Winter 2022

The American Cities Where Rents Are Rising the Most

As COVID-19 cases decline and vaccination rates climb, many Americans are returning to the urban cities they fled in droves to escape the pandemic. According to realtor.com, the result has been a sharp increase in rents, particularly among U.S. tech centers.

Before we dive into the numbers, let’s define what a tech center is based on factors research firm 2thinknow recently utilized when ranking the country’s most high-tech urban areas. These factors included the number of patents filed per capita, start-ups, tech venture capitalists, and level of smartphone use.

Now, here are the numbers from realtor.com:

  • The tech center with the largest year-over-year increase in median rent? Austin, Texas, where rent jumped 25.6%. The county median rent was $1,695 in September. The tech center with the highest monthly rent was San Francisco ($3,450). Rent in the California city was up 9.5% year over year.
  • Other tech centers that experienced sizable gains: Seattle (up 17.9% to $2,220), Denver (13.8% to $2,034), Los Angeles ( 9.2% to $2,895), and Washington, D.C. (6.2% to $2,370).
  • Tech centers saw 7.6% increases from September 2020; earlier this year, they declined by as much as 15.8%.

Overall, national rent grew by double digits for the second consecutive month. (realtor.com’s numbers are taken from an analysis of the country’s 50 largest metros.) National rent is currently $1,654—up 13.6% year-over-year and increasing more than four times faster than the 3.2% rate seen just before the pandemic hit in March 2020. This upsurge means renters are now paying an additional $198 per month.

“With rents continuing to surge to new highs nationwide, including in big tech hubs, September data confirms the U.S. rental market has moved past the recovery phase and is fully back in business,” said George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research for realtor.com. “Rental demand remains unseasonably high, driven by still-limited housing supply, rising mortgage rates pushing buyers towards renting, and more people returning to big cities.”

realtor.com also broke down rental costs by unit. Thanks to growing demand for bigger spaces and more square footage, two-bedroom units had the biggest jump in rent: up 14.4% from the same time last year to $1,855 a month. One-bedroom units checked in at $1,542, an increase of 13.7% from one year ago. Finally, studio units climbed 11.3% year over year to reach $1,351 nationwide. All three categories are at their highest levels since realtor.com began tracking this data.

Helpful Tips for Building Connections With Real Estate Pros

The predictions are rolling in for 2022 and a consensus is emerging: A purchase market is coming. In October, the Mortgage Bankers Association forecasted that purchase mortgage originations will grow 9% to a new record of $1.73 trillion next year.

Then again, looking at current numbers, the purchase market may already be here. A recent report from Black Knight showed that due to rising interest rates, refinance activity is down 62.5% from the same period last year. Also, the volume of refinance applications fell to 45% of total volume—the lowest level it has been since June.

A shift to a purchase market means a loan officer’s partnerships with real estate professionals are more important than ever. Here are helpful tips for forging connections and building relationships with these critical business referral partners.

Do your research

Before initiating a conversation with a real estate professional, research them. Learn the areas in which they specialize, their interests, and what needs of theirs you can fulfill.

And when you do connect with a potential partner, avoid being salesy. You are not closing on a loan—you are trying to build a relationship and your goal should be to first establish credibility and trust.

Use social media wisely

As you know, the mortgage industry is ever-changing. Real estate professionals want to know they are partnering with an expert who will help guide them and their borrowers through the more complex aspects of the home financing process. So, when sharing information on social media, be sure it is relevant to a real estate professional’s business. This can include key industry trends and relevant market data.

Be sure your content is focused on your area or niche. Also, don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality.

Finally, develop a content calendar and stick to it. The best way to stay in front of real estate professionals is to post regularly and always respond to comments on your posts.

Communicate effectively

Any strong relationship is based on clear and open communication. The loan officer-real estate professional relationship is no different. Give out your cell phone number in addition to your office number. Respond to text messages as you receive them, and never let emails go unanswered for longer than 30 minutes.

Practice good networking habits

Network in-person at local events. Or if in-person events are not taking place in your area due to COVID-19, research virtual events. Bonus tip: Don’t crash open houses. While it may seem like a great way to first meet a real estate professional, doing so can come across as invasive and disrespectful.

Forging close, professional relationships with real estate professionals is one of the most valuable things you can do for your lending career.

What Customers Need to Know When Purchasing a Fixer-Upper

Over the past few years, there has been a noted upsurge in buyers interested in purchasing fixer-uppers and completing home renovation projects. And while it’s easy to blame the phenomenon on the surging popularity of remodeling-themed programming featured on HGTV, DIY Network, and TLC, the reality is the current hot housing market is responsible as well. For buyers frustrated by skyrocketing prices, tight inventory, and increasing bidding wars, fixer-uppers are proving to be a great option.

If you have a customer who is interested in purchasing a fixer-upper, share these helpful tips with them.

Review options

Remodeling a fixer-upper can be expensive, so it’s critical that a buyer select the right financing solution. Reviewing the three options available—conventional loans, FHA 203(k) renovation loans, and VA renovation loans—can help them make a more informed decision.

Know when to hire a professional

Many projects are easy enough for homeowners to complete themselves, such as stripping wallpaper, removing carpet, or painting ceilings and walls. The more difficult tasks—such as electrical and plumbing work—should be tackled by certified professionals to ensure a project is completed safely and on time.

A good first step when finding a professional to hire is to obtain recommendations from family and friends. Also, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s website (NARI.org) is a great source for candidates.

Estimate costs

A buyer should estimate remodeling costs before making an offer on a property. An online calculator can help them determine a rough estimate of renovation costs. Or a buyer can hire a contractor to conduct an evaluation. A good rule of thumb is to add 10% to 20% to the estimated total to cover any unforeseen problems.

Conduct an inspection

An inspection is a must. Any fixer-upper should be thoroughly inspected before a purchase is made. In some cases, a buyer may need to hire multiple inspectors to check for structural issues, pest infestations, radon detections, etc.

Expect the unexpected

Remind a buyer that they will encounter renovation-related hurdles that need clearing—it happens even with the most well-planned projects. A buyer should be realistic with their goals and timeframe and not be afraid to adjust either.


inMarket Winter 2022