Will ‘Rental Nation’ Plague Your Property?
Will ‘Rental Nation’ plague your property?
South Florida homeownership is down and neighborhoods brim with renters, who don’t care as much about upkeep and issues that keep values high.
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The fragile sense of community in homeowner Bryan Melzard’s neighborhood — the impromptu chats on the sidewalk, shared gripes about overzealous condo commandos — is fading.
More renters are moving into his Greenacres development of about 100 homes, filling investor-owned properties bought at foreclosure fire-sale prices with cash on hand and dreams of big returns. The conversion has meant regular U-haul sightings on the 30th of each month and anonymous neighbors with fewer scruples about loud music.
“There are a lot of nice people here, I will say that, but I don’t know them,” said Melzard, 34. “It very much seems to me like an apartment-type of complex now.”
As corporate America sops up the remnants of the real estate crash, it’s not only more difficult for the traditional buyer with financing to find a home, it’s also planted a niggling concern about how it could change the fabric of the American community.
Wall Street hedge funds and multi-billion dollar companies got into the single-family home business about a year ago. Already, hundreds of Palm Beach County homes are owned by firms such as the Connecticut-based Starwood Property Trust, the Blackstone Group in New York and Canada’s Tricon Capital. The idea is to buy and rent until prices increase enough to make selling profitable.