A Bit of Good News


A Bit of Good News

  A big investment company, according to a story in the Tampa Bay Times, is ready to come into the area and buy up to 15,000 (or maybe it's only 5,000 or 6,000) homes and offer them for rent. Someone in the company commented that we're going to be a country of renters. Hence, that's the market opportunity. Buy up properties, offer them for rent, meet the demand, plan out 20 years or so. It's a billion dollar investment. Good or bad?

  It depends on your view point. If you have rental properties yourself, it's competition. While the new company is anticipating rentals of $1,500 a month, that price might drop if there are too many rentals. Or, the rent you offer your clients may be too high. Or, if their properties are nicer and they're better landlords, they'll command a higher price. Or, maybe the $1,500 price can't be sustained. In that case, the investments won't meet their expectations. Either way a billion dollar investment in the rental market will change the market.

  At the same time, that kind of investment is a major stimulus. It will help a lot of residents, including those financially underwater as well as the banks, as properties under foreclosure are bought up. It might also drive up property values for home owners if fewer properties will be for sale. It might also stimulate the home improvement market. And, it might attract more people to the area. After all, for awhile Florida was attracting the equivalent of a large city a year. It all changed to an outflow of people after 2007 and a glut of houses for sale or under foreclosure.

  Of course, "might" is the equivalent of "if". Neither is definitive. You can't take "might" and "if" to the bank. Someone can bet on it, however. That's the way investments are structured. Not all of them turn out. That's why it's good for someone else, or anyone who is willing, to take the risk. And, that's the most positive aspect of this recent news.

  This is not a government investment. Private investors or institutions will be putting up the money. If the investment doesn't work, it's their money, not ours. It will be a real stimulus successful or not. There are no special government regulations or restrictions other than those already in existence (zoning, ordinances, rental restrictions, permits). Those are regulations enough.

  Of course, there could be a negative fallout. If we (as a nation ) move to a renter nation - which I doubt will happen - it will change the culture. Home owners generally take better care of their properties than renters. Owners usually show more concern for their community because they are invested and usually committed longer term to an area. That's not always true, of course, because some renters are long term and have invested their time and their lives and families to the community. That's certainly true in this area.

  All in all, it's good to hear some economic good news. And, an investment of a billion dollars is good news.

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