Seattle and Los Angeles are also poised for a rebound, he said. Places like these that are “supply-restricted” tend to snap back fairly quickly if they have a strong economic base.
Texas is an example of an area with a strong economic base that is not restricted in terms of housing supply, so Boud does not see the Lone Star State as a prime investment opportunity. He sees downward pressure in the near-term continuing in Phoenix and Las Vegas, and says that places like Salt Lake City and Denver “entered the down cycle a little bit later than most and will be a little bit slower coming back.” He cited Sacramento as having poor prospects because its economy is so tied to California’s government, which is expected to shed jobs for some time to come.
The most distressed housing markets like Las Vegas, where it is reported that a majority of homes are now bought with cash, the foreclosure market presents a business opportunity. “What we’re seeing is a lot of investors, those who are relatively wealthy, purchasing homes at very low prices and putting renters in them,” says Boud. “The rental rate is higher than the mortgage rate, so investors can be in the black right way.” Boud says buying foreclosed properties and renting them for five years is “a viable business plan” for those willing to be a landlord, and it also helps the economy by reducing the supply of distressed homes.
Aside from short-term investing opportunities, Boud is most enthusiastic about the long-term, saying, “There are drivers in place that can create an economic cycle such as we have never seen.” Just as the world has seen an industrial age and an information age, the next wave will be an energy age, he says, arguing that energy-efficient housing can lead the way. Boud says there will be a very large multiplier effect if we build homes with both energy conservation features–solar panels, high-efficiency HVAC systems and LED lighting –and energy-producing capacity through fuel cells and wind turbines that produce electricity.