Milwaukee’s hottest rental neighborhood depends on your criteria

Real Estate

Source: ABODO

What are the hottest neighborhoods in Milwaukee and where can you find the best rentals?

As downtown Milwaukee, Walker’s Point and the Beerline neighborhood continue to make the list of desired dwelling locations for baby boomers and millennials, it’s a question worth asking.

But the answer depends on who you ask.

Dwell, a 70-unit apartment building in Bay View, opened in 2012 to attract younger residents to the neighborhood.
Dwell, a 70-unit apartment building in Bay View, opened in 2012 to attract younger residents to the neighborhood.

A recent report from ABODO, a Madison-based online apartment search company, looked at data from its 400,000 users from November 2014 through November 2015, and found the city’s Lower East Side is the most searched neighborhood.

The average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Milwaukee is $805. You’ll pay $1,031 on average for a two-bedroom and $1,142 for three bedrooms, according to ABODO.

The cheapest one-bedroom apartment is near Marquette University, for $821 a month. The most expensive is in Bay View, at $894 for a one-bedroom – again, according to ABODO.

Robert Monnat, industry expert and chief operating officer of Mandel Group, gave the ABODO numbers a look. Monnat, who is not affiliated with ABODO, said based on the velocity of the searches, it’s clear there are a lot of people looking for places in neighborhoods that are traditionally multi-family oriented, such as the East Side.

“It’s interesting that neighborhoods like Bay View and Walker’s Point are showing up on a higher price scale,” Monnat said. “I think that validates the common understanding that those are fast emerging markets. If there is a lack of activity in those submarkets, it’s because there is a lack of inventory. As more apartments are added, more people will be looking for an opportunity to live there.”

Overall, ABODO’s average rents seem low for Milwaukee. That could be because ABODO’s data is driven by the company’s client base, which in most cases is young people looking for inexpensive apartments.

Also, some landlords don’t participate, which drives down costs in the data. Monnat said Mandel Group only has a small portion of its properties listed on ABODO’s site. ABODO also mixes Class A, B and C properties, lowering the average rent.

Heather Johnston, founder and chief executive officer of Find My Spot Inc., a Milwaukee-based online apartment locator that helps corporations relocating employees, has significantly higher average rents listed on her site.

Find My Spot lists a median rent for a one-bedroom Third Ward apartment at $1,520 per month – $670 more per month than ABODO prices a one-bedroom apartment in the Third Ward.

In Bay View, the average one-bedroom would run you $1,130 a month, according to Find My Spot. Looking for a better deal? Try ABODO—it’s $894.
In Walker’s Point, a one-bedroom apartment is listed for $1,025 on Find My Spot, compared to $833 on ABODO.

The same is true for downtown, where the price is $1,445 for a one-bedroom, according to Find My Spot, versus $879 on ABODO.

Johnston says the difference is most of her properties are Class A and cater to relocating professionals.

Not that one site is right or wrong – it just depends on what type of apartment you are looking for.

In fact, there are dozens of local online apartment rental sites available for prospective renters, so startup companies like ABODO and Find My Spot have to find a niche to set them apart.

ABODO was started by a group of recent University of Wisconsin-Madison grads in 2012 though the accelerator program run by gener8tor, a Milwaukee- and Madison-based company that works with early stage entrepreneurs.

The company specializes in students and millennials looking for housing and was recently chosen as the campus area housing finder by UW-Madison – a big win for the company, since now ABODO’s technology is linked directly to the campus’ housing and visitor relations home pages.

All of the local companies are competing against the heaviest hitter – Apartments.com.

“Smaller companies are nimble but cannot compete with Apartments.com and their $100 million advertising campaign,” Johnston said.

In March, Washington D.C.-based CoStar Group acquired Apartments.com for $585 million. CoStar also acquired the websites ApartmentHomeLiving.com and RentalHomesPlus.com.

Last year, the three sites collectively generated 114 million visits and an average of 7 million unique monthly visitors, according to CoStar. They had about $86 million in total revenue.

A company like ABODO competes by looking at what is most important to its renters – in this case, millennials.

A survey being used by the company shows  the top five amenities selected by student renters and recent graduates include available parking, in-unit laundry, rent control, having utilities included, being near a bus route, having a balcony or deck, and large square footage.

On the flip side, Johnston, a mechanical engineer who started her company in 2012 after moving 11 times in 13 years for work, said her clients make leasing decisions based on communities – both the neighborhood and the feel established within the apartment community – not pricing.

“Although most renters search for housing within a pre-determined budget, their final decision is typically based on qualitative factors,” Johnston said. “Once a standard of living is met, high-end finishes and square footage are less important to millennials, empty nesters and busy executives.”

Source: ABODO
Source: ABODO

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