10 Most Profitable Safe Havens for Single-Family Rentals

By on July 24, 2015

Once upon a time, it was easy for bulk investors in single-family homes to pick and choose where they wanted to purchase assets. With the economy on the ascent and home prices rising, however, figuring out where they will make decent returns without taking on too much risk has become a bit more challenging. To help them in this task, RealtyTrac, a provider of housing data and analytics, has created a list of top 10 markets that combine low risk (based on low unemployment rates) with the potential for double-digit gross annual yields. To see where investors in single-family rentals should go, click through our gallery. 

Broward County, Fla.

Broward County, which includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, posted an unemployment rate of just 4.79 percent in November 2014. The County’s median home price is kind of high, at $165,000, but so are the cash flows its single-family homes offer–$12,229 annually for leveraged investors and $19,319 for cash investors, in RealtyTrac’s estimates. Overall, investors in single-family home rentals in Broward County are looking at an annual gross yield of 13.10 percent.

Lucas County, Ohio

The unemployment rate in Lucas County, where Toledo is located, was 4.80 percent as of November. In 2014, the median price for homes in the area was $82,000, with annual cash flow for leveraged investors averaging $6,329 and for cash investors $9,582. Single-family home rentals in Toledo currently offer annual gross yields of 13.40 percent.

Gaston County, the Carolinas

Gaston County, including Charlotte and Gastonia, N.C. and Concord, S.C., had a slightly higher unemployment rate than Broward and Toledo in November, at 5.5 percent. But RealtyTrac also estimates that the change in its rents from 2014 to 2015 would be much higher at 2.19 percent vs. below 0.40 percent for the other two counties, and its annual gross yields higher, at 13.86 percent.

Clark County, Ohio

The November unemployment rate for Springfield was the lowest of all the markets on our top 10 list, at 4.10 percent. RealtyTrac anticipated a drop in rental rates from 2014 to 2015 at negative 4.58 percent, but expected that investors in single-family homes here would still be able to achieve annual gross yields of 13.96 percent. Annual cash flows for leveraged investors in Springfield currently average $6,373 and for cash investors $9,682.

Saginaw County, Mich.

Saginaw County posted unemployment rate of 5.20 percent in November. The market was set to experience a 1.38 percent drop in rental rates from 2014 to 2015, but it should still deliver annual gross yields of 14.51 percent to investors in single-family rentals, according to RealtyTrac calculations.

Bay County, Mich.

This Michigan market had an unemployment rate of 5.10 percent as of November, and will benefit from a 6.73 percent jump in its rental rates from 2014 to 2015, one of the highest on our list. As a result, investors in single-family home rentals in Bay City will likely see annual gross yields of 14.78 percent, reports RealtyTrac.

Fayette County, Penn.

Fayette County, including Pittsburgh, posted an unemployment rate of 5.40 percent in November and was set to experience a slight (0.40 percent) drop in its rental rates from 2014 to 2015. However, it should benefit from a relatively affordable median home price of $79,000, with RealtyTrac estimating annual gross yields at 14.99 percent.

Muskegon County, Mich.

As of November, Muskegon County has an unemployment rate of 5.00 percent. Its median home price in 2014 was on the low end of our top 10 list, at $75,200, and its rental growth from 2014 to 2015 was the highest, at 10.46 percent. As a result, RealtyTrac expects annual gross yields of 15.34 percent for single-family home rentals in the county.

Trumbull County, Ohio

Trumbull County, which encompasses Youngstown, Ohio, Warren, Ohio and Boardman, Pa., should benefit from one of the lowest unemployment rates on our list, at 4.90 percent, and the lowest median home price, at $66,950. From 2014 to 2015, rental rates in the area have gone up 3.10 percent. RealtyTrac anticipates annual gross yields of 15.52 percent for the County.

Richmond City County, Va.

This Virginia market had an unemployment rate of 5.50 percent in November. The median home price in the area in 2014 was $76,750, with a 2014-2015 rent increase of 0.93 percent. Investment in single-family home rentals in Richmond appears to offer a lot of upside, as RealtyTrac estimates an annual gross yield of 20.42 percent for properties in the city and surrounding county.

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