When you consider investing with a Lead Investor in a certain market, you must evaluate how strong the market is. Don’t let the flashy OM (Offering Memorandum) fool you. You absolutely have to know the market. It seems like a lot of work but, in the Internet Age today, the information is at the tip of your fingers. All you have to do is know what you are looking for. In this article, I will lay out the critical factors that will help you determine what to look for, as well as where to find the answers.
Let's start with the five main factors that you must take into consideration when you evaluate a market:
1. Population growth – A solid market is one that has population growth. Markets that have flat or negative population growth can indicate a problem, while markets that continuously have people moving into them is a sign that there will be more demand for apartments. One of the markets with the highest population growth is Dallas, TX, while the Providence, RI market has shown no significant population growth at all.
Where to find information? Simply Google it! For example, search “Jacksonville population” and you’ll see the trend. Focus on the last 5-10 years.
2. Job Growth – Population usually follows jobs, and a great market is one that adds many new jobs each year. I usually look for markets with an unemployment rate that is lower than the national average (4.1%). In addition to evaluating the city job growth, you need to pay attention to any major industry or employer that may be responsible for more than 25% of the market, because if the dominant industry or employer is in trouble so is your property (due to layoffs). A solid market is one that has steady job growth and a diverse economy.