J.D. Stricklen, who works with Stricklen Properties and is director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Charleston, a local chapter of the National Association of Homebuilders, said the rental business is "through the roof right now.
"We're a real estate developer, investors, brokers.Rentals go down when house sales go up.That's what we like with being diversified," he
company has invested in its rental housing through the years, and has no rental units available right now.
"Most of what we own we've built over the past three or four decades, and we currently have three under construction.Right now we have one unit empty and that will be leased tomorrow." Stricklen
said that's rare, since the company usually deals with several hundred units.They've already started pre-renting units under construction.
Even if home sales start to pick up again, he
said, the Charleston area's housing stock has become dated and people will still want better rental units.
"There's not been a lot of rental units built in the last 20 years because of depreciation rates.Rentals were a good tax shelter in the '70s, but those loopholes have long since closed," he
said."I find that a lot of these rental houses are being gobbled up right now on the sales market." Stricklen
said that West Virginia probably won't see a lot of rental units added to the market due to foreclosures, but in states such as Arizona, Nevada and California "a lot of those foreclosures will be converted to rentals, because the banks can't let them sit vacant."
The biggest problem statewide in the rental market is real estate taxes, Stricklen
said, because West Virginia basically has only two real estate tax classifications, owner-occupied or non owner-occupied rates.Owner-occupied properties are taxed at roughly half the rate of rentals, he
"For our apartments, we have to charge more rent because real estate taxes are so high," Stricklen
Renters are paying the same rate as large commercial companies, he