What does low inventory in DC mean?

vacation-rentalsA slow and low Winter of homes for sale tends to lead to a blossoming of inventory and a more active market in the warmer months. But this year seemed to be the exception; especially for the DC area.

Local real estate experts say that a healthy market should have around a six-month supply of inventory, but this year there is less then a two-month supply in the DC market. Based off 2012 numbers, DC inventory has dropped 27% and it has affected all price ranges and housing types. The inventory segment to be hit hardest by lackluster supply are the lower-priced starter homes, which are down 42%.

What does this mean for real estate agents in the DC area?

Lower inventory means higher prices which are scaring away first time home buyers like millennials and keeping them in the rental game. Because of this the multi-family market is seeing a huge boost.

Multi-family inventory saw a 3.6% increase last year – greater the national average of 2.4%. And, with over 4,600 units permitted in 2016 – the second highest and only exceeded by the record breaking 2015 – this new inventory has helped keep rents under control with a slim 2.6% year-over-year increase in rents – compared to 4% nationally. These numbers renting a viable option for those priced out of the competitive sales market.

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 11.40.44 AMNow that we’ve hit the Winter season once again, only time will tell whether or not the market can swing back around in Spring 2018.

How can agents capitalize on this strong rental market?

The Rental Beast platform provides the perfect addition to any real estate professionals business portfolio. We have the largest database of listings in the DC area including the MLS and other local sites that our Rental Beast ninjas have meticulously searched for, acquired, and added to our platform with the all information you will need to help your clients. Our platform provides several avenues to help agents market themselves and generate rental leads in the DC area.

Rental Beast agents live by the mantra that all rental leads are future home buyers. By building that relationship now handling their rental search, you ensure that when they decide to purchase in the future, you will be the first person they call.

 

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Suburban Rent Prices on the Rise

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 2.18.55 PMWhen you think of more affordable housing, you think of the suburbs; more space, more land, better prices from homes to rentals.  However, as millennials begin to wiggle their way into the real estate market, pricing in the suburbs seems to be suffering.  

In the last year the cost of renting a home in the suburbs has risen higher than the cost of renting in the city.  In a new release by Zillow, median monthly cost of suburban rents rose by 2.5% while urban rents only rose by 2.3%.  

This is a stark difference from last year where urban rental prices were up 5% while suburban rental prices were closer to 3%.  The cities that are experiencing the fastest increases are Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco.  San Francisco experienced an urban rental price drop of 0.4% and a 2.6% increase in suburban rental price.      

The more prominent examples of this trend reside in cities where rent affordability is a main issue.  Renters who are paying more than 44% of their income in rent, like San Francisco, are the driving force here.  

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 2.18.55 PMAs rent continues to rise in cities, renters will either have to make due or forfeit their apartments for cheaper options elsewhere.  Choosing a longer commute for a drop in rent prices seems to be the main solution.  

While these statistics only define renting, home ownership plays a huge part in it.  Most millennials would like to buy a home but lack the assets, especially the down payment, to realistically make the jump.  With rent prices on the rise, and the inability to buy homes, there is no reason to not expect this trend to continue into 2018.     

Will we see a mass exodus of city renters transitioning to suburbs?  What effect will this have on the pricing of rentals and homes?  Only time will tell.    

Managing Applications Online

Long gone are the days of multiple hard-copy applications and burdensome, time-consuming vetting processes. Multiple online services have now made the application process a breeze for landlords.

The top benefits of managing applications online:

  1. Generate More Applicants

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Online applications are easily shareable and can be posted on a multitude of social media channels. Connect with tech-savvy, young consumers who are accustomed to using the internet. As a landlord, the more applicants you are able to easily generate, the more comfortable you will be with the tenant you accept.

  1. Save Time and Be Organized

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Life is much easier for a landlord who doesn’t have to print, mail, deliver and sort through hard-copy applications. Instead, digital applications are neatly organized in a single, easily accessible place.

  1. Security

1Sensitive information from hopeful applicants will be stored in a secure location, yet can still be easily accessed by landlords on the go. For applicants, this means peace of mind that only the correct people who are legally able to see their information actually do.

As a caveat, landlords will want to review the online application form of choice and what specific information is being collected. Rental Beast offers landlords a thorough application process with checks conducted directly through TransUnion.

It is also recommended that landlords reach out to applicants prior to filling out the online application. Submitting a substantial amount of personal information can be off-putting to some renters and can, therefore, lead to a lack of pertinent or comprehensive data.

4. Be Kept in the Loop as an Agent

1On Rental Beast’s unique application platform, agents are able to stay informed regarding where a client’s application stands in the process. While an agent won’t be able to access or see a client’s personal information (only the landlord will), he or she will remain a party to the entire process and won’t be kept in the dark.

 

 

Rent Prices in Boston Causing Exodus?

2Boston has consistently been one of the most expensive cities in the United States to rent an apartment for a number of years, so it should come as no surprise that affordability is the top reason renters cited as the reason for wanting to leave the city.

Apartment List, a real estate listings site, surveyed around 24,000 tenants across the United States to find out why they chose to continue renting or pack up and move to a different city. In Boston, 81% of renters expressed interest in moving, which is much higher than the national average of 64%. The second most common reason for moving was “switching jobs” at 19%, followed by those who were “unhappy with the weather” at 11%.

One of the demographics most impacted by the city’s rent prices are the older residents. Among residents who are at least 65 years old, over 61% of singles and over 29% of couples can not afford the cost of living, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Since many of residents in this demographic can not receive public assistance, they have no choice but to move.

Renter’s Regret and Buyer’s Remorse

The old adage about grass being greener can be used in almost any situation, but because shelter is a basic human need, pretty much all of us can find something about our living situation, be it renting or owning, that we’d rather not have to deal with and could imagine being better if only we had chosen the other option.

A recent survey conducted by Trulia has found that nearly half the respondents had at least something to complain about after their decision. A whopping 71% of Millennials polled were disappointed.

  • 44% of homeowners took issue with their purchase or the process they went through to get it.giphy
  • 41% of renters said they wish they had bought instead, despite the fact that 1 in 4 respondents with a household income above $100,000 said they didn’t even think they could afford to buy. A forlorn renter might ask, “What could possibly be wrong with owning?!” Well, the survey has a response:  size does matter, apparently.
  • 33% of homeowners wish they had gone bigger. (Sorry, tiny home lovers) Interestingly, 9% – a fair shake – wish they had gone smaller. (Are McMansions finally losing appeal?) For owners, another oft cited regret was the amount of remodeling they had done or not done:
  • 26% said they wish they had made a different decision in that department.

So what about those remorseful renters who wish they’d bought?

tumblr_inline_nfnz6wGIwe1ru34zh.gifExperts say they should make sure to do as much research as possible. A lot goes into buying a home, and you don’t want to make such a large purchase just to end up like those regretful owners living forever unsatisfied with their choice.

Buy when you have your sights set on long-term goals and have done all you can to pay down other debts and save up a considerable down payment. Do a lot of research and preparation, and give yourself firm boundaries before you start looking for your dream home. Shopping, falling in love, then figuring out how to buy that property is “not a recipe for success”.

Remember that while renting can be a pain, owning will come with taxes, insurance, maintenance, and more – all on top of that mortgage payment. And, experts say, be prepared to stay because you typically cannot break even until at least five years after your purchase.

 

 

 

 

Cambridge joins Boston as most expensive cities in U.S.

shutterstock_82722607A new report from RENTCafe, a real estate research site, has listed the most expensive cities to live in the United States by averaging the rents of buildings with at least fifty units.

Among the top five are two cities in the Greater Boston area: Boston and Cambridge. According to RENTCafe, Boston was number three on the list of Top 10 Cities with the Highest Rents with an average rent of $3180, topped only by Manhattan, NY, at number one, and San Francisco, CA, at number two. Cambridge was number five on the list with an average rent of $2957, which was only slightly less expensive than San Mateo, CA.

Perhaps a direct result of urban areas demanding such high rent, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that urban renter household renter growth has been overtaken by suburban renter household growth in nineteen of the top twenty largest U.S. metros. Boston is number five on this list and around sixty percent of renters are in the suburbs where they can save an average of around $800 a month compared to the city.

RENTCafe expects to see an increased number of suburban construction projects in the new few years as experts are saying that the next trend in multifamily is expected to happen in the suburban apartment markets.

Rental Beast‘s coverage area in the Boston market includes Greater Boston and the surrounding suburbs, as well as the rest of Massachusetts, and the states of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Millennials: Buying or Renting…and why?

There is no shortage of opinions or statistics about where and how the Millennial generation is choosing to live. We hear tropes all the time about how the young generation is flocking to urban areas, but at the same time there’s a constant drone about how they’re staying in mom and dad’s basement.

Articles abound, discussing how Millennials cannot afford to buy (or even rent in a lot of cities!) because they are saddled with debts from college. Housing costs are skyrocketing, while news stories tell us all about how Millennials are lazy, entitled, and always glued to a screen.

Team of creative people taking a break and using computer.

Millennials, like all Americans, understand the value of homeownership, but our goals and our realities may not always make owning a home a possibility, and cities, governments, and responsible developers have a role to play in helping us (and all us 99%) figure out ways to make our living choices possible, whether we rent or buy.

The signs that Millennials are ready to buy are out there:  According to a Trulia analysis of Census Bureau data, in the first quarter of 2017, more new households were formed as a purchase rather than a lease, the first time that happened in 11 years.

Other data shows that in 65% of the country, an average mortgage is less than the average rent!

Regardless of generation, one can see the value in that. Some developers are taking the path of trying to get more starter homes on the market after many years flooding the market with luxury units and McMansions.

There was a 27% increase (up to 31% of the market total) in speculative new homes under 2,250 square feet from January to March in 2017 versus the same period in 2016. And with the trend of more dense urban living, some developers are also buying and reselling homes in and around city centers where there is less land for redevelopment.

But, there are still plenty of factors pointing to a love (or need) for renting. Many Millennials are simply not ready to take the plunge into ownership, knowing that a lease can offer attractive features that a mortgage just cannot.

Others are suffering from the 8% unemployment rate for their generation and spending their money on their portion of the $1 trillion in student debt loan instead of the often 10% down payment required to purchase a home – not to mention the convenience of avoiding ongoing maintenance and repairs, insurance, etc that are not typically required with a lease.

1Consider too that many apartments today offer gyms, pools, connectivity, possibly a concierge – things not available to a homeowner. And while the tides may be changing, many apartments are still located in more community-oriented areas of town than an affordable home, with easier access to culture, nightlife, and public transit among other perks. Unlike with a purchase, a lease is temporary, so it’s very easy to pack up and leave when or if the desire strikes.

In sum, while it’s as easy to point out facts, figures, and opinions about Millennials as it has been and still is for Boomers, Gen X, and all those who preceded and will follow them, the takeaway is that each generation is made up of multi-faceted individuals with a huge variety of tastes, goals, and means. Markets shift over time and there will always be innumerable different combinations of needs, wants, and abilities when it comes to where we choose to live.