Home prices are falling, rents are tumbling, and apartment vacancies are rising. So why are thousands of small investors becoming landlords?
Because real-estate prices have fallen much faster than rents, the math of buying a rental has actually improved substantially in most parts of the country. Money invested in an apartment complex today typically generates annual returns of 7% to 8% right off the bat, up from less than 6% at the peak of the housing bubble in 2006.
If your property appreciates in value or rents rise, you could end up with double-digit annualized returns when you sell it. But higher returns usually come with higher risks. If you overpay for a rental property or you buy in the wrong market at the wrong time, you can lose a lot of money.