Key Metrics to Evaluate Target Market

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I am a newbie to the REI game but planning on hitting the ground running in search of my first deal in January. My strategy is going to be to target flips at first and then get into rentals once I've established myself and figure out a good process. What are some of the key metrics I should look at when evaluating my target market?

For flips - here are some criteria borrowed from the dummies book for flipping: Steady or rising real estate values, Multiple offers on recently sold homes and homes currently for sale, An influx of homeowners moving in from other areas, A decrease in the number of homes for rent, An increase in the number of homeowners in the neighborhood moving into bigger homes rather than moving out, Older homes — homes built at least 20 years ago — and homes that generally require more rehab, Areas with aging homeowners — homeowners who may be downsizing or retiring, Visible updating in older neighborhoods — new roofs, aluminum replaced with vinyl siding, replacement windows, modern earth tone trim paint, City improvements including street repaving, new street lights and street signs, and repaved sidewalks.