Trading Down Trend in Real Estate Value

A big trend in the US economy is trading down.   In America, since 1979 most income groups have barely grown richer, except the top 1 percent.  This top group has seen their income expand by four times.

Since the 2008-2009 recession 95% of the gains from the recovery have gone to that richest 1%.  The share of overall income of these top earners is near its highest level in a century.  According to one study by the OECD America is the fourth most unequal country in the rich world behind only Chile, Mexico and Turkey.

This is a distortion that creates a real estate value trend in rentals.


This rental house is one of Merri’s and my new investments in the Florida real estate value trend.

One recommendation at this site, since 2009, has been to buy and rent Florida houses.

A March 9, 2014  Wall Street Journal article “Share of Housing Construction as Rental Apartments at Highest Level in at Least Four Decades” by Conor Dougherty reveals a bit more about this trend.

Here is an excerpt: The share of new homes being built as rental apartments is at the highest level in at least four decades, as an improving jobs picture spurs younger Americans to form their own households but tighter lending standards make it more difficult to buy.

Residential construction—a pillar of the economy and employment—is starting to ramp up again overall, but in previous years the growth was driven by single-family homes. Last year, according to census data, construction was started on a little less than one million new residential units, and about one in three of those was a rental in a multifamily building, the highest share since data began in the mid-1970s.

This trend of buying Florida real estate to rent is losing value now.  Many big banks, hedge funds and construction companies have jumped into the fray.  This is pushing up prices and reducing the return on rent.

Benjamin Graham’s great book “The Intelligent Investor” explains in Chapter Eight why the intelligent investor realizes that investments become more risky, not less, as their prices rise.  They become less risky, not more, as their prices fall.  Intelligent investors dread a bull market since it makes investments more costly to buy.   On the other hand the intelligent investor welcomes a bull market since it makes investments a better value.

Merri and I are still buying but prices are much higher now.  Rents are not rising to keep pace with these increases.  This is good for the houses we purchased earlier.  This means we have to work harder to find good value deals and we pass on many more places than we offer on.  When we offer the offer price is usually too low.

Bargains can still be found by knowing a market, continually watching and hard negotiating on the deals.  Do not fall in love with investing in property or any single property.  Always keep the numbers in mind.  The rental income, after costs, vacancies and tax is the driving value force.


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