In an article in the Wall Street Journal from January 3rd 2017 by Chris Kirkman (yes it’s from over a month ago but this is an important and relevant trend which is intensifying as time passes), we learn that buildable lots for developers are becoming scarce. One tactic builders are reverting to is buying whole subdivisions that were abandoned during the crash and which were never fully completed. While there is a lot of remedial work to be done, it is still a better deal in many cases to fix up the existing unfinished subdivision, than to start the zoning and approval processes from scratch.
The relevance to us as real estate investors is that as buildable lots become more scarce, undoubtedly their cost increases. This reliably raises the price for finished new homes and creates comparable sales which usually push the median market prices higher.
Given the fact that interest rates are still low (historically they are very low, Trump-bump notwithstanding), and since 3.5%-down FHA loans are still widely available to homeowners buying at the price ranges we are interested in ($100K-$200K), the writing is on the wall: home prices in many cities (certainly the key cities we look at as investors), are likely to keep appreciating in the near future (possibly 1-2 years).
This points to a potential window in which to ‘stock up” on quality investment Single Family homes: with low interest rates (don’t forget to get a 30-year fixed-rate loan if you can), an upwards price trajectory (if only due to the scarcity of buildable lots), still-available low-down FHA loans and still-affordable prices in many key metropolitan areas, investors are enjoying a ‘sweet window” in which to buy, finance their purchases well, and then rent and hold.
We will be talking about this and many other points, including entity formation and asset protection, investing in real estate form one’s self-directed IRA, the types of loans available to investors, which markets stand out and why, and a whole lot of expert information. Q&As and networking are always in abundance, at our Quarterly 1-Day Expo near the San Francisco Airport on March 4th. Anyone mentioning this blog entry can attend for free – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Just tell us in the subject line, “Read your blog,” and your information in the body of the email.
The full WSJ article is presented here:
With Lots in Short Supply, Builders Revive Abandoned Projects
Developers and investors are starting to resurrect subdivisions that were left half-finished after the housing collapse
This is not really new. There has always been a sizable group preferring renting to owning. Some of the many reasons include flexibility to move at will (especially for jobs), less hassle of maintenance, possibly lower monthly expenses (depending on geography), not having to qualify for an ever-more-difficult-to-obtain loan, not having the perceived “burden” of a mortgage, and other reasons.
Enclosed is the WSJ article:
Developers Build on Home Rental Success With Whole Communities
Property firms see continued demand for single-family homes from millennials, aging boomers who don’t want to buy
The model doesn’t work in all markets. In areas such as California, for example, where land is expensive, developers would likely have to charge rents that would be too high to justify the cost of construction. Markets such as Arizona, Texas and North Carolina make more sense because land is plentiful and demand is high.
National home builder Lennar has tried the model in one of its master-planned communities outside Reno, Nev. RSI Communities, a home builder in California and Texas, is testing out two fully leased new communities outside San Antonio and is considering expanding the model to other markets.
Matt Blank was a former hedge-fund investor who moved to Phoenix in 2011 to start snapping up distressed properties. He was soon crowded out when major investors like Blackstone Group LP entered the market and prices shot up. He instead turned his attention to buying empty lots and building affordable homes that adults could rent.