Coronavirus Real Estate Trends Is It a Good Time to Buy My First Rental Property? by Charles Mburugu January 4, 2021January 4, 2021 by Charles Mburugu January 4, 2021January 4, 2021 COVID-19 has had an adverse effect on the world economy. Companies have shut down, millions of jobs have been lost, and savings wiped out. With the second wave of coronavirus raging in several US states, this doesn’t seem to be the right time to invest in anything. For many, the logical thing to do would be to hold tight to whatever money they have until things calm down. However, while many people see a threat, others see an opportunity, specifically in the US real estate market. In fact, real estate has been one of the only sectors that have managed to thrive during the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike the stock market which has been unpredictable and volatile during this health crisis, the real estate market saw a slowdown during the first wave of COVID-19 but has generally recovered on the national level since. With most reports pointing to a booming market, you may be wondering if now is the time to buy your first rental property. The truth is that there are pros and cons to investing in real estate right now. And to answer the question “Is now a good time to invest in real estate?” we need to take a dive deep into these factors. Here are a few things to consider before buying your first rental property in the current housing market: Why It’s a Good Time to Buy Your First Rental Property Low mortgage rates Mortgage rates dropped to historic lows in 2020. Freddie Mac recently announced that the 30-year fixed-rate average dropped to 2.67%, while the 15-year fixed-rate average went down to 2.17%. These low mortgage rates have made owning an investment property more affordable for many real estate investors. You can buy your first rental property and start generating cash flow in no time. Real estate appreciation Low mortgage rates have definitely made real estate more affordable for investors and homebuyers alike. At the same time, they have driven competition in most housing markets across the US. There is a positive side to competition and bidding wars and that’s real estate appreciation. As demand continues to grow for homes, property values will continue to climb. Zillow forecasts that home values will appreciate by 10.3% from now through November 2021. This means that if you buy your first rental property today, its value is likely to increase over the next year. High demand for traditional and Airbnb rental properties Another advantage of increasing home prices? Demand for long term rental properties goes up as more buyers are priced out of the market. So if you buy your first investment property right now, you are likely to find a large tenant pool waiting to rent it. This means you should be able to enjoy low vacancy rates and good cash flow soon after the purchase. Speaking of demand, Airbnb rental property will especially be in high demand in 2021 once the vaccine has been administered and people begin traveling again. So now is a good time to buy a vacation home as you’re likely to enjoy high occupancy rates in the post-COVID-19 world. Search for My Investment Property Why It May Not Be a Good Time to Buy Your First Rental Property Low housing inventory COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the supply and demand for housing in the US. With the social distancing rules and stay-at-home orders, some sellers are still following the wait-and-see approach. There has also been a drop in construction and real estate development. Coupled with the rise in demand, inventory continues to drop across the US housing market. This makes it more difficult for a first-time buyer to find great real estate deals. And, as mentioned, home prices continue to rise. Although lower mortgage rates will soften the blow, you might have to pay more for your first rental property than you would have paid one year ago. Tighter mortgage requirements If you need a loan to buy your first rental property, you may face tighter lending requirements today. Job loss reached unprecedented levels in 2020, with thousands of jobless claims being filed in the last few weeks. This state of affairs has left mortgage lenders worried that the high unemployment levels will lead to late payments and mortgage defaults in the future. Due to this economic uncertainty, mortgage lenders are now triple-checking employment status, requiring higher monthly payments, raising minimum credit scores, and even getting rid of certain loan types. These strict requirements will make it more difficult for real estate investors to qualify for a mortgage. Cash buyers definitely have the upper hand right now. The good news is that these tighter mortgage requirements minimize the possibility of a market crash. The US housing market crash of 2008 happened due to easy access to subprime loans, which borrowers were eventually unable to pay. If you are able to buy your first rental property in 2021, you won’t have to worry about a repeat of the 2008 crash. Eviction moratoriums A recent Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey revealed that up to 12.4 million renters were behind on rent. To protect Americans from eviction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order stopping eviction of tenants to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Though this eviction moratorium was set to expire on the 31st of December, congress is contemplating extending it further into 2021. While the moratorium is good news for renters, it is a nightmare for property owners. With little or no cash flow, many landlords have struggled to make mortgage payments and cover rental expenses. Therefore, buying your first rental property in the current housing market could be very tricky if the eviction bans continue. Related: Eviction Bans 2020: What Landlords Need to Know Ready to Invest? These Are the Best Places to Buy Your First Rental Property There are definitely pros and cons to investing in real estate right now. However, for someone who is in a good financial position, there are some clear and unique advantages of entering today’s market. Just be sure to get your hands on a rental property in the right market. Based on Mashvisor’s real estate data, here are some of the best markets to buy your first rental property. These are locations where landlords are currently enjoying a good return on investment, despite COVID-19. #1. Muncie, IN Median Property Price: $185,207 Price per Square Foot: $85 Price to Rent Ratio: 14 Monthly Traditional Rental Income: $1,109 Traditional Cap Rate: 5.4% #2. Saint Cloud, MN Median Property Price: $207,238 Price per Square Foot: $120 Price to Rent Ratio: 13 Monthly Traditional Rental Income: $1,330 Traditional Cap Rate: 5.3% #3. Mesquite, TX Median Property Price: $217,842 Price per Square Foot: $134 Price to Rent Ratio: 13 Monthly Traditional Rental Income: $1,438 Traditional Cap Rate: 5.1% #4. Independence, MO Median Property Price: $176,849 Price per Square Foot: $105 Price to Rent Ratio: 14 Monthly Traditional Rental Income: $1,060 Traditional Cap Rate: 4.8% #5. Livonia, MI Median Property Price: $260,551 Price per Square Foot: $166 Price to Rent Ratio: 13 Monthly Traditional Rental Income: $1,673 Traditional Cap Rate: 4.8% Related: 10 Best Places to Invest in Real Estate in 2021 For investors who plan to use their first rental property as an Airbnb, these are the best places (just be sure to check Airbnb regulations before making a purchase!): #1. San Angelo, TX Median Property Price: $348,191 Price per Square Foot: $150 Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $127 Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $3,476 Airbnb Cap Rate: 8.3% Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 71% #2. Covington, GA Median Property Price: $250,605 Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $158 Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $3,184 Airbnb Cap Rate: 7.2% Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 63% #3. Greenville, NC Median Property Price: $263,633 Price per Square Foot: $115 Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $92 Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $2,463 Airbnb Cap Rate: 7.0% Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 70% #4. Chesapeake, VA Median Property Price: $315,194 Price per Square Foot: $161 Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $166 Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $3,910 Airbnb Cap Rate: 6.9% Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 67% #5. Eau Claire, WI Median Property Price: $267,207 Price per Square Foot: $137 Average Airbnb Daily Rate: $120 Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $2,612 Airbnb Cap Rate: 6.4% Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 67% Related: 8 Secrets to Making Money with Your First Rental Property Conclusion Buying your first rental property is a major decision. With all the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, choosing whether or not to invest in rental property is a very difficult choice. Consider all the factors before making your move. To make your work easier, use Mashvisor’s real estate investment tools to find your first rental property. Whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, great deals are always available on Mashvisor. To start looking for and analyzing the best investment properties in your city and neighborhood of choice, click here. Start Your Investment Property Search! START FREE TRIAL AirbnbAppreciationEvictionMortgageTraditional 0 FacebookTwitterGoogle +PinterestLinkedin Charles Mburugu Charles Mburugu is a HubSpot-certified content writer/marketer for B2B, B2C and SaaS companies. He loves writing on topics that help real estate investors and agents make better choices. Previous Post How to Find Cash Flowing Rental Income Property for Sale Next Post How to Estimate Rehab Costs in 4 Steps Related Posts Airbnb Online Experiences: A Guide for Hosts The Effect of the Coronavirus on Airbnb Seattle When Does It Make Sense to Refinance a Mortgage? Coronavirus Real Estate Update: Is a Buyer’s Market on the Way? The Future of Real Estate Investing After the Pandemic Should We Expect a US Housing Market Crash 2020 due to the Pandemic? 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