One’s ability to seek trends, global or otherwise, is key to any prudent investing. Real estate investing supports an innate degree of risk along with an inherent level of reward. Thus, a real estate investor’s “risk aversion” is determined by the level of each of these requirements. This is considered to be a “rules-based” approach seeking knowledge to answer the question: “Why should I invest or not invest in this asset class?”
A key component in making sound real investment decisions is deciphering the misinformation from accurate statistical data. Conversations at the country club should not be a driver in the process. Investing should be viewed as a game of chess, not chance. The player/investor needs to be alert, aware of his or her weaknesses and strengths, mindful of the opposition and most decidedly enter the game with a plan.
Here is a look at some of the moving parts of the real estate investing market to help author an investment plan. Little in the U.S. macroeconomic data suggests overheating. GDP has settled in at about 2 percent and job growth is running at about 1.7 percent pace (2.5 million annually). The Fed has been overly cautious about raising rates due to volatility of data, financial markets and the geopolitical climate. Therefore, the veritable “punchbowl” remains.
“SKATE TO WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING, NOT TO WHERE IT IS” ~WAYNE GRETZKY
Now, let’s drill down a bit and look at a couple of cross sections of Americana. Jobs are no longer careers and Millennials are not yet looking for the commitment of owning a home. They are footloose in the job market and reticent to establishing roots in any community. Understanding this trend, developers are building “condo” quality rentals which, when the market dictates, can change in mid-stream and become a sales driven opportunity. Also being considered is the multigenerational developments that allow millennials and Baby Boomers to coexist. Both have similar amenity and size requirements, which generates huge development options.
With over 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day and understanding the related socioeconomics, asset classes that were once taboo are now becoming the investment of choice. Approximately 19 percent of retired Americans have more than $250,000 set aside for retirement, while 34 percent of retired Americans have less than $250,000 and 47 percent have zero savings set aside for retirement. What we have here is an aging population that will mostly be dependent on Social Security and Medicare. This opens the floodgates for interesting chess moves.
Affordable Housing is probably the last bastion of home ownership. Developers are now recognizing this option and have begun aggressively acquiring and upgrading Parks across the United States. Warren Buffet, as an example, moved into this space by acquiring Clayton Homes, the world’s largest builder of mobile homes. This type of housing is affordable, new parks are clean, safe and loaded with amenities. Most importantly, however, is the limited supply of available Parks. There are only about 40,000 such parks left because many have been acquired and redeveloped as urbanization has overtaken rural America.
As we live longer and become more dependent on others for our daily care, seniors are in greater need of assistance with daily living activities. Assisted living includes meal preparation, medication management, house cleaning, laundry and bathing. Although many seniors value their independence, they may require help with some of their daily activities. Many do not have family available to help care for them or it might be a matter of location, time and commitment.
This creates a unique opportunity to serve this age group. There is a large and growing demand for quality, comfortable residential assisted group housing for the elderly that provides caring assistance for daily living. Assisted group housing in a residential home is an emerging trend throughout America.
Many families prefer an alternative to institutional type living facilities for their parents. Many are looking for a home-style group residence that is affordable, safe and comfortable. Residents enjoy 24-hour caregiver support, private bedrooms with attached baths, fantastic home-cooked, dietitian-approved meals, housekeeping and laundry services, social activities, physical and mental exercise opportunities, as well as the optimal staff-to-resident ratios in the industry. This solution provides for a vibrant, happy community.
As more and more consumers are opting to rent or downsize and delay home ownership, the multifamily housing sector remains strong. According to CNBC, millennials especially are getting married later in life and delaying home ownership as well, despite rising rental costs.
These are just some of the ideas behind on-trend real estate investment. Remember to look at things both from a macro and a micro level. Look for real estate segments that have reasons to exist and flourish. Pay attention to the details.