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McClatchy-Tribune  08/17/2014 12:01 AM ET
Zillow: Big profits for mom-and-pop landlords in South Florida [Sun Sentinel :: ]

Aug. 17--Mom-and-pop landlords are making robust returns in South Florida, a new report says.

Real estate website ranks the region as the country's second-best market for residential landlords who aren't professional investors.

Mom-and-pops in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties earn an average monthly profit of $515, behind only Oklahoma City ($536). Tulsa, Okla., was a distant third at $396.

South Florida landlords are cashing in on a white-hot rental market. Since June 2013, rents in the tri-county area have jumped 5.8 percent, well ahead of the national rate of 2.5 percent, Zillow economist Skylar Olsen said.

"And we expect the short-term income flow will continue to improve as rental payments go up," she said.

Zillow calculated profits based on the difference between rental income and mortgage payments on a median-priced home. The Seattle-based firm accounted for property and income taxes, maintenance and vacancies.

Zillow considers mom-and-pop landlords people who own just one property, and renting it is not their full-time business.

Thousands of South Florida homeowners became landlords during the housing bust. The Zillow report suggests they're in a better financial position now than they could have imagined.

But some landlords who bought at the pricing peak are still struggling.

Mike Ablack, who rents the Coral Springs townhome he bought in 2005, falls just short of breaking even each month, in part because he doesn't want to raise the rent and risk losing a good tenant.

"I'm sure there are people out there making a killing," Ablack said. "But to me, it doesn't make sense to raise the rent $50 and create animosity.", 561-243-6529 or Twitter @paulowers


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