How to Evaluate A Real Estate Market For Multifamily Investing (Part 2 of 2)

In the previous article we discussed the demographics and macro-economic considerations you should review when qualifying a market for real estate investment. In this article we will dive deeper into the Regulatory Environment, The Local Real Estate Market and Sub-market.

See part one of this article here.

Regulatory Environment

Landlord and tenant laws

As with all business, the regulatory environment is important to understand as this may help or hinder your business. In the case of owning rental property, it is preferable to be in a market where regulations are not overly favorable to tenants. For example, if you need to evict a non-paying tenant but because of the law you can not remove them for a year that will significantly impact your revenue.

Government Plans

Changes in leadership always brings in new policies that sometimes can be unpredictable. The local government may plan to pass regulation that impacts zoning, tenant landlord laws or other areas of your investment. You should investigate if there are any near-term plans for legislation that may impact your investment plans.

Real Estate Market

Apartment Supply and Demand

As an investor you will want opportunities to invest. If you are in a market that does not have enough of a good supply of apartments you will not have opportunities to purchase. You should also consider the demand from renters.

Are there more apartments than renters to fill the units? Are developers planning to continue building and create even more oversupply? While you want to have enough apartments that you have opportunities to purchase, there is a point where too many apartments may cause a decrease in rental rates as there is no demand for the units.

The Market Cycle

Similar to reviewing the supply and demand of units for renters you should also look at the overall supply and demand of investors. This can be identified by figuring out what part of the market cycle this market is in. If the market is in an expansion phase you will likely see great appreciation and it will be a good time acquire property.

If the market is in a recession then it would be a bad time to sell real estate; for those skilled in investing, this may be the best time to buy investment property. If the market is at its peak, then it may be a better time to be selling real estate. Understanding the market cycle will directly impact how you enter a market and your investing strategy.

Housing Value Changes

If houses are cheap in the area you are investing, then it may make more sense for a qualified tenant to purchase their own home rather than rent. The housing values provide a snapshot of how affluent an area may be and the potential market ceiling for rent increases.

These housing values also give you an indicator of what pricing expectations you should have for the acquisitions you plan to make (i.e. you would want your price per unit of acquisition to be less than the single family home sales as buying in bulk should give you a discount).

Sub-market Evaluation

For the specific sub-market you are investing in, you want to keep in consideration all the previously mentioned items when investigating the sub-market level. A sub-market refers to the specific neighborhood within a city; for example, if your market was New York City then the neighborhood “Flatiron District” would be a potential sub-market.

While an overall market may check all the boxes it is possible that there are bad sub-markets within the market; you don’t want to accidentally choose to invest in the wrong sub-market. In addition to the previously mentioned factors you can also look at the following items:

Path of Progress

The path of progress refers to physical location and direction where change is being seen in a market, primarily positive change. This means new developments, amenities, increased incomes, job opportunities and more. Typically, these changes move in a linear geographic fashion. If you are able to identify markets on the outskirts of the path of progress this will allow you to buy properties at a discounted price compared to those in developed areas while enjoying much of benefits of the amenities and resident pool that can’t afford the more developed areas.

Tenant Pool