The Housing Bubble Is Still Raging In These 20 "Buy-To-Rent" Cities, And Burst In These 20 Others

Earlier today we reported that the nearly two year long scramble by Wall Street asset managers to gobble up distressed and other properties, most often subsidized by the government using various REO-to-Rental funding structures, with the intention of renting them out and in the process generating a 15%+ annual ROI, is now officially dead in such former hotspots as California where America’s biggest landlord, private equity firm Blackstone, reported that its purchases in California are down a staggering 90%.

RealtyTrac admits as much when in a report released overnight showcasing the Top and Bottom 20 markets for rent-to-reo “flipping”, it shows that the annual gross yield on most California (and Colorado, and Virginia, And Montana) cities is now at most 5% – something no self-respecting market rigging institution would bend over for. Of note, the worst market by far when it comes to rental yield is none other than New York City, where one can get a better return investing in Treasurys than buying real estate with the intention of renting out.

Then again, we are talking about institutional investors, filled to the gill with both Other People’s Money and the Fed’s Zero Cost debt. The same “investors” who, having run out of prime markets in the US are now scrambling to buy up real estate in Europe (although how the local dynamics of 25% in youth unemployment will translate into rental cash flow is one of those great mysteries of life).

Well, not so fast. Because as the following table also by RealtyTrac confirms, the US still has an abundance of “own-to-rent” cities, where one can generate a return as high as 30% in one year, if one is willing to drive through the downtown area at 65 mph. Places like bankrupt Detroit, where the median sales price is $45K, and somehow the average market rent is $1.1K, meaning one can recoup their investment in just over 3 years! (how Detroit’s residents can afford $1K on rent is another of those great mysteries of life)

In other words, the housing bubble will still be raging in these 20 cities, at least until such time as the yield drops sufficiently due to soaring prices that the Blackstones of the world are forced to dump other people’s money in such undervalued places as Ulan Bator and Almaty.

Finally, a heatmap summarizing the few remaining places where the second US housing bubble in under a decade can still flourish is shown below.


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