Real estate is always a "good news-bad news" business. The most obvious example of this is an overheated market: great news for home sellers, lousy news for home buyers. An article I read recently in RISMedia, an online trade publication, discusses another good news-bad news situation: the current rental market.
The article cited a study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, which concluded that the fledgling national economic recovery will actually hurt renters. More Americans are finding new jobs, but these jobs often pay less than their former ones, so they are choosing to rent a home instead of buying one. In addition, the continuing foreclosure crisis means that many former homeowners can now only afford to rent. With no real increase in multifamily rental units planned by developers, rental units will almost certainly become scarcer and thus more expensive.
Montclair is already showing signs of upward pressure on the rental market - There are only 35 rental units at the moment listed on the MLS as compared to 230 that are currently for sale. As a New Jersey Realtor, I have firsthand experience with this trend: I listed a 1 BR condo renting for $1850/month in a loft-type building in Glen Ridge, walking distance to the NYC train, on Saturday; by Monday, it was gone.
The good news in this scenario: a poor rental market often means it is a good time to buy a home. Mortgage rates are at their lowest in years, and home prices have dropped significantly from several years ago. Are you looking for more space for your growing family? Have you been considering buying a multifamily property as an investment? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, then take advantage of the good news (for buyers) and make your move before the tide turns again.