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Study shows significant demand for rental housing in Dickinson County

IRON MOUNTAIN –The Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission has released the 2020 Housing Marketing Assessment for Dickinson County.

Key findings highlight opportunities for real estate developers and property owners, some of which are already in action in downtown Iron Mountain.

Results of the study show there is a significant demand for rental housing — specifically studios, duplexes, and 2-plus bedroom units to support families with children.

The market may also support smaller owner-occupied units such as condos or townhomes. Over the past year, 16 new properties have been developed and were pre-leased prior to opening.

Recently, the city of Iron Mountain was awarded $255,065 in Community Development Block Grant funds for a rental rehabilitation at 323 S. Stephenson Ave. in downtown Iron Mountain. This project will restore a vacant historic building into a mixed-use building with four new residential units on the second floor.

“As our major employers continue to create jobs in our community, we must have appropriate housing options to attract new talent to the area,” said Lois Ellis, executive director of the Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance.

The study also shows an appetite for upgrading or redevelopment of older homes — especially near downtown areas.

“Low median home values in our area removes barriers for first-time homebuyers that might typically be found in large cities and suburban areas,” said Ellis. “Affordable housing is a key element of growing our community.”

The study also found that half of homeowners are living without a mortgage –another highlight of the affordability of living in the Dickinson area. Many of these homeowners are retirement-aged and trends show this demographic will look to downgrade to an apartment, assisted living, or smaller home. The full report is available at www.daeda.org under Live + Work.

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