Real estate data provider RealtyTrac conjured some numbers to support what everyone already knows or suspects— that, as a developer or landlord, investing in rental housing in “hipster” nabes is a solid idea. Chicago gets three hits on RealtyTrac’s just-published top 25 list of hip zips for high return on rental properties, in descending rank: 60625 (Ravenswood, Albany Park); 60647 (Logan Square, Bucktown); and 60642 (Noble Square, River West, Goose Island). Yup, they got all the usual suspects. The above chart, interactive and expandable at the source, shows the equation for investment success in “nascent hipster markets”: a high proportion of 25-34 year-olds; a ready stock of renters; a low vacancy rate; and a climbing but still low median home price relative to average rents. Wouldn’t you know it— these are the basic conditions for any successful rental investment, almost anywhere. Why all the fuss over hipsters? Probably because the “culture” that follows this trendy group around usually matches up closely to rapid gentrification. In other words, it’s the hipster as beacon. For the frugal renter trying to stay away from big money, there’s a different use for this list. Stay tuned for follow-up RealtyTrac analysis on “top hipster zips for fix-and-flip profits.”
While hipster may appear to be a lifestyle choice, this article is a reminder of the economic conditions involving hipsters. They also have money and are interested in moving into less-than-perfect neighborhoods that have the appropriate grittiness and authenticity. Thus, a savvy investor might find properties in neighborhoods on the rise and with the influx of hipsters make some money.
It would be interesting to then look at how these investment work out over time. Getting in at the right point is important but how does that investment then work out over a long period of time? What happens when hipsters stop moving in or the neighborhood is no longer the hot one? We need to see not only this data but a ROI curve.