Western UP, Michigan (WLUC) – A recent study by a student and professor at Northern Michigan University confirms that housing rental costs have risen steadily in Upper Michigan over the past decade.

On average, home prices in the United States have risen about 7% every year since 2014, and it’s no secret that UP has seen the same upward trend.

A recent study by Dr. Weronika Kusek and Max Steele of Northern Michigan University’s Rural Insights Institute highlights the specifics of this issue in Marquette, Houghton, Chippewa, and Delta counties using data from 2010 to 2021. “We have a shortage of affordable housing and we’ve heard it over and over again, so we’ve decided [to] take a look at the data behind it,” said David Haynes, editor and director of the Rural Insights Institute.

This study confirms that housing rental costs have increased by 2.19% each year in all four counties, excluding Delta, between 2010 and 2021. “I would say that Marquette and Houghton counties have probably been the hardest hit, and of the individual towns in UP, I’d probably say Marquette and Houghton [are the most affected]said Max Steele, student researcher at the Rural Insights Institute.

During this 11-year period, the median rental price for apartments and houses in Marquette County increased by 50%.

Since 2013, all counties involved in the study have seen an average property value increase of 53%, which Steele says could deter people from moving to UP “You might think twice about come to UP when you have a job [or] when you come to school,” Steele said.

The study could not determine all the causes of these increases. However, the study shows that the cost of housing exceeds wages for many in the four counties. “The pattern for decades has been that your housing costs should try to be less than 25% of your income,” Director Haynes said. “That number is no longer real, housing is so expensive.”

Haynes says no long-term future solution for the affordable housing shortage has been confirmed by any of the four study counties. But Haynes and Steele say the purpose of this study is to provide local governments with data to help them address this issue.

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