Tag - renters

FAU Buy vs. Rent Index Shows U.S. Homeowners Still Coming Out Ahead of Renters, But Just Barely

FAU Buy vs. Rent Index Shows U.S. Homeowners Still Coming Out Ahead of Renters, But Just Barely

BOCA RATON, Fla./ Sept. 20, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — U.S. homeowners are still coming out ahead of their friends who rent, but just barely.

According to the latest national index produced by Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University faculty, owning and renting are in a virtual tie in terms of wealth creation.

The Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index score for the U.S. as a whole of -.065 indicates that, on average, owning and building wealth through equity buildup narrowly outpaces renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds. While the results vary widely by city, the last time the national BH&J score was at this point in a real estate cycle was right before the run-up in housing prices began in 1999.

“While the index gives consumers additional information over the age-old question of buy versus rent, it also tends to signal a directional change in housing pricing,” said Ken Johnson, Ph.D., a real estate economist and one of the index’s creators in FAU’s College of Business. “The last 30-plus years of data suggests that scores approaching 1 tend to signal a housing price downturn, while scores approaching -.30 usually signal an upturn in prices.”

The latest BH&J scores show 20 of 23 cities in the index moved at least marginally in the direction of rent territory. Four cities (Miami, Pittsburgh, Portland and Seattle) are beginning to dive noticeably into rent territory. Only three cities (Detroit, New York and St. Louis) trended more in the direction of ownership, with the remainder of the cities trending toward rent as the preferable option.

The researchers have significant concern for near term prices in the cities of Dallas and Denver, which are at individual record levels with their BH&J scores. One of index’s co-creators, William G. Hardin, Ph.D., director of the Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU, noted that both of these cities are high job growth markets where development may lag job growth.

“In short, there is a catch-up and then job growth weakens and housing gains go flat or negative in real terms,” Hardin said.

The BH&J Index is published quarterly and is available online at http://business.fau.edu/buyvsrent.

SOURCE: Florida Atlantic University College of Business

Satisfaction with Home Insurance Faces Critical Test as Hurricane Losses Mount, J.D. Power Finds

Satisfaction with Home Insurance Faces Critical Test as Hurricane Losses Mount, J.D. Power Finds

COSTA MESA, Calif./ Sept. 18, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — U.S. homeowners and renters insurance customer satisfaction has reached an all-time high following a multi-year run of declining catastrophic losses and relatively stable pricing, according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study,SM released today. The ability of insurers to maintain these high levels of customer satisfaction will be tested in the coming months amid the historic property losses and profit strains created by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“Although property insurers have made great strides in overall customer satisfaction over the past several years, the areas where they consistently see the lowest satisfaction scores are price and direct customer service,” said Greg Hoeg, Vice President of U.S. Insurance Operations at J.D. Power. “Those two areas in particular will be under enormous stress as insurers address losses from the recent hurricanes.”

These challenges are amplified by the threat of disruption from a new crop of emerging “insurtech” innovators coming to market with lower premiums and state-of-the-art self-service web and mobile customer service technologies. However, traditional service providers are fighting back by partnering with smart home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home. When used, these products increase customer engagement and lead to higher satisfaction by increasing awareness of best practices insurers execute but have low awareness due to limited interactions throughout the year.

“The risk to customer satisfaction in the wake of catastrophic events transcends those directly affected and expands to other insureds whose satisfaction with service is also affected by the image of their carrier,” said Robert Lajdziak, Business Consultant for the North American Insurance Practice at J.D. Power. “Further, if carriers need to raise rates they need to execute on several best practices that mitigate the potential negative effect associated with premium increases. Examples include ensuring customers understand their policy, explaining what the policy covers and discussing premium change options.”

Following are some key findings of the study:

       *Record-high customer satisfaction among homeowners and renters: Overall customer satisfaction scores have reached an all-time high of 808 (on a 1,000-point scale) among             homeowners and 834 among renters, driven by improvements in policy offerings.

  • Price and direct customer service interactions remain problem spots: Despite overall rising customer satisfaction scores, the two lowest-performing factors in the customer experience are price and direct interactions with insurance companies via call center, website or assisted online channels. However, multichannel interactions that include direct and live channels throughout the year produce the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Many don’t completely understand policies and coverage: Overall satisfaction among home insurance customers who understand their policy and the details of what it covers is 92 points higher than among those who say they do not fully understand their coverage. Despite this huge effect on satisfaction, just 48% of customers say they completely understand their policy.
  • Insurtech innovators pose growing threat: Start-up insurance industry innovators have raised more than $7.1 billion globally since 2012 in an attempt to carve out a slice of the home insurance marketplace by offering lower premiums and technologically advanced self-service interactions. While overall awareness of these innovators is still low at just 5% of all property customers, awareness among Millennial1 customers is more than double that rate (11%). Among Millennials who are aware of these start-up businesses, 29% say they “definitely will” or “probably will” purchase from one in the future.

Study Rankings
Amica Mutual ranks highest in the homeowners insurance segment for a 16th consecutive year, with a score of 866. Shelter and COUNTRY Financial rank second and third with scores of 850 and 839, respectively.

Erie Insurance ranks highest in the renters insurance segment with a score of 862. American Family ranks second with a score of 844. State Farm ranks third with a score of 833.

The U.S. Home Insurance Study examines overall customer satisfaction with two distinct personal insurance product lines: homeowners and renters. Satisfaction in the homeowners and renters insurance segments is measured by examining five factors: interaction; policy offerings; price; billing process and policy information; and claims. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.

The study is based on responses from 15,909 online interviews conducted in June-July 2017.

For more information about the 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study, visit http://www.jdpower.com/resource/jd-power-us-household-insurance-study.

See the online press release at http://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2017157

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe. J.D. Power is a portfolio company of XIO Group, a global alternative investments and private equity firm headquartered in London, and is led by its four founders: Athene Li, Joseph Pacini, Murphy Qiao and Carsten Geyer.


TAA Members Help Renters Displaced by Hurricane Harvey Find New Homes

TAA Members Help Renters Displaced by Hurricane Harvey Find New Homes

AUSTIN, Texas/ Sept. 9, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — Texas Apartment Association (TAA) members are coming to the aide of thousands of renters displaced by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. According to early estimates, tens of thousands of the 640,000 units belonging to members of the Houston Apartment Association have some flood damage, and of course many properties in other areas along the coast were also affected.  Several TAA members are providing online listings of known apartment vacancies in the areas that were affected by the hurricane.

“This storm is having a huge impact in Texas,” said Chris Newton, executive vice president of the Texas Apartment Association. “Numerous apartments and communities flooded, causing renters to evacuate their homes. Those displaced renters and many homeowners now need a new place to live. We’re trying to consolidate resources to make available housing easier to find.”

Hundreds of properties are listed online and will continue to be updated. Renters can search the following sites for vacancies:

*MRI Real Estate Software

“So many were devastated by the storm and we just want to help make things a little easier,” said Newton. “We’re proud of our members for creating these resources in such a short time. The Texas Apartment Association is committed to being a resource for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, including homeowners who may become renters while their homes are repaired or rebuilt.”

In addition to the above TAA members, the Harris County Housing and Community Resource Center is also a resource for finding housing availability.  Rental assistance is available through FEMA for qualified residents. You can find more information here.

About the Texas Apartment Association
The Texas Apartment Association (TAA) is a trade association representing rental housing owners, managers, and companies that supply services to the rental housing industry. The Austin-based association has more than 11,000 members who own or manage more than 2.1 million rental housing units in Texas. TAA has 25 local affiliated associations in markets around the state.

SOURCE: Texas Apartment Association

Rentec Direct Offers Tips for Renters and Landlords During Natural Diasters

Rentec Direct Offers Tips for Renters and Landlords During Natural Diasters

Grants Pass, OR/ September 9, 2017 (PRWEB) (StlRealEstate.News) –Rentec Direct, the leading property management software solution for real estate professionals, has tapped into its expertise to offer advice for renters and landlords in areas of natural disaster. If property is damaged during a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Harvey-related flooding, damage will affect both displaced renters and the owners who need to repair or rebuild their properties. Rentec Direct, which works with more than 13,000 property managers and over 100,000 renters nationwide, has published resources to help provide some guidelines and tips for those affected.

Nathan Miller, president and founder of Rentec said, “Thousands have been displaced by flooding in Texas alone, with more being affected by Hurricane Irma and fires along the western half of the United States. While each state has different laws, there are guidelines available that can help advise renters on their rights and landlords on their responsibilities.”

For example, in a recent article to help educate victims of the Texas flooding, Rentec reminds landlords that they are required to provide livable housing under the legal doctrine called “implied warranty of habitability.” In addition, Texas law requires that tenants continue paying rent, even if the property is damaged. Many other laws are outlined in the article to help victims navigate during this difficult time.

With hurricane and tropical storm season underway, it is also important for both landlords and renters to ensure that they have taken proper measures to remain safe. Simple procedures such as opening lines of communication, backing up files, creating an emergency preparedness kit and preparing a property before a storm hits can make a big difference. More can be found here: https://www.rentecdirect.com/blog/hurricane/

Renters, investors, landlords, and property managers in affected areas are advised to seek licensed legal assistance in their area for more advice on their state’s rental laws.

About Rentec Direct
Rentec Direct offers industry leading property management software and tenant screening solutions for real estate professionals. Features include online rent payments, tenant and owner portals, the industry’s largest vacancy listing syndication network, full property, tenant, and owner accounting, 1099-MISC reporting, QuickBooks Sync and more.

Multifamily Housing Industry Thought-Leaders to Launch Their Centennial Edition Webcast

Multifamily Housing Industry Thought-Leaders to Launch Their Centennial Edition Webcast

NEW ORLEANS/ Sept. 8, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — The multifamily housing industry is a highly fragmented market, which has seen a vast array of changes over the last decade. Economic shifts, technological innovations, and changing social trends have disrupted the status quo, but the market is still thriving. Today, 39 million Americans call an apartment home, and the industry is responsible for contributing over $3.5 billion to the economy daily.

Through it all, two multifamily industry thought-leaders — both with unique positions in the market — have gotten together monthly for the past ten years to discuss the rapid changes as they happen. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. ET on MultifamilyBiz.com, the largest media platform in the multifamily housing industry, the pair will present their 100th webcast together, reaching a truly iconic milestone in their passion project.

Property management expert, Ernest F. Oriente, of PowerHour and multifamily technology innovator, Kerry W. Kirby, CEO of 365 Connect will launch their Centennial Edition Webcast, Tech Trends and Topics, to discuss the shifts they have seen in the market over their decade long collaboration. The webcast will explore topics the duo has delved into over the years including mobile, social media, UX design, SEO, vendor relationships, and recruiting.

Kirby explained, “Ernest and I have been sitting in a front row seat for the past decade, watching the trends in the market. We started this journey with a mission to not only provide information on the latest trends, but also to deliver an educational component. There are over 12 million professionals that serve our industry, and we have been both honored and humbled by the magnitude of audience attendance each month, as well as by those who utilize our webcast’s material to better prepare themselves for the evolving changes in the multifamily housing industry.”

Oriente responded, “We both continue to discover new innovations in the industry as we highlight time-tested methods that better serve residents, build teams, and manage processes. We strive to bring a balance of diverse content to our audience so they may accommodate the unprecedented growth in the industry, fueled by the next generation of renters.”

In their special centennial webcast, the duo plans to examine the significance of technology in modern multifamily housing operations and innovative growth strategies for gaining traction in the market; all while nostalgically recalling their hot, and not-so-hot predictions of the past. With a combined experience of almost 50 years in the multifamily housing industry, Oriente and Kirby are pleased to present the 100th episode of their informative, thorough, and thought-provoking webcast.

Registration for the webcast is available at MultifamilyBiz.com.

MULTIFAMILYBIZ.COM + POWERHOUR WEBCAST SERIES: Founded by multifamily housing industry thought-leaders Kerry W. Kirby and Ernest F. Oriente, the MultifamilyBiz.com + PowerHour Webcast is a monthly series of comprehensive, educational, and leading-edge programming. The webcasts are presented and hosted on MultifamilyBiz.com, the largest media platform for the multifamily housing industry, which delivers news, events, and resources to more than one million monthly visitors. Explore: www.MultifamilyBiz.com

ABOUT 365 CONNECT: 365 Connect was founded in 2003 with an unwavering commitment to transforming how apartment communities market, lease, and retain residents. As a leading provider of award-winning technology platforms for the multifamily housing industry, 365 Connect delivers a fully-integrated suite of comprehensive solutions that automate marketing, simplify transactions, and serve residents after the lease is signed. The 365 Connect Resident Lifecycle Platform allows its clients infinite expansion, robust integrations, and the ability to revolutionize user experiences. Explore: www.365connect.com


Low-income residents losing homes as New Orleans rents soar

Low-income residents losing homes as New Orleans rents soar

NEW ORLEANS/June 29, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Lower-income renters in New Orleans are facing the loss of their homes and uncertain futures as affordable-housing subsidies start to expire in a city that already has experienced steep rent increases and stagnant wage growth.

Michael Esnault, a 69-year-old disabled veteran, says he searched for about three months before finding a new place after the management at his former complex, American Can Apartments, told him his rent would double to $1,400. He was one of dozens at the complex affected by the loss of the subsidies.

“We looked at a place not too far from here, a two-bedroom shotgun,” he said, referring to a long, narrow home found in many New Orleans neighborhoods. “They were asking $1,900 a month. I can’t afford that. I know many more who can’t, either.”

Carolyn Horton, 74, said she has yet to find a new place and plans to temporarily move into her grandson’s home in New Orleans. She said she’ll probably end up moving in with her son and his family in Denver.

“Getting old ain’t fun,” Horton said. “I’m an independent girl, still kind of healthy, but no one wants to hire someone my age. Everywhere I’ve looked has just been awful. My rent was $810, but they want to raise it to $1,100 or $1,200. Now I have to income-qualify for a new place and with just under $700 in Social Security, that’s not easy.”

For several weeks, she said, she’s been packing up her 600-square-foot (55-square-meter) home of three years in order to be out by Saturday and get the larger of the buyout incentives negotiated with the apartment complex when the subsidies expire.

“I could live in an efficiency, but I haven’t been able to find anything. It’s just not good how they treat you. You pay your rent, cause no trouble. They should just let us stay.”

Housing advocates say Horton’s and Esnault’s plight is indicative of a wider problem facing tenants across the city.

“American Can is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Breonne Deducker, a program manager for Jane’s Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, a nonprofit that works to increase affordable housing options for low- and moderate-income residents.

Cashauna Hill, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, described the situation as a “very-large-scale problem” that will affect the city for years.

A former can manufacturing plant was transformed into the American Can Apartments in 2000 with the help of $39 million in public resources, including bonds and grants. In return, developer HRI Properties had to keep at least 20 percent of the 268 units at affordable rates when the property opened a year later.

In 2013, HRI Properties sold the complex to Georgia-based Audubon Communities Management. Attorneys for the complex didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The lower rents expired in March, but the complex is allowing those affected to stay until the end of October at the reduced rates, said Hannah Adams, an attorney with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services who worked with Esnault.

The length of subsidies in New Orleans varies from development to development, ranging from as little as five years to 15 years or more, said Ellen Lee, director of housing policy and community development for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration.

Affordable-housing subsidies for about 1,200 units will expire in 2021 with another estimated 5,000 scheduled to expire 10 years later, she said.

Since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, rents in New Orleans have increased by about 50 percent, while wages have only risen by about 2 percent, Hill said. Three out of five renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, she said.

Orleans Parish residents must earn at least $18.54 an hour to afford a two-bedroom home as of this year, according to a 2017 report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That’s out of reach for many in a city driven by the hospitality industry. In the New Orleans area, more than three-quarters of all hotel jobs have median hourly earnings of less than $15, including tips, said Allison Plyer, chief demographer for The Data Center in New Orleans, which compiles such statistics.

“We know the city is in dire need of at least 33,000 affordable units just to deal with the current market conditions,” Deducker said.

Short-term rental programs, such as Airbnb.com and HomeAway.com, also have become increasingly popular in tourism-heavy New Orleans, and have pulled rental units off the market, Deducker said. Short-term housing in some neighborhoods is commanding up to $300 a night.

“They make more money doing that than renting to an actual resident of New Orleans,” she said.

Lee said city officials are trying to find ways to extend affordable rents while addressing the longer-term issue of affordable housing.

“We know this is a significant challenge for us,” she said.

By CHEVEL JOHNSON ,  Associated Press

NYC rent board votes to hike rents

NYC rent board votes to hike rents

NEW YORK/June 28, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — The New York City Rent Guideline Board has voted to hike rents by 1.25 percent on one-year leases and 2 percent on two-year leases.

The Board voted 7-2 Tuesday night. The increases will affect more than one million New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized apartments.

At a preliminary vote in April the Board had recommended three percent and four percent increases on one and two year leases. Rents had been frozen for one-year leases for the previous two years

The new rents will take effect in October.

Mistakes to look out for as an American first-time apartment renter

Mistakes to look out for as an American first-time apartment renter

May 10, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Millennials are pouring out of higher educational institutions today looking for apartment rental options. Passionate about not returning home to live with mom and dad, even though millennials are living home longer than any other generation, the average college grad today is sifting the expensive apartment waters – and they’re choppy. Finding an apartment after college is a big undertaking; it can be hard to know where to start when looking through a stack of listings and comparing it to the lackluster income from an entry-level position.

In order to avoid falling victim to some of the common traps when first looking for an apartment, check out these pointers provided by Realtor.com:

1. Preparation
Contrary to most things in life, realtors actually recommend starting the apartment search only 3 to 4-weeks prior to move-in. By starting the search months in advance, the likelihood of finding a dream apartment and losing it to another tenant with an earlier move-in date increases.

2. Underestimating costs
The safest bet here is to always overestimate what the costs are going to be at the end of the month. It’s best to factor in rent, utilities, transportation, travel fees, food, and other predictable expenses. When you get to a total, inflate it to know what your possible ceiling could be when crosschecked with your income.

3. Only considering rent
To continue the previous point’s topic, there are many more expenses that go into living in an apartment than simply rent. If your paycheck is just barely covering your rent, let alone unforeseen expenses, you may want to consider a living space more complementary to your income.

4. Credit check
Unfortunately, most landlords require either a credit check on yourself or on your parents if they are your guarantors. It’s best to start the conversation with your parents now about what kind of credit they have.

Prosperous Oregon considers historic renter protection law

Prosperous Oregon considers historic renter protection law

PORTLAND, Ore./May 3, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Yesica Sanchez recently found a notice attached to the front door of her two-bedroom apartment that said her rent was almost doubling. The divorced mother held the paper in her hand in a state of shock.

“We wanted to faint. After I pay all of my bills, I don’t have anything left to pay that extra amount,” Sanchez said while visiting the apartment of her cousin, who got a similar notice. So did every other resident of the Normandy Apartments in Portland.

Oregon has become one of America’s most popular moving destinations, with tens of thousands of newcomers each year drawn by its forests and mountains, its quirky city of Portland and its job opportunities. Oregon set a historical low jobless rate in March of 3.8 percent.

But the inflow has caused a rental housing crisis across the state, with too few homes being built. Families face steep rent hikes or evictions to make way for better-heeled tenants. People have even resorted to living in tents or their vehicles. Now, lawmakers are debating remedies for what House Speaker Tina Kotek calls an “emergency that demands bold action.”

In one of the session’s most bitterly contested proposals, the Legislature is considering forcing landlords to pay tenants one month’s rent if they use one of the “landlord-based reasons” for evicting a tenant, and three months’ rent if they violate the new law and issue a no-cause eviction. The bill also reverses a 1985 ban on most rent controls in the state, allowing cities and counties to adopt their own.

If it passes, Oregon would be at the forefront in the U.S. in establishing renter protections, said Doug Farquhar of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Rep. Karin Power, a Democrat from the Portland suburb of Milwaukie and one of the bill’s sponsors, said the housing crisis is a statewide problem that calls for a statewide solution.

But other lawmakers spoke in opposition, saying the measure would be a disincentive for people to buy or build properties to rent, ultimately worsening the housing crisis.

Charlie Tabasko, a realtor in the coastal town of Waldport, was among almost 400 people to submit written testimony, an extraordinarily high number. He said making landlords “bear the burden of society’s inequities” is crazy.

Don Moeller, a retiree in Salem, also wrote in, saying senior residential facilities should be barred from increasing rent beyond tenants’ ability to pay, possibly making them homeless. One hundred seniors, the oldest 98, signed Moeller’s letter.

“Oregon is in trouble, and that’s why I’m voting yes for House Bill 2004,” Rep. Mark Meek, a Democrat from Oregon City, announced before House members approve the bill by a 31-27 vote.

It is now before the Senate. If the Senate approves, the measure goes to Gov. Kate Brown, who recently called the crisis unacceptable.

Many U.S. states ban rent control, though Nebraska law allows tenants to recover three months’ rent if they’re unlawfully evicted or if landlords shut off utilities. In Michigan, lawmakers are considering repealing the state’s rent-control prohibition. A similar proposal in California was recently put on hold by its sponsor.

In 1971, when Oregon’s population was 2.1 million, Gov. Tom McCall was so concerned about population growth eroding quality of life that he tried to dissuade people from moving to America’s 33rd state.

“We want you to visit our state of excitement often,” McCall said in a speech. “Come again and again. But for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live. Or if you do have to move in to live, don’t tell any of your neighbors where you are going.”

Despite those words, Oregon’s population has almost doubled since then to 4.1 million. From July 2015 to July 2016, Oregon was America’s sixth-fastest growing state in percentage population.

Finding, and keeping, housing for the 40 percent of Oregonians who rent has become a dire situation in the woodsy towns in the south, in the mountains, along the Pacific coast and in Portland.

Among the most vulnerable, experts say, are seniors, minorities and victims of domestic abuse who can’t afford to move out of the abuser’s home. Historically black Portland neighborhoods are being lost to gentrification.

Home construction since the Great Recession has lagged far behind demand. To meet the current need, 110,000 new housing units — almost six times the number built last year — would have to be constructed. But builders have trouble getting financing from lenders stung by the downturn, said Josh Lehner, an economist with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.

After Sanchez’s rent doubled from $700, it took many calls and filing of income and credit reports before she found a new home. Outside, painters were already remodeling the complex that was sold to a new landlord.

Sanchez and her 5-year-old son moved to Oregon from Oaxaca, Mexico, four years ago, and she fretted about keeping him in a nearby bilingual elementary school. She has a car, so will be able to drive him to school.

Yesica’s cousin, Fidelina Sanchez, has been less lucky.

She glanced around the apartment she can no longer afford and nervously twisted strands of her ponytail while her daughter played under a religious shrine.

“We are still looking for a place,” Fidelina said.

ANDREW SELSKY, Associated Press