Friday, March 05, 2021
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No more room

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Hagadone News Network | February 21, 2021 1:00 AM

There are 240 units at Rockwood Lodge, an apartment community in Coeur d’Alene that overlooks a pool.

Each and every one is occupied — and will likely stay that way for some time.

The situation is the same at many apartment complexes throughout North Idaho, where low housing inventory has created a competitive market not just for homebuyers but for renters, as well.

The community manager at Rockwood Lodge, who did not wish to be named, said a tight rental market means apartments can be hard to come by — and they tend to go fast.

“We have a lot of interest in all our apartments, just because of the lack of availability,” she said. “People like to rent sight unseen, months in advance.”

Once a unit becomes available, it can be snatched up within minutes, she said.

Rather than a waiting list, Rockwood Lodge maintains an interest list categorized by the type of apartment prospective renters want.

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment starts at $1,082 per month, while the most expensive three-bedroom apartments go for $1,539 per month.

Each person on an interest list is contacted by email when an apartment becomes available. Units are rented on a first-come, first-served basis.

On a daily basis, anywhere between 30 and 150 people contact Rockwood Lodge to inquire about rentals. The community manager said she had to follow up with more than 80 people on Tuesday alone.

“It can be difficult,” she said. “We’re as slammed as everybody else is.”

Rent is rising throughout Kootenai County.

A four-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot home in Post Falls was offered for $6,500 a month on Craigslist. A two-bedroom apartment in Spirit Lake was going for $900. New two-bedroom, 1,030-square-foot units coming up in Coeur d'Alene were being offered for $1,825. A two-bedroom, 830-square-foot rancher house in Coeur d'Alene had a price tag of $1,425 a month.

Some are frantically seeking a place to live but struggling with the cost.

"My 2 children and I are in desperate need of a house or apartment in the cda/Hayden/post falls area," posted a single mom on Craigslist. "We just got notice that our landlord’s moving back into the house and we have until March 15th to vacate.

"Due to the influx of people moving here and the cost of rent skyrocketing we can’t find anything at all. We moved from Washington to the hayden/cda/post falls area around 10 years ago, and we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. My kids have gone from elementary to middle school here.

"Please, if you have anything let us know?"

Another posted this:

"My family is currently getting ready to move out of our 1 bed 1 bath apartment and we need to upgrade. It’s myself, my fiancé, and our 14 month old daughter. I have good credit and have worked for an established company in CDA for the last 6 years. Very quiet and mature family looking for a new home. We have lived here our entire lives and prices are hard to manage, but we can do around $1500 a month for rent. Please reach out!"

One family planning to move to North Idaho this summer posted they were searching for a three-bedroom rental home. Their family included a two-year-old Rottweiler described as "a member of our family since she was seven weeks old and she is an angel."

"If you know of anyone looking to rent their home, in or around the month of June, and you feel we might be a good fit, please do reach out," it read. "We can pay $1,700 per month and will pay our own utilities. My husband is a determined and hard worker, and as mentioned, he has over a decade of experience in his line of work and we have no doubt that he will secure a job right away."

At Crossroads Apartments in Post Falls, none of the 144 units are available.

“I have at least four pages of waiting list, front and back,” the property manager said, adding that she doesn’t expect that to change until April or May.

Situated in a quiet part of Post Falls close to shopping and restaurants, Crossroads Apartments is a relatively new community. It has studio apartments, as well as units with one, two or three bedrooms. Rent ranges from $896 to $1,660 per month, depending on the unit. Leases run for six months or a year.

Units go fast once they open up.

“Once I get one available, it’s gone within 10 minutes,” the property manager said. “I would already have someone at my door or someone applying.”

The Rockwood Lodge community manager said she recommends prospective renters begin putting out feelers as early as possible.

Many apartment complexes rent on a first-come, first-served basis, she said, and a lack of available housing means it can take time to find a rental.

“If you know there’s a possibility that you want to move in two months, you may want to look three months in advance,” she said. “It goes so quickly.”