Lifetime middle-class renters make multifamily attractive to investors

Posted on July 22, 2013

In today’s economy, Americans making anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000 a year continue to struggle to qualify for mortgages in the midst of economic and job uncertainty, says Alan Feldman, CEO of Resource Real Estate.

After analyzing this particular segment of the marketplace, Feldman realized this group is more likely to rent, making multifamily properties a natural investment for his firm.

“We touch real estate two main ways, we put equity capital towards investing, and we lend across a number of asset classes,” he says.

Right now, multifamily is getting a lot of focus from the firm, with Feldman still looking for properties that are the ‘right buy’.

When Resource Real Estate invests in this segment, it focuses on middle-income properties or what Feldman calls “work-force housing.”

He only sees this segment growing as job stability becomes something of the past.

Americans need to be more transient today, moving from state-to-state and job-to-job. Feldman says data shows many people leave apartments after two years, but when analyzing how many leave to buy homes, that number is quite small.

The middle-income market also is having trouble qualifying for mortgages. They need more money down, and as rates edge back up, affordability levels will drop again.

This trend generally leads to the realization that renting is more of a way of life – and that is not changing anytime soon.

Resource Real Estate’s strategy is simple: the firm buys assets at deep discount from banks and other owners, fixes them up – making them attractive to the middle-income segment – and then rents them out.

The firm has assets nationwide, with a high concentration in the South – especially Texas – and the Midwest.

“We tend to stay away from the highest-priced, most dense markets and follow workforce housing in cities and states that create lots of jobs,” Feldman told HousingWire. “That is why we like Texas.”

The takeaway from the firm’s strategy is that a new middle-class has emerged, and they are planning a future, but a permanent home may not be part of their plan.