JOPLIN, Mo. — A hot home buying market doesn’t always affect prices if you’re just looking to rent.

But for many needing an apartment in Joplin right now, it’s been tough to find a match.

“I love this place. But finding it was hard,” said James Rutan, Joplin Renter.

Joplin renter James Rutan says his apartment search took four months. A deal with a unit that would later fall through.

“Another one and a half to two months before I found this and was accepted,” said Rutan.

“I wouldn’t say it’s easy. It’s challenging,” said Anthony Miller, Flanagan Group.

Property manager Anthony Miller says it’s common to have more potential renters searching than units to put them in. He calls the Joplin rental market very competitive.

“Options are definitely slim. If you’re wanting something in the next two weeks, I suggest when you find it, call immediately on it and call as many times you have to until you get in contact with somebody. Try to view the property as soon as possible and get an application in as soon as possible as well,” said Miller.

Very different from recent years when a potential renter might have a few choices and the time to consider the differences.

“It’s kind of time-sensitive right now. So, in the past, it was a little bit easier for you to look at multiple properties. I would still like to try to do that with people. When we have multiple properties, I try to get them in as quickly as possible, but that’s not always the case,” said Miller.

A recent report shows Joplin had more than 8,600 rental units as of 2019, a number slightly lower than in 2010.

There are new units under construction and other future projects in the planning stages. But for now, there’s growing pressure on the short list of available properties.

“I think Joplin is just a very attractive place right now. People are coming from all over the place. I don’t know if you know starting maybe with the tornado it brought the eyes to Joplin a little bit so people have come for whatever reason,” said Miller.