, projects that will be completed and more units becoming available,” Englert said.

Among those looking for the right rental situation in Wichita is Wade Inman, looking to jump back into renting after a year of home ownership.

“(I’m) going back to college, just being able to not focus on house maintenance, upkeep, mowing the yard,” Inman said.

He said living in an apartment and “having everything taken care of” for him beyond paying rent will allow him to better focus on his studies. But the search hasn’t come easily.

“It’s the combination of trying to find something within a reasonable amount of time and that also fits the budget and fits the need,” Inman said.