Apples to Oranges

As I’ve been studying what’s been going on with this whole “Foreclosuregate” mess, I’ve come across lots of statistics on the real estate market in general.  My expertise is, of course, single and multi-family rentals.

I was interviewed by CNBC.com recently: http://www.cnbc.com/id/39342303  and the article also appeared in the USA Today newspaper on online with them: Apartments are a good investment for some – USATODAY.com .  For the purpose of discussions about multi-family investments, duplexes and triplexes get lumped into the same category as three-story 200-unit apartment buildings.  I think this is very unfortunate and inaccurate. 

I mean, it’s apples to oranges, isn’t it? 

When a homeowner loses his home to foreclosure, which has happened to millions of Americans — and there’s no end in sight — do you think he wants to move his family into a huge apartment complex?  Or do you think he wants to duplicate his former living situation as closely as he can?  Yeah…

He’s going to try and find a home to rent, not an apartment.  A single-family home if he can find one in his price range.  And if not, he’ll look for a duplex, because that’s the next best thing.  It will have a yard.  And a garage.  And a neighborhood like his kids were used to having.  Losing your home is traumatic enough in itself.  Going from your home into an apartment complex is a last resort.

When the pundits quote vacancy rates, duplexes get thrown in with the apartment buildings.  That’s unfortunate, too.  In the CNBC article, Indianapolis was cited as one of the US cities with the highest rental vacancy rates…16%, I believe it was.  I have to assume that’s correct, but I don’t see that in my rentals, and other landlords I talk to don’t either.  We’re not suffering from our homes standing vacant.  Not a problem! 

I guess the bottom line is, statistics don’t always tell the entire story . . .

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