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Real Estate Big Data

How many vacant homes are in your zip code?

Vacant homes are at an all-time low which is bad news for the housing market. What does your zip code look like, and what are the implications?

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vacant homes

There’s a crisis simmering right before our eyes: too many individuals looking to purchase or rent homes or apartments and many of them continue to come up short. Either due to lack or availability or not having the finances to afford a mortgage.

The 2014-15 housing market was recently scrutinized and the current Census Bureau estimates in addition to the latest American Community Survey demonstrates that Housing vacancies are currently at the lowest levels since at least 2005.

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Hey buddy, can you spare a house?

According to an Economist Outlook article nationally, “the rental vacancy rate was 7.3 percent while homeowner housing rate was 1.9 percent for the third quarter 2015.Conversely, out of the 32,634 zip codes, 79 percent had a vacancy rate less than 25 percent, 16 percent had 25 to 50 percent, 4 percent had 50 to 75 percent, and 1 percent had 75 percent and higher.” At the other end of the spectrum, Pennsylvania (8.5% of the housing units) and New York (5.9% of the housing units) had the most zip codes with zero percent housing vacancy rate.

Obviously every zip code is different. I looked up mine and found there were only 38 vacancies among houses. Only 38 houses for sale. Extremely low but it makes sense given the size of this particular area.

At metro area level, here is a summary of the areas with the lowest and highest housing vacancy rate in 2014:

Highest Housing Vacancy Rate
Metro Area Vacancy Rate 2014 Vacancy Rate 2011
Ocean City, NJ 58.4% 54.5%
Barnstable Town, MA 41.4% 39.4%
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC 38.9% 38.6%
Salisbury, MD 38.7% 13.7%
Naples-Marco Island, FL 36.8% 39.1%

According the US Census Bureau, the lowest vacancy rates are in metro areas with strong job gains and/or too few new home constructions. The highest vacancy rates are in metro areas with many vacation homes.

Vacancies fall, rent rises

Meanwhile, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University recent The State of the Nation’s Housing 2015 reports that the growing number of renter households has stressed the rental housing market nationwide, causing vacancies to fall while rents continue to rise.

The national rental vacancy rate in 2014 fell to its lowest point (7.6%) in twenty years, while rents rose at 3.2%, twice the rate of inflation. And while 1.2 million apartments were added to the market since 2010, they serve the higher end of the market, with a 2013 median rent of $1,290.

At this amount, more than two-thirds of renter households cannot afford market rent.

We keep hearing there are too many individuals looking to rent or buy and not enough houses or apartments. The latest data seems to bear this out.

#VacantHomes

Real Estate Big Data

An effortlessly easy way to combat negative reviews from non-customers

(MARKETING) Some reviews are blatantly fallacious, so what should you do when a groundless, nasty comment is left about you?

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reviews Woman seated on ground writing cold email to clients.

Have you ever found a business through Yelp that you wanted to like but just couldn’t make up your mind about because of the contrasting reviews of the place? Like a restaurant with the best service but had cold soup and an unresponsive hostess, or a B&B that was warm and clean but had an owner who did not provide the second B come morning time?

Some of these outlying negative reviews can be telling of the business, and I always make sure to read them in case I set my expectations too high (like I did for the eggs benedict from that diner up north).

However, while most reviews do reflect a genuine experience and are useful to would-be customers, others can be exaggerated or even outright falsified.

One such encounter one of our team members had was when searching for a private firearms trainer. Her online search had taken her to a trainer she liked. However, the comments on Yelp for the trainer were horrible.

Before she ran the other way, she saw comments from the trainer that simply said, “This person is not a verified client of [Company Name].” Apparently, he made a tv news appearance advocating for a specific gun right, and people from all over the globe made negative comments.

The fact that they weren’t his clients made her totally disregard their comments, because those reviews weren’t based on his professional performance. Guess who she hired?

Sites that allow anyone to review an unlimited number of businesses naturally risk exploitation. Such review sites make it possible to communicate quick, personal experiences about any business out there, and that also means an easy dig from a disgruntled customer to the place that hurts a company most.

It is up to the business to stay vigilant about what is being said out there and seek out ratings and review platforms that verify customers.

Since customers rely on sites like Yelp, businesses need to maintain their profile in the same way they would maintain their storefront. Just as they would fix the broken lighting in their lobby, they need to acknowledge any unreliable reviews a cranky customer may write about them. By having a human presence on these sites, businesses can breed a sense of integrity and accountability that others will pick up on.

If those scathing and seemingly random reviews had been acknowledged by the supposed perpetrators, I would have had an easier time overlooking the more exaggerated claims, just like my team member did.

By responding, the business provides context for the incident, but more importantly, it shows that they care.

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Real Estate Big Data

Fall has brought record rent prices and they’re not slowing down

(REAL ESTATE DATA) A market saturated with buyers and fewer homes, along with current job growth, is causing just as much demand for rent as to own.

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for rent sign in front of house yard

September 2021 reported an increase in rent for single-family homes from 2.6% in 2020 to 10.2% in 2021. A market saturated with buyers and little homes to choose from, along with current job growth, is causing just as much demand for rent as to own.

93% of people surveyed believe owning a home is a good investment, but many are being forced to rent even with sky-high prices due to the current state of homebuying. Buyers feel like the competition is too fierce or that a market crash resembling the 2008 crisis is looming in the near future.

Even more so than apartment complexes, private rentals of single-family homes are being scouted as they provide more room for multiple roommates or a family. Millennials aging into marriage and adulthood that would like to buy a home, but don’t feel it is the right time, are settling for paying double the mortgage of a single-family home in order to wait out the market.

“Single-family rental vacancy rates remained near 25-year lows in the third quarter of 2021, pushing annual rent growth to double digits in September,” said Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic. “Rent growth should continue to be robust in the near term, especially as the labor market improves and the demand for larger homes continues.”

Some particular markets are heating up while others are cooling off. Miami, FL saw a 25.7% gain year-over-year with the highest median rent prices across the entire US. Phoenix, AZ, and Las Vegas, NV take the second and third spots at 19.8% and 15.9%.

“Austin, Texas, and San Diego rounded out the top five markets for rent growth.”

On the other hand, major metro cities such as Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City are seeing lower rent growth, still 5% above mid-pandemic rates.

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Real Estate Big Data

Cities and states where renters eviction protection policies are still in place

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) Even though the national eviction ban has lapsed, 7 states and over 20 cities still have policies in place for renters eviction protection.

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UnTil Debt Do Us Part representing renters debt

Half of the renters in the United States still have some protections available due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of these renters were those who were tenants before, during, and “after” the pandemic though the effects are still lingering. Some new renters have had to enter the expensive rental market scene after being discouraged when attempting to buy a home. Those that are over the bidding wars, rising prices, and dwindling options are stepping out of the home buying process and are opting to rent instead, driving rental prices sky-high. It’s a lose-lose situation either way.

The Supreme Court ruled in August 2021 that the national moratorium on evictions was overreaching, even though the policy had been in place since September 2020. In response, many states and cities are setting their own limits.

Even though the national eviction ban has lapsed, 7 states and over 20 cities still have policies in place for protection. More than 15% of renters are behind on payments with the average debt owed is $3,700. Though in some areas, the debts amount to $10,000 per household.

New Jersey and New York tenants can’t be evicted until the new year in most counties. In New Mexico, renters also can’t be pushed out for late payments, but the end date for that protection has not been established.

In Connecticut and Virginia, landlords can’t evict tenants who have applied for federal aid. In LA, the eviction protection ends January 31, 2022, in Austin, TX, December 31, 2021, and in Seattle, January 16, 2022.

In Oregon, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington D.C., eviction proceedings are paused for those that have their renter’s federal assistance application pending. In Nevada, showing that you’ve applied for rental assistance is considered a defense against eviction until June 2023.

$45 billion in aid is allocated by Congress for federal rental assistance, but less than $13 billion has been used so far.

If you are still in need of assistance and don’t reside in any of the areas above, consult location advocates and learn your rights to see what protections are available to you.

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