Throughout 2018, Rhode Island’s single family home market was characterized by demand outpacing supply. In May 2018, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors reported the state’s median single family home price reached $275,000, a 10% increase over the previous May. And, late 2018 reports showed home values were still rising, particularly on the East Side of Providence. With residents left to explore other housing options – and with a continued statewide focus on economic development and business expansions on the horizon – 2019 looks to be another strong year for multifamily investment real estate in Rhode Island.
Between the launch of the Hartford Line and welcoming new businesses to downtown, 2018 has been a strong year for the Hartford submarket. Appealing to both young professionals and empty nesters who crave walkable communities with easy access to public transit, highways and retail, Hartford has become an increasingly popular area to live, thanks in part to a wide array of cultural amenities and a citywide focus on improved walkability.
Did you know that 22 million people in the U.S. live in manufactured homes? Manufactured housing ranks among the country’s largest sources of unsubsidized affordable housing. Boasting lower costs per unit, less tenant turnover and decreased competition among investors, manufactured housing can offer investors viable investment opportunities. As multifamily investors seek avenues for diversifying their portfolios, manufactured housing (otherwise referred to as trailer parks) is one often overlooked opportunity for achieving this objective.
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island are all home to Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) where investors can benefit from tax incentives on qualifying investments. QOZs, which are designated by a state’s governor for a 10-year term and determined based upon low-income census tracts, are often home to land prime for development and existing assets prime for adaptive reuse.
Boston’s newly passed city ordinance, which prohibits property owners from hosting short-term rentals in homes they don’t live in and aims to make data on short-term rental properties more widely accessible, is one of many efforts across the northeast to regulate the short-term rental industry. As the short-term rental industry has grown – Airbnb alone now boasts more than 5 million listings – the number of affordable multifamily housing units available has dwindled. Consequently, as supply has diminished, the ability to secure units in already competitive metro markets has become increasingly difficult.
Gentrification is breathing new life into neighborhoods across Greater Boston. A recent report by Governing Magazine shows that since 2000, more than 20 percent of the Census tracts in Boston that were eligible for gentrification have done so, resulting in a 50 percent increase in home prices in some neighborhoods. Most recently, East Boston, South Boston and Dorchester have begun to reap the benefits of gentrification, spawning new development which is, in turn, driving up asking rents. As these neighborhoods come into their own, offering improved access to transportation and jobs, investors can benefit from buying undervalued Class-B and Class-C assets and making capital improvements that will lay the foundation for increased occupancy, sustained rent growth and higher returns.
Adaptive reuse and transit-oriented development are two prominent trends shaping the Northeast investment real estate market. As vacant office properties, abandoned mills and defunct retail assets are adapted for new uses such as multifamily housing, investors have opportunities to acquire Class-B and Class-C assets below market value and create the conditions to establish and maintain in-demand housing units.
Bad news for prospective homeowners is good news for multifamily investors in the Rhode Island submarkets.
Sweeping tax reform and a changing economic landscape stand to impact mortgage lending in 2018 and beyond. Mortgage interest rates haven’t been this high since December 2016, while anticipated rate hikes from the Federal Reserve put upward pressure on interest rates. Freddie Mac reports that as of February 8, 30-year fixed mortgage rates were up 33 basis points since the start of 2018. And, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) predicts the Federal Reserve will raise the federal funds rate four times in 2018 and twice more in 2019. Simply reaching 5-percent would mark the highest rates since 2011.
The recently passed tax reform package represents the most sweeping tax reform the country has seen since the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and will shift the dynamics of the real estate market in 2018 and beyond. While changes to mortgage interest and local and state deductions may adversely impact many homeowners, the new provisions are generally seen as positives for real estate investors and developers. In fact, many of the provisions passed will help investors by putting more money back into their pockets