What to look for when studying a Market.

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Your strategy will effect this to a degree.  What qualifies as a good rental market will be different from a good fix and flip market. What are you looking to do.  In any event, the following will be good metrics to look at.

- Jobs (growth, stability, etc)

- Schools

- Population growth or lackthereof 

- Rent Rates

- Sales Prices

- New home sales/ build volume (market saturation) 

- Crime

A good macro site is City-data.com but you will surely want to get feelers out into the local economy as well to determine the above.  The best source is drive the streets, talk to residents and investors who already have a footprint in the area.

A rising market will indicate a good flip area. Rising market indicators are properties increasing in value, days on the market are shortening, multiple offer situations, and/or a tightening supply of houses.

This is one of the three most important knowledge bases every REI must know. This is so important, I designed software based on my system to help me do this right. I analyze the numbers with $$$$ in front of them....ONLY.

Here is my system:

1 - 4Sale Comps.  This is how your money enters the Market

2 - Sold Comps.  This is how your money flips out of the market quickly.

3 - Rental Comps.  This is ho your money flips out of the market slowly.

I don't analyze schools, population growth, job growth, etc...  I let the REA do that for their homeowners/renters.  That specific info doesn't tell me what I want to know.  It does tell my buyers/tenants what they want to know, but that info has a different impact on every buyer/tenant looking to buy/rent.  If I look at it, I see how it would impact me...but it doesn't tell me how it will impact the potential buyers/renters.  The numbers with $$$$$ in front, tell me how the other data impacts the buyers/tenants.

I collect "my" numbers, over the last 3 months to tell me what is happening now, and over the last year to three years to tell me what the trend is, map out all of this to find the micro-markets where the spreads work towards my criteria...and go from there.