24 Aug
Some may say, It is expensive to live in the Boston area. it’s third most competitive rental market in the country, bested only by New York City and San Francisco. If you are coming from a non-metropolitan area, you may want to plan on doubling your current rent in the plush areas.
Timing is everything. You do not want to be too late and miss the best places. You also do not want to be too early – nothing will be available. The rental market is very seasonal, with most apartments coming available in the Spring and Summer. Typically in the Cambridge/Somerville areas, we receive notices from landlords 30-60 days prior to vacancy. Most leases start on the first of the month and 90% of all leases expire on August 31st of the given year.  Therefore most of the best apartments will be available in the April through September time frame.
Fact There is always a limited supply of quality housing available. What that means to you is that you do not have the luxury of “shopping around”. If you like something, TAKE IT.
Location to the “T” is everything. The closer you are, the more expensive it is. Properties with parking are at a premium, if it is even available. In Somerville and Cambridge, street parking is by permit only.

What are the other States doing as far as Rental Market goes…

10 best cities for rental properties

1)  Las Vegas

Las Vegas has long been a Mecca for gamblers, but
now it’s the go-to place for real estate investors who want to
clean up on rental properties.
Median home price (2011): $130,100
Projected home price (2014): $120,000
Gross rent (2011): $922
Projected gross rent (2014): $966
Las Vegas has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation — and
many of those former homeowners now rent.  “Much of the large
workforce in the casino industry consists of renters; the home
ownership rate is a low 55%,” said Winzer.

2)  Detroit
Median home price (2011): $97,800
Projected home price (2014): $94,600
Gross rent (2011): $681
Projected gross rent (2014): $764
The auto industry’s troubles, which began in the mid-2000’s,
helped send unemployment soaring and Detroit area home prices
plunging some 37% from their peak.  Unfortunately, the industry’s
modest recovery has done little to drive home prices in the area
higher: Winzer forecasts a falloff of another 3% over the next
three years.  Rents, though, are expected to rise about 12% over
that time. Winzer said the average return on rentals will be
about 4.4% higher than the national average.

3)  Warren, Michigan
Median home price (2011): $106,400
Projected home price (2014): $105,200
Gross rent (2011): $648
Projected gross rent (2014): $736
Home prices in Warren, Mich. have dropped at a rate that is
almost as severe as nearby Detroit — prices have declined by
about 35% from the peak — as a result of its reliance on the
auto industry. Warren is home to a major automotive research
facility, which used to employ a large percentage of the
population.  Many of the homes for rent here are well-kept and
located in tidy neighborhoods, making them attractive for
4) Orlando, Florida
Median home price (2011): $165,200
Projected home price (2014): $166,200
Gross rent (2011): $980
Projected gross rent (2014): $1,148
The real estate market in Orlando — home to Disney and a slew of
other theme parks — has been anything but magical lately. Prices
have plummeted 43% since 2006, according to Local Market Monitor.
Winzer projects little in the way home price gains Orlando over
the next three years. Rents, on the other hand, are expected to
climb by a healthy 17% clip, he said.

5)  Bakersfield, California
Median home price (2011): $131,000
Projected home price (2014): $128,500
Gross rent (2011): $736
Projected gross rent (2014): $829
After the housing market bubble burst, Bakersfield, Calif. became
one of the nation’s sickest housing markets, with plunging
prices, high delinquency rates and many foreclosures.
Unemployment here soared to more than 15%.  With employment
improving slowly but surely — the unemployment rate fell a half
point over the past 12 months — rents are estimated to climb

6)  Tampa, Florida
Median home price (2011): $152,700
Projected home price (2014): $147,200
Gross rent (2011): $832
Projected gross rent (2014): $933
As home to many of Florida’s retirees, rents in Tampa have
bounced up and down a little, but have remained basically flat
the past three years.  But with the local labor market on the
mend — the unemployment rate fell a point over the 12 months
ended in May and is down to 10.5% — rents are expected to take
off, increasing about 12% over the next three years, according to
Local Market Monitors.
7)  Phoenix
Median home price (2011): $155,600
Projected home price (2014): $148,200
Gross rent (2011): $834
Projected gross rent (2014): $936
Phoenix was the poster child for the housing bubble: Speculation
sent home prices soaring by annual double-digit increases for
three years until the bubble popped in 2007 and they have fallen
more than 47% since.  Foreclosures have been a big problem here
and many people who lost their homes are now renting. As a
result, rents are on the rise. Local Market Monitor estimates
rents will increase by more than $100 a month over the next three

8)  Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Median home price (2011): $200,500
Projected home price (2014): $189,200
Gross rent (2011): $1,090
Projected gross rent (2014): $1,195
Even though home prices in this pricey part of Florida are
expected to fall further, rental rates are going strong.  Rents
in Fort Lauderdale average nearly $1,100 a month and are
projected to increase by nearly 10% over the next three years,
according to Local Market Monitor.

9)  Rochester NY
Median home price (2011): $150,500
Projected home price (2014): $155,500
Gross rent (2011): $825
Projected gross rent (2014): $947
Rochester’s housing market never sputtered as badly as some of
the other cities on this list. Home prices are slightly higher
than they were during the market boom and unemployment, at 7.1%
in May, is well below the national level.  Even during the down
years, rents have held up fairly well and are projected to get
stronger rising about 15% by 2014 as unemployment eases over the
next few years.
10)  Stockton, California
Median home price (2011): $157,100
Projected home price (2014): $150,000
Gross rent (2011): $821
Projected gross rent (2014): $915
Like Bakersfield, Calif., Stockton is a Central Valley city where
speculation pressure spilled over from more expensive coastal
markets and drove local prices into a frenzy during the bubble.
Rising rents, forecast to go up 11% over the next three years,
should add to investor gains but buyers won’t turn a profit on
sales for many years. Home prices are expected to fall another 4%
or so by 2014.

500 cities see more rentals

In the aftermath of the nation’s housing-market collapse and
recession, more than 500 midsize and large cities have seen a
rise in the share of homes that are rented rather than owned,
according to a USA TODAY analysis of Census data.  Almost 4
million homes have been lost to foreclosures in the past five
years, turning many former owner-occupied homes into rentals. The
shift to rental housing is potentially long-lasting and portends
changes for neighborhood stability and how people build wealth,
economists say.  “The changes are big but glacial,” says Mark
Zandi, economist at Moody’s Analytics.

The swing from owner- to tenant-occupied homes in the past decade
has been dramatic in some places:

–  Of the 100 largest cities, some of those with the largest
shifts were Irvine, Calif., which went from about 40% of occupied
homes rented in 2000 to 49.8% in 2010; Philadelphia, from 40.7%
to 45.9%; and Birmingham, Ala., 46.3% to 50.7%.

–  Twenty-five cities — including Baltimore, Minneapolis, Salt
Lake City and Sacramento — swung from having more than half
homeowners in 2000 to majorities of renters in 2010. In one —
Reading, Pa. — 57.6% of occupied homes were rentals in 2010, up
from 49% in 2000.

–  Florida, California and Arizona had the most cities where the
share of renter-occupied housing grew by at least 5 percentage
points. All three states have been hit hard by foreclosures.

Nationwide, 34.9% of occupied homes — including houses, condos,
and apartments — were rented in 2010, up from 33.8% in 2000.
The Census data that USA TODAY analyzed for cities covered only
housing within the cities’ boundaries, not their much larger
metropolitan areas.  Vacant properties, excluding seasonal or
vacation homes, accounted for 7.9% of U.S. housing units in 2010.
It’s not clear how many of those have since become rentals or
owner-occupied homes.  The renter household market remained
fairly stable from 1990 to 2006, says Daniel McCue, senior
research analyst at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing
Studies.  Since 2006, when housing prices peaked, the number of
renter households in the U.S. has grown an average of 692,000 a
year, while owner households have fallen an average of 201,000 a
year, Census surveys show.

Several factors will boost rental growth for years to come, Zandi
says, including continued foreclosures, continued drops in home
prices that frighten buyers and potential cuts to government
subsidies supporting homeownership. On the other hand, 74% of
renters think owning is superior to renting, said a recent survey
by mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

 “There’s still a pull toward homeownership, although it’s been diminished,” McCue says.

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