Recently, the problem of housing has come to dominate the conversation in many countries around the world. The UK, with its tradition of council housing, has faced shocks to its system. Housing is more and more out of the reach of many working people there. The US is facing a housing crisis, too. Migration of millennials to cities has created increased demand for housing there. This has driven rents up and out of the reach of working-class people. It almost seems that no matter where you are, rents are soaring up and reasonably priced homes are far and few between.
A companion problem is that working-class wages have stagnated since the Great Recession. Working-class people often lack cars and can’t find a workable way to make a move to the suburbs. All of this has created a seemingly intractable housing crisis in cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. All of this has been immensely frustrating, both for the people who live in these cities and for politicians. However, there’s also a great opportunity in this crisis, if only people will take the time to think it through.
Currently, four out of ten low income people are either homeless or spending over 50% of their income on rent, which is unsustainable in the long-term. The US is short by at least several million low income housing units. This is a tremendous opportunity for investors, if they are able to play it right. Social housing in the United States often gets a bad name. However, there are real advantages to landlords when it comes to dealing with social housing programs.
For example, section 8 arrives on time every month. Renting to lower income tenants can mean missed, partial or late payments. Dealing with government agencies means much more reliable cash flow, even if there can be a lag initially. Social impact investment firms have also made affordable housing one of their pet causes. Groups like Turner Impact Capital and Building Opportunity have made it a point to focus on affordable housing. This investment takes many forms, from crowdsourcing online to REITs.
Avalon Communities, a company known for providing corporate apartments, has also shifted their focus to renovating older buildings for more middle-income and lower-income clientele. As these big investments by big players demonstrate, there’s a very healthy future in providing low income housing.
Real estate crowdfunding is gaining momentum as an opportunity for investors to get in on the ground floor of real estate investing. While other types of real estate investing require industry-specific knowledge or a hands-on approach, crowdfunding offers a less complex method for getting involved. While it does allow investors to get into real estate investing without getting their hands dirty, is it really as worthwhile as it seems?
The Attraction for Investors
There are numerous real estate crowdfunding sites online right now and each one seems to have no trouble attracting new and seasoned investors. This is partly because of the 2012 JOBS Act, which broadened the methods for raising capital and allows companies to openly advertise investment opportunities. As more companies take advantage of these new rules, investors are expected to see a broader range of choices. Real estate crowdfunding
companies may start to specialize in certain types of properties, which will allow investors to diversify their portfolios and maintain better control over their investments.
What Does it Cost?
As with any form of investing, there are fees associated with real estate crowdfunding, although the fees tend to be lower with companies that require higher opening balances. For example, CrowdStreet requires you to invest at least $10,000 over a 36-month period, but doesn’t apply a fee. At the other end of the spectrum, Fundrise lets you get started for just $500, but they do apply a 1% fee. Roboadvisors offers one of the lowest ranges of fees, coming in at 0.25% to 0.60%.
What’s the Bottom Line?
If you’re the patient type, you can do well with real estate crowdfunding. You will have to be comfortable with having your investment capital tied up for a period of one to five years, but, at the moment, the average real estate crowdfunding project does do well. How well? You can expect an annual return of 14.6% on closed transactions. An added benefit of real estate crowdfunding is that it offers new investors an easy way to get started, while also offering investors plenty of opportunities to diversify their investments. Real estate crowdfunding is still relatively new, which may explain why it offers the potential for such high returns. As it becomes more widely known, financial forecasters expect those returns to level out and fall in line with the returns we see in other forms of real estate investing.
Investing in real estate is nothing new. People have built fortunes on renting out properties to others. Traditionally, people consider properties like townhomes and apartments when it comes to investing. However, the industrial sector is one niche that can provide many benefits for the average investor.
Industrial real estate means dealing with businesses instead of regular people. This translates to longer leases because businesses aren’t likely to change out their location too often. It’s not a surprise for industrial real estate investors to rent out to the same business for decades at a time. It’s much easier to only have to handle getting in one client every ten years than having to worry about a new tenant every year.
Industrial buildings are plain. This allows for any business to really come in and set up their processes and equipment with freedom. This is very much in contrast to a rental home where the main sections of the home, such as the kitchen and the bathroom, are already pre-built and can’t be changed. Businesses tend to pick their locations based on the square footage the property can offer them over traditional factors, like the set up of the building.
With every good wealth-building strategy, there are always cons to the pros. When it comes to investing in industrial real estate, there are definitely some cons that everyone should know about before jumping on board. With industrial buildings, we’re talking larger real estate. Larger real estate translates to higher costs to purchase facilities. It’s also important to note that there are less industrial buildings for sale than traditional homes. So it’s going to require some extensive searching in a market or opt to expand out into other market areas to find the right properties.
When renting out an industrial building, it’s likely that the lease will only be renting out to one business at a time. This can have the pitfall of all or nothing income. If the tenant doesn’t pay their rent, then the property owner will be left footing the mortgage bill out of pocket. This can be a drawback for those who would rather have a property rented to multiple tenants.
Investing in industrial real estate is nothing new. People have been doing it for many years. However, investing in the industrial sector comes along with many pros and cons that any investor should be aware of before jumping in headfirst.
Countless successful investors have a diversified portfolio that includes select real estate investments. Due to the cyclical nature of the nation’s economy, there are times when it is naturally more advantageous to invest in real estate. Real property, whether residential, commercial, or industrial, is generally considered a long term investment. Decades of economic growth and recessions have proven that no type of investment can be considered safe or recession proof. However, there are several proven ways to designate investment portfolio options in a way to prevent unnecessary fluctuation. Real estate investments can be safer than many other investment vehicles during the inevitable storms of recession.
Investing in rental properties has been a lucrative career move for many different types of investors. Whether experienced or novice, real estate investors soon learn the ins and outs of successful property rentals. Individual rental properties such as single family homes, townhomes, condominiums, or duplexes are a great starting point. These investments, when properly managed, will provide some protection against inflation and recession.
The key to safer real estate investments during a recession is to carefully select renters. When taking on a new tenant, consider their consumer credit, employment, and criminal background. This will provide a fuller picture of the individuals before they sign a lease agreement. Reducing turnover and keeping rental units occupied are essential for long term investment strategies to be successful. Shelter is necessary for survival and tenants are not going to stop paying rent during a recession. They may discontinue cable subscriptions or gym memberships, but they will maintain their housing.
Depending on the location, a real estate investment in vacation property can provide consistent income year round. Especially when the location of a property is located in popular vacation spots like Miami, New York, or Las Vegas. Unlike standard rental properties which require ongoing property management services, vacation properties are relatively simple to manage. Turnover services may include simple tasks such as cleaning, providing new linens, and managing inventory supplies. These routine turnover items can be contracted out to a local service provider for a very low fee.
Whether a new investor decides to purchase a modest home for the intention of renting to a family or has the resources to purchase an entire apartment building, they will likely find that real property is a worthwhile investment. Rental properties provide consistent income streams and virtually pay for themselves over time.