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)
- Population growth or lackthereof
- Rent Rates
- Sales Prices
- New home sales/ build volume (market saturation)
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.
Long distance real estate investing written by David Green has all the answers on this subject. I’d tell you what he says on the subject but I’d do him and the book no justice lol.
I would suggest reading Finding & Funding Great Deals & Long-Distance Real Estate Investing to get started & from there you can move onto other books or straight into analyzing markets depending on how you feel about it.
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