Leading Rental Income Markets 4th Quarter 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA. The Center for Real Estate Studies (CRES) research report has just released their fourth quarter 2019 issue of “Market Cycles". It gives a forward look at more than 150 income rental markets with “buy, sell or hold” recommendations. This publication gives the real estate investor a two-year head start on where and when to invest in rental income properties.

The current number of markets in the “Sell Phase” is forty, according to Eugene E. Vollucci, Director of CRES.  The number of markets in the “Buy Phase” is twenty. Mr. Vollucci states, “This quarter the three top buy recommendations are Austin, TX, Louisville, KY, Minneapolis, MN. The three top sell recommendations are Honolulu, HI, McAllen, TX and El Paso, TX.” according to Mr. Vollucci.

In this edition of our Market Cycles, we find the fourth quarter 2019 rental vacancy rate outside MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) was higher than in the suburbs, but not statistically different from the rate in principal cities The rental vacancy rate outside MSAs was lower than in the third quarter 2018, while rates in principal cities and in the suburbs were not statistically different from third quarter 2018 rates. 

Unemployment rates were lower in November than a year earlier in 223 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 137 areas, and unchanged in 29 areas, the   U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 153 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and 2 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 51 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in the remaining 338 areas. The national unemployment rate in November was 3.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted, little changed from a year earlier.

Real estate gains on residential property according to S&P’s over the last 10 years were up 3.4%. A booming economy, but insufficient homebuilding made property owners rich. 

Approximately 328,000 new units are needed in the U.S. each year just to keep up with demand. That figure has only been realized twice since the late 1980s, in 2017 (the peak year for completions) and 2018 and is on track to make it in 2019, according to CoStar. Although some segments of the market may be approaching overbuilt status (luxury, urban core, specific submarkets), supply is still falling far short of demand in many areas across the country. In 2018 and 2019, absorption outstripped demand by an estimated 73,400 units and the current pipeline for 2020 shows fewer units coming on-line than 2019.

In a recent Freddie Mac survey, homeowners and renters fifty-five and older learned that an estimated 6 million homeowners and nearly as many renters prefer to move again and rent at some point. Of those homeowners and renters that expect to move again, over 5 million indicate they are likely to rent by 2020.

This is just another indication of the growing pressure on already tight rental inventories and the significant challenges to housing affordability in the coming years. While estimates vary, we can expect a shortage of needed affordable rental units that will run into the millions. As such, the affordability gap will spread much wider than it is today.

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