U.S Experts forsee ongoing success for buy to let investors

Real Estate Experts offer 2012 forecasts for commercial property that stretch from deep worry about the availability of financing to near giddiness over the robust health of multifamily housing.

The range of views could be seen clearly at the annual Commercial Property Forecast Summit, hosted by the Realtors’ Commercial Council at Germantown Performing Arts Theatre.

Speakers addressed office, industrial, retail, multifamily, land and financing.

No one had happier news than Eric Bolton, CEO and chairman of MAA, the Memphis-based real estate investment trust that invests exclusively in multifamily housing.

What with housing loans tougher to acquire, student loan debt growing more oppressive, and twenty-somethings waiting longer to marry and start a family, the demand for apartment living is climbing, Bolton said.

“There’s no market I’m aware of in the country where rents are going down,” he said.

Investors noticed and participated in three times as many apartment-buying transactions in 2011 as they did in 2010, including $230 million worth in Memphis alone.

“America is rethinking how it meets its housing needs,” Bolton said.

Over the decades, about 64 percent of households owned their own homes and 35 percent rented. Ownership peaked in the mid-2000s at 69 percent, and is now 66 percent and dropping.

Bolton foresees the portion falling to about 60 percent.

The biggest age bracket for renters is 18-35, and there are 21 million more Americans in that group than in the 36-50 age range.

The supply of apartments won’t keep up with demand, meaning rent and occupancy rates should keep growing for investors, he said.

Clearly this is great news for overseas investors. yet again indicating that although the economy is slowly recovering and the real estate landscape is changing, now is the time to invest while property prices are low and demand for rental property is high.