Most important rental market demographics and where to find

2 Replies

Hi,

I am wondering what your opinions are on what the most important demographics to find when selecting a market for rental properties and what resources are reliable that you would search to find those specific numbers?

@Nathan Realph , that's the million-dollar question, and I think most people get it wrong.

Most people will say population growth -- and that's wrong.

I analyzed American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau from 2005 through 2017, the first and most years of annual data. I figured rent growth was the end goal, so I made a linear regression model to check just about every metric against rent growth to see what correlated.

The four best-correlated metrics were:

1. Persons per unit: This is a basic measure of supply and demand. As the persons-per-unit number goes up, it means there are few apartments and homes available per person. Hence, the price to rents goes up. So, population growth is important, but it's meaningful only in relation to new construction.

2. Median household income growth: Rising incomes are a greater indicator of rising rents than population growth or job growth. Taken in the extreme, this means that a population getting wealthier is more important than a population getting bigger or getting more employed.

3. Job growth: Here we go, a familiar metric! Job growth scores higher than population growth in its correlation to rising rents.

4. Population growth: Finally, in the #4 spot is the metric that most people put in the #1 spot.

In reality, these metrics are all interrelated; you won't have growth in any one of these metrics without having growth in all of them. Still, if the question is what's the most important metric, my analysis indicates that its dropping supply, then rising incomes, then job growth, then population growth.

You can find all these numbers for free from me. I kept all the data in a big Excel spreadsheet, which I'll be happy to send you. I'm more focused on commercial multifamily, so I don't pay much attention to home value, just rents. Shoot me a connection request with a message like "Send me your spreadsheet" and I'll send it your way. (We have to be connected for me to be able to send you an attachment.)

All the best,

Jonathan