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6 ways to prepare yourself for selling luxury real estate

Inmannews - 7 hours 13 min ago
If you are interested in learning how to make the jump into the luxury market when that beautiful listing comes around, follow these six steps for successfully marketing a luxury property.
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How to boost your value proposition internationally

Inmannews - 7 hours 13 min ago
Agents who are immersed in the luxury space work hard to build a database of international agents. Unfortunately, very few of us share enough information about our market with this database — and without that information about our locale, the listings we share are essentially useless.
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16 inspirational quotes to get you through the day

Inmannews - 8 hours 13 min ago
Fortunately, many words of wisdom imparted by our Founding Fathers and today's most inspiring speakers motivate us, guide us and encourage us through our career. Here are 16 inspirational quotes suited to any real estate agent's professional life.
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How to pivot like a champion: Gary Keller on stage at Inman Connect San Francisco

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 4:36pm
His session at Inman Connect San Francisco, dubbed "How to Pivot like a Champion," takes place on the main stage on Thursday, July 19, at 9:30 a.m.
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The Real Word: Opendoor’s $325M funding boost

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 1:49pm
Watch Byron Lazine and Nicole White give a real estate agent’s perspective on industry-related topics. This week, they’ll parse out Opendoor's $325 million Series E funding round and goal to expand to 50 markets by 2020.
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Facebook’s saying goodbye to ‘likely to move’ ad targeting

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 1:25pm
Facebook's Cambridge Analytica data scandal has another casualty: the "likely to move" ad targeting category. The popular ad targeting feature will stop working for new campaigns Aug. 15 as part of Facebook's re-evaluation of how it uses third-party data.
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Opendoor has more than 100 homes under contract in Las Vegas, 60 more active

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:54pm
Opendoor company spokeswoman Cristin Culver told "The Las Vegas Review Journal" this week that the company is under contract on more than 100 homes and currently has 60 active listings.
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Zillow puts its first home under contract as a seller — but reduces price by 1.6% on another

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:45pm
Zillow has put its first home under contract as a seller, with an expected closing in mid-July, listing agent George Laughton confirmed to Inman.
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A New York town just banned real estate agents from soliciting

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:09pm
If you're a real estate agent, stay away from Rockland County's Chestnut Ridge — the New York Department of State just marked it as a cease-and-desist zone.
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Summer volunteering can spark relationships and vitalize business

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 11:52am
Each summer, real estate agents give themselves permission to change gear and engage in volunteering, all while reconnecting with community.
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RealTimeMLS’s pocket listings activity climbs 63%

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 11:27am
RESAAS has announced substantial growth in agent participation in its San Francisco-based RealTimeMLS.
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ICSF Connect Paths: What To Attend If You’re A Marketer

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 10:58am
We've put together some handy suggestions specifically for those of you who are marketers to Connect. With an ever-changing climate of innovation and evolution, it's never been more important to be on top of the latest trends, understand what's working, and learn from the best in the industry.
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Tips For Deciding Which Types Of Pets To Allow In A Rental Property

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 10:57am

More than 60 percent of American households own pets, yet many landlords do not accept pets. As a landlord, accepting some species of pets may help you fill vacant units faster. What’s more, pet owners often stay longer (since it is difficult to find pet-friendly housing) and you can charge more for your properties.

Learn the upkeep and maintenance issues associated with different types of pets to decide what pets to allow at your rental properties.

Fish

Fish have a lot going for them from a landlord’s perspective, because there are few risks for property damage or complaints from neighbors over pet noise. Unless the fish tank breaks, there are no negative consequences.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Like fish, reptiles are quiet pets. Turtles, lizards, geckoes and even snakes can all make good pets. They need little care and cleanup and won’t make the apartment smell — unless the tenant neglects to clean the cage.

Some landlords are creeped out by the idea of a snake getting loose in the apartment. Case-by-case evaluation can help you gauge the pet owner’s responsibility and decide whether to allow the pet on site.

Small Animals

Hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, rats and rabbits are all examples of small animals that renters might own. These pets are generally low-maintenance and quiet. If you’re concerned about the damage an escaped rat or rabbit might do — think raid the garbage or bite through electrical cords — require that tenants keep their small animals caged or in an exercise pen at all times.

Cats

Property damage and noise can be a concern with cats that scratch walls, urinate in the house or yowl at all hours. Nonetheless, cats can make great pets — it really depends on the animal’s personality. Collect a pet deposit to ward against cat damage. Do not request cat declawing since this removes the cat’s natural defenses and leaves the animal helpless.

Dogs

While dogs make great companions, they can cause property damage. Pet accidents in the house can damage carpeting or flooring, while dogs can scratch at doors. To mitigate pet damage, you could require tenants to crate their dogs when they are out of the apartment. Provide a trashcan for the backyard so the yard does not become filled with pet waste.

Some landlords like to allow small dogs under the belief they will cause less damage, however, dogs of any size can be well-behaved or poorly behaved. Since many homeowners’ insurance companies refuse to insure when certain dogs are on site because they perceive these dogs are more dangerous than other breeds, you may wish to impose breed restrictions.

Breeds commonly disallowed by insurance companies include:

  • Pit bulls
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Rottweilers
  • Staffordshire terriers
  • Chow chows
  • Great Danes
  • Akitas
  • German shepherds
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • Siberian huskies

Consider your comfort level with different types of pets and the damage they may cause to decide what’s right for your rentals. When you use sensible precautions with allowing pets in rental properties, you can feel good about helping pet owners find safe homes and keeping pets out of animal shelters while safeguarding your rentals for the next tenant.

Disclaimer: All content provided here-in is subject to AAOA’s Terms of Use.

The post Tips For Deciding Which Types Of Pets To Allow In A Rental Property appeared first on AAOA.

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How To Rent A Room To International Students

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 10:42am

There are more than 1 million international students studying in the U.S., and many are searching for a place to live. If you have a vacant unit, advertising to international students could help you fill the vacancy quickly. Since international students may be seeking different features in a rental apartment, this requires a few tweaks from your current advertising approach.

Read on to learn how to target international students for a successful landlord-tenant match.

How International Students Differ From Local Renters

International students have different needs from local renters, and when you understand these needs, you can position your property accordingly.

While some international students may be enrolled at a local college and seeking accommodation from your city, others are searching from their home country and cannot make an in-person visit. Thus, it’s important to have accurate photos of your rental and accept online applications so students can apply from their home countries.

Furnishing the apartment can help, as many international students don’t want to purchase everything needed to create a home. Use that old furniture from the garage or shop at yard sales so you can offer a furnished apartment. This is a one-time expense that is offset by the rental income.

International students may be visiting for a semester, so a short-term lease could suit their needs over a year’s lease. Consider offering three-month lease terms or month-to-month lease agreements to increase interest in your listing.

If you’re struggling to fill a unit in a renter’s market, all the more reason to be flexible: These tweaks will make your open unit appeal to a broader range of people, from international students to locals.

How to Rent to International Students

Aside from these key differences, the rental process isn’t very different. Just as you would with any other tenant, clean the apartment thoroughly before taking photos for the listing. Then, clearly describe the property and its amenities in listing copy.

Advertise the listing through your usual channels as well as on websites that offer housing for international students. If you live near a university, see whether it has an apartment board (virtual or on campus) to connect students with rooms for rent.

You can use your standard lease agreement (with an optional change in lease duration) and screen applicants, too. This isn’t as easy as running their Social Security number (since they don’t have one), but you can run their name through criminal databases in their home country to protect yourself. You can also request financial information (such as bank statements), which you can use to see whether they have good financial habits. Since the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on national origin, you must treat international student applicants the same way you would treat other applicants.

Since many international students have invested a lot of money to come to the U.S. to study, they may be less likely to party than local college students, which means your apartment is in good hands. By renting to an international student, you can feel good knowing that you’re helping someone who has moved to the U.S. to further his or her education.

Disclaimer: All content provided here-in is subject to AAOA’s Terms of Use.

The post How To Rent A Room To International Students appeared first on AAOA.

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How To Determine Whether Your Landlord Is Breaking The Law

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 10:37am

Just as renters must follow a legal agreement – aka, the lease – or risk losing their apartment, landlords must follow laws when renting apartments or face consequences. Both state and federal laws affect landlord behavior. Read on to learn common landlord-tenant laws and how you can tell whether your landlord is in compliance.

Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act protects potential tenants from discrimination. There are several protected clauses – including gender, race, country of origin and disability. Landlords should screen all tenants the same and accept the first qualified tenant to stay in compliance with the law. If you’re asked potentially discriminating questions such as “What country do you come from?” this is a red flag.

Security Deposits

If a landlord quotes a security deposit that’s much higher than the going rate, it could suggest a problem. Many states have caps on security deposits – whether that’s one month’s rent or three month’s rent. Some states, such as Massachusetts, require that all security deposits be held in escrow with interest returned to the tenant upon move-out. Check your state’s laws to know how much a landlord is allowed to charge.

Nonrefundable security deposits are prohibited in all states. However, landlords are allowed to collect nonrefundable fees – for instance, cleaning fees or move-in fees.

Repairs

When something goes wrong in the apartment, your landlord has a legal duty to fix it. While not everything can be repaired immediately – especially if it involves scheduling a service visit – the important thing to note is that your landlord must address the situation.

If weeks go by and your landlord makes no attempt to repair something that’s critical rather than cosmetic (say, a torn window screen), then you may be able to schedule the repair yourself and withhold the cost from your next rent payment. Check your state’s law before you do this, so you know what to point to if your landlord complains.

Rent Increases and Fees

Unless the lease states that the landlord can raise the rent during the lease term, rent increases are prohibited for the duration of the lease. While a landlord may increase the rent at the time of lease renewal, he or she cannot otherwise do so.

While some fees are allowed, your landlord may be charging “excessive” fees, in which case you can pursue a small-claims court case. If you feel like you are paying too many fees, contact your local housing authority. It will let you know averages in your area, and how to take action if fees are too high.

Unannounced Visits

Tenants have right of occupancy, which means that landlords who want to visit the apartment must provide sufficient notification (usually 24 or 48 hours). Emergencies are exceptions for this, which means you can’t retaliate if a pipe bursts and your landlord drops by without notice to fix it.

Many landlords may be unaware they are not following the laws, which is why education is a good first step – as it can preserve a good working relationship. Yet if your landlord doesn’t respond to a polite request, take legal action. Landlord-tenant laws are on your side.

Disclaimer: All content provided here-in is subject to AAOA’s Terms of Use.

The post How To Determine Whether Your Landlord Is Breaking The Law appeared first on AAOA.

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Canada banned dual agency — could the United States be next?

Inmannews - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 9:29am
A Canadian province recently banned dual agency, or real estate agents representing both sides of a transaction. Could the United States be next?
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So You Want To Be A Landlord? Five Considerations Before You Buy

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 9:27am

The first of the month is easy for me to love: Rent is due! I sit back in my office as the payments roll in, knowing that my investments are working for me. Real estate is an attractive investment for many reasons, but the passive income from rent is at the top of the list. Some of the other benefits include tax advantages, property appreciation and having tenants paying off your mortgage. With all these benefits, it is hard to find another investment that can match the perks of real estate.

But there are challenges to go along with the upsides. If you are looking at rental real estate as an investment option, be sure to consider these five things before you buy.

1. There are ups and downs: According to most of the real estate books or articles you read, real estate investing is full of rainbows and kittens. Although I and countless others have found great financial success in it, it has to be acknowledged that real estate can be a tough business. It takes work to locate and analyze deals; it takes work to manage tenants or to manage property managers. It also can be challenging when you need to make decisions on how to handle tricky situations. Tenants can be hard on the property, hard on your bank account hard and on you. If you are willing to deal with the downs and stick with it, real estate is consistently an effective way to build wealth. It is also important to note that managing your rental portfolio becomes easier as you build your team and your systems.

2. Cash is king: Businesses, including real estate, can be profitable and still go out of business. I remember finding myself a not-yet-30 self-made millionaire — on paper, of course. When the market turned and I did not have proper cash management, I almost lost everything. Without proper cash flow on your rentals and proper cash reserves, you can go bankrupt. It is the reserves and cash flow that preserve you if the tenant stops paying rent or you need a major repair. The advice I would give for longevity in this business, which is necessary to get rich, is to focus on buying rentals that will generate a positive cash flow and always maintain adequate reserves.

3. To self-manage or to outsource: This is always a fun discussion in my office. Some of us manage our own rentals and others hire a property manager. There are benefits to both, for sure. If you do not stay on top of your rentals, a management company can improve your bottom line and remove much of the headaches. If you can create systems to manage your own property, you will make more money because there is no management fee. I would typically recommend a newer investor manage their own rentals for a while when getting started. This will give you valuable experience that will serve you well. There is no right or wrong answer here, but it is something you should consider before you buy.

4. Patience is essential: This is a long-term business. There is no getting rich quick in rental real estate. In fact, you would probably be surprised how many properties it will take, especially subtracting the real costs to manage them and to replace your income. I have seen people try to replace income with rentals and fail badly. To be clear, it can be done — but it is challenging. Rental property is fail-safe if you have a long-term horizon and you don’t need the income it produces to live on today. Buy rental to be a fortune wealth generator over time.

5. Financing your investments: This can be a complicated subject, but it may be the most important variable before you start to make offers. In general, you will want to avoid paying cash and want to leverage your money to speed up your financial growth. That, of course, is a double-edged sword, because whenever you use leverage, you take on additional risk. I believe you can mitigate leverage risk by buying properties that generate cash flow and keeping your reserves, as discussed earlier.

It is common to use conventional financing as much as possible because those options come with long, fixed terms with low interest rates. Talk to a mortgage broker or banker to get more information on the conventional financing options available in your situation. Only after you have a financing plan in place should you consider making an offer to buy something.

 

Source: forbes.com

The post So You Want To Be A Landlord? Five Considerations Before You Buy appeared first on AAOA.

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What Do SFR Renters Want?

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 9:24am

Owners of single-family rental (SFR) homes have learned a lot about how to manage their properties over the last few years. But the most important lesson has been the value of their relationship with their residents.

“We knew that they would stay longer than apartment renters. We learned to appreciate that more —to earn and then sustain that loyalty from our residents,” says Fred Tuomi, CEO, president and director at Invitation Homes Inc, an SFR REIT.

SFR owners like Invitation Homes use multiple methods to maintain good relationships with their residents through all the stages of the customer lifecycle, including flexible options for viewing properties prior to renting, working with lower income tenants to negotiate viable rental rates and incorporating new technologies to make the homes easier to maintain. Keeping residents in the homes longer drastically improves the economics of the business, because of the high cost involved in preparing a home to rent.

“My business model only works if we retain tenants for a long time,” says Ed Renwick, CEO of Raineth Housing, which owns roughly 2,000 SFR properties, primarily in the Midwest.

Building relationships

At Raineth properties, for example, the vast majority of residents are working low-wage jobs. Of the company’s portfolio, 98 percent of the homes are affordable to residents earning 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), though the properties typically do not receive formal government subsidies.

“Our tenant base works at Walmart, at home health care jobs. They are always a paycheck away from falling behind in their rent,” says Renwwick. His firm works with residents to avoid eviction and works out payment plans when residents fall behind. “When a tenant is honest with us we will bend over backward to keep them.”

Turning over one of Raineth homes to a new renter costs thousands of dollars, but the typical rental rate may often be just $700 a month. “It’s important that we not lose tenants in order for us to be profitable,” says Renwick. By negotiating with residents, the company maintains a tenant turnover rate of 20 to 25 percent and a rent collection rate of 95 percent.

High-tech services

With more than 80,000 rental SFRs, Invitation Homes has created a suite of systems to help it manage its properties and maintain relationships with its residents.

For example, Invitation has created systems that allow potential residents to visit a rental house through a guided tour with a human property manager or through a “self-showing” if it’s more convenient. With a self-showing, a potential resident receives a code from Invitation Homes that will open the electronic lock on the house door and allow the visitor to see the house.

The process requires the potential resident to register first, by speaking over the phone with a company employee and submitting a snapshot of a photo ID card like a driver’s license.

The electronic locks on the front doors also help Invitation Homes prepare a rental house to be rented. Contractors hired by the company can get in and out of the house without having to get a physical key for the building. Once a resident moves in, the same system allows third-party contractors to access the home. Residents can choose which contractors they want to use for maintenance through a smartphone app that Invitation Homes has created that is similar to Uber, the popular ride-sharing app the connects customers with drivers.

Invitation Homes also equips its properties with “smart” thermostats that can be operated wirelessly by the company’s property managers when the house is empty. After residents move in, they can operate the smart thermostat system through their smartphones.

Invitation Homes tenants have embraced the technology. “They want to apply online. They want to self-show. They want to answer surveys and tell you want they think,” says Tuomi.

Because the residents appreciate these types of services, Tuomi believes they are more likely to stay longer. “Our residents typically stay three years or longer—approximately 50 percent longer than the typical apartment renter. That allows them to stay in the neighborhoods they desire and makes us much more efficient,” says Tuomi.

 

Source: nreionline.com

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3 misconceptions you may have about renters’ insurance

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 9:21am

When most people think of insurance, they likely think of some more popular types of policies such as health insurance, auto insurance, and even homeowners insurance. One form of coverage that’s not talked about as often is renters insurance. In fact, with only about 40 percent of renters holding policies, it’s not surprising that there are actually several common misconceptions people have about renters insurance policies.

To clear some things up and show why renters insurance policies can be a smart investment, here are three misconceptions and why they’re wrong:

“Renters insurance only covers your home”

Yes, easily the biggest misconception about renters insurance involves the very fundamentals of such policies. Specifically, tenants seem to think that renters insurance is intended to cover the physical structure of their homes. Since most renters aren’t responsible for these types of damages (their landlords are), they may assume there’s no need for coverage.

In actuality, renters insurance isn’t so much about your home but what’s in it. When you purchase this particular policy, what you’re covering is all of your possessions in the event that they’re damaged or stolen. Moreover, in most cases, the items don’t even need to be in your home at the time they’re damaged in order to be covered.

Other benefits of renters insurance can vary but may include things like liability coverage in the event someone is injured on your property and displacement reimbursement in the event you need to temporarily vacate your home. As a result, renters insurance is a far more comprehensive product than most people may realize.

An average renters insurance policy costs about $15 a month and can go as low as $10.

“It’s insurance, so it’s expensive”

Given the high prices associated with health insurance, auto insurance, and other policies, it’s easy to see why so many people would assume that renters insurance was equally as pricey.

That’s why you may be surprised to learn that studies peg the average renters’ insurance policy at just over $15 a month. This number can go as low as $10 a month in some areas, although prices in more storm-prone regions can be closer to $20 a month. Still, considering the benefits of these policies, it’s likely worth the relatively low price.

It should also be noted that there may be ways to save on your renters’ insurance policy as well. A popular example is the ability to bundle your renters and auto insurance policies in order to secure a discount on one or both. Additionally, with many companies now offering renters insurance policies, a simple way to save is to shop around and compare quotes in order to get the best deal.

“Your policy doesn’t cover the full replacement cost”

This one is actually true in some cases, but it all comes down to whether you have a replacement value or actual cash value (ACV) policy. While it’s true that an ACV policy will factor in things like depreciation and usage when determining how much to pay out on your claim, replacement value policies will provide you what you need to buy the claimed items new. Because of this, although your premium may be a bit higher, it’s often worth it to opt for a replacement value renters insurance policy.

Contrary to some misconceptions and myths that are out there, renters insurance not only provides important and valuable coverage but also comes at an affordable price. As a result, if you rent and don’t yet have a renters insurance policy, perhaps it’s time to protect your stuff and get covered.

 

Source: born2invest.com

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U.S. housing shifts gears with more owners, fewer renters

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 9:13am

For the first time since the Great Recession, there are signs of a broad shift in America’s housing market.

Homeownership rates are inching up, while the number of new rental households has declined slightly.

“We are more confident that there is a turnaround in homeownership,” said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. “Last year was the first year on a year-over-year basis we saw an increase.”

U.S. homeownership rose to 64.2 percent by the end of last year, according to the Harvard Joint Center’s just-released State of the Nation’s Housing report for 2018. The uptick is the first in 12 years and “a dramatic turnaround in the homeowner market,” Herbert said.

The percentage of Americans who own their homes peaked at more than 68 percent in 2005 before the housing market collapse that followed.

The slide in homeownership stretched until 2016 when the rate was at a 50-year low of below 63 percent. The Dallas-Fort Worth homeownership rate plunged even more to less than 60 percent.

The number of new renter households in the U.S. fell last year for the first time in more than a decade.

The number of U.S. homeowners rose by 1.1 million last year after declining by an average of more than 150,000 a year between 2007 and 2015, the Harvard researchers found. Last year, the number of U.S. homeowner households hit a record high of 76.2 million.

While homeownership is clawing back, the number of new renters is declining, Herbert told members of the National Association of Real Estate Editors at a meeting last week in Las Vegas.

“Over the last year, rental households actually fell by a couple hundred thousand,” he said. “There is a significant slowdown in demand against the backdrop of what has been healthy supply.”

After the housing crash, millions of Americans lost their homes and became renters. And millennials eschewed homeownership in favor of new rental units.

“Over the last five, six or seven years, the housing recovery has largely been led by the strength of the multifamily sector,” Herbert said. “While the single-family sector and ownership sector has been slow to come back, the rental sector has been going gangbusters.”

Herbert said there are signs that rental unit demand — particularly at the high end — is moderating as more renters are buying houses.

“The fall-off in demand is giving a real red flag for us,” he said. “Is this a major turning point? We are expecting this will be more of a plateau.”

Even a plateau in apartment demand could be bad news for developers building thousands of luxury rental units.

“We actually have about 650,000 multifamily units in some stage of construction [nationwide] — the biggest number ever,” Herbert said.

Dallas-Fort Worth has more than 30,000 apartments under construction, more than any U.S. metro area.

Many of the apartments built across the country have been in revitalized downtown areas of major cities, Herbert said.

“We have had incredible growth in high-end renters,” he said. “There has been a huge demand for luxury apartments in downtown.”

The Harvard housing center’s 2018 reports show that young Americans are still having a tough time achieving homeownership due to factors such as student debt and rising home values.

“House prices have been outpacing incomes by a lot,” Herbert said. “Particularly for young households, even though the overall homeownership rate is back around 64 percent,” fewer are buying than in past decades.

“Young people are about seven or eight percentage points lower than they were in 1988,” Herbert said. And huge numbers of millennials are still living with their parents.

“We thought that would rebound when the economy recovered,” he said. ” It hasn’t.”

Herbert said changing immigration policies in the U.S. will also affect the country’s housing market.

Harvard’s housing researchers have lowered their household growth expectations for the next decade by 1.6 million due to the prospect of reduced immigration. The change in the housing demand outlook is based on an expected dip in foreign immigration to the U.S. and higher mortality rates among native white residents.

“The key wild card going forward is immigration,” Herbert said.

Homeownership rates across the country are rising for the first time since the recession. Source: born2invest.com

The post U.S. housing shifts gears with more owners, fewer renters appeared first on AAOA.

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