Are You a Landlord Yet?

The rental housing boom continues to bring more small investors into the business. A recent survey by the California Association of Realtors shows that the vast majority of landlords represented by Realtors own less than 5 properties, and that detached single family homes comprise 85% of the properties managed. Realtors and other small investors are buying investment homes, and upsizers are keeping their former homes to rent out. Most Realtors now participate in property management with at least some percentage of our business, as clients ask us to find a renter or we buy properties ourselves. In my local ofice, the majority of agents own at least one rental property.

Vacancy rates are some of the lowest in history. Increasingly, in many markets, landlords have their pick of tenants and need to do very little to compete. This graph from tells a striking story of the sea-change in property managers' concessions an a National scale.

Pressures on the market have created opportunity for many small investors. However, what happens to people priced out by the current market?

According to the 2014 "State of Homelessness in America" by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, homelessness continues to decrease. However, numbers of new homeless continue unchanged. Cities have simply gotten better at re-housing people. Cultural behavioral shifts also appear. Families stay together longer. People double-up. More spaces are being rented out. People have gotten more creative about housing. Behaviors such as the ones long evidenced in markets like San Francisco and New York have begun to appear in rural areas and small cities across the country.