Lack of apartment vacancies a major symptom of Rapid City housing shortage

Elevate Rapid City officials estimate that although the number of apartment vacancies in the area is ever-changing, it's a fraction of what Rapid City's market should be.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Housing availability, whether apartments or homes, are a problem in Rapid City right now.

Elevate Rapid City officials say that houses are selling in days, while apartments gone as soon as they’re posted.

Including newer apartment complexes still under construction, like KC Lofts Apartments selling fast.

Apartment Vacancies 3

“With apartments, those are getting scooped up immediately as well,” said Tom Johnson, the President & CEO of Elevate Rapid City. “If you go online and look for an apartment right now, by the time you call them, that apartment was probably rented, so we’re seeing stuff come off the market, whether it’s houses or apartments within a matter of days.”

Right now, Johnson and his staff estimate that the vacancy rate in Rapid City is below five percent, a fourth of what Johnson says is a healthy market.

Prices for homes are soaring and some selling for 20 to 60 percent of their original buying price.

Workers coming to the area are faced with alternative living choices, or not coming here at all.


“Whether it’s teachers, whether it’s air men and women who are coming here because of the base,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s nurses, they’re all having trouble finding apartments in that range between $800 and $1500. And so you’re seeing them live temporarily in hotels. That’s not the kind of Rapid City that we want.”

With a base expansion coming for Ellsworth Air Force Base, that need is sure to grow.

But one thing in the area’s developer’s favor is time.

“The base won’t be at full capacity right at the beginning of 2023 or 2024,” Johnson said. “They’re going to be in full swing about 2025, 2026, so we have a good three to four year run here to get our stuff together. To get our act together”.

Area Rapid City developers faced with solving a growing housing problem.

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