Mulifamily Market in New Bedford/Fall River/Taunton

12 Replies

Hello all,

I have a couple questions, one general and one more specific to my local area.

Specific: How do you guys see the New Bedford/Fall River/Taunton  markets for buying a mutlifamily home? I am looking to buy my first property next year, live in one of the units and rent out the others. These three areas are the ones that I am mostly looking at right now. I work in Marion, MA so the commute to Marion I would like to keep under 40 minutes. I am doing a lot of research right now to find the good/bad areas of each town. 

General: What data do you look for when trying to analyze the housing market, especially for multi-families? Also, what tools do you use to get this information? I currently use Realtors Property Resource to see median income/education level and things like that.

Your friend,

Nicholas Mulligan

Hey Nick,

My partner and I invest in the Taunton area market, we are currently house hacking a three family property there. The returns in this area can be great if you buy right, but the inventory is limited. 

 The Taunton/Fall River/New Bedford area you are referring to is very large with a large amount of sub markets in each town. 

The best way to find out about these markets is to meet with either investors, or real estate agents from those areas. I would narrow down which of these markets you want to focus on through demographics, then meet with people from those areas, as there are submitting markets that just don't show up through demographics.

@Nick Mulligan   Those towns, along with Brockton are among the most affordable in eastern Mass.  You'll find a lot of multis built in the late 1890s to the 1930s and those come with all the usual physical plant precautions - knob & tube, cedar pilings, ancient plumbing, etc.

RPR is a good tool, but more than that, I'd be looking at Trulia's crime heat maps and MLS rental histories. I think those two factors along with the physical condition of the property will tell you all you need to know.

@Charlie MacPherson Interesting that you mentioned Brockton. I haven't been thinking about Brockton, but that could be an interesting place to invest because people may be moving out of Boston to places like Brockon?

I'll add that to my list of places to consider, thanks for the info.

@Nick Mulligan   A lot of people are buying in Brockton because the prices are so much lower than the rest of the South Shore.

In general, 02301 (west side) is a nicer area than 02302 (center and east).  In 02301 there are a lot more homes that are in disrepair - peeling paint, rotting trim, overgrown yards, etc.  Your own eyes are your best guide.

I've been told that the Mayor has a plan to move that line further to the east and that the plan involves low cost loans and grants for homeowners to fix up their properties.  

BTW - another good place to look is Middleboro.  There are some reasonable prices there too.

I grew up in New Bedford. I still have family spread out all over the area. I visit several times a year. I would personally not get involved in that market. The city's crime rate has consistently increased over the last several years. I don't see any big businesses moving in. Not many economic opportunities for growth. Most of the tenement housing is in poor shape. Rents have increased for sure, but I really don't think its worth the headaches. Drugs and violent crime aren't for me. That said, there are some nicer areas. I just don't think you'll see a return that's worth your while in the few nicer neighborhoods.

Taunton has better promise, but a much smaller supply of housing.

Fall River on the other hand, has seen lots of improvements since I moved away from the area. If you get lucky, you could find something. The highlands is the only neighborhood I'd be looking in.

I've walked through a good amount of properties in the New Bedford/ Fall River markets in recent months, as I had a buyer in the area, though it's not my primary market. The properties aren't in great condition in the cheaper price points but If you are in a position to do a 203k loan on a 3 -4 unit property I believe you could make the necessary upgrades, house hack and live in your unit for pretty cheaply if not for free. This would lend itself well to ultimately move out after the time requirement for it to be owner occupied and invest in another multi closer to your work (I'm a believer in short commutes improving quality of life) . While I agree that the long term market for New Bedford isn't as good as Fall River, BOTH cities have a lack of nicer rentals at a reasonable price point, meaning with a dishwasher, on-site laundry and dare I say HVAC you could attract a higher quality tenant that needs to be in that area but would like a decent apartment.  

As far as the actual market, I've been focused primarily in the lower market 200k or less for the last 6 months and I can say that in the lowest price points there has been a jump in prices and a shorter time on market in both cities.

@Nick Mulligan  

Im contemplating Taunton but I definitely wouldn't invest in New Bedford and Fall River due to the crime rate. The properties are cheap so are the headaches

I would say start with Taunton if you can, as far as I know it's an emerging market.

Good luck

The thing with Brockton is the crime. Search trulia and some of those crimes that come up might scare you away from the area. Its not "shots fired" its "Man shot/stabbed". I'd say that people aren't moving to Brockton from Boston but Weymouth/Quincy. With the new Union Point in Weymouth its an upscale option for people who want an easy commute to the city and have the city feel. Quincy is going to be the alternate for those who want to jump on the T and get to the city within an hour.

@Michael Pursell

I respectfully disagree, I own a few units in Brockton and while I agree the crime is an issue please  be mindful that it's predominantly in a particular zipcode ( 02301 south side ). Rent went up 14% in Brockton, lots of development projects going on and people are moving from the Boston area to Brockton based on my experience in the field.  I believe Brockton is a great market to invest in I would just be cautious of the zip codes 

Fair Market Rent Prices in Brockton, MA :
Studio / Efficiency1-Bedroom2-Bedroom3-Bedroom4-Bedroom

@Redgy Saint-Germain @Michael Pursell I'm not really considering Brockton at this point, just because my commute to work in Marion, MA would be a lot longer. I'm mostly looking at Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford. I agree that Taunton is the "safer" of the two, but it also has its own drug problems as well. If I invested in Fall River I would only stay in the highlands. The main concern for all three cities would be quality of tenants/property, but I would just have to be picky.

I can't speak on multi's, but I own 2 one bedroom houses in the north end of NB and have had no crime issues and good long term tenants, still some gems to be found.

@Redgy Saint-Germain, Where can I find the rental fair market values?

How much value is added for being a stand alone home verses an apartment?