Why the US sunbelt suburbs are still a safe bet

by David Kitai10 Aug 2020

Despite all the scary news coming out of the United States, there’s still huge opportunity for investors in the sunbelt.

That’s the word from Ashley Rogers, Regional Business Director for Canada at Lennar international. She’ll be presenting at the upcoming Canadian Real Estate Wealth Investor Forum on August 13th, breaking down the unique opportunities in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. The underlying logic of low entry prices, strong rental demand, and even continued short-term vacation rental demand makes these states attractive options for Canadian investors. Lennar’s portfolio of new construction homes across the US continues to capture the attention of international investors, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic drives renter demand from city centers to suburban safety.

“It obviously varies state by state, but when you look at Tampa, Florida for example, from the low $180,000s, you can get a spacious two- or three-bedroom townhome in a community that is a strong draw for rentals,” Rogers says. “Carrying costs are lower in the US than we are use to seeing in Canada, and now with lower lending costs, now is a great time to consider investing in the US real estate market.”

At the investor forum, Rogers will break down each market in greater detail by examining in-demand Lennar community being built in each of the four key sunbelt states attracting Canadians. She’ll provide a market overview, show floor plans, and more detailed carrying costs, and ROI estimates.

Investors should not be put off by high COVID-19 rates in these U.S. states. While the numbers might be worrying in the shorter term, they have not impacted house prices or rental demand in the states. In fact, COVID-19 has resulted in a shift of some of that demand away from condos and city centres towards the sort of suburban developments Lennar builds.

Rogers cites the example of Lennar’s Next Gen homes  that boast a separate suite, typically designed for in-laws or grandparents to live in. Many investors are buying these homes and renting out the main house and keeping the Next Gen suite for themselves when then visits. Some Canadians have purchased these Next Gen homes as a means of funding their future retirement, while giving them the option of enjoying their home in the US for vacations. COVID has shown another use for these Next Gen suites, residents and renters are using those suites as their home offices, creating a delineated space for work while they stay removed from the office.

Other Lennar Vacation homes, Rogers says, are technically zones as hotels, allowing for short-term rentals in highly regulated jurisdictions like Florida. While Canadian snowbirds might not be coming back to the US to rent yet, and as most of the world closes its borders to U.S. tourists, domestic travel and  tourism is driving demand for short-term rentals in the sunbelt that will likely only rise as winter comes.

Rogers says that these properties also come with Lennar’s Everythings Included® - ‘all the extra features you want in your new home, included at the best possible value.’ All the pre-construction perks that would be an upgrade for a preconsturcion home purchase in Canada are integrated into these homes. In the COVID environment, too, new homes carry a perception of ‘cleanliness’ and ‘safety’ among renters, adding to their appeal.

At the Canadian Real Estate Wealth Investor Forum, Rogers says she’ll be offering greater detail about the opportunities available in these states and the means by which Canadian investors can take advantage of them.

“Even in these uncertain times,” she says, “the U.S. real estate market continues to be a strong draw for foreign investment.”

To hear more from Ashley Rogers, as well as other thought leaders in the real estate investment space, register for the Canadian Real Estate Wealth Investor Forum here.

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