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Cummins boom drives up demand for apartments

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A hiring boom at Columbus-based diesel engine maker Cummins Inc. and the economic recovery are leaving many people in search of apartments out in the cold in Columbus.

Demand for apartments is so high that many complexes are nearly full, and many have waiting lists, The Republic reported. That's forcing some apartment hunters to wait up to three months before getting a place.

Columbus added jobs at a faster rate last year than any other metropolitan area in the United States. The boom is being driven by Cummins, the Bartholomew County's largest employer. The company announced last summer that it would hire an additional 600 professional employees.

Many of those arriving are young adults looking for apartments with amenities such as swimming pools and exercise rooms, said Brad Grayson, president of the Bartholomew County Landlord Association. The group represents 400 landlords.

Even those who prefer renting a house are having difficulty finding rental homes in the $1,000 to $1,500 range, Grayson said.

Landlords welcome the bustling market after the lean years of the recession, in which many struggled to keep properties occupied. The higher demand also has driven up rental rates in the last 12 to 18 months, said Belinda Graber, owner and chief appraiser of Columbus-based Appraisers Inc.

There is some relief in sight for apartment hunters. Two new complexes, with a total of 186 units, are under construction.

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