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Hurricane season start a time to study risks, plan for safety

Property management companies, owners and renters in affected areas should be prepared for the risks associated with the recent beginning of Atlantic hurricane season.

Extreme weather and natural disasters have been a growing concern in recent years, with 2011 in particular marked as one of the most severe on record in terms of property damage caused by various weather events. This year has already seen major property damage caused by wildfires, although there have been fewer disasters than in 2011 so far.

Now, Atlantic hurricane season has started, threatening damage caused by flooding, wind and other related issues. NeighborWorks America suggests that renters should make plans and be prepared to help each other if necessary in the event of a hurricane. It might be appropriate to pay particular attention to fellow tenants and neighbors who are elderly or disabled.

The organization suggests that those in at-risk areas develop an evacuation plan and learn about the potential dangers so that they know when it is time to use that plan. Such plans may need to take into consideration medical conditions and other potential complications. Items such as important medication should be listed to ensure they are not left behind in the rush of a sudden departure.

It could also be a good time for residents and owners to review their insurance policies and make certain their coverage is up to date. Renters should check that their belongings are listed so they can show what needs to be replaced if their items are damaged or lost.

August 4, 2012 | 0 Comments More

FHFA announces approval of bidders in REO bulk sales and rental conversion initiative

Investor demand expressed through bids in the federal program to sell real estate-owned properties for conversion into rentals has been “robust,” according to officials.

The winning bidders for the pilot program have been selected, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and bulk sales of the first foreclosed properties should be completed during the third quarter of this year. The identities of the winning bidders will be released publicly at that time, officials indicated. Supporters of the program continue to hope that it will prove helpful in reducing housing inventory sitting unused and meeting the demand for rental housing.

Demand has grown notably in a number of markets as many Americans seek rental housing, enough to lead to spikes in construction in certain areas. Axiometrics notes that multifamily construction is particularly high in the areas around Baltimore Dallas, the District of Columbia, Houston, San Francisco, San Jose, New York and Seattle. Single-family investors and rental managers should expect heightened apartment competition in those areas as units are completed.

The FHFA indicated that bidders were evaluated based on a number of criteria, including their rental property management experience and capabilities and overall financial strength. Although progress is being made, it remains unclear whether the bulk sales program will continue beyond this initial wave.

July 24, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Renter households increased, may do so further

The rental sector continues to lead the post-recession housing industry as more than a million households swelled the demand for rentals in the year ending March 2012.

Renter-occupied dwellings increased by about 4 percent during the year and industry stakeholders are reacting to demand by raising rents and building or converting properties, according to the Freddie Mac Economic and Housing Outlook report for June 2012.

Single-family rentals are accounting for a larger percentage of the market than they have in the past, as investors seize the opportunity presented by the unique condition of the housing market. This, in turn, is expected to help meet the housing needs of many, including some former homeowners.

Analysts, rental owners and property management companies anticipate a surge of demand in the future, partly from young adults who have postponed household formation during and after the recession. While the pace of new construction has been limited due to financing challenges, that issue is being resolved, at least partially. At the same time, those limitations have likely made single-family rentals more competitive just as the number of homes for sale spiked.

That number is now falling, and the report indicates that markets may continue to tighten, yielding further rent growth in at least some areas. Among rentals, top-tier properties have been particularly sought-after.

July 16, 2012 | 0 Comments More

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