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G.I. Lawrie Lawrence-(704) 994-8641

By G.I. LAWRIE LAWRENCE, Realtor | Broker in Mooresville, NC
  • Price inflation pushes U.S. renters to the brink

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Mooresville, Rental Basics in Mooresville, Rent vs Buy in Mooresville  |  December 9, 2013 9:54 AM  |  362 views  |  No comments

    Half of U.S. renters spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing as the market feels the effects of rental price inflation and higher demand, a new report fromHarvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studiesfound.

    What’s even worse is data from the center shows 27.3% of renters spend more than 50% of their monthly income on housing — that’s 11.3 million Americans giving away half their pay to put a roof over their heads.

    HousingWire interviewed Chris Herbert, research director for the center. He noted a series of economic forces at play. 

    "I think it’s important to recognize it’s a function of two things," Herbert said. "Rents are going up 6% faster than inflation over the course of the past 12 years.” And, he added, there has been a “huge surge in demand.”

    Herbert suggested macroeconomic forces do come into play a little bit. For starters, the nation has had a high unemployment rate for a while and wages have yet to increase enough to meet with rising prices and demand.

    But the report is more focused on what is happening with rental prices and discusses ways to correct that particular situation.

    Herbert pointed out that state and local governments need to be able to produce more affordable housing units.

    He believes there will always be some gap between what the public will pay and what the private sector will provide at certain price points. As an in-fill, he sees a need for public policy to provide some rental aid and other incentives to produce units that can meet rising demand levels.  

    And renters are not going away. With fewer individuals qualifying for mortgages, demand will only continue to rise.

    The percentage of Americans renting their homes has grown from 31% in 2004 to 35% in 2012, the center found. Most of the new demand was fulfilled by the movement of 3 million single-family housing units from the owner-occupied segment to rental stock, according to the same study.

    The center concluded that there is a pressing need for new rental buildings at affordable rates with the oldest rentals now comprised of single-family detached homes or two- to four-unit buildings. Of that stock 44% were built before 1960.  

    But getting enough stock fast enough has been a problem. Multifamily permits grew in two-thirds of the 100 largest metros, Herbert’s study found. But even with 186,000 new rental units completed in 2012, rental completions remain below average annual levels produced over the course of the past 10 years.

    But this is not just an issue with rent. There are other consequences to the broader economy and to families. Herbert notes that many of these families paying the most may be curtailing other basic consumption — even food intake.

    One of the things the study looked at is the effect of having to spend a higher share of income at the lower-economic level on housing, Herbert explained.

    "When we look at data and people at the bottom quartile, they are spending more than half their income on housing," Herbert said. What is different is how they spend their money. One of the areas these families cut back on is food — a disturbing trend, considering they are cutting back on basic life necessities to make their rental payments, Herbert noted.


  • Buy vs. Rent in Charlotte Area

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Mooresville, Home Buying in Mooresville, Rental Basics in Mooresville  |  May 21, 2013 6:04 AM  |  312 views  |  No comments
    Zillow recently researched over 11,600 zip codes in 8,546 cities on whether it's a better financial move to buy a home opposed to renting one. Their result for the Charlotte area was that the break-even point of owning the home 2.8 years makes owning a better financial choice than renting.  

    To read more, go to:  http://ow.ly/leY5I 
  • Sophisticated Zillow scam puts NAR and MLS on alert

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Mooresville, Rental Basics in Mooresville, Rentals in Mooresville  |  May 3, 2013 6:22 AM  |  616 views  |  No comments

    Ron Bailey can just picture it:  He’s showing a rental listing to some prospects when suddenly, a person he’s never met thunders, “Are you Ron Bailey?”

    “Well, of course I’m Ron Bailey,” the Pocono Lake, Pa.- based broker would answer.

    Then Bailey says, “Things would start to get ugly.”

    That’s because, in this scenario, the menacing stranger would have sent a considerable sum of money to someone he thought was Ron Bailey. And while the stranger would have been expecting to receive keys to the property in return, he would not have heard from Bailey again — that is, until confronting Bailey while showing that property to other prospective renters.

    The scene isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. Recently, Bailey learned that a scammer scraped his rental listing and reposted it at a lower rent on Zillow, where the original listing was already posted. A prospective renter then found the fake Tobyhanna, Pa. listing posted on rental site HotPads — which Zillow owns and feeds listings to — and contacted the scammer.

    After hearing from the renter, the scammer corresponded through email with her, using Bailey’s name, an email address with Bailey’s name in it, and a phone number bearing Bailey’s area code.

    - See more at: http://www.inman.com/2013/05/02/sophisticated-zillow-scam-puts-nar-and-mls-on-alert/#sthash.ZJV2nIyg.dpuf

    RT @realtors: RT @InmanNews:
  • National Renting Map

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Mooresville, Rental Basics in Mooresville  |  April 19, 2013 1:29 PM  |  355 views  |  No comments
    This is an interesting map to see a glimpse of renting around the US.  
  • Fido and Fluffy struggle for board approval

    Posted Under: Rental Basics in Mooresville, Property Q&A in Mooresville  |  April 5, 2013 1:10 PM  |  535 views  |  No comments

    Pet owners face a challenge when trying to rent or buy a condo or apartment. Those with dogs of certain breeds or over the weight limit, often 20 pounds, find the home search even more difficult.


    An article in Sunday’s New York Times looked at some of the lengths to which pet owners will go to accommodate their furry friends in a city where a single-family home is not an alternative.


    Even buildings that say they are pet-friendly often restrict the number of pets, their size or their breed. And moving into a pet-free building doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be problematic dogs or cats: Residents may discover they’re sharing space with "prescription pets," prescribed by doctors for their owners’ mental health.


    As The Times reported, pet owners make all sorts of accommodations, from paying higher deposits to paying more for lesser apartments.

    We remember a story about a family with two identical dogs who dealt with a one-dog rule by taking each one out separately, pretending to neighbors that it was the same dog. In a similar vein, The Times mentions owners who replaced dogs who died with canines of the same breed, giving them the same name, when no new pets were allowed.

    When the market is soft, landlords and condo associations may be more accepting of pets. Some buildings even include special pet amenities.


    One family interviewed by The Times took myriad photos of their 60-pound American Staffordshire terrier, Leo, to get him accepted into apartments after he was rejected for looking too much like a pit bull. One building asked for “pictures from multiple angles and pictures of Leo’s whole body.” Leo was rejected.

    The family finally got Leo accepted after submitting a carefully cropped photo of the dog with their 13-month-old daughter.


    Another couple in New York went to incredible lengths to get their elderly 8-pound Lhasa

    Apso accepted by a no-pet co-op where they wanted to buy a $2.4 million apartment.


    The family finally got the dog accepted by agreeing to pay a $50,000 nonrefundable fee and put $25,000 in escrow in case they dog did any damage. The dog is allowed only in the service elevator, and the couple may not get another dog once she dies.


    The Times writes:

    The couple also submitted a dossier consisting of a photo, a veterinarian’s report and a colorful description of Dakini, describing her as "spiritual" and detailing her meeting with the Dalai Lama. Dakini, it was further revealed, had also appeared in a television pilot.
  • Rental Demand to Edge Higher in 2013?

    Posted Under: Rental Basics in Mooresville  |  January 3, 2013 5:54 AM  |  307 views  |  No comments

    Five to six million new renter households may be created within the next 10 years, likely caused from low inventories of homes available and tight credit conditions, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. 

    Rental demand is expected to particularly increase among seniors looking to downsize their homes, as well as young adults and a growing immigrant population. 

    “We expect to see an increase in household formation and for a variety of reasons that household formation is likely to be more heavily concentrated among renters and households who are likely to be renters for somewhat longer than was the case for the last 20 years,” Barry Zigas, director of Housing Policy for Consumer Federation of America, told HousingWire. 

    Tight credit conditions continues to be one main culprit holding back home ownership among some potential buyers. 

    “Credit for home ownership borrowing will likely be tighter and potentially more expensive, relative to earlier times,” Zigas predicts. “Families will likely have less wealth because the rising generation is starting with less wealth. If down payments are at any significant level, it will be a barrier to acquiring a home for longer than may have been the case in the past.”

    Source: “Small Housing Inventory May Push Rental Demand for Years,” HousingWire (Dec. 31, 2012

  • Rentals Getting Too Pricey for Many

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Mooresville, Home Buying in Mooresville, Rental Basics in Mooresville  |  September 21, 2012 8:21 AM  |  336 views  |  No comments

    More than 20 million rental households spent more than 30 percent of their income last year on rents. In fact, more than half of those renters spent at least half their income on housing, “severely burdening” their finances, according to Census data. 

    Rents have been on the rise the last few years as demand surges. In the past seven years, median rent payments have soared nearly 20 percent from $728 to $871. Sme markets have seen double-digit increases in rent in just the last year, such as in cities like Houston, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay area where strong job markets are fueling high demand.  

    "More demand with little new supply means rising rents and shrinking vacancies," says Jed Kolko, chief economist with the real estate Web site Trulia. 

    Millions of home owners who lost their home to foreclosure or did a short sale are now forced to rent as they repair their credit, which has been contributing to the rising numbers. Also, some potential home buyers have been left on the sidelines, unable to qualify for financing to jump into home ownership. 

    "Despite the strong affordability for owning, there are severe barriers to home ownership — and those won't change quickly," Kolko told USA Today. "Lots of people are in no position to qualify for a mortgage or save for a down payment, so that will keep a lot of people who might want to own as renters."

    Source: “More Renters Burdened by Higher Costs,” USA Today (Sept. 19, 2012)

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