Market Research - City Financial Report
Search for CAFR and the city you want to know about for the annual financial reports the city produces.
My ultimate goal is to add value to apartment owners and help make their investments more successful. A large part of my focus is on building upkeep and decisions around a course of action related to that.
I also enjoy doing market research. I keep tabs on news reports, city rankings, and any other information that I can get my hands on about the city I am investing in or thinking about investing in. I go to networking events often and being someone who has invested out-of-state, the question about market research often comes up.
We have some huge advantages as average investors that people before us did not have.
Those advantages are data and instant communication of images or video. Both of these things add a huge level of safety that those before the flood of data and texting did not have.
I am highlighting the "CAFR" (Comprehensive annual financial report) that cities are required to do each year. They have great information to look into, are presented in a Pdf format, and as you are more comfortable with the document, you can jump around searching for terms you are interested in.
The CAFR is going to be where some large brokerages pull information to present their commercial properties. I was impressed by graphs about industry breakdown and stats about population I saw on one companies' very professional looking flyer for an apartment complex.
I wondered to myself how big of a team researching an area and creating marketing it took to put together all of that detail.
I later found those exact graphs and information in the city report as I learned more about sources to look into a market!
You can find the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report by doing a web search for the terms with the city name and CAFR.
The city I was first looking into was Fresno, California.
Here is a link to the 2017 CAFR for Fresno: https://www.fresno.gov/finance/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2018/01/2017-FINAL-Web-CAFR-Secured-BM.pdf
Below is just a little information that you can find in the report:
This shows growth in sales and employment, but also shows that there is a bit of building activity going on. You have to draw your own conclusions about what you feel are indicators you like for an investment.
This is a section highlighting Fresno as the only city in California to have over-funded their pension obligations. Other cities will have to figure out ways to bring in more funds to meet those obligations at some point.
I urge you to look up the CAFR from the city you live in first. Search for population, unemployment, and permits as basic starting points before looking at the table of contents and exploring other metrics further.
Best of luck in your investments!