An analysis of West Virginia’s most recent demographic data reveals a State that is stable and predictable. The market exhibits the following characteristics:
- The highest rate of home ownership in the nation
- #7 ranking for the percent of population living in the state of birth
- Population growth of 0.6% between April 2000 and July 2009
The slow, steady growth in West Virginia should be viewed not as inhibiting investment but as a variable in one’s market assessment that can be easily quantified. As a net lease investor, this should provide confidence that with careful analysis, any fluctuations in this growth factor should not be enough to jeopardize your investment’s success.
For certain net lease tenants that target lower income households, such as Dollar General, this is especially auspicious. West Virginia’s high rate of home ownership creates a large base of Dollar General’s target demographic that is largely immobile. This strong demand will likely mean continued growth of net leased tenants like Dollar General and similar tenants in the West Virginia Market.
It is no secret there is a scarcity of high quality inventory in primary markets. This is leading to a “downward compression of cap rates across all sectors.” If this trend continues, the strength of these markets will no longer justify the inflated price tags and slim yields of the assets themselves. Opportunistic net lease investors will need to begin looking beyond these supply constrained markets to have any chance of earning a superior risk-adjusted rate of return.
West Virginia net lease investment represents the opportunity to realize property value appreciation while still delivering a secure stream of cash flows. The State benefits from the same creditworthy tenants that make up the nation’s primary markets and West Virginia banks enjoy the eighth highest ROA in the country. For the willing investor, there should be plenty of opportunities that have been overlooked in this thinly traded market.