The housing crisis and global economic shock has and will forever change the psyche of the average American for decades to come. No longer is the thought of renting seen as a shortcoming for not striving or attaining the American dream. Renting is now a necessity for many and a financial practicality.
Home ownership is down from 69% in 2006 (the peak for all history) to 65.4% today. Much of this is due to foreclosures. But, we also see that by late 2011, according to Moodys, it was cheaper to rent versus own in 72% of the American metro areas. Additionally, building starts for structures with 5 or more units were up 60% in 2011 versus single family starts of 16.7%.
Its simple math to see that for many people renting saves them money and prevents them from getting into financial trouble. Hence, you see a major migration towards renting versus owning. We should not forget the fact that some people just cannot get a loan no matter what these days.
We Need Renters. In order to be a more healthy economy, we need people who can rent. Renters obviously generate income for the property owners, but more importantly, renters are more mobile and flexible. If you are an unemployed construction worker in Las Vegas (12% unemployment), that rents, its much easier for you to pick up and go to North Dakota (3% unemployment), to get a job. This is good for the economy as renting allows the skills and needs to easily find each other in the market place.
So, what does this mean for your self directed IRA? This all adds up to an opportunity to hold real estate in your self directed IRA. The demand for rental property is up significantly. The mind set for the average American will be that renting is OK, and financially wise. Property prices are way down (I know, you still have to be careful). These are all positive signs that maybe its time to take the initiative and secure rental properties in your self directed IRA.