I just got back from IMN’s 5th Annual Single Family Rental Investment Forum in Miami, Florida. I was on a panel there speaking. What I enjoy about these events is that I get to network with people from all around the country and even out of the country and talk about the future of real estate investing, what is happening in the markets, the tightening of inventory, the growing rental pool, the effects of policy, monetary and fiscal, as well as geopolitical events. There’s just a mixed bag of topics. It’s all fascinating. This is a good segue into today’s show. Sometimes I talk to you about tactical items, whether it be asset protection or evaluating a neighborhood or finding a good deal. But you need to counter that with understanding some strategic related topics. It’s good to understand the tactical side of things, but it’s also good to understand the bigger picture, the strategic items, things that can or will affect your real estate investing, the strategy you have, where you invest, when you invest, that kind of stuff.
Today’s show is more about macroeconomic stuff. We’re bouncing all over the place talking about different subjects but they all tie in. It’s good to have that big picture, 50,000 foot level view, of your real estate investing. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t have property yet or you only have one property or maybe you have a large portfolio of a hundred units. It doesn’t matter. You just need to understand this even if it’s at a high level.
Thomas Friedman, he is a US journalist but he’s really an author and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. He’s a very smart guy. He’s written many books on the subject of world events, economics, geopolitics, and how that all plays into the US economy. I like one of his quotes. He said, “In Globalization 1.0, which began in 1492, the world went from the size large to size medium. In Globalization 2.0, the era that introduced us to multinational companies, it went from size medium to size small. Then somewhere around the year 2000 came Globalization 3.0. At that point, the world went from being small to tiny.” You can see that the smaller the world gets, the more we are affected and impacted by events that happen outside of our borders.
All real estate may be local but that doesn’t necessarily shield one market from major events occurring thousands of miles away. In today’s global economy, important geopolitical events have consequences that can easily ripple across the planet. It can and will affect you. Election results, economic policies and international relations all have spillover effects on global real estate, whether directly or indirectly. These create incentives for buyers to be drawn toward or even repelled from various geographic markets. You’ve got to watch these bigger picture items because it can give you clues as to when or why to move into a market or when or why to move out of particular markets.
Some factors are purely financial in nature, like changes in currency values or tax treatments. For example, the provincial government of British Columbia in Canada imposed a 15% tax on foreign investment last August. That’s a law that would have added $300,000 to the price of a $2 million home in the Vancouver market. We all know that Vancouver is very, very expensive. It’s much like the San Francisco market here in the US. There are many parallels to that. There’s a lot of investment capital coming in from other countries, foreign capital. As a result of this tax, house prices in the area fell 5.3% in November and that’s the largest monthly decline since 2012. From January 2016 to January 2017, house prices in Vancouver fell a whopping 18.9%, that’s almost 19% in one year. It reduced the foreign investment rate from 13% prior to August of last year to a low of about 4% right now. The foreign investment