Zumper's National Rent Report for December '19


Rental information site Zumper recently released their National Rent Report for December, 2019 showing that the median national rent for 1-bedroom apartment was $1,230 (down 0.9%) and the median two-bedroom rent was $1,465 (down 1%).  Year to date, one bedroom prices are up 1.8% and two bedroom prices are up 1.7%.  Zumper analyzes rental data from over 1 million active listings across the United States. Data is aggregated on a monthly basis to calculate median asking rents for the top 100 metro areas by population, providing a comprehensive view of the current state of the market. The report is based on all data available in the month prior to publication…..be sure to check out their entire list of 100 cities.

Click on the graphic to make it interactive

Click here to read the full report at Zumper.com.

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A Buyer's Market is Coming- What Do we Do!!?

BY  ON DECEMBER 12, 2019

The front page of the Mecklenburg Times recently carried the headline “U.S. will become a buyers market in 2020, according to experts.”  I knew it was coming, real estate is cyclical.  The “experts” guess as to when is undoubtedly better than mine, I just know that it’s coming.  We need only look to the past to see that Buyer’s Markets follow Seller’s Markets as inevitably as night follows day.

However,  history is no simple mirror with which to gaze upon past events, but it is an instructor of great sagacity as regards what the future may hold.  From a Buyer’s market we have come, and to a Buyer’s market we shall return.  Is that the time to get out of real estate investing?

For a lot of people the answer is yes, but it needn’t be so.  As Abraham Maslow said, “when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”  When the “bottom falls out”, I would not recommend strategies that I see in abundance today, such as overpaying, overimproving, and riding the wave of appreciation to profit.  Remember the game “hot potato” some of us played as children, or even “musical chairs”?  When the music stops, you do not want to be the last one standing.

But history has taught us a myriad of ways to profit from a market in which housing prices are flat or even moving downward, for those of us savvy enough to listen.  One of the largest factors that will turn a strong real estate market, where houses “fly off the shelf”, to a weak one, where houses literally have birthdays on the market, is the cost and availability of mortgage funds.  The vast majority of homeowners do not buy houses with cash, they shop for a payment they can afford.  One of the government’s favorite tools to curb inflation (which we have seen quite a bit of in recent years) is to raise interest rates.  Thus, Harry Homebuyer’s income will dictate that he buy a less expensive house, exerting a downward pressure on housing prices.  When mortgage criteria (credit score, etc . . . ) become more stringent, less people can qualify.  This is a massive opportunity for Investors.  If interest rates are at 12%, why not take over a 5% loan “subject-to”, and sell it with owner financing for 10%?  You’ve created a “spread” with the interest rates, and are normally able to command a larger down payment because you can offer better terms than a bank can, and to many people to whom a bank would offer nothing.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way!


Lou Gimbutis, owner of Property Solutions, LLC, www.soldcarolina.com, has been buying and selling houses full-time since 2004, first in Michigan, then after moving to NC in 2007.  He serves as Director of Education for the Metrolina Real Estate Investor’s Association.

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New Homes Built w/Wells & Septic Systems

BY  ON DECEMBER 10, 2019

While not exactly a sexy subject, this is interesting from a data & public health perspective.  According to research from the NAHB’s Economics analysis of the Survey of Construction (SOC), about 9% of new single-family homes started in 2018 across America were served by individual wells and more than 16% have private septic systems.  The SOC classifies community or shared water supply/wells as public water rather than individual wells.

Click here to read the full report at the NAHB’s Eye on Housing.

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Rent Control's Potential and Devastating Effects


We’ve covered this issue quite a bit over the past couple years.  Now comes a new report from the National Apartment Association (NAA) that illustrates rent control’s potentially devastating effects on four major U.S. cities (Chicago, Denver, Portland Oregon, and Seattle).  The NAA’s analysis hows  these policies decrease housing supply, harm the condition of existing housing stock and lower property values (lowering tax revenues), limiting job growth and having a negative impact on local economies.  Indeed…

“Each of these effects represent inefficient outcomes relative to allowing the market price to adjust according to supply and demand. By not allowing the market for dwellings to function properly, rent control changes the allocation of housing investment across space. Under normal conditions, rising rent levels would be met with increased building in an area, curbing long-term growth in rents. However, rent control blunts the price mechanism, causing a misallocation of housing investment both within and across metropolitan areas.”

Click here to read the full report at the National Apartments Association.

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Cincinnati May Require Landlords to Accept Security Deposit Insurance


The City of Cincinnati is considering legislation that would require landlords to accept security deposit insurance in lieu of a security deposit.  According to CBS News, the newly introduced legislation would supposedly “free renters from having to hand over a large lump sum and instead direct landlords to accept a security-deposit insurance policy as an alternative.”  In addition CBS says it could make Cincinnati the first city in the nation to require their acceptance by landlords.  The timing is especially interesting as Cincinnati recently enacted a series of laws making it tougher for evictions.  National REIA’s Charles Tassell (who also represents the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association) pointed out that Cincinnati has around 82k total rental units most of which are managed and owned by families.  Indeed….

“A lot of the property owners take installments already because you have to work with people sometimes…But mandating those options has a lot of unintended consequences.”  Said Charles Tassell, Chief Operating Officer of National REIA.


Click here to read the full story at CBSNews.com.

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National Loan Delinquency Rate Down 6.9% from 2018

BY  ON DECEMBER 10, 2019

Black Knight’s “first look” report for October, 2019 says that there were just under 44k foreclosure starts, with the National delinquency rate falling to 3.39% in October, a nearly 7% decline from 2018.  In addition, they also reported that serious delinquencies fell by 10k from September, while the number of loans in active foreclosure edged up slightly.  Prepayment activity climbed another 16% in October (the highest level since May 2013) and are now up 134% year-over-year as refinancing homeowners continue to take advantage of low interest rates.  Black Knight derives its data from their loan-level database representing the majority of the national mortgage market.

Click here to read the full report at BlackKnightinc.com.

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A Snapshot of Today's Home Buyers

BY  ON NOVEMBER 15, 2019

The National Association of Realtors say with rising housing costs showing no signs of a deceleration the percentage of first-time buyers remain at historic lows.  Today’s infographic takes a snapshot of today’s homebuyers using data from their recently released 2019 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.  Happy Friday!!!


Hat tip to the National Association of Realtors.


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Preparing for 2020's Slowing but Growing Economy

BY  ON NOVEMBER 13, 2019

Kathy Fettke points out that we’ve seen a lot of volatility in the global economy these past few months with headlines are warning us about all sorts of economic uncertainties.  While it might be enough to upset the stock market, should real estate investors be concerned?  In a recent a recent episode of Real Estate News for Investors Kathy says it is important to understand that the real estate market is very different today than it was last decade and that the theme of 2020 will most likely be a “Slowing but Growing Economy.”


Click here to read the transcript at Realwealthnetwork.com.

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2019 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers

BY  ON NOVEMBER 11, 2019

According to the NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the share of first-time buyers remained at 33% for 2019, which they say is a historic low.  In addition they report that a third of first-time home buyers used down payment help from family and friends.  The NAR also reports that that while tight inventory has caused steeper housing prices, home sellers in many parts of the country have been able to take advantage of the situation and have received a median of 99% of their asking price and sold their within about three weeks.

“Low inventory conditions hurt would-be first-time buyers most..Their homeownership dream and the opportunity to build wealth gets delayed until more inventory choices reach the market.”  Said Lawrence Yun , the NAR’s chief economist.

Some characteristics of 2019’s first-buyers:

  • First-time buyers made up 33% of all home buyers (same as 2018)
  • The typical buyer was 47 years old this year
  • The median household income for 2018 was $93,200.
  • 12% of home buyers purchased a multi-generational home, to take care of aging parents, because of children over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-saving.
  • 20% of recent home buyers were veterans and 3% were active-duty service members.

Click here to read the full release at the National Association of Realtors.

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Forecasted Changes in Population

BY  ON NOVEMBER 11, 2019

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a recent “chart of the week” from the Mortgage Bankers Association highlights the estimated and forecasted average annual change in U.S. population, by age group.  Among their findings, they say that while homeownership levels are strong among older groups, “even the relatively small renter share of the overall growth among older populations can mean significant demand for the apartment market.”  Indeed…

“Housing demand in the U.S. is expected to grow considerably over the next decade, as the large Baby Boomer cohort grows into age groups formerly held by the Silent Generation, and Millennials mature into age ranges formerly populated by the smaller Generation X. In each of the last two years, these trends have helped add a net 1.6 million households.”

Click here to read the full report.

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