Aaron Task speaking on Yahoo Finance’s Daily Ticker show says that: “Owning apartment buildings and renting them out is a great business.” He’s not as sure about the single family REO to Rentals (RtR) model though. Click the image below to view the video, at about 1:44 in he’s talking about apartment building investment:
In a piece called Positioning for a Housing Recovery PIMCO says that the risks to housing have been overstated and while prices may continue to fall there are opportunities in the mispricing of that risk. They believe that the risk of the 11 million underwater home loans all becoming delinquent and going into foreclosure is much lower than most think. They also point out that the record low interest rates have created housing demand from large institutions (Like PIMCO, and individual investors too) searching for positive returns.
One of the opportunities they list is in apartment building investment, either through equity (owning) or debt (loaning). However they pass over multifamily in favor of REOs-to-rentals and distressed housing debt. It’s ironic that they would favor buying large numbers of single family homes to rent because the logistical nightmare of the scattered homes is what drives most real estate investors to apartments and other commercial real estate. The convenience of having 10, 20, even 200 units or more at one location on a single property on top of the economies of scale available make owning multifamily a much better investment.
While they do acknowledge the challenge of REOs-to-Rentals:
However, investors must be mindful of the operational complexity and illiquidity of a single-family rental portfolio. Managing a nationally diversified portfolio of rental properties presents unique challenges of surveillance and scaling, and procedures for maintenance and leasing must be designed to help protect earnings.
… Somehow that doesn’t lead them to picking multifamily investment. Are you a real estate investor who started out in single family properties and moved on to apartment buildings? We would love to hear your story-
Greg Willett, VP of research over at Real Page wrote a nice piece on that which covers it nicely; take it away Greg:
Thanks to one sentence uttered by Warren Buffett and some major overplay by the media, single-family rentals are a hot investment choice now. Thus, the analysts at MPF Research are fielding a constant stream of inquiries about whether the bulk sale of bank-owned single-family homes to investors who will operate them as rentals will impact the apartment sector.