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Rising Rents Improve Investors’ Returns

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With rents rising faster than last year, the picture for residential real estate investors is getting even better than it already was as a result of once-in-a-generation prices and low interest rates, according to the founder of a leading Internet platform for investors and real estate professionals.

Greg Rand, CEO of OwnAmerica, downplays concerns over near term price declines and urges investors to take a long view of the opportunities.

“This is a long term investment,” says Rand, who differs with what he calls the “get rich quick” approach to investing. “Rents are a steady return on your investment through the years, leaving you with an attractive asset when prices improve. And they will. The best profits in real estate accrue to long term investors who take a long term view.”

Rents are growing at a 5.17 percent annualized rate compared to a 4.72 percent at this time last year Assuming effective rent grows at the same rate in the next four months as it did in 2010, the full-year total would fall just below the historic highs of 2000 (6.18 percent) and 2005 (5.81 percent), according to a report from Axiometrics Inc., a provider of data and analysis on the apartment market.

With 1.4 million new renters this year, apartment construction can’t keep up with demand. Tenants, especially former homeowners forced from their homes because of the economy, are increasingly turning to single family homes owned by investors, especially in high foreclosure markets like Las Vegas.

During this year, investors have accounted for between 20 and 40 percent of monthly existing home sales, according to surveys of Realtors by Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance and the National Association of Realtors. Yet, the investor market share may increase even more next year.

A survey by Realtor.com in April found that by a three to one margin, investors plan to be more active in their local markets compared to typical homebuyers in the next 24 months, and 69 percent of investors say it’ll be easier to find properties in the near future.

Most investors are newcomers. Fifty-nine percent (59%) said they’re new to real estate investing, with 33.5 percent considering their first investment purchase and 8.5 percent in the process of buying and selling their first investment property. Another 17 percent said they just completed their first transaction and plan to make more. Only 36.5 percent have experience in more than one property transaction.

Author of “Crash! Boom,” Rand argues that even in the Great Depression, owning real estate was always better than not owning real estate. Holding real estate for the long term has always been a formula for success and most family wealth has been accumulated by purchasing real estate and keeping it in the family for many generations. Real estate plus time usually equals success.

There are 6 million people who went from being owners to being renters, Rand says. “The stars are aligned to make this the best time in modern history to be a landlord,” he wrote in his book.

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.

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