An essential rule in real estate investing never wavers: location, location, location.
When looking for a property, dialing in on where people want and need rentals is key. Look at population and job growth. Find out where there is a limited supply of houses and great demand. This will ensure you’ll find tenants. It also usually means property values will appreciate over time.
And now, COVID-19 is creating a new variable. Based on prices being sky-high in many markets—with a correction looming—some areas of the United States remain more vulnerable than others.
Read on for an overview of what’s going on in several areas of the country. Along the way, we’ll discuss how to analyze markets so that you can maximize your real estate investments once the COVID-19 dust settles.
How to Identify Housing Markets That Will Remain Strong Post-Pandemic
Where I live in Austin, Texas, prices continue to rise. There is a bidding war on almost any property for sale in the city. Even though it is clear that millions across the country have a mortgage in forbearance, the demand in Austin seems so high that the city may come out unscathed when the pandemic is in the rearview mirror.
Like Austin, other areas have continued to see population increases over the past few months. There has been a mass exodus from several once-thriving cities, in fact. According to the USPS, over 15.9 million people moved in the first six months of the pandemic. This is excellent information in terms of understanding significant shifts in supply and demand in the housing market.
Take Business Insider, which cited nine states where the population dramatically increased over the past six months: North Carolina, Oregon, Arizona, Kentucky, Maine, South Carolina, Delaware, New Mexico, and Idaho.
Meanwhile, per ATTOM Data Solutions, the six counties least at risk of suffering a significant downturn are in densely populated areas. The reason is simple: Where there are people, there is a need for housing. The counties identified by ATTOM include Tarrant County (Fort Worth), Texas; Travis County (Austin), Texas; Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana; and Denver and Arapahoe counties in Colorado.
While buying in these areas is enticing, finding deals—especially cash-flowing properties—is very competitive. In other words, you can most certainly find a tenant, but after you pay top dollar in a bidding war for the house, the rent may not cover your mortgage and expenses for the property.
If you cannot afford to cover a few hundred or more out of pocket every month, you may need to go further outside these central areas and into the suburbs—or even move to another state altogether.
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