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According to the most current reports, the best markets for buying residential rentals are in Georgia, Maryland, Virginia and Michigan.


Markets with the highest potential rental returns were Clayton County, Ga., in the Atlanta metro area (25.83 percent), Bibb County, Ga., in the Macon metro area (22.33 percent), Baltimore City, Md., (20.99 percent), Richmond City, Va., (20.42 percent) and Wayne County, Michigan, in the Detroit metro area (19.34 percent).


With homeownership rates at their lowest level in 20 years, historically low levels of housing starts and relatively low home prices in many parts of the country, there is still plenty of opportunity in the U.S. housing market for single family rental investors employing a variety of investing strategies.  Whether focusing on markets where homeownership-shy millennials are migrating, markets where recovering Gen X homeowners-turned-renters are prevalent, or markets Baby Boomers are testing for retirement, investors can find good options with solid potential rental returns.


For this report, Realty Trac analyzed median sales prices for single family homes and condos and average fair market rents for three bedroom properties along with unemploymet rates and demographic trends in 516 U.S. counties with a combined population of 236 million people -- 76 percent of the total U.S. population.  


The 516-county analysis found an average potential return on residential rental properties of 9.04 percent in the first quarter of 2015, down slightly from an average potential annual return of 9.06 percent for residential rentals purchased in the third quarter of 2014 -- the most recent residential rental property report issued by Realty Trac.