The rental market appears to be doing more than just sustaining its health. After surveying property managers, TransUnionfound that increasing prices aren’t keeping tenants away.
Overall, managers reported they are doing better than the year before and are having an easier time attracting in residents despite the increase in prices.
The credit bureau’s June survey included 1,248 property managers across the U.S. who represented a range of property sizes.
Almost half (48 percent) of the managers surveyed reported rental price increases on the majority of their units since last year in June.
Approximately 44 percent said rental prices remained the same. In TransUnion’s 2011 rental survey, 39 percent of respondents stated that prices increased while 48 percent said prices were the unchanged.
For large properties (more than 200 units), 70 percent of managers reported price increases this year compared to 64 percent last year. Among small property (200 units or less) managers, 46 percent reported price increase from last year, an improvement from 36 percent last year.
“Data throughout the last year has pointed to a healthier rental market, and our survey helps validate the current strength of the rental industry,” said Steve Roe, VP of TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions. “The rise in rental prices, coupled with a decrease in vacancy rates and the ability to attract new residents with less effort are all positive signs for the market and rental property managers.”
Even with rental prices increasing, property managers are having an easier time with finding tenants. Nearly 73 percent of managers said finding residents is not difficult compared to 67 percent last year.
The percent of respondents stating vacancy rates for their properties are between 0 percent and 5 percent increased to 83 percent this year from 81 percent in 2011. When dividing up respondents based on property size, large property managers saw an increase to 64 percent his year compared to 60 percent last year.
In addition, 70 percent of small property managers said their vacancy rates are at 0 percent, which is an increased from 66 percent in 2011.
Even with a healthier rental market, property managers still face the issues with finding quality residents.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they are concerned or very concerned with finding reliable tenants.
“Though this number is down from 65% in last year’s survey, it does point to the continued unease about the economy and a lingering question about the ability of tenants to make timely rental payments,” said Roe.
More than half of the respondents (53 percent) said they have had a renter leave the unit with unpaid rent or damages, and about 18 percent said a tenant has done so in the last year.
“Finding reliable tenants is critical as property managers can lose thousands of dollars in rent if a tenant skips out of a rental unit, or if the property manager must take action to evict someone from a unit,” said Roe.
The survey included 1,107 small property managers and 141 large property managers.
TransUnion offers two rental screening services to screen residents: CreditRetriever, which is for large property management companies and SmartMove, which targets small and independent property managers.
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Executive Home Rentals
As real estate agents, at the end of the day, we’re in business to make money, and our bottom lines don’t discriminate. Complaints about the market changes over the past few years just make me shake my head. I like to look at change not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity. For agents, one of the biggest changes is the opportunity to make money in rentals.
Here are a few reasons I think every agent should think about taking on a few rental listings:
While I’m sure it’s not “The Year of the Landlord” everywhere, when sales slow down people still need places to live. And while most agents focus on residential sales, the reality is that there are a ton of renters out there.
Here in Manhattan, our rental market is truly on fire. New York is an exceptionally rental-centric city, where about 70% of available housing is for rent. In February 2012 Citi Habitats’ research reported a vacancy rate of a mere 1.25%. In the same month, the average apartment rented for $3,376, just $18 shy of the market’s peak back in May 2007.
This trend may seem like an anomaly; however, statistics show the rental market is thriving in many markets. A recent Reuters release reported the national apartment vacancy rate is at a 10-year low.
If agents can open their minds to using their market expertise in a different way, they can take advantage of rental activity to help grow and sustain their business.
Simpler, faster transactions
While one “for sale” property can take six months to even a year to close, depending on price and market conditions, good rental agents can expect to close four, five, or even six rental transactions in a single month.
Buying or selling a home is a huge investment decision that requires a lot of paperwork and includes many interested parties; sellers, buyers, lawyers, mortgage brokers, banks, etc. If you add all of the unexpected issues that can arise and endanger a deal, rentals should be an obvious thought.
In rentals things are a lot simpler and faster. Rental deals are less complex and take less time to close because:
- you’re primarily dealing with one party, the renters, clients who likely view their move as temporary;
- most renters want to find a place as fast as possible and view renting as a small, necessary investment; and
- in many markets, landlords require minimal paperwork, just a credit check and income verification in most cases, because their objective is to fill vacancies quickly .
Future owner leads
Another great reason to consider rentals is that almost every buyer was once a renter.
Agents looking to stay in the business more than three years need to remember this. Working with someone on a rental today and letting them know you also help buy and sell property generally builds connections that can benefit you down the road.
As I said, I’m completely biased. Rentals have been good for my business. But I do think one mark of a good agent is their ability to change with market conditions, and change quickly. Diversifying your business model is key to weathering the ebbs and flows. If you cultivate strong skills in both rentals and sales, you will truly be unstoppable – no matter what’s happening in the market.
About the Author:
Caroline Bass is a Senior Vice President and Associate Broker with Citi Habitats in New York City. Recently selected as one of Forbes, “Top 30 under 30 in Real Estate” for 2011, Caroline has closed an estimated $30 million in rental deals since joining the business in 2005 and has worked with some of New York’s most high profile clients including Tim Gunn.
BY NICK TIMIRAOS, ROBBIE WHELAN AND MATT PHILLIPS
Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are lining up to become landlords to cash-strapped Americans by bidding on pools of foreclosed properties being sold by Fannie Mae.
The idea is that the new owners would rent out the homes at first rather than reselling—potentially aiding a housing-market recovery by reducing the number of properties clogging the market. The fact that big-name investors are interested also suggests they anticipate sizable future profits in housing.
Bulk sales, however, pose a trade-off. While the current approach of selling homes one-by-one has its own high costs and is sometimes inefficient, selling properties …