Its rainin but there aint a cloud in the sky
Must of been a tear from your eye
Everythingll be okay
Funny, thought I felt a sweet summer breeze
Must of been you sighin so deep
Dont worry were gonna find a way
Im waitin, waitin on a sunny day
Gonna chase the clouds away
Waitin on a sunny day
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day — Bruce Springsteen
Over the holidays, I had time to contemplate the content on the blog, and I realized we have not spent enough time and effort examining the rental market. Considering 40% or more of Irvine households are renters, it seems appropriate for the Irvine Housing Blog to pay more attention to what is going on in the rental market. Plus, much of our discussion on valuations and projections for the market bottom depend on rental rates, so it is important to know where rental rates are to gain a feel for where prices are in the marketplace.
Examining prices for rentals is fraught with the same problems as examining prices of for-sale properties with one exception: there are good deals in the rental market. I will generally profile those I consider good deals or those that are simultaneously offered for sale. Occasionally, I do find WTF rental asking prices from floplords trying to cover their payments. I will profile these too. I will not examine any rentals owned by the Irvine Company. If you want to see their offerings, I suggest you go to Rental-Living.com. Instead, I will focus on private rentals offered on the MLS and Craigslist. I do not know any of the landlords, and we are not going to accept money from landlords to feature their properties. My opinion of the quality of the rental and the deal it represents is based solely on the information from the internet, and it could be entirely incorrect.
With all our explanations and disclaimers in place, let’s examine a property offered for rent and for sale to see what it tells us about the market. Today’s seller can’t decide if they should rent or sell. They are waitin’ on a sunny day…
Asking Price: $568,000
Asking Rent: $2,350
Gross Rent Multiplier: 241
Rent Finance Value: $371,795
Income Requirement: $142,000
Downpayment Needed: $113,600
Purchase Price: $165,000
Purchase Date: 1988
Address: 11 Springflower, Irvine, CA 92614
Sq. Ft.: 1,144
$/Sq. Ft.: $497
Lot Size: –
Year Built: 1986
Stories: One Level
On Redfin: 188 days
Unsold in 90+ days
From Redfin, “single story detached condo house, 3BR, 2BA (3rd BR could be used as den or office), corner lot location, walking distance to sch, park, pool, lakes, shopping, newer carpet, baseboard, paint, scrapped ceiling, woodblind window coverings, show very clean and bright, move-in condition. No Mello-Roos, low tax rate”
Do you sense a lack of enthusiasm in the description? I don’t need three exclamation points, but that description reads like a medicine bottle.
First, I would like to introduce a new concept: the rent finance value. Since the payment is the most important determinant of value, the rent finance value looks at the maximum value that could be financed with a 30-year fixed mortgage at todays interest rates (I used 6.5% above.) In today’s example, a payment of $2,350 would finance a payment on a loan of $371,795 at 6.5%. It is not as handy as the gross rent multiplier because you need either a financial calculator or a spreadsheet, but IMO it provides a good method for estimating value because it comes closest to simulating a buyer’s mentality without crunching too many numbers. As you may have noticed, it comes out pretty close to the 160 GRM value of $376,000.
So what can we observe with this property. IMO, this asking rent is near market for this unit. Further, this unit is what I would consider a “median” house product in Irvine: small 3/2s or large 2/2s. Obviously, the asking sales price is too high or it wouldn’t be languishing on the market for over 180 days. Gross rent multipliers were near 300 at the peak, and with our 20% drop, they are under 240 now. This unit confirms that GRMs are falling below 240. A knife catcher may pick this up for $525,000 and watch it drop another $150,000 in value over the next few years. If the property data I have is correct, there is no urgency for this seller to sell, but also no need to be stubborn about the asking price. They really have two options: rent this out and be the bagholder, or lower their price and let someone else be the bagholder. What do you think they will do?