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RealtyTrac Ranks Best Overall Markets for Buying Residential Rentals and Renting to Boomers, Millennials


July 3, 2014 - IRVINE, CA

RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the nation's leading source for comprehensive housing data, today released its Q2 2014 Residential Property Rental Report, which ranks the best markets for buying residential rental properties along with the best markets for renting to baby boomers and the best markets for renting to millennials.

For the report RealtyTrac analyzed median sales prices for residential property and average fair market rents for three bedroom properties in 370 U.S. counties with a combined population of 186 million people -- 60 percent of the total U.S. population. Rental returns were calculated using annual gross rental yields: the average fair market rent of three-bedroom homes in the county, annualized, and divided by the median sales price of residential properties in the county.

The 370-county analysis found that investors buying U.S. residential rental property in the second quarter of 2014 are getting an average annual return of 9.97 percent, down from an average annual return of 10.60 percent a year ago.

Median home prices in the 370 counties analyzed in the report increased more than 7 percent on average in the second quarter of 2014 compared to a year ago, while average fair market rents for three-bedroom homes increased an average of less than 1 percent.

"Home prices have increased at a faster pace than fair market rents in most counties over the past year, eroding the average returns available to investors buying rental properties," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Even so, an average annual return of nearly 10 percent across all the counties we analyzed nationwide is still solid, and investors holding on to rental property for the long term will also typically benefit from home price appreciation on top of the annual returns from rental income.

"Investors leveraging demographic trends will often be able to amplify rental returns and home price appreciation, particularly when it comes to trends in the baby boomer and millennial generations, which combined account for approximately 147 million people -- more than 60 percent of the U.S. adult population," Blomquist continued. "Many individuals in both of those demographic groups are in the midst of major life changes that will often involve changes in housing, something that smart real estate investors should take into consideration when deciding when and where to buy or sell."

Top 25 overall markets for buying rental properties
RealtyTrac factored in unemployment rates along with annual gross rental yields to select the 25 best markets for buying residential property rentals. Counties in the top 25 all had unemployment rates of 4.5 percent or lower in April 2014 -- well below the national average of 6.3 percent -- and had an annual gross rental yield of 9 percent or higher.

The three best markets for buying residential property rentals were Anderson County, S.C. in the Anderson metro area (15.33 percent annual gross rental yield); Woodbury County, Ia., in the Sioux City metro area (13.02 percent); and Pickens County, S.C., in the Greenville-Maudline-Easley metro area (13.00 percent).

Other metro areas with counties in the top 25 best markets for buying residential property rentals were Gainesville, Fla., Washington D.C., Columbia, S.C., Pittsburgh, Pa., Columbus, Ohio, Charleston, S.C. and Omaha, Neb.

"We have not had the apartment building development that we really need leading to a decreased supply in available rentals, which is causing rental rates to increase," said Sheldon Detrick, CEO of Prudential Detrick/Alliance Realty, covering the Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla. markets, both of which had counties in the top 25 best markets for buying residential property rentals. "We are also noticing that the new qualified mortgage rules are restricting many first time home buyers from being able to qualify, which is adding to the demand for rental properties."

Top 25 markets for renting to baby boomers
RealtyTrac combined demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau with the annual gross rental yield data to identify the 25 best markets for renting to the baby boomer population -- those born between 1945 and 1964. All 25 counties on the list saw an increase of at least 10 percent in the baby boomer demographic between 2007 (looking at the population aged 43 to 62 at that time) and 2013 (looking at the population aged between 49 and 68 at that time) and had a baby boomer population that represented at least 24 percent of the total population in 2013.

Annual gross rental yields for the top 25 baby boomer rental markets ranged from 5.50 percent in Placer County, Calif., in the Sacramento metro area up to 20.93 percent in Pasco County, Fla., in the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg metro area. Pasco County was joined by 15 other Florida counties in 12 other Florida metro areas in the top 25.

Other metro areas with counties in the top 25 for renting to baby boomers were Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz., Wilmington, N.C., Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Ala., Prescott, Ariz., Asheville, N.C., Seaford, Del., Bend, Ore., and Hilton Head, S.C.

Markets in the top 25 for renting to baby boomers with the biggest increase in baby boomer population between 2007 and 2013 were Brunswick County, N.C., in the Wilmington metro area (49.7 percent increase), Charlotte County, Fla., in the Punta Gorda metro area (34.3 percent increase), Beaufort County, S.C., in the Hilton Head Island-Beaufort metro area (33.9 percent increase), Sussex County, Del., in the Seaford metro area (31.0 percent increase), and Citrus County, Fla., in the Homosassa Springs metro area (28 percent increase).

Top 50 markets for renting to millennials
RealtyTrac also identified the 50 best markets for renting residential property to the millennial population -- those born between 1977 and 1992. All 50 counties on the list saw an increase of at least 10 percent in the millennial demographic between 2007 (looking at the population aged 15 to 30 at that time) and 2013 (looking at the population between 21 and 36 at that time) and had a millennial population that represented at least 24 percent of the total population in 2013.

Annual gross rental yields for the top 50 millennial rental markets ranged from 5.53 percent in Charleston County, S.C., up to 21.32 percent in Baltimore City, Md.

Along with Baltimore, the top five markets for renting to millennials were Philadelphia County, Pa. (20.78 percent annual gross rental yield), Duval County, Fla., in the Jacksonville metro area (14.95 percent), Cumberland County, N.C., in the Fayetteville metro area (13.43 percent), and Newport News City, Va., in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metro area (13.20 percent).

Markets in the top 50 for renting to millennials with the biggest percentage change in the millennial population from 2007 to 2013 were Orleans Parish, La., in the New Orleans metro area (71.2 percent increase), Denver County, Colo., (57.5 percent increase), Montgomery County, Tenn., in the Clarksville metro area (46.3 percent increase), Hudson County, N.J. in the New York metro area (44.3 percent increase), and Multnomah County, Ore., in the Portland metro area (41 percent increase). All five of these markets had annual gross rental yields of 6 percent or higher.

Best markets for rental returns with no unemployment filter
Based solely on the annual gross rental yield, counties with the best returns on rentals were Wayne County, Mich., in the Detroit metro area (28.39 percent annual gross rental yield); Clayton County, Ga., in the Atlanta metro area (27.39 percent); and Saginaw County, Mich., in the Saginaw metro area (26.28 percent).

Other counties with gross rental yields among the top 10 highest were Genesee County, Mich. (21.39 percent), Baltimore City, Md. (21.32 percent), Pasco County, Fla. (20.93 percent), Sumter County, S.C. (20.84 percent), Philadelphia County, Pa., (20.78 percent), Bibb County, Ga. (20.52 percent), and Winnebago County, Ill. (19.26 percent).

Report methodology
The RealtyTrac Residential Property Rental Report provides annual gross rental yields for 370 counties nationwide with a population of at least 100,000 and where there were at least 40 residential property sales in April 2014. The gross rental yields are calculated using median sales prices of residential property from RealtyTrac sales deed data along with fair market rents for three-bedroom properties from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In states where the full price is not required to be recorded on the sales deed (non-disclosure states of Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming), RealtyTrac uses median list prices from properties listed on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Demographic data used in the report is from the U.S. Census bureau, and unemployment data used in the report is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Report License
The RealtyTrac U.S. Residential & Foreclosure Sales report is the result of a proprietary evaluation of information compiled by RealtyTrac; the report and any of the information in whole or in part can only be quoted, copied, published, re-published, distributed and/or re-distributed or used in any manner if the user specifically references RealtyTrac as the source for said report and/or any of the information set forth within the report.

Data Licensing and Custom Report Order
Investors, businesses and government institutions can contact RealtyTrac to license bulk foreclosure and neighborhood data or purchase customized reports. For more information contact our Data Licensing Department at 800.462.5193 or datasales@realtytrac.com.

About RealtyTrac
RealtyTrac is a leading supplier of U.S. real estate data, with nationwide parcel-level records for more than 125 million U.S. parcels that include property characteristics, tax assessor data, sales and mortgage deed records, Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) and 20 million active and historical default, foreclosure auction and bank-owned properties. RealtyTrac's housing data and foreclosure reports are relied on by many federal government agencies, numerous state housing and banking departments, investment funds as well as millions of real estate professionals and consumers, to help evaluate housing trends and make informed decisions about real estate.

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