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    If we reflect back to 2018, we can see that supply for affordable housing was low, prices for rental homes and home for sale were high, and millennials continued to delay purchasing a future home. As we step into 2019, we can expect to see some old trends carry over from the previous year, and some new trends emerge.

    Here are our top six real estate trends we are recommended you to monitor through 2019:

    Trend 1: Renters continue to move to metropolitan areas

    Most Desired Cities That Renters Would Move To

    Poplar Homes RentalRadar Report – Quarter 4 2018

    The popularity of renters moving to cities continue to rise as we enter 2019. Poplar surveyed a pool of renters in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Seattle Area and found that of the renters who planned to move, 37.5 percent wanted to settle down in a metropolitan area. These areas consisted of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City.

    The motive for moving can be a combination of either career changes within renters and being priced out from rent. 34 percent of renters reported their primary reason for relocating was due to job opportunities, as measured in a late 2017 nationwide survey by ApartmentList. 30 percent reported affordability as their reason.

    These reasons seem to influence each other. From 2001 and 2015, the median nationwide rent rose 32 percent, excluding the utilities and maintenance related costs, as calculated by The Pew Charitable Trusts. As renters continue to be priced of out their rental homes, they have the luxury of packing their bags and moving elsewhere. This flexibility makes it more challenging for landlords to retain renters, thus urging landlords to provide a more positive rental experience as an incentive for renters to stay.

    Trend 2. Renters are not optimistic about the real estate market 

    Renter Outlook for 2019

    Poplar Homes RentalRadar Report – Quarter 4 2018

    We’ve asked our renters how optimistic they are about the housing market in 2019. From a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being not optimistic and 5 being very optimistic, the average response was a 2.1. Low optimism levels in renters might suggest that renters are expecting housing to be just as impacted, or more impacted, in 2019.

    Rental Housing Price Increase Predictions by Renters

    Poplar Homes RentalRadar Report – Quarter 4 2018

    We’ve asked our renters how much do they think rent prices will increase in their location in 2019. Around 75 percent of respondents answered between 0 percent to 10 percent or they were not sure. Responses were quite spread out between 0 percent to over 10 percent. This might be because renters might be unaware of the current rental market trends.

    Percent of Renters Planning to Purchase A Home In The Future

    Poplar Homes RentalRadar Report – Quarter 4 2018

    In our survey, we asked if renters are planning to buy a home in their current location at some point in the future. A third said they do plan to, a third said they are not planning to, and another third said they are not sure. This can signify that renters’ optimism levels for home equity are lower than their hopes. Renters can also be uncertain of the future for real estate.

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    Read the latest rental trends in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle

    Trend 3: Software is eating real estate services next

    Real estate technology, often called Proptech, is one of the world fastest growing industries. Real estate is also the largest contributor to the global GDP. Venture investors poured over $18 billion into real estate Proptech between 2015 to 2017. Compare that to 2015 when $1.8 billion was invested in the category. Companies such as Softbank invested $4.4 billion in WeWork and hundreds of millions in Compass and Opendoor. With global Proptech funding rising 36 percent each year we can clearly expect more investment in the sector in 2019.

    In real estate technology, listing sites and online marketplaces have dominated the past two decades. But going forward, real estate services will come under the influence of technology. Everything associated with buying, selling, renting, and managing real estate assets. Services represent 69% of US consumer spending, however, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that only 7% of services were primarily digital, meaning they used the internet for transactions.

    “While the first phase of the internet has been about creating marketplaces for goods, the next phase will be about reinventing the service economy. Startups will build on the lessons and tactics to crack the toughest service industries – including regulated markets that have withstood digital transformation for decades.”

    Andrew Chen
    Partner at Venture Capital firm a16z

    Bringing technology and automation into the offline logistics of real estate will increase transparency, the speed of the transaction, and trust in the market. Many traditional listing sites and marketplaces will likely enter the services marketplace model to gain more loyal, recurring customers and revenue. The lifetime value of a customer in real estate services can be very profitable, thus attractive to startups or incumbents needing to diversify revenue streams. 

    This is fueled by the use of big data to observe and project growth in areas such as real estate investments, trends, projections in property value, and cost of ownership.

    For rental property homeowners, Poplar Homes is powered by technology to assist leasing and management operations by automating processes for a more efficient rental experience. Poplar’s leasing process is simplified by listing the property on Poplar’s website which is immediately marketed on over 20++ different websites, compared to the traditional method of manually listing the property, which could take days.

    The value of Proptech goes deeper than increasing efficiency. As a technology-driven rental service, Poplar can give a recommended listing price that combines historic rental market trends to similar listings in your area through a comparable rental report.

    We’ve written a guide to show you how to conduct a comparable rental market analysis yourself. 

    The value that Proptech delivers will continue to grow as more companies invest in the industry. Entering 2019, we can expect to see the industry climb, mature, and shake out smaller companies in the sector.

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    Trend 4: Rental property homeowners are concerned about property maintenance, vacancy, cash flow, and property value.

    Homeowner’s Primary Concerns in Owning Rental Property

    Poplar Homes RentalRadar Report – Quarter 4 2018

    Rental property homeowners primary concern for owning rental property is maintenance, vacancy, sufficient cash flow, and property value. This was found when we asked our homeowners what their primary concerns are in owning rental property. Interestingly enough, the top two responses dramatically affect the profitability of a rental home. Maintenance costs can be difficult to predict and costly to service. Vacancy costs can quickly kill rental profits.

    Our leasing and maintenance teams at Poplar understand these pain points that homeowners like yourself go through. This is why we’ve developed a rental solution that offers upfront maintenance with no additional fees from our trusted and licensed maintenance vendors. We’ve also been able to lease over 6,000 properties in 75 cities through our premiere listing services through on-demand showings.

    To find out how you can save 60 percent on property management fees, you can get a free rent estimate to see how much your rental property is worth. 

    Trend 5: Apartment amenities rise in popularity

    As the competition for housing continues to rise, home builders, apartment developers will double down on adding amenities in their homes. The numbers show that renters would pay 55 percent more for electronic locks. It’s also found that 47 percent of renters request media rooms, and 60 percent of renters would pay more for secured monthly parking.

    In most apartment buildings in metropolitan areas, renters expect amenities included in their rent. In 2019, you can expect to see more housing developments with larger investments in community building and amenities.

    In a competitive housing market, it is a good sight to see landlords think of satisfying renters’ demands first.

    Trend 6: A new focus of renewable energy in new housing developments


    The popularity in renewable energy has spiked since its initial introduction with solar panels. In 2016, renewable sources, such as wind and solar, made up two-thirds of new power, measured by The International Energy Agency.

    Countries such as China is leading the effort to improve renewable energy adoption. China is the world’s market leader in hydropower, bioenergy, and electric vehicles. They’ve planned a five-year plan to increase non-fossil energy to 15 percent by 2020. This has resulted in China accounting for roughly half of the expansion of renewable energy in 2016.

    Domestically in the United States, California is leading the focus of renewable energy in new housing developments. On May 9, 2018, California required solar panels on most new homes built after January 2020, making California the first state to require solar installations on single-family and multi-family buildings. This is part of the State’s Green Building Standards Code by the California Energy Commision.

    “These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country […] It’s the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.”

    Kent Sasaki
    State Government Commissioner

    While the effects of solar panels will not fully hit until 2020, homeowners and renters can expect to see a sudden rise in building developments with solar energy proposals in 2019. Potential effects of this new requirement are rises in construction costs, decreases in energy bills, and a lower carbon footprint that can increase housing costs. 

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