The Next Generation of Renters

As millennials continue to bore into the real estate market, renting has become the mainstay of the younger generation.  Inability to save and lack of a strong credit history are key contributors to homeownership rates dropping.  If this trend continues the next Generation, Z, will be absolutely forced into renting.

RentCafe recently released an incredibly detailed study indicating that Generation Z will pay over $102,000 in rent by the time they hit age 30.  This is based on millennials spending approximately 45% of their income on rent, which averages out to $92,600 by the time they hit 30.  Compare this to Baby Boomers who paid approximately $66,900 in rent before turning 30.

Florentina Sarac states “Given their overwhelming student loan debt, younger Millennials may carry on renting, simply because the prospect of buying is not yet attainable.  On the other hand, older Millennials are starting to slowly shift towards home ownership.”

Rent burdens have been the hardest on younger Millennials, aged 22-29, with 47%.  Older Millennials clock in at 44%.  With a substantial amount of income dedicated to renting, Millennials will not be afforded the luxury of owning a home easily.

Furthermore, Millennials earn and pay more in rent than both Generation X, and Baby Boomers.  The income difference ranges from $4,500 to $10,900 while the rent difference ranges from $10,400 to $21,600.

“It’s worth noting that the rent difference between Millennials and Baby Boomers is twice as big as the income difference.”

Without a drastic shift in the real estate market, it will become more and more difficult for Millennials and subsequent generations to make the leap from renting to home ownership.

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Boston gondola transportation project

An aerial gondola system from an elevated platform next to South Station, to the Marine Park in the Seaport District is still being considered by private developers and public officials. If approved, it would be around a mile long and run thirty to fifty feet above Summer Street.

1The developers, Millennium Partners and Cargo Ventures, have been talking to city and state officials about the gondola and recently found support with South Boston’s congressman, Stephen Lynch. Millennium is willing to foot the bill for the construction costs, an estimated $100 million, that would include the gondola’s Seaport terminus. Such a project would help reduce vehicular traffic and reduce carbon emissions but have yet to receive official support from the city of Boston or the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Despite concerns regarding the gondola system’s aesthetics as well as potential issues with other transportation projects like dedicated bus lines, Curbed Boston readers recently voted for this project as the best idea for Boston, beating out options to build more housing, going all out to draw Amazon’s second headquarters, implementing a tap-and-go fare system for the T, and co-living.

Is Congestion Pricing coming to Boston?

After seeing success in the city of Stockholm where they saw a 22 percent reduction in traffic, New York could become the first city in the United States to implement congestion pricing.

If it goes through, motorists driving in and out of the main commercial districts of Manhattan would be charged a fee to do so. The main reason to start a program like this is to ease traffic in the city’s most congested areas by forcing people who want to access those areas to make a decision—pay to drive through those areas or save money by walking, cycling, or taking public transport. The proposal has the backing of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a number of business groups as well as ride-hailing apps such Uber. If New York approves this plan, will Boston follow suit?

Perhaps the strongest argument in support of this plan making its way to Boston is that the revenue from congestion pricing in New York would be allocated for repairs to the region’s public transit system.

Besides having some of the world’s worst traffic (Boston ranks 14th among the world’s most congest cities), the T and commuter rail are constantly in need of monetary help to improve infrastructure and service.

However, opponents against the plan are worried that congestion pricing would send property values and prices even higher than they already are and make it harder for people to be able to afford to live within the congestion pricing zone.

Renting in Modern Atlanta

atlanta-juneteenth_article_story_mainJust like in the rest of the country, residential real estate in Atlanta is changing quickly as many people, especially those often-cited Millennials, move into more urban and metro areas seeking not just jobs but also all the excitement that living in a more densely populated area often brings. As a city with one of the highest rates of renters vs homeowners, Atlanta offers some interesting perspectives and insights into what renting in today’s market looks like and into why people choose to rent vs buy to begin with.

It  is interesting to note that over the past several years, the number of renters has greatly increased in the suburbs compared to Atlanta’s more urban areas. According to Rent Café, the number of suburban renters increased by about 25% from 2011 to 2015, more than 50,000 people, compared only about 15,000, or 10%, in urban areas. Atlanta is definitely an urban city of suburban sprawl, and with 61% of total renters in the suburbs and those areas capturing a lot of the rent growth it seems like it may stay that way for some time. Those suburban renters cite better schools, quieter communities, and lower rents ($1,277 urban vs $1,006 suburban averages) as reasons they choose to leave the city’s inner neighborhoods.

Some good news for all these Atlanta renters? Zillow says it anticipates that rent growth will, after years of hearty spikes, start to level off  around .9% nationwide in the coming year. Maybe that is why only 41% of current renters say they expect to move or have any interest in owning a home– the lowest number ever recorded according to a recent Freddie Mac survey. Times they are a’ changin’, but it looks like renting is here to stay, and that’s certainly true in Atlanta. 

How to save money furnishing your apartment

So you’ve got the apartment, what are you going to put in it?  Are you going to venture into your grandmother’s basement to find that dusty, 1920’s armoire?  Maybe your old beer-stained college couch?  Probably not.  How can you fill your new place without breaking the bank?  We’ve got you covered.  

If you plan on buying furniture, it’s best to know where to look and what to look for. 

Look for sales and consider using a credit card that offers free extended warranty options on furniture.  Ask to purchase the floor model as these are often considerably cheaper.  Shop at second hand stores, flea markets, and yard sales to find a good deal.

(Check college campuses for leftover furniture.  As semesters start and end there will always be excess furniture.  Make sure to clean it first, though)  

If your more of a “Do it Yourself” person, you can repurpose old furniture or even build your own.  Cleaning, sanding, and adding a fresh coat of paint will have any of your old furniture looking like new.  Get milk crates and fruit boxes from supermarkets to convert into shelves.  Old tables can be repurposed to be used as desks.  

Make the Most of Any Rental Unit: Property Upgrades and Maintenance

The key to maintaining a profitable rental unit can often time come down to maintaining and upgrading wisely. While some in-unit changes likely aren’t worth the money, many are. Often times, investing more initially will pay off over the long run. Here is a list of recommended changes and best practices that won’t break the bank over the long run. These changes will allow any landlord to keep the rent high and ensure less tenant turnover.

Focus on curb appeal.

  • Changes include landscaping, power washing, and repainting the exterior. This can be particularly helpful when it comes time to place a new tenant in your unit.

Upgrade the appliances.

  • This is a purchase that should be viewed as an investment, as band-aiding problems can be expensive long-term, cause tenant dissatisfaction and become a headache for you, the property owner.

1Add backsplashes in the kitchen.

  • This is a cheap addition that will light up any kitchen and provide a quality feel to the room.

Wash carpets instead of always replacing.

  • A professional carpet cleaner can make even the dingiest of carpets appear brand new. Give this a show before choosing to replace immediately.

Invest in high-quality fixtures.

  • Not only will this provide your tenant with a more polished look, the investment will pay off in the long run as less maintenance/replacement will be required. Band-aiding issues will most likely become more expensive in the long run.

Install new shutters or curtains.

  • Old shutters and curtains can make even the nicest of units appear worn and dated. Consider newer, more modern options to get the most out of your unit.

Keep it clean!

  • Perhaps the most important item on any landlord’s list is often the most overlooked. Always thoroughly clean between tenants to ensure your unit does not wear prematurely. It is recommended that a professional deep clean be done between each tenant.

New England cities among the safest in America

According to WalletHub, a personal finance site, New England is home to some of the safest cities in the nation. Using 35 key indicators of safety, analysts have compared over 180 cities and scored them in four separate categories: overall safety, home and community safety, financial safety, and natural disaster risk.

ClipThe cities of Nashua, NH, South Burlington, VT, and Warwick, RI, were rated as the safest overall and took the top three spots on the list respectively.

Warwick was rated second in terms of home and community safety, South Burlington was rated seventh in terms of financial safety, and Warwick was rated seventeenth safest in terms of natural disaster risk.

Boston is rated as the 133rd safest city. It was ranked fifth in terms of fewest traffic fatalities per capita and fourth in terms of lowest percentage of uninsured population but was tied for last in terms of most hate crimes per capita.