Does anyone here have experience in the corporate world looking at economic markers of an area? I know that major chains invest in areas where they can make money, so a Costco, Whole Foods, or Trader Joes signifies a neighborhood getting better while a McDonalds, dollar store or oil change place does not. I'm looking to use these as a part of my case for why certain areas are worth investing in. In New Orleans I was on the board of one of our neighborhood organizations, and when approached by Whole Foods they let us know there were requirements for parking, average income, and traffic.
Making a data-oriented case for a market is always a good idea. For the most part, I think real estate investors around here will look for certain things:
Jobs in the area
Landlord friendly government(s)
Other investment and retail buyers entering a market
There are also 'gut feelings' people have when they're raised in an area or have a lot experience with this. I hear 'good gut feelings' about how Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City are undervalued, for instance.
Unfortunately, no amount of data can make a case for the area if you don't have a team on the ground. I'd rather invest in a rough area with a good team than the best area with no team. I also think the team/network oriented approach helps to narrow the search.
Those who spend their time analyzing every market find it harder to take action in one of them.
I work as a real estate market analyst focusing on apartment development. PM me if you'd like to discuss anything specific.
A strong and diverse economy and population growth are definitely important when looking at apartment investment. Pittsburgh has a strong local economy (tech, education, healthcare, etc) but has very limited population growth. There has been a significant amount of apartment development during the past few years with more on the horizon. The metro vacancy rate is still healthy, I believe below five percent. Economic markers are important but I think there is sometimes more to the story as @Trevor Ewen said.
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