Prices are continuing to rise on home sales in Southern California like elsewhere through much of the country, with the typical real estate agent seeing fewer buyers. What this means for the average home buyer is less affordability. While that’s not good news for the typical family looking to move from renting to buying, it is a positive turn for investors. At the same time, commercial real estate provides options for investors who want to enter the market or add to their portfolios.
Read any news report and you’ll notice that first-time buyers are struggling to afford housing in Southern California. According to data from Trulia, the median first-time buyer in this area would have to spend 88 percent of their income on a home. Since this is impractical, it demonstrates the lack of options for the demographic.
How does this impact investors? With fewer buyers driving the market up further, expectations are growing that the prices will actually have to come down. As investors watch the housing market, they can capitalize on those properties.
While prices aren’t good for first-time buyers, they are still providing a profit for investors who focus on flipping properties. Redfin discovered that three of the neighborhoods in the country offering the best market for flipping houses were located within Los Angeles. Two of the hottest neighborhoods were Mt. Washington and Silver Lake, ranked at second and third for gains. This is the markup percentage between the purchase price and resale price.
Even though LA real estate is hot, much like the rest of the southern region, investors can locate older homes in need of improvement and make enough updates and repairs to warrant a high price at resale. They are grabbing these undesirable properties because of the potential they see in them.
Markups produced an average gain of $31,000 for 2015 in Mt. Washington while Silver Lake saw gains averaging $307,000. The tenth place neighborhood, Los Feliz, had gains that averaged $241,000. Flippers can do extensive remodeling and still walk away with massive profits. With interest rates remaining low for mortgages, investors with the cash for a down payment and the affordability to make the payments and pay for renovations will still see income potential in the increasingly expensive Southern California market.
Investors not interested in single-family dwellings for flipping can still find lucrative opportunities in commercial properties. If they talk to a real estate agent in Orange County, they will discover that multi-family dwellings have a vacancy rate of just 3.3 percent, which means new developments will be in high demand.
Industrial properties has the second lowest vacancy rate at 3.4 percent and retail has a rate of 4.6 percent. Both of these real estate subcategories offer potential for investors who are looking for a sound investment. These figures are according to the National Association of Realtors. An experienced real estate agent can provide guidance as to where the best possibilities for future developments exist.
According to the same report, the focus for investors today is in rentals rather than flipping. New construction is still low, which is a prime area for investors who want to take advantage of the economy. Since many buyers are looking to move to another rental instead of purchasing a home of their own, they will be looking at new-builds with more amenities and space than their current units. Investors will have no problem filling properties with tenants if they should choose this avenue.
Demand for housing will continue to increase as more people seek rentals. This growth is largely driven by Hispanics as well as other minorities. In fact, the increase is projected to be 77 percent minorities versus 23 percent whites in new rental units.
In addition to the lack of sufficient housing, the improving job market and income growth is helping propel multi-family housing forward. For non-residential real estate, technology companies are driving the demand for new structures. Office space is continually needed, which is the primary focus for many developments in the area.
The story for investors who are looking at Southern California real estate to add to their portfolio is the opportunities are still here. However, they are going to have to do plenty of research to discover the right areas to place their funds, not only in the type of real estate for investing but in the right location with continued potential for profit.