Rental vacancies dipped to 8.8% in the quarter, 0.9% lower than a year earlier and 0.6% below the previous quarter, according to the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau. The homeownership vacancy rate stands at 2.2% in the period, down 0.4% from a year earlier and 0.1% from the fourth quarter of 2011.Some 34.6% of families rented their home in the first quarter, increasing from 34% at the end of 2011.
If you aren’t a landlord, it is a good time to become one in the United States (regardless of where you live in the world) because family rentals are at a 15 year high. To put that in perspective, it is the highest rental rate since the high-tech boom of the late 1990s – that is almost 2 full economic cycles ago. Clearly the families who lost their homes in the housing crisis are still making money and still need to live somewhere, and to an extent, many families doubled up and lived together. Eventually, this rental demand will turn to ownership demand. It’s only a matter of time.
As mentioned in the article, investors have seen this opportunity and are snapping up properties for cash and earning 6% annually on their money in addition to possible appreciation. The opportunity has clearly presented itself here.