Boise Property Management Blog

Investment Sales Still Strong

Tony Drost - Tuesday, January 8, 2019

FRPM manages hundreds of fourplexes and I tend to sell more fourplexes than anything else within Ada County (mostly Boise and Meridian), so I gather and report the data.  The trends from the 4 plexes' sales seem to be a good indicator of the Boise real estate investment market.   Below are some graphs to help illustrate my points.  Please note that there were no fourplexes sold within Ada county for the month of November.

Absorption rate:   Is the rate at which available fourplexes are sold.  Currently there is less than one month's supply listed on the MLS.  We have a low supply and the demand continues to be great, so they are selling quickly.  Obviously this is a good sign for Sellers.  It means that new listings are going pending fairly quickly.  So as a buyer, you want to have your ducks in a row.  You will want to be in position to make a strong and clean offer quickly.

Average Price for Fourplex:   Prices continue to creep upward.  In January of 2017 the average was $372,000 and in September of 2018, the average was nearly $600,000.   One could look at the chart and because we saw a drop in October and December, they could think values are dropping.  I don't believe that is the case.  We had a couple older 4 plexes with below market rents sell and skew the data.

Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM):  Is the ratio of the price/value to its monthly rental income.  The current 6-month average GRM for Ada County 4 plex is 152.  I use GRM for a quick ballpark value as there are many more factors in determining actual value.  To illustrate how to use GRM, let's assume that rents are $950 per month per unit. Using GRM, the ballpark value would be $950*4*152=$577,600.  It's not uncommon for Landlords not to push rents.  This is one reason why GRM alone won't determine value.  But it's also a good reminder to potential sellers that if you are planning on listing soon, you should consider getting rents to market before listing.

Capitalization rate:  Is the ratio of Net Operating Income to value/price.  Since 4 plexes are considered residential, cap rate is just one of the factors used by a residential appraisers to determine value.  Comparative sales weigh heavy on Fourplex appraisal valuations.  As you can see, we've had a very slow, yet slight drop in cap rates over the past two years.  This is a good trend in comparison to huge drop we saw in 2005.  Values have continued to rise and they are rising just a little faster than rents.

Average Days-On-Market:  Even in a super-hot market, It's hard to believe the average days-on-market for a Fourplex could be as little as 18 days.  There are a couple of factors here.  We are seeing a fair number of cash deals which can close much faster.  But the biggest factor I see here is new construction.  At least one brokerage is not posting their newly constructed Fourplexes on the MLS until the property is sold, which in affect shows zero days on market.


Tony Drost, Chairman
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about the Investment Real Estate and Property Rental markets in Boise and Idaho.


Are Landlords Profiting from Application Fees?

Tony Drost - Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Recently, a local news station ran a story about high application fees, and asks, "Are Landlords unfairly profiting off Treasure Valley affordable housing crunch?"  This prompted a number of inquiries to me asking if it's true.  "Yes", I believe some are, which I explain below, but I do not think the majority are.  The news story reported that some Landlords are charging as much as a $200 per application.  Wow, that certainly seems high to me, so I have to believe that includes more services that were not mentioned.  The application process has gotten a lot more technical than what it was 28 years ago when I first started.  Due to poor screening, many Landlords got burned by poor quality tenants. As the screening became more detailed, some Landlords got sued for discrimination.  I believe it is these two factors that opened the doors to a new market for third parties who specialize in tenant screening to help Landlords find qualified tenants, yet comply with laws, to include Fair Housing Laws.  This is when costs went up. 

Who is not profiting:

First Rate Property Management charges a $40 application fee and utilizes a third party company to run:  a credit report with a FICO score, a national criminal search, an eviction search, collects current and former rental history, verifies employment, and verifies income.  At this point, 80% of the application fee has been spent on third party charges.  Then that data along with any reasonable modifications to the criteria is inputted in an automated decision tool to ensure all applicants are treated the same and fairly.  So the remainder goes towards our own costs to process the application, which can take as little as a few minutes up to hours.

Who could be profiting:

For those property managers who do no screening whatsoever or only run a credit report from a single agency, yet charge a similar fee to those who are doing full screening, are likely profiting off their applications.  In a multi-family dwelling, its discouraged to rent from someone who does not screen, as tenants want to know that their neighbors have been properly screened.  For obvious reasons, Landlords want to hire property managers who are screening their tenants.  Mind you, I have seen lenders charging as much as $60 for credit reports to home buyers and investors.

Also, I suppose those Landlords and property managers who's practice is to accept the best application could be profiting.  This practice is frowned upon and opens the landlord into possible Fair Housing complaints.  First approved, first in has become the industry standard.

Tenant suggestions:

1.  Request a copy of the Landlords written rental policies and guidelines before applying.  Most professional property managers will provide this on their website and with their applications.  What is their criteria for:  income, criminal history, rental history, and employment history?

2.  What is their acceptance policy?  Do they collect  multiple applications and accept the best applicant, or do they accept the first applicant approved.

Profiting off the housing crunch:

I know of one company that allegedly profited off tenants for application and other fees, but they are no longer in business  I think our housing crisis is more about Boise's growth than anything else.   I sell investment properties and I can tell you that I am not seeing greed from the landlords.  The truth is, even with rents increasing, investors have a lower net operating income in relation with the sales price/value of the property.   That's right, homes and multi-family prices have shot through the roof.  But so have other costs such as:  labor costs are up which in return has increased maintenance costs substantially, property taxes are up, and so are insurance rates.  I am no economist, so I can't say that slowing Boise's growth is the answer, but its growth certainly seems to be a factor in costs for the landlord and tenant alike.  I do not blame either for what has happened.

Watch Story Here:  Are landlords unfairly profiting off Treasure Valley affordable housing crunch?


Tony Drost, Chairman
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about the Investment Real Estate and Property Rental markets in Boise and Idaho.

Update on Vacancy

Arica Elordi - Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The U.S. Census Bureau announced the following residential vacancy statistics for the third quarter of 2018.The National vacancy rates for the third quarter were 7.1% for rental housing.

As a general rule, 5%-8% vacancy is a good average although the city you are located in and rental market play a factor in this.

First Rate Property Management vacancy rate is currently 0.25%.  The current vacancy rate for Ada/Canyon County is at 2.26%. Contributing factors that lead to these lower numbers are pre-leasing units that are currently on notice, marketing on several different levels (not just utilizing the internet platforms), constant communication with residents and interested parties, reasonable rent increases for both the owner and the resident, and quick response time for maintenance issues. These low vacancy trends we are seeing throughout the treasure valley are a great benefit for investors as property management companies will be able to push the rents. The demand for rental properties is far exceeding the supply.


Arica Elordi, Leasing Team Member
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about this blog or proeprty management.

3rd Quarter NAPRM Vacancy Results

Melissa Sharone - Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The 3rd quarter NARPM survey results are out.  Overall things still look good for this time of year.  You will notice that the vacancy for single family homes is up right now.  FRPM has found over the last month that single family home rentals are slower to get rented then the multifamily.  As the winter approaches and the Holidays get closer we anticipate the single family rentals to remain slow.   Rents overall are strong and still increasing some.  It will be interesting to see what the market does once we get through the winter months and past the holidays.

Read full report here:  3rd Quarter NARPM Survey 


Melissa Sharone, President
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about the Rental markets in Boise and Idaho.

2nd Quarter SW Idaho NARPM Vacancy Trends

Julie Tollifson - Thursday, September 20, 2018

   The National Association of Residential Property Managers published a recent survey conducted by the SW Idaho chapter of NARPM during the month of June 2018. The survey took 7,091 total homes into account. These multi-family and single-family homes are spread across both Ada and Canyon county. 

The market is trending down heading into the winter months. According to these statistics dating back to 2014, the vacancy percentage is the lowest it’s been in quite some time considering the seasonality of this business.

First Rate Property Management’s vacancy rate in June 2018 was 0.72%. This is quite the improvement compared to last year’s 1.83%. First Rate manages a portfolio of apartment buildings, duplexes, and single family homes.

Of the 7,091 homes that were surveyed in June 2018, 2.03% were vacant. This is an opportunity for property management companies to capitalize on the market and really differentiate themselves among their competitors not only in the SW Idaho Chapter but even nationally.

   

The data shows vacancy rates to have decreased from 3.6% in Q1 to 2.0% in Q2. The rental rates in Ada County single family homes increased $149 per month per unit. We saw an increase of $6 per mont, per unit in single family homes just since the previous quarter. Assuming these trends continue, we can anticipate higher rents and lower vacancies than we’ve seen in half a decade.

You can find out more about Idaho’s premier organization of residential property management professionals at www.swidaho.narpm.org.


Julie Tollifson, Leasing Team Lead
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about this blog.

Ada County Vacancy Trends

Julie Tollifson - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Boise's rental market is undeniably booming. This growth has been the case for several years now and is expected to maintain its strength for months to come. Boise’s rental demand is contrary to the trends in other metropolitan areas in the United States where vacancy rates have steadied. In Ada County, there has been an increase in rental rates between 6-8 percent.

First Rate Property Management's vacancy rates have been successfully trending downward. Last week our vacancy was at 0.7%. Last year’s vacancy rate at this time was at 1.85%! This is all due to a combination of high demand, low supply, rental market saturation, diligent staff, and qualified tenants.

When vacancy rates are low, rents go high. The demand for housing exceeds the supply of available units, and renters lose their bargaining power.

Boise is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States right now. Property investors are able to capitalize on this growth. According to Yardi Matrix all rents are are being increase on average by 4%. First Rate is able to place many families in these homes but it is clear the demand is high and the supply is low. This market is ideal for investors who have budgeted a conservative amount in vacancy cost. We expect to see these trends continue to grow for years to come.


Julie Tollifson, Leasing Team Lead
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about this blog.

HUD Files Against Facebook

Julie Tollifson - Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Friday morning Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a formal complaint under the Fair Housing Act against Facebook. The claim alleges Facebook to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination. These claims maintain that Facebook allows advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon any and all of the protected classes. The classes include but are not limited to race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or zip code.

The allegations also hold that Facebook enables advertisers to express unlawful preferences effectively utilizing “targeted advertising”.

      

While these claims are still just claims, Facebook has the opportunity to respond. However if after review it is determined that reasonable cause exists and there has been a violation of the Fair Housing Act, a charge of discrimination may be filed. These charges may be resolved through settlement, through referral to the Department of Justice, or through an administrative determination.

HUD’s complaint alleges Facebook’s platform violates the FHA allowing advertisers to effectively pre-screen internet users to reach/or not reach either only men or only women, users interested in assistance animals, users in a particular place of worship, religion, or tenet, users located outside a coded line around specific zip codes.

These claims were immediately followed by a statement of interest filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on behalf of a number of private litigants challenging Facebook’s advertising platform. 

Read full article below ~

August 17, 2018

 

Earlier today HUD announced that it has filed a formal complaint under the Fair Housing Act for allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination.  As Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Anna María Farías notes, “"When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it's the same as slamming the door in someone's face."  For more, see below

Jeff McMorris, HUD Northwest Regional Administrator

 

* * *

 

HUD FILES HOUSING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AGAINST FACEBOOK
Secretary-initiated complaint alleges platform allows advertisers to discriminate

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination.

HUD claims Facebook enables advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon the recipient's race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or zip code. Facebook then invites advertisers to express unlawful preferences by offering discriminatory options, allowing them to effectively limit housing options for these protected classes under the guise of 'targeted advertising.' Read HUD's complaint against Facebook.

"The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination including those who might limit or deny housing options with a click of a mouse," said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it's the same as slamming the door in someone's face."

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing transactions including print and online advertisement on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. HUD's Secretary-initiated complaint follows the Department's investigation into Facebook's advertising platform which includes targeting tools that enable advertisers to filter prospective tenants or homebuyers based on these protected classes. 

For example, HUD's complaint alleges Facebook's platform violates the Fair Housing Act. It enables advertisers to, among other things:

·        display housing ads either only to men or women;

·        not show ads to Facebook users interested in an "assistance dog," "mobility scooter," "accessibility" or "deaf culture";   

·        not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in "child care" or "parenting," or show ads only to users with children above a specified age;

·        to display/not display ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in a particular place of worship, religion or tenet, such as the "Christian Church," "Sikhism," "Hinduism," or the "Bible."

·        not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in "Latin America," "Canada," "Southeast Asia," "China," "Honduras," or "Somalia."

·        draw a red line around zip codes and then not display ads to Facebook users who live in specific zip codes.

Additionally, Facebook promotes its advertising targeting platform for housing purposes with "success stories" for finding "the perfect homeowners," "reaching home buyers," "attracting renters" and "personalizing property ads."

In addition, today the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) filed a statement of interest, joined in by HUD, in U.S. District Court on behalf of a number of private litigants challenging Facebook's advertising platform.

HUD Secretary-Initiated Complaints

The Secretary of HUD may file a fair housing complaint directly against those whom the Department believes may be in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Secretary-Initiated Complaints are appropriate in cases, among others, involving significant issues that are national in scope or when the Department is made aware of potential violations of the Act and broad public interest relief is warranted or where HUD does not know of a specific aggrieved person or injured party that is willing or able to come forward. A Fair Housing Act complaint, including a Secretary initiated complaint, is not a determination of liability.

A Secretary-Initiated Complaint will result in a formal fact-finding investigation. The party against whom the complaint is filed will be provided notice and an opportunity to respond. If HUD's investigation results in a determination that reasonable cause exists that there has been a violation of the Fair Housing Act, a charge of discrimination may be filed. Throughout the process, HUD will seek conciliation and voluntary resolution. Charges may be resolved through settlement, through referral to the Department of Justice, or through an administrative determination.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. In commemoration, HUD, local communities, and fair housing organizations across the country have coordinated a variety of activities to enhance fair housing awareness, highlight HUD's fair housing enforcement efforts, and end housing discrimination in the nation. For a list of activities, log onto www.hud.gov/fairhousingis50.

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).


Julie Tollifson, Leasing Team Lead
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about this blog.

Increased Rents Create Parking Issues

Tony Drost - Friday, August 10, 2018

In a million years, would you have ever thought that ascending rents would cause parking problems?  Well, it is, and not just in multi-family complexes either.  As Boise area rents have increased, many tenants have solicited roommates to help defray costs and many of these have their own vehicles as well.  Drive by a complex or a rental home and you will see more cars parked on the side of the road than before. 

Let's look at an example.  There is a 4 plex development with 11 four plexes.  Each unit has three bedrooms and 2 baths.  There is 1 assigned parking spot per unit with another 50 open parking spots within the complex which is first come, first serve and is used by residents and visitors. In looking at just one building of the 11, we know that one of the units has 3 couples in each room and each has a car.  Two units are families with two working parents.  The last unit has 3 roommates, each who have a vehicle.  The total vehicles for this one building is 13.  If everyone within the complex is home at the same time, that means 5 to 8 of the vehicles, for just this one building, are parking on the street.  Or worse, they park in the open parking, which means other residents can only park their one vehicle within the complex and all others on the street.  As our streets fill with parked cars, the amount of parking has become important to prospective tenants. 

The lack of parking is not the only issue developing.  Storage is another.  With more and more roommates, the amount of storage space needed is increasing. Self-storage is big business these days. 


Tony Drost, Chairman
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about the Investment Real Estate and Property Rental markets in Boise and Idaho.

Absolutely Reliable Prediction on Interest Rates

Tony Drost - Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Jack Harty with Harty Mortgage Advisors frequently updates his clients with wit and humor.

WARNING: Don't believe the Subject line above.  

There is no reliable method for predicting interest rate movement beyond the next fiscal quarter.  While there are many methods for predicting the future of rate increases, none are highly reliable.

Some methods are marginally more reliable than others, but in the end predicting rates is as reliable as predicting how dice will roll. 

Since December 2015 the Fed has raised short-term interest rates seven times.  At its August meeting the Fed held steady and did not raise rates (see step-graph below).  

However conventional wisdom, strongly anchored in Fed pronouncements, anticipates another rate increase in September 2018 and probably yet another by December.  Looking into 2019, which is through a glass darkly (1Corinthians 13:12), the betting is that rates will be increased another two to three times.  

Counter forces that may restrain future rate increases include effects of a trade war, political turmoil in the US and elsewhere and domestic employment dynamics, to wit: While unemployment has declined over the past two years (from 4.9% to 3.9%(, the rate of wage growth has also declined during the same period (from 2.8% to 2.7%).  In 2018 wage growth has barely exceeded and at times fallen below inflation.  In 2018 inflation has ranged from 2.1% to 2.9%.

Federal Reserve Rate Increases 2014 - 2018 

There is an obvious stair-step pattern to interest rate increases during the past couple of years.  

The picture for upward movement of future interest rates is a cloudy picture (see cloudy picture below).

Graph for Rate Increases 2019 - 2020

Notwithstanding future interest rate uncertainty, it is currently certain that interest rates are still at virtual 40-year low point...and that ain't so bad.

 10 Yr Treasury Bond Yield: 1978 - 2018

Jack Harty 

Harty Mortgage Advisors

www.HartyMortgage.com 


Tony Drost, Chairman
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about the Investment Real Estate and Property Rental markets in Boise and Idaho.

CO and Smoke Detectors Do Expire

Tony Drost - Wednesday, August 1, 2018

First Rate Property Management received the below email from the Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal of Meridian Fire.  Also, they provided the attached Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Log Sheet and Parking Lot Safety Tips.

FRPM:  tests, replaces, and adds detectors as needed at each tenant turnover.  Additionally for those property investors who choose to opt into our preventative maintenance, these detectors are tested again and repaired or replaced as necessary.

Good morning managers and owners. We recently had a fire in an apartment complex. The crews arrived on scene and found the smoke detectors were not functioning. I pulled it off the ceiling when I was doing my investigation to find it was 17 years old. Smoke detectors have a 10 year life span and CO detectors are about 7 years. They need to be replaced and checked at a regular interval.

I have created a log sheet to help capture the data, so you can keep track of these types of alarms. When we come for your annual fire and life safety inspection, we may ask if you are using the log.

As a reminder CO detectors are also required if you have gas fired appliances, or an attached garage.

PS – I have also attached a flyer for parking lot safety. We developed this for a complex here in town.

If the fire department can help with anything, please let me know! Have a great week!

Parking lot Safety Flyer

CO/Smoke Detector Log

Joe Bongiorno CFEI

Deputy Chief – Fire Marshal

Meridian Fire

33 E. Broadway Ave., Ste. 210, Meridian, ID 83642

(Direct) 208-489-0458 (Cell) 208-936-9554


Tony Drost, Chairman
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
Boise, Idaho
Contact me for more information about the Investment Real Estate and Property Rental markets in Boise and Idaho.


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