Everyone’s a Landlord—Small-Time Investors Snap Up Out-of-State Properties

WSJ: archive.ph

Jack Cronin found San Francisco-area homes too expensive or too far from the city center to buy when he lived there in 2020. The tech worker still wanted a piece of the hottest housing market of his lifetime, so he started looking farther afield.

Last year, the 28-year-old used a website called Roofstock, which provides listings and data for investors interested in rental properties, to buy a three-bedroom home outside Jackson, Miss., for $265,000. Mr. Cronin, who now lives in New York City, has never visited Jackson nor met the tenants in his home, lightly landscaped with bushes and crepe myrtle trees. It’s enough to know that a management company collects $2,300 a month in rent for him.

“So far, so good,” he said.

Many of Roofstock’s customers are coastal tech employees making $200,000 to $300,000 a year, said Gary Beasley, co-founder and chief executive. These buyers would need some $300,000 in down payments to buy residential property in their own communities. For $40,000 down, they can buy a house in a lower-cost market and charge rent that brings in steady profits.

“What we’re seeing is people sort of decoupling where they live from where they own,” said Mr. Beasley.

Southern metros with large populations of low- and middle-income renters have been especially popular destinations for coastal investor cash. Out-of-state small investors accounted for 4.24% of total sales in Raleigh, N.C., 5.26% of sales in Atlanta, and 8.61% of sales in Memphis in the first half of this year, according to Attom—much higher than the national average.

Investors in lower-cost Southern cities can get higher rents relative to sales prices than in many other places. The Memphis and Birmingham, Ala., metro areas had the highest rents relative to sales price in the U.S. in December 2020, according to an analysis by Roofstock. The monthly mortgage payment for a median-priced home in Birmingham at that time was only $599, while the median monthly rent was $1,166, nearly twice as much.


@manch stole your thunder.

It’s okay.

He’s too busy to wade through all my spam posts. :rofl:

You guys seem to be beating each other over in that thread. I skipped that entire thread.