QE is the most destructive policy for housing in world history. – Dr. Peter Linneman Good for apartments?

Was on NAI Global’s call with Peter Linneman, their chief economist who had some very interesting things to say for apartment building and commercial real estate investors yesterday. Note he’s an actual real estate guy as well as a Wharton professor and I would have lobbied for a better job title at NAI with his background.

First is about the bombshell quote from above. Linneman said there are many studies about home buying that show the down payment is the issue not the mortgage payment and disputes the whole people buy a monthly payment thing.

If I don’t have the downpayment it doesn’t matter what the interest rate is.

Young people are having a very hard time saving for a downpayment at zero percent interest and their parents and grandparents can’t afford to help at zero percent interest on their savings either.  Linneman summed it up by putting it in a golfing context: It’s not the green fees it’s the club membership that make it expensive. Japan is the poster child for this bad policy, they’ve been doing QE for twenty five years and it’s done nothing to fix their problems.

The most interesting thing from a multifamily perspective was that he believes we’re at the beginning of the capital cycle for CRE including apartments:

apartment building investment loans a beginning of long up cycle

He also believes that cap rates will Read more

Apartment Market Tightness, Equtiy Financing Slide Backwards in Latest NMHC Survey

The National Multihousing Council’s (NMHC) latest apartment investment survey out today has market tightness falling to 52 from 68 last quarter. With 50 representing the better vs. worse divide, results show respondents are feeling the bite of new supply plus a bit of seasonal slowdown as well I sense:

NMHC Apartment Investment Survey October 2014

Source: NMHC

While the Sales Volume and Debt Financing measures both improved, Equity Financing also slipped. As you can see from the charts above the results tend to be noisy and I suspect that with the survey format it carries a few behavioral biases as well. You can see that the world was ending according to Read more

It’s a 3 cap but it’s a Sweet 3 cap and if we jack rents 13% year 1…

Do the pitches you’re getting on apartment investment deals sound like this lately?

LOL but true right? Have a great weekend; we’ll think about what happened last time prices got this crazy next week-

Skate to where the apartment building investment puck is going: Top US markets for future population and job growth.

A lot of the usual suspects when it comes to multifamily markets have moved pretty far into their cycles and if your home area is like ours ti’s getting pretty fully priced. With our value investor mindset that means we’re looking for the next markets to do well over the coming 10-20 years. As apartment building investors we say:

Show Me The Apartment Building Investment Markets

Fortunately two different sources provided data and maps to answer Jerry’s demand. The first is from the NAHB (the National Association of Home Builders) in an Eye On Housing piece called Uneven Aging. The report actually has two maps, the first showing the 2000 to 2010 growth in the Read more

More important than unemployment for apartment building investors?

We all know that jobs are a critical driver of the apartment building investment cycle and so we dutifully follow along with the talking heads when the unemployment number is estimated, released and then its potent debated.  But Mike Scott over at Dupre+Scott points out in a piece posted Friday that apartment building investors should be following employment, not unemployment. Specifically he recommends measuring how many jobs it takes to create demand for one apartment unit. Currently in King County (where Seattle is the county seat and where Dupre+Scott is located) it takes about 8 jobs to do that:

jobs required to fill one multifamily unit

Source: http://www.duprescott.com Note that we compressed Mike’s four charts into one for brevity.

The formula is simple: Net new jobs / apartment units absorbed. And if you’re an multifamily investor in the tri-county area (King, Pierce and Snohomish in WA State) that Dupre+Scott provides apartment investment research for, they’d be happy to supply you this information http://www.duprescott.com.

Looking at the chart we can see that while currently it takes about eight jobs to fill one unit it wasn’t always so and in fact the twenty year average is closer to nine. Mike explains Read more

Job growth vs. revenue growth chart of top apartment building investment markets in the US- updated.

Back in February we posted an Axiometrics chart plotting the revenue growth vs. job growth in leading apartment investment markets in the US. They were out last week with an updated chart but not just in the way we might think since the numbers are Axiometrics’ 2013 forecasts for revenue and job growth updated through May this year. To me the real ‘update’ is that they reversed the axises on the chart and I think it makes more sense laid out this way:

Job Growth and Rent Growth for Apartment Building Investment

Click for full size image. Source: Axiometrics

Before I get sidetracked onto a long discussion on the importance of understanding just Read more

The ‘Twin Peaks’ of Seattle Apartment Building Investment Plus MPF Research says rent growth holding strong there.

Friday twofer on Seattle. First is Dupre+Scott’s  entertaining and enlightening video on apartment building construction and property sales:

Mike has two nice charts showing apartment development numbers back to 1988 and sales volume back to 1981. Note that on the sales volume chart 2013 numbers are Read more

Who is buying all those properties and what does it mean for the apartment building investment cycle?

Mark Hickey of CoStar put out a piece looking at who was responsible for the near record $65.8B of apartment building investment in 2012. CoStar’s numbers show that private owners/developers did just about half of all acquisitions last year and institutions were in for 12%, both near their recent trends. REITs on the other hand increased their share by a third, responsible for 12% of sales volume last year.

Interestingly the sellers were pretty much the same groups, except REITs who were the largest net buyers last year.

Apartment Building Investment by REITs 2004 to 2012

Last year REITs raised 15x the equity they did in 2008 (and 20x the total capital). Up against pockets that deep Read more

Local Apartment Building Investment Research Reports For 37 US Cities Now Posted by Marcus & Millichap

Requires (free) registration: M&M Research

Here’s a peek at their Phoenix Charts:

Phoenix Apartment Building Rent Trends Q2 2013

Phoenix Apartment Building Vacancy Q2 2013

Phoenix Apartment Building Construction Q2 2013 Read more

Apartment Building Replacement Costs Rising: lumber back to housing boom highs, growing labor shortages.

The NAHB has a piece out called Producer Prices in March – Building Materials Prices Approaching Housing Boom Highs talking about how far gypsum (main ingredient in drywall +18%), softwood lumber (2x4s, 2x6s, etc. +30%) and chipboard (oriented strand board and waferboard which have replaced plywood, joists and beams in many applications +68%) prices have risen in the last year, the chart tells the story:

Apartment Building Material Prices 2012 to Mar 2013

Click on chart for full size image.

Bill McBride over at Calculated Risk has a piece showing the longer term price history for Random Length Lumber (2x4s only, both cash and futures) and a link to a pretty depressing Vancouver Sun article on pine beetle devastation in BC (Spoiler alert: the Read more

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