Tag Archives: Rent

Average US Rent Hits All Time High Of $1,412

With core CPI printing at a frothy 2.4%, and the Fed’s preferred inflation metric, core PCE finally hitting the Fed’s 2.0% bogey for the first time since 2012, inflation watchers are confused why Jerome Powell’s recent Jackson Hole speech was surprisingly dovish even as inflation threatens to ramp higher in a time of protectionism and tariffs threatening to push prices even higher.


But the biggest concern from an inflation “basket” standpoint has little to do with Trump’s trade war, and everything to do with shelter costs, and especially rent, the single biggest contributor to the Fed’s inflation calculation. It’s a concern because according to the latest report from RentCafe and Yardi Matrix, which compiles data from actual rents charged in the 252 largest US cities, fewer than expected apartment deliveries this year increased competition among existing units, pushing up the national average rent by another 3.1% – the highest monthly increase in 18 months –  to $1,412 in August, an all time high.


The national average monthly rent swelled by $42 since last August and $2 since last month. Above-average numbers of renters renewing leases at the end of the summer and heightened demand from college-age renters also contributed to the rise in rents this time of year.

The rental market is so hot right now – perhaps a continue sign that most Americans remain priced out of purchasing a home – that rents increased in 89% of the nation’s biggest 252 cities in August, stayed flat in 10% of cities, and dropped in only 1% of cities compared to August 2017. Queens (NYC), Las Vegas, and Phoenix rents increased the most in one year, while Baltimore, San Antonio, and Washington, DC rents have changed the least among the nation’s largest cities.

Here are the main highlights for large, mid-size and small markets:

  • Renter Mega-Hubs: The largest increases were in Orlando (7.7%) and Phoenix (6.8%), while Manhattan (1.9%) and Washington, D.C. (2.1%) saw some of the slowest growing rents in this category. The biggest net changes were felt by renters in Los Angeles, which pay $102 more per month this August compared to last year.
  • Large cities: Rents in Queens and Charlotte surge by 8.4% and 5.2% respectively, but barely move in Baltimore (0.2%) and San Antonio (1.5%).
  • Mid-size cities: Mesa (6.9%), Tampa (6.4%), and Sacramento (5.5%) rents increase at the fastest pace. At the other end of the spectrum, rents only ticked up in Virginia Beach (1.4%) and Albuquerque (1.7%).
  • Small cities: Due to limited stock and high demand, Lancaster and Reno rents soared by 9.7% and 11.3% respectively. Apartment prices in Midland (31.9%) and Odessa (30%) are over $300 per month more expensive than in August 2017. Brownsville (-2%) and Baton Rouge (-0.7%) saw rents decrease over the past year.

Orlando’s fast-growing rents outpaced the nation’s largest renter hubs

Of the top 20 largest renter hubs in the U.S., Orlando apartments are seeing the highest increase in rent over the past year, 7.7%, reaching $1,393 in August, while San Antonio apartments saw the weakest rent growth of the 20 cities, 1.5% in one year, posting an average rent of $996 per month in August. The biggest net changes in rent compared to August 2017 were felt by renters in Los Angeles, who are paying on average $102 per month more this August compared to the same month last year. Orlando rents increased by no less than $99 per month, and Tampa, Chicago, and Manhattan (New York City) rents are $77 above last year’s average. At the opposite end, rents in San Antonio saw the smallest uptick, only $15 more per month than they were one year ago.


NATIONAL LEVEL: Rents in Nevada and Arizona feel the heat from increased demand

Housing in the Permian Basin continues to see the steepest price increases in the country. Apartments for rent in Midland, TX now cost $1,595 per month, a 31.9% leap from one year prior. Likewise, rentals in neighboring Odessa, TX cost $1,365 on average, having jumped 30% in one year.

  • Reno, NV‘s housing crunch is worsening due to limited land development and high demand for rentals. Rents in Reno are the third fastest rising in the country, behind only Midland and Odessa. The average rent in Reno is $1,253 per month, a massive 11.3% increase year over year, or $127 more per month compared to the same time last year. The average rent in Reno was around $900 just three years ago but has jumped by more than $300 in 36 months, making it increasingly unaffordable for renters. Nevada’s growing popularity as a destination for those moving out of California is reflected in rapidly-growing real estate prices. Besides Reno, apartments in Las Vegas are also getting expensive, with the third fastest growing rents in the U.S. compared to other large cities.
  • Peoria, AZ is facing a similar situation. What used to be an affordable town in the Phoenix area, with an average rent of about $900 per month no more than three years ago, now has apartments that go for $1,114 per month on average, over $200 more expensive, a big leap and a heavy burden for the area’s renters. Compared to August 2017, the average rent in Peoria is 10.1% or $102/month more expensive, the fourth fastest growing this August out of 252 cities surveyed. Likewise, rents in other parts of the Phoenix metro are also rising faster than most other parts of the country, as a consequence of strong demand boosted by big increases in population.
  • Lancaster, CA is fifth in the U.S. in terms of fastest-growing rents. The average rent in Lancaster shot up 9.7% year over year, reaching $1,274 per month. The likely reason? Not enough apartments are being built to keep up with the surge in renter population in this town located on the northern fringes of Los Angeles County.

On the other end of the national spectrum, rent prices have decreased in August in border town Brownsville, TX (-2% y-o-y), Orange County’s Irvine, CA (-0.9% y-o-y), Norman, OK (-0.9% y-o-y), Baton Rouge, LA  (-0.7%) and Dallas suburb Richardson, TX (-0.6%). Amarillo, TX, New Haven, CT, Baltimore, MD, Frisco, TX and Stamford, CT round up the 10 slowest growing rent prices in the U.S. in August.


LARGE CITIES: Rents rise the fastest in Queens, NY, Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV

  • Step aside Brooklyn: rent prices are now racing in the NYC borough of Queens, up 8.4% compared to last year, with an average rent of $2,342, behind Manhattan’s average rent of $4,119 and Brooklyn’s $2,801. Rents in Manhattan are among the slowest growing in the U.S., 1.9%, while in Brooklyn rents were up 3.9%.
  • The second fastest growing rents among the nation’s largest cities are in Phoenix, AZ, up 6.8% over the year. The area has seen a surge in population in search of affordable housing and job opportunities. Even with prices of apartments growing at annual rates of 6-7%, the average rent is still affordable at $996 per month, especially when compared to most other major cities in the country.
  • Las Vegas is an increasingly popular place to move to, as Census population estimates show, but the local real estate market is slow to respond. New apartment construction is low, causing rents to go up significantly. An apartment in Las Vegas costs on average $1,011, up 6.2% since August 2017.

At the same time, rents decreased in August in border town Brownsville, TX (-2% y-o-y), Orange County’s Irvine, CA (-0.9% y-o-y), Norman, OK (-0.9% y-o-y), Baton Rouge, LA  (-0.7%) and Dallas suburb Richardson, TX (-0.6%). Amarillo, TX, New Haven, CT, Baltimore, MD, Frisco, TX and Stamford, CT round up the 10 slowest growing rent prices in the U.S. in August.


MID-SIZE CITIES: Mesa and Tampa apartments see steepest rises in rents

Apartments in Mesa, AZ and Tampa, FL are seeing price increases above 6% in August. Rents in Mesa reached $965 per month, and in Tampa the average rent is $1,287. Sacramento, Pittsburgh, and Fresno wrap up the top 5, with annual price increases of above 5%.

  • Pittsburgh, PA is emerging as a hot rental market, as the city’s job market is gaining traction in tech-related fields. The average rent in Steel City is $1,216, but it is expected to keep growing as apartment construction is not yet in line with the sudden increase in demand.

At the other end of the chart are Wichita, KS, with rents decreasing by 0.8%, Lexington, KY, where prices for apartments moved by 1.1% in one year, Tulsa, OK, where rents changed by 1.3%, Virginia Beach, with prices up by only 1.4% and Albuquerque, NM, where rents saw a 1.7% uptick. The average rent in Lexington sits at $889 per month, in Virginia Beach it is slightly higher, at $1,169 per month, and in Albuquerque, it averages $852 per month.


SMALL CITIES: Rents in Midland and Odessa are over $300 per month more expensive than last year

The most fluctuating prices are in small cities at both ends of the list. The top 20 list of highest annual rent increases is dominated by small cities (17 out of 20). Midland and Odessa,  however, stand out from the rest of them, with annual percentage increases of over 30%, which translate into an additional $300 or more per month to the average rent check. The region is economically centered around the shale/oil industry and it’s booming, and real estate prices are taking off as well.

Small cities make up most of the bottom of the list, as well, in terms of slowest growing rents: Brownsville, TX, Irvine, CA, Norman, OK, Baton Rouge, LA, and Richardson, TX saw rents stagnate over the past year. Akron, OH, Thousand Oaks, CA, and McKinney, TX are in the same boat.


In terms of absolute prices, the top cities with the 10 highest rents in the country remains unchanged. Manhattan is still the most expensive, with apartment rents at $4,119, San Francisco is second, with an average rent of $3,579, and Boston is third, with an average rent of $3,388. San Mateo, CA and Cambridge, MA also have an average rent above $3,000 per month. The cheapest rents of the 252 cities surveyed are in Wichita, Brownsville, and Tulsa, all below $700 per month.


According to RentCafe, much of the change in rent prices we see this year is driven by how much demand there is in a specific area and what that area does to deal with it. However, the underlying factors are more complex. The housing market continues to change as a result of the 2007 subprime crisis, according to Doug Ressler, Director of Business Intelligence at Yardi Matrix. Furthermore, markets are undergoing a significant change driven by dramatically different demographic trends. Trends vary by market and will be impacted by population aging, population growth, immigration and home ownership trends, says Ressler.

Naturally, they will also be impacted by the state of the economy, the Fed’s monetary policy and the level of the capital markets.

However, should the current rental surge continue, the Fed will have no choice but to hike rates far higher than the general market consensus expects, especially following Powell’s “dovish” Jackson Hole speech.

Source: ZeroHedge


Homeownership Losing Edge To Renting

Owning a home is generally viewed as a better deal than renting, but in cities with exploding home prices and relatively flat rents, that may not be the case anymore.

According to Trulia, it now makes more financial sense to rent than buy in the nation’s two most expensive markets — San Jose and San Francisco. The balance is also shifting in favor of renting in a few other high-cost cities, such as Honolulu, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, according to a recent study by the San Francisco-based company.

Trulia said the overall U.S. market still solidly provides buyers with a financial benefit. But in the five years since Trulia began estimating the financial advantages of buying versus renting, this is the first time renters have come out ahead in any of the major metros it tracks.

In San Jose and San Francisco, renting was 12 percent and 6 percent cheaper, respectively, for the consumer than buying a home, Trulia said. San Francisco and San Jose are outliers, though. The National Association of Realtors, for example, has estimated that for a person earning $100,000, just 2.5 percent of the June listings in San Jose and 9 percent in San Francisco were affordable. Trulia reported that buyers still have a significant advantage over renters in places like Detroit. 

Trulia estimated that on a nationwide basis, buying a home was 26 percent cheaper for a consumer than renting as of last month. This is the narrowest gap in five years, and has come down from 41 percent in 2016, according to Trulia. The key factor in closing the gap is that house prices have increased steeply along with mortgage rates, while rents are remaining relatively stable. In San Jose, for example, home prices have jumped up 29 percent in a year, while rents were unchanged. Home values rose 14 percent in San Francisco, and rents fell by 3 percent. 

“There are a lot of factors,” Trulia’s Senior Economist Cheryl Young said during an interview on Thursday. “Obviously, mortgage rates are going up. That is going to tip the scales a little bit toward renting, but also home value appreciation is far outpacing rent growth right now. So, rents are pretty much cooling out. As they cool down and home prices track up, that margin between buying and renting starts closing.”     

 Young said the balance could tip in favor of renters in other cities as well.  

 “There are markets that are always close to that margin, and things that could tip it,” she said. “If mortgage rates were to rise and we still see rents flattening and even decreasing as they have been in some places relative to rising home prices, we may see some markets tip.” 

Trulia’s calculations include forecasts on future rent and price appreciation, and also estimates on how much a renter can potentially earn by investing in other vehicles. Trulia assumes that the buyer will stay in the home for seven years, put 20 percent down on a 30-year fixed mortgage.

Other housing analysts told Scotsman Guide News that gauging the advantages of buying versus renting can be a tricky exercise. 

“The housing market doesn’t necessarily favor either one right now, as the choice of whether to be an owner or the renter is not a purely economic decision, but often includes the lifestyle decisions of an individual,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American Corp.

Fleming also noted that in some of these high-cost cities, renters are in better position now to buy than when home prices were near their low point seven years ago.

“While housing prices are on the rise across the country, by historical standards they are still within reach in many markets,” Fleming said. “In fact, when you account for the historically low interest rate environment and rising incomes, consumer house-buying power is up nearly 24 percent since 2011,” he added.

Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist for Freddie Mac, said that rising home values tend to give the buyer a financial edge over the renter, who is gaining no equity.

“Certainly if we look back historically, homeowners have done pretty well relative to renters,” Kiefer said. “It doesn’t mean that it is going to be true in the future, but if you look at where our forecast is for the overall economy, we are still forecasting home prices to continue to rise at a pretty healthy pace over the next couple of years.”

Kiefer said in a few high-cost cities with high property taxes, homeowners will be hurt by new tax changes that eliminated or reduced homeownership perks in the federal tax code. This may give renters some advantage. He said the tax changes so far don’t seem to have reduced homebuyer demand significantly, though.

“Certainly in the high-cost, high-tax markets, places like parts of California, New Jersey, Illinois,  the cost of homeownership is going to be a little bit negative,” Kiefer said. “But if we look at actual data on what has happened in those markets,  it is hard to see a discernible impact in terms of slower overall activity that you could attribute to the tax law,” he said. Kiefer said rising prices and higher rates were likely making homebuying less appealing, however.

Renters have been less sold on the financial benefits of owning a home, according to recent Fannie Mae surveys. In January 2010, for example, 76 percent of surveyed renters saw an advantage in buying. That number has fallen to 68 percent as of the end of June. 

“Renters’ view of the financial benefit of owning has come down a little bit,” said Mark Palim, deputy chief economist for Fannie Mae. “That probably reflects that home prices are up substantially.”

Palim said that renters are still expressing a strong desire in buying homes for non-financial, quality-of-life factors. He said the improved economy and a surge in household formation has kept the buyer demand up in spite of rising home prices and rates. 

“Millennials have really moved into the market in a big way, and they are closing the gap relative to other generations,” Palim said. “People have far more financial means to afford a home and go out and buy a home, and that has translated into pretty brisk demand.”

Source: Scotsman Guide

New York Rents Plunge 12% In Queens

https://s13.therealdeal.com/trd/up/2013/08/6622.jpg66-22 to 66-44 Forest Avenue

Today in “free-market capitalism actually benefits consumers” news, rents are being slashed across the board in Queens as landlords make concessions to deal with a supply glut and keep tenants renting. This lowering of rents taking place in Queens – to the tune of 12% YOY was reported on by Bloomberg on Thursday morning:

For New York City apartment hunters, April was another good month to find a deal on rents. But no one fared better than those in northwest Queens.

Rents there dropped 12 percent from a year earlier, to a median of $2,646 a month after landlord giveaways were subtracted, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Those giveaways were offered on 65 percent of all new leases signed in the area, excluding renewals, a record share in data going back to the beginning of 2016.

The result from the price deflation that our Fed pins as the devil incarnate? More renters, more business and higher quality tenants:

The enticements brought in more renters. New leases in northwest Queens — Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside — jumped 11 percent to 272, the firms said.

“More customers who were originally looking in Manhattan and Brooklyn are considering Queens,” said Hal Gavzie, Douglas Elliman’s executive manager of leasing. “It used to be just 100 percent a different consumer.”

New York City tenants are crossing borders to compare deals in a market groaning under the weight of new supply. Landlords, who’ve accepted they need to compete to keep their units filled, are working to attract new tenants and offering sweeter renewal terms to keep the ones they have, Gavzie said.

Who knew this could happen to industries and sectors where the government is not subsidizing or interfering with the pricing – and where free market capitalism is actually, in some facet, allowed to run its course?


The consumer now has the control because the concessions landlords are making are benefiting the them. Bloomberg continued:

In Manhattan, 44 percent of all new leases came with a landlord concession, such as a free month of rent or payment of broker fees. In Brooklyn, the share was 51 percent, a record for the borough.

Still, the number of new leases in Manhattan and Brooklyn fell 3.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, a sign that renters there found good reason to stay in their current apartments, Gavzie said.

“Tenants negotiating a renewal, they’ve looked around to see what deals they can get,” he said. “So their landlord gives them a sweet offer to stay.”

Manhattan rents in April, after subtracting concessions, fell 2.2 percent, to a median of $3,236, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. In Brooklyn, where rents have also fallen for five months, the decline was 2.9 percent, to a median of $2,686.

This comes just about one montafter we reported about downtown Manhattan basically turning into a ghost town due to just the opposite – prices rising and government overreach. Pricing out of tenants in some main downtown areas and shopping districts have caused vacancies in areas that have been occupied for decades.

The Fed loves to repeat how necessary and vital inflation is for economic prosperity, but in the case of midtown Manhattan’s “prime” retail real estate, it is doing nothing but helping cause once extremely prominent shopping areas become the very same “ghost towns” they turned into during the 2008 housing crisis.

Mayor DeBlasio’s asinine solution to this issue created in part by faulty government policy: more government and more regulation.

So much for the recovery.

As if brick and mortar retail didn’t have enough problems to deal with being methodically decimated by the ever growing behemoth that is Amazon, store owners are now facing rent that is simply so high it makes it impossible for most to open retail stores and do business in once prominent areas of downtown Manhattan.

Last month, the New York Post wrote an article confirming our writeup from late March suggesting that high prices are driving businesses out of town:

If you want to see the future of storefront retailing, walk nine blocks along Broadway from 57th to 48th Street and count the stores.

The total number comes to precisely one — a tiny shop to buy drones.

That’s right: On a nine-block stretch of what’s arguably the world’s most famous avenue, steps south of the bustling Time Warner Center and the planned new Nordstrom department store, lies a shopping wasteland.

To be sure, none of this comes as a surprise to us – or our regular readers – because in late March we recalled our own 2009 tour of Madison Avenue to discover that it also had turned into a ghost town. Just a week ago we told our readers that the ghost town that was New York’s “Golden Mile” was not surprising: after all the US economy had just been hit with the worst recession since the Great Depression, and only an emergency liquidity injection of trillions of dollars prevented a global financial collapse.

What is more surprising is why nearly 9 years later, at a time of what is supposed to be a coordinated global recovery, a walk along Madison Avenue reveals the exact same picture.

We would love for these two sets of facts to bludgeon the government and regulators over the head and make them realize that inflation isn’t the solution. Rather, they should realize from this that deflation can actually be a reward for capitalism, causing prices to fall, increased competition between sellers, and benefits for buyers.

Source: ZeroHedge

Rent: Santa Monica Tops New York & Silicon Valley

Now referred to as “Silicon Beach,” Santa Monica’s rent rates for a one-bedroom apartment are approaching $5,000 per month.


According to the Apartment Guide, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in Santa Monica is the most expensive in the nation, at $4,799.20. Comparable rents in the local area are $3,922.67 in Venice; $3,780 in Playa Vista; and $3,320.67 in Marina del Rey.

New York is now the second-most expensive market, with an average one-bedroom apartment costing $4,562.72 per month. San Francisco, once the highest cost market, has fallen to an average $3,880.44 per month. New tech companies, including Snap, Inc., are drawing wealthy young professionals to the area.

Breitbart News has chronicled how apartment rental prices in New York City and Silicon Valley have fallenn about 8 percent, due to a glut of luxury unit construction. But the effective rent rates are down substantially more, because developers are giving multiple month rent concessions “to get heads in beds as quickly as possible,” according to Alexander Goldfarb, a San Francisco analyst with Sandler O’Neill + Partners.

In San Francisco’s trendy South of Market neighborhood, referred to as SoMa, four new high-rise apartment buildings are also offering super high-end amenities that include rooftop decks, state-of-the-art gyms and bike rooms. But despite free rent and nicer digs, none of the four buildings that opened in the last 18 months has achieved the 90 percent occupancy rate that developers need to flip their short-term high-interest rate development loans into low-rate long-term “take-out” financing.

Rent.com and the Apartmentguide.com websites predict that high rental prices should stay strong due to L.A.s’ median home price rising 348.1 percent in the last 30 years, from $116,061 to $520,000. The price jump was an even higher 349.3 percent in Orange County, where the price jumped from $143,210 to $643,483.


But according to mortgage banker Bruce Lawrence, the “term” period for construction loans is usually limited to 36 months, and the cost of that type of financing is at least twice the interest rate of 30-year “take-out financing.” Although the default rate for long-term apartment loans has been a tiny .01 percent, he believes that has been due to a “chronic lack of apartment supply,” which supply is beginning to overwhelm.

In the quarter ending December 31, 2016, Lawrence observed that a record 50,000 new apartment units in the U.S. were rented by tenants, or about six times the number in the year-earlier period. But new apartments completed and renting during the quarter hit 88,000, the highest number since the 1980s.

Looking forward, Lawrence believes that at least 378,000 new apartment units will be completed and start renting in 2017. With construction financing in place, he expects there will be no slowdown in building. Lawrence projects that by mid-year 2017, the U.S. will have a national glut of 100,000 new apartments, and in two years that number could be over 300,000. At that point, Lawrence sees rent “getting whacked.”

Bruce Lawrence comments that Santa Monica is a special case for high rents, because the city adopted rent control three decades ago. But with no limit on the rents for new units, California’s state bird is now the “construction crane.”

by Chriss W. Street | Breitbart

Rents Set To Keep Rising After Latest Multi-family Starts & Permits Report

https://s17-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Frortybomb.files.wordpress.com%2F2012%2F03%2Flow_wages_high_rents.jpg%3Fw%3D640&sp=aecabb6c72b99a9aa7114d8eedb1c4e0Unlike recent months when the Census Bureau reported some fireworks in the New Housing Starts and Permits data, the April update was relatively tame, and saw Starts rise from an upward revised 1,099K to 1,172K, beating expectations of a 1,125K print, mostly as a result of a 36K increase in multi-family units which however remain depressed below recent peaks from early 2015, which will likely stoke even higher asking rents, already at record highs across the nation.

But if starts were better than expected, then the future pipeline in the form of Housing Permits disappointed, with 1,116K units permitted for the month of April, below the 1,135K expected, if a rebound from last month’s downward revised 1,077K.

The issue, as with the starts data, is the multi-family, aka rental units, barely rebounded and remained at severely depressed levels last seen in 2013: at 348K rental units permitted in April, this is a far cry from the recent highs of 598K in June.

One wonders if this is intentional, because based on soaring asking rents, as shown in the chart below, with Americans increasingly unable or unwilling to buy single-family units, rental prices have exploded to 8% Y/Y based on Census data.

Should multi-family permits and starts remain as depressed as it has been in recent months, we expect that this chart of soaring median asking rents will only accelerate in the near future, and will require a whole host of seasonal adjustments from making its way into the already bubbly CPI data.

Source: ZeroHedge

California Renter Apocalypse

The rise in rents and home prices is adding additional pressure to the bottom line of most California families.  Home prices have been rising steadily for a few years largely driven by low inventory, little construction thanks to NIMBYism, and foreign money flowing into certain markets.  But even areas that don’t have foreign demand are seeing prices jump all the while household incomes are stagnant.  Yet that growth has hit a wall in 2016, largely because of financial turmoil.  We’ve seen a big jump in the financial markets from 2009.  Those big investor bets on real estate are paying off as rents continue to move up.  For a place like California where net home ownership has fallen in the last decade, a growing list of new renter households is a good thing so long as you own a rental.

The problem of course is that household incomes are not moving up and more money is being siphoned off into an unproductive asset class, a house.  Let us look at the changing dynamics in California households.

More renters

Many people would like to buy but simply cannot because their wages do not justify current prices for glorious crap shacks.  In San Francisco even high paid tech workers can’t afford to pay $1.2 million for your typical Barbie house in a rundown neighborhood.  So with little inventory investors and foreign money shift the price momentum.  With the stock market moving up nonstop from 2009 there was plenty of wealth injected back into real estate.  The last few months are showing cracks in that foundation.

It is still easy to get a mortgage if you have the income to back it up.  You now see the resurrection of no money down mortgages.  In the end however the number of renter households is up in a big way in California and home ownership is down:

owner vs renters

Source:  Census

So what we see is that since 2007 we’ve added more than 680,000 renter households but have lost 161,000 owner occupied households.  At the same time the population is increasing.  When it comes to raw numbers, people are opting to rent for whatever reason.  Also, just because the population increases doesn’t mean people are adding new renter households.  You have 2.3 million grown adults living at home with mom and dad enjoying Taco Tuesdays in their old room filled with Nirvana and Dr. Dre posters.

And yes, with little construction and unable to buy, many are renting and rents have jumped up in a big way in 2015:

california rents

Source:  Apartmentlist.com

This has slowed down dramatically in 2016.  It is hard to envision this pace going on if a reversal in the economy hits (which it always does as the business cycle does its usual thing).

Home ownership rate in a steep decline

In the LA/OC area home prices are up 37 percent in the last three years:

california home prices

Of course there are no accompanying income gains.  If you look at the stock market, the unemployment rate, and real estate values you would expect the public to be happy this 2016 election year.  To the contrary, outlier momentum is massive because people realize the system is rigged and are trying to fight back.  Watch the Big Short for a trip down memory lane and you’ll realize nothing has really changed since then.  The house humping pundits think they found some new secret here.  It is timing like buying Apple or Amazon stock at the right time.  What I’ve seen is that many that bought no longer can afford their property in a matter of 3 years!  Some shop at the dollar store while the new buyers are either foreign money or dual income DINKs (which will take a big hit to their income once those kids start popping out).  $2,000 a month per kid daycare in the Bay Area is common.

If this was such a simple decision then the home ownership rate would be soaring.  Yet the home ownership rate is doing this:


In the end a $700,000 crap shack is still a crap shack.  That $1.2 million piece of junk in San Francisco is still junk.  And you better make sure you can carry that housing nut for 30 years.  For tech workers, mobility is key so renting serves more as an option on housing versus renting the place from the bank for 30 years.  Make no mistake, in most of the US buying a home makes total sense.  In California, the massive drop in the home ownership rate shows a different story.  And that story is the middle class is disappearing.

Hooray! Huge Rent Hikes Coming

In news that is bound to make the inflationists at the Fed as well as property owners happy, Landlords Will Hike Rents by 8% this Year.

Some 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months and 68% predict that rental rates will continue to rise in the next year by an average of 8%, according to a survey of more than 500 of Rent.com’s property management customers, which the site says represents thousands of rental properties and hundreds of thousands of rental units. That’s nearly three times the wage increase that most employees can expect this year.

What’s more, 55% of property managers said that they are less likely to offer concessions or lower rents in order to fill vacancies. One reason why they’re getting even tougher: They are in a stronger position than they were this time last year.

More than 46% of property managers surveyed reported a decrease in rental vacancies in Rent.com’s survey and, in the second quarter of 2015, vacancy rates in the U.S. for rental housing was 6.8%, the lowest it has been in almost 20 years, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Despite this, many renters are spending more than 30% of their income on rent (the amount generally recommended) and need help qualifying for the lease.

Yardi Survey

Mish reader “BJ” is retired but works part-time a number of hours each week, surveying apartments for rent. He reports …

I am retired but work part-time for Yardi from my home, surveying apartments for rents. Yardi runs a full survey 3 times a year, Jan, May and Sept. These generally run about 6 weeks.

Yardi has the country divided into 24 sectors and we normally work 6-7 sectors once a month for a week on a rotating basis.  Toward the end of the survey, we can work any market and I’ve been keeping track of a few select places. From what I see, rents are up and up a lot. Some of the places I watch are up 7% or more than last year for the same apartments.

The absolute worst places to be looking for a rental unit are San Fran and North LA. If anyone does answer the phone in those areas, it’s either a new building just opening, or they don’t have anything. You can’t even get on a waiting list. I’ve seen apartments in tight areas where they want you to make 3X net before they will talk to you.

Portland, Seattle, Washington DC, northern NJ, Miami and Boston are also difficult. I talked to a complex in Portland last week that had 3500 apartments under management with a total of 7 open apartments.

I am amazed by the amount of apartments that are either tax credit or subsidized in some manner. All of them have long waiting lists.

Measuring Housing Inflation

The Fed wants inflation. But how do they measure it?

Read more on Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis