A new 144-unit apartment complex in Richland has slightly eased the scarcity of Tri-City apartments.
Apartment occupancy in the Tri-Cities has dropped by about 2 percent since March, according to a recent survey by Kennewick's Crown Property Management.
In Kennewick and Pasco, 97 percent of apartments were occupied, while in Richland, there was a 95 percent occupancy, according to the survey completed in mid-September.
That compares to occupancy rates of 97 percent to 99 percent in March.
Richland's Island View Apartments already have about half of its 144 units rented, said Erik Wessling, manager. The first apartments were ready in June, and the rest were finished by Sept. 7, he said.
Rent on the one- and two-bedroom units ranges from $825 to $1,165, with some specials offered, he said.
Wessling said the apartment complex owned by Riverstone Residential Group has about as many units rented as they expected at this time, with an eventual goal of about 95 percent or higher.
In Pasco, The Crossings at Chapel Hill ended September with about 98 percent of its 228 units occupied, said Katie Wilson, assistant manager.
She said they want to stay at 90 percent occupancy or more.
Another 72 apartments are under construction at The Crossings, and Wilson said they expect to fill those units fairly quickly. Those should be finished in March and available to pre-rent as soon as November.
The complex offers one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for $850 to $1,210.
There may be a few more vacant apartments, but Judith Gidley, executive director of the Benton Franklin Community Action Committee, said that hasn't helped low-income families searching for somewhere to live. High occupancy rates make it tough for low-income renters to find a place they can afford.
Some of the nonprofit's clients have had their rents increased two or three times in the past year.
In Kennewick, the average rent ranged from $584 for a studio apartment to $944 for a three-bedroom apartment, according to the recent survey. That cost was about the same in March.
In Pasco, the average rent ranged from $413 for a studio to $980 for a four-bedroom apartment, said the survey. Average rents for three-bedroom apartments were about $33 higher than in March, while four-bedroom apartments rented for about $102 higher than the March average.
In Richland, rents averaged from $629 for studios to $822 for four-bedroom apartments in September, according to the survey. The average rent dropped by an average of $79 compared with March.
In September, 13 complexes in Richland offered some kind of specials for renting apartments, while no specials were available in March.