Buying investments when prices are low is often a good investment strategy. Sometimes the prices just get lower, so it doesn’t always work. But, most likely the USA housing market will turn around, at some point. Buying real estate before prices start to rise may well be a very profitable investment. And rental property can be a very good investment, even without price appreciation, if the rental income provides a nice cash flow. This is especially true with interest rates so low (so a decent cash flow is very attractive compared to other investments). Of course, real estate investing also has challenges.
The HomeVestors-Local Market Monitor Best Markets to Invest in Rental Property ranking forecasts the expected performance of rental real estate properties, specifically single-family homes maintained as rental properties. The rankings show the extra return, or risk-return premium, that an investor must demand from rental property in a local market. The risk-return premium can be added to the regular capitalization rate to produce a risk-adjusted cap rate at full occupancy for a local market. The ranking is calculated based on three-year forecasts of home prices (reflecting underlying home-price appreciation potential) and gross rents (as a proxy for potential investor cash flow). Of course, this is based on the creators expectation (and therefore hardly to be relied upon – they have no track record to measure against yet) but it is interesting.
The Top 10 markets in the new ranking are:
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Detroit, Michigan
- Warren, Michigan
- Orlando, Florida
- Bakersfield, California
- Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
- Rochester, New York
- Stockton, California
Obviously their expectations favor cities that have seen drastic price declines. And that makes sense, as long as those cities rental markets are steady and housing prices stabilize.
An interesting piece of data: HomeVestors and Local Market Monitor estimate that approximately 14% of single-family homes in the USA are maintained as rental properties.
I do believe rental property investments in many markets in the USA may well be quite wise. Investing in rental properties is much more difficult than say stocks and has some high costs (if you chose to higher a property manager, for example). Real estate also requires a long term (5+ year commitments) to have reasonable expectations of successful investing results.