Author Archive: Tracey March

Tracey March is a former attorney who practiced real estate, community association, and landlord-tenant law, among other things. Tracey has worked with (APM) since it was founded in 2004, and has served as in-house counsel and real estate broker for the company. She currently works in industry research, writing about real estate, the rental market, and issues facing property managers and community associations. Find her on Google Plus.

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Los Angeles: Recent Real Estate Market Surprises You Need to Know About

Los Angeles, or the City of Angels, appears to have it all. In addition to its abundance of sunny days (only 35 days of precipitation a year!), L.A. boasts a strong and healthy business and international trade sector. The city is a main hub for the entertainment industry and is also known for its strengths in technology, fashion, sports, and medicine, to name a few.

Los Angeles

L.A. Demographics

Los Angeles is the 2nd most populous city in the US, with an estimated 3.9 million residents. The city is very diverse, with several ethnic hubs, including Chinatown, Koreatown, Tehrangeles, and Little Tokyo. Two hundred and twenty four different languages are spoken in the city. Based on the 2010 US census, 57.3 percent of L.A.’s residents live in rental housing.

L.A. Real Estate Market

With home prices increasing a whopping 22 percent from Q3-2012 to Q3-2013, it’s clear the Los Angeles real estate market has rebounded, but many experts are concerned about a bubble. Even so, CoreLogic Case-Shiller predicts that home prices will continue to increase: by 6.8% for Q3-2013 to Q3-2014 and by 4.5% for Q3-2014 to Q3-2015.

However, those predicted increases certainly didn’t happen last month, which was full of surprises for L.A. and California real estate. First, in Los Angeles the number of home sales in January 2014 dropped 86.4 percent from December 2013, and in Southern California, home prices fell 3.8 percent. According to Stuart Gabriel, the director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA, “the urgency to buy has essentially evaporated” because prices are too high, and buyers don’t want to overpay.

Second, after 17 months of decreases, California foreclosure starts were up 57% in January. Since it takes an average of 322 days to complete the foreclosure process in California, some experts are suggesting that those dabbling in real estate should expect more housing inventory on the California real estate market at the end of 2014. In other words they’re suggesting that sellers sell now, before those homes are listed.

And here are some other interesting facts about California real estate:

  • California home ownership peaked around 2005 at 61 percent. It’s now at about 54.5 percent.
  • Surprisingly, 16% of Californians are still underwater in their mortgages.

L.A. Rental Market

Lots of renters + housing shortage = high rents.

It also describes the Los Angeles rental market. According to Trulia, of the 25 largest rental markets, L.A.’s rents increased the most in 2013. The vacancy rate in L.A. county at the end of 2014 was 3.2 percent– reflecting a decrease in the past year of 10.6 percent. The average rent in L.A. County was $1,435 per month.

And it looks like rental prices won’t be coming down any time soon. The USC Casden Multifamily Forecast Report predicts rents increases will continue for at least a year or two because the number of new units being built is not keeping up with demand.

We work with several property management companies in Los Angeles, and we suspect they’re noticing some differences in the rental market between now and say, three years ago. Seems like it’s heaven for rental owners and trying times for renters. Please comment!

By Tracey March

February 19, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Denver: Economy, Real Estate, & Rental Market Are Strong

DenverKnown as the “Mile-High City” because of its elevation of exactly one mile– or 5,280 feet–Denver seems to have become one of “the” places to live in recent years as it offers incredible outdoor opportunities with the benefits of living in a city–and a cool city at that.

Located between the Rocky Mountains and the High Plains, Denver is known for its great access to world-class ski areas, craft breweries, great restaurants, and its healthy economy. The city boasts over 200 parks, 12 recreation centers, and numerous community gardens; it also owns several mountain parks including Winter Park Resort and Red Rocks Park.

Denver has four distinct seasons, claims 300 days of sunshine a year, and because of its elevation and location on the edge of the Rockies, extreme weather isn’t uncommon.

Denver Economy

Denver’s diverse economy includes strong performances in areas such as telecommunications, energy, technology, tourism, finance, and distribution. Forbes lists Denver as #6 in its listing for Best Places for Business and Careers. Unemployment in metro Denver was 6.5 percent in 2013, a decrease of 1.2 percent from 2012. The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) projects employment growth in 2014 will increase 2.7 percent; the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6 percent.

Denver Demographics

With a population of about 634,000 Denver is the 23rd most populous city in the US. The city has a relatively young population, tying for third with Seattle for its increase in 25- to 34-year-old residents. Median household income in metro Denver is a healthy $61,453, significantly higher than the average for US metro areas as a whole ($53,607). Net migration for metro Denver was 23,344 in 2013 and is projected to be 23,675 in 2014.

Denver Real Estate Market

The median sales price of single-family homes in Colorado’s metro region was $273,000 for Q4-2013, marking an increase of 7.8%, year over year, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors. The number of days on the market decreased compared to the prior year, dropping 26.2 percent, from 65 days to 48. As of December 31, 2013, there was a 2.3-month supply of single-family homes.

Denver Rental Market

Metro Denver EDC reports that the number of new residential units in 2013 was 12,235; that number is expected to increase to 14,885 in 2014.?The Denver Post reports that despite the addition of these new rental units, average rents in metro Denver increased by $63 in 2013, from $978 to $1,041.

The apartment vacancy rate in Q4-2013 was higher than it has been in two years, at 5.2 percent, according to the Denver Post. Demand by younger professionals for high-end apartments close to Downtown has been blamed for the increase in rents. According to Ron Throupe,[1] a professor of real estate at the University of Denver, the city has been one of the hottest spots for young adults and “when they come to town, they aren’t going to buy a house. They are going to move in with a friend or get a unit on their own,” so they’re more likely to rent.

Apartment rent and vacancy rates aside, looking at vacancy rates for all rentals of 1-4 units, the Colorado Division of Housing reports the metro Denver vacancy rate in Q3-2013 was 2.9 percent, with average number of days on the rental market at 48.2 and an average rent of $1,140.55, up from $1,090.76 the previous year.

So How’s Denver Doing?

Denver’s economy, real estate market, and rental market are strong. CoreLogic Case-Schiller predicts home prices will increase 2.7 percent from Q3-2013 to Q3-2014, and 3.4 percent from Q3-2014 to Q3-2015. 10,000 to 12,000 apartments are expected to enter the metro Denver rental market; predictions are these will be absorbed over the next 2-3 years. Their impact on rents and vacancy rates is yet to be seen, but the influx of young professionals, seeking a solid career and great lifestyle options, doesn’t seem to be slowing.

Are you a property manager or realtor in Denver? We’d love to hear how things are on the ground, please comment!

Please join the conversation, and follow and like us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to get updates on the rental market and issues facing property managers.

By Tracey March

[1] As reported by The Denver Post

February 13, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Family-Friendly San Antonio: Housing Market and Rental Market Update

Located in Texas, San Antonio is the second most populous city in the state, and is located about 75 miles west of Austin. Named for Saint Anthony of Padua, the city has a rich history of Spanish influence as evidenced by the city’s five missions, four of which are in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

San Antonio

About San Antonio

Known in the 1800s primarily as a center for the cattle industry, the city is now home to several military bases, including Lackland Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base. Just outside the city are Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley. San Antonio is reputed to be very family friendly, and certainly the River Walk, the Alamo, and Six Flags helped garner that reputation.

San Antonio Demographics

With about 1.3 million inhabitants, San Antonio is the 7th most populous US city, and its population is increasing faster than the US population as a whole. About 63 percent of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. 26.8 percent of the population is 18 years of age or younger; 10.4 percent are 65 years of age and over. From 2008-2012, the homeownership rate in San Antonio was 57 percent–less than the average rate for Texas, which was 63.9 percent during the same period.

San Antonio Housing Market

In 2013, the housing market in San Antonio posted its best year since 2006. According to the San Antonio Board of Realtors, there were more than 23,000 home sales in San Antonio last year, with the median price for a single-family home being $170,200. Housing inventory is at about 4.2 months according to a local real estate group. Current projections from Corelogic Case-Schiller are for prices to increase 3.7 percent between Q3-2013 and Q3-2014.

While in the past San Antonio has been recognized for its stable and affordable home prices, recently cheaper housing is becoming more challenging to find. Reports are that fewer affordable homes are being built while more luxury type homes are increasing.

San Antonio Rental Market reports that for the third quarter of 2013, average apartment rents in San Antonio were $813/month, up 1.7 percent, a lower rate than other major Texas metro areas. Occupancy fell .5 percent to 93.9 percent, partly due to the addition of new apartments, which may have reduced rental demand for older units. According to RealPage, lthough San Antonio has not performed as well as other Texas rental markets, it’s performing well for San Antonio.

Are you a property manager in San Antonio? We’d love to hear how the rental market is performing,please let us know in the comments.

Please join the conversation, and follow and like us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to get updates on the rental market and issues facing property managers.

By Tracey March

February 11, 2014 | 0 Comments More

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