Rental Market Changes

Feb 19, 2019

by David Levine, CEO/President

Ten years after the event, the 2008/9 mortgage market crash and subsequent recession still have many unanswered questions.  Even now, I keep reading about new twists and takes on this epic economic downturn.

In this Atlantic magazine article from this week, the authors point out that 200,000 homes were scooped up by investors in the foreclosure crisis.  Spending some $36 billion, these corporate and fund investors now have a significant number of rental housing properties in many communities. For example, as they noted, in Atlanta, it is estimated that these investors own one in five single-family rental homes. In just one Atlanta zip code, the investors picked up 90% of the homes sold over the years 2011 and 2012.

With such large holdings, it makes me wonder what else has changed in the rental markets. As the article goes on to note, “According to census data, between 2007 and 2017, the United States added less than 1 million households in owner-occupied homes, but 6.5 million in renter-occupied homes.” Plus, in addition to the uptick in rental housing, the US home-ownership rates trended near record lows at 64.2% in 2017, which is well below the 69% high-water mark in 2004.

More Americans are turning to rental homes over home-ownership.  For many of these renters, their financial straits are driving them to the rental market.  They are looking for more affordable housing options.  But they also need landlords who will be flexible (and forgiving) with regard to their financial histories.  They are coming to landlords with their poor credit, small amounts of savings, and low- to only moderate incomes.  

They are getting over — and moving on from — having experienced probably the most significant financial hit in their lifetimes in the 2008/9 crash. We still see these families coming to us for help with their housing needs. While ten years may seem like a long time, they are still struggling to get on their feet.

Good thing that GSH is a flexible and forgiving landlord for them.