A recent report from New York–based commercial real estate research firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA) reveals that apartment sales figures closed out 2011 on a positive note. The firm’s “2011 Year in Review” report shows that the fourth quarter of 2011 netted $16.6 billion in sales, the highest quarterly volume racked up since 2007. This marks a 16 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 24 percent bump from fourth-quarter apartment sales in 2010. Among the more optimistic data revealed in the report was the rebound of garden-sector sales.
Garden properties ended up 47 percent ahead of the 2010 figures, and it appears that the sales momentum experienced in the fourth quarter will carry over into the first quarter this year. “Given the stable cap rate environment for garden properties, compared to sinking caps in mid-/high-rise, that trend is likely to continue in 2012,” projects Thypin.
The American economy is making a significant shift from buying to renting, and that may ultimately be good news. According to a USA Today analysis of Census data released this weekend, since 2006, the number of households that rent has grown by about 700,000 a year, while the number of households that own has fallen by about 200,000 a year.
[R]enting is better than owning for many Americans. Indeed, dozens of recent studies have shown that, excepting the go-go bubble years, houses tend not to make very good investments at all: A prospective homebuyer would have made more money taking her down payment, parking it in inflation-adjusted Treasury bonds, and renting.
But it is conclusive: Not everyone should own a home. The recession has helped erode the stigma against renting, with about 70 percent of Americans now admitting that it has advantages over buying a house. If people are making unsentimental decisions about whether homeownership is really worth it for them, that is at least one small benefit of the housing bubble bursting.
Zero interest rates and apartment building investment.
First my condolences to Bill Gross on the loss of his brother-in-law. Reading his piece in PIMCO’s latest Investment Outlook it is clear that the world’s biggest bond manager is running out of places to generate returns for their investors and by extension this applies to all income investors, especially retired people trying to live on interest income. For those would like to retire soon you may have to delay that decision for “an extended period’ as Edward Harrison over at Credit Writedowns put it in Permanent Zero and Personal Interest Income.
Gross’ points out that the Fed’s zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) which they have just announced to maintain through 2014 and their defacto though opaque continuation of quantitative easing (QE2.5 as he tweeted it) threaten to take us into another dimension where their policies have the opposite effect of their intentions.
“Much like the laws of physics change from the world of Newtonian large objects to the world of quantum Einsteinian dynamics, so too might low interest rates at the zero-bound reorient previously held models that justified the stimulative effects of lower and lower yields on asset prices and the real economy.” – Bill Gross
His bullet points:
Recent central bank behavior, including that of the U.S. Fed, provides assurances that short and intermediate yields will not change, and therefore bond prices are not likely threatened on the downside.
Most short to intermediate Treasury yields are dangerously close to the zero-bound which imply limited potential room, if any, for price appreciation.
We can’t put $100 trillion of credit in a system-wide mattress, but we can move in that direction by delevering and refusing to extend maturities and duration.
Little new apartment construction and surging demand has created a shortfall of 2.5 million units, the largest the nation has seen in more than a half-century, according to research from Nareit, a trade group for real-estate investment trusts.
As we’ve reported, apartment landlords are seeing vacancy rates decline as more Americans rent by choice or necessity. In the fourth quarter, apartment vacancy fell to the lowest rate since late 2001, with the national rate dropping to 5.2% from 6.6% a year earlier, according to Reis Inc. The vacancy rate had risen as high as 8% in 2009.
Pent-up demand could pull that rate even lower. According to Nareit, the normal rate of household formation is about 1.2% annually. But, with the sour economy in the last four years, the rate plunged to about 0.5%, as people delayed moving out and opted to live with roommates and parents longer. This has created an unmet demand of about 2 million households, “about three times what it has been in previous business cycles,”… See the whole article here
A common theme adopted by the industry is that lenders continue to delay action on distressed assets for as long as possible.
The fact is that this scenario is borrower-specific. If a borrower is acting in good faith, the lender may allow the asset to continue operating, resulting in a commercial property “Twilight Zone.”
The Twilight Zone is made up of properties on which loans have defaulted or in which default is likely imminent, but the borrower is still willing to provide all available cash flow to the lender, even if it is not enough to cover the payments. The lender agrees to accept net rents and, in turn, keeps the building operational, albeit in a limbo period.
Gen Y—those between the ages of 16 to 33—represents about 25 percent of the population in the country and is now larger than the baby boomer generation, which is shrinking
The Gen Y group keeps getting larger for a number of reasons, including the fact that immigrants to the United States typically come as young adults—and rent. This group is expected to continue to expand over the next 15 years.
Through 2017, she adds, there are going to be more than 4.3 million people turning 22 each year (though analysts used to use 18 as the age people left home, young people have delayed forming new households). This number is expected to remain above 4 million until 2025. And, of course, fewer people looking to purchase a home also bodes well for the multi-housing industry.
Great advice from Barry Sternlicht plus much, much more on real estate, investment, capital, leadership, opportunity, Europe, China while speaking at the Schack real estate conference. He is one very smart guy while being personable and humble, a rare but valuable combination. Reminds me a bit of my virtual mentor Tom Barrack, and not just because of the haircut! Barry even mentions wanting to learn how to surf, something Tom could definitely help with.
The Oregonian reports data from the state employment department about the Portland-area’s unemployment level falling to 8.6 percent, its lowest in three years.
Meanwhile, most people are still unaware of a report issued last month by the Oregon Employment Department forecasting an 18 percent increase in employment statewide in the coming decade. See the post here: http://bit.ly/yxMb1y