Portland unemployment drops to lowest in 3 yrs. Good for #Multifamily Via @hfo_apt_brokers

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

Thanks to Greg Frick at HFO in PDX

Multifamily rental construction definitely the brightest sector in housing market.

See the Housing Wire piece here:

Seattle Apartment Building Investment Cycle peaking or just taking a breather?

In his Q4 report on the Seattle multifamily market ARA’s Jim Claeys says:

Vacancies and Concessions UP

Absorption and Rents DOWN

New Construction Pipeline UP 140% from year ago

Also Home and Condo Sales UP 41, 70% respectively

Sounds kind of like the cycle is moving to the next phase doesn’t it? See the whole article here: This may be a good time for developers to reassess their projections

FHA Streamlines Approvals on Multifamily loans less than $25M/250 units.

“It’s a huge help,” says Jonathan Camps, managing director of production for Washington, D.C.-based Love Funding.

In the past, any loan of at least $15 million, or any deal of more than 150 units, had to go through the FHA’s National Loan Committee. That threshold has been dialed up to $25 million, or 250 units.

What’s more, any existing FHA-insured loan looking to refinance through the Sec. 223(f) program no longer needs to go through either the regional or the national loan committee.

Good news indeed! See the whole article here: FHA Streamlines Multifamily Loan Approvals

Top 10 Tips for Acquiring Distressed Multifamily Properties

Nice article in MHN Online, good tips and reminders. There are still plenty of properties worth less than the debt, and there are more foreclosures to come. Most of the distressed multifamily properties are B, C and D class properties. These properties can provide great returns with cap rates from 8 percent to 12 percent on existing income, and in most cases have plenty of vacancy for even more upside.

My top two that apply to all properties distressed or otherwise:

Good management: Distressed B, C and D properties require experienced and diligent asset and property management. Your management team should be top notch. Your turnaround plan should be realistic and properly implemented.

Talented leasing staff: Your leasing team should be properly motivated and for lease marketing extremely thorough. You want a well-thought-out, multi-disciplined lease up plan to stabilize properties in this cycle.

See the article here: http://bit.ly/xW6fZp

Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook “Recession in 2012”.

Housington Investment Management runs about $4B in fixed income institutional money so they pay very close attention to the economy, government as well as fiscal and monetary policy. In fact Dr. Lacy Hunt, co-author of the report, is one of Mauldin’s most highly regarded economists. Here’s the exec sum (see the whole article at http://bit.ly/wM9DIY):

High Debt Leads to Recession

As the U.S. economy enters 2012, the gross government debt to GDP ratio stands near 100% (Chart 1). Nominal GDP in the fourth quarter was an estimated $15.3 trillion, approximately equal to debt outstanding by the federal government. In an exhaustive historical study of high debt level economies around the world, (National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 15639 of January 2010, Growth in the Time of Debt), Professors Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart [Again with those two!] econometrically demonstrated that when a country’s gross government debt rises above 90% of GDP, “the median growth rates fall by one percent, and Continue reading Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook “Recession in 2012”.

DC Multifamily sales surge to $4.7B in 2011, up 1.1B from 2010.

By Daniel J. Sernovitz Staff Reporter – Washington Business Journal

I believe this quote from the article reflects an important trend in multifamily, indeed all residential development, re-development and infill: “People are paying a premium to be within a one-block radius of a Metro station, and properties within walking distance of Metro stations continue to be a strong lure for investors,”…

One thing the article doesn’t cover is where prices are vis-a-vis replacement cost… makes me wonder where they are in their apartment market cycle-

See the whole article here: DC Multifamily Sales Surge in 2011

Record Rent Growth & Q4 Demand in Dallas/Fort Worth Multifamily Markets: Video

Year-over-year rent growth reached a two-decade high in the Dallas/Fort Worth apartment market. And demand in 4th quarter — typically a slow leasing period — was unusually strong.Record Multifamily Rent Growth in DFW

Apartment Building Investments still attractive for 2012 says Gary Shilling.

Gary likes small luxuries, health care and apartments among investment sectors.

On Apartments: “last year our index of apartment REITs gained 14%. This year we look for further gains in rental apartment prices and securities related to them. Rental apartments will continue to benefit from the separation that Americans are beginning to make between their abodes and their investments. The two used to be combined in owner-occupied houses back when owners believed house prices never fall, and they hadn’t since the 1930s. So they bought the biggest homes they could finance. The collapse in house prices has shown them otherwise. A further 20% weakness in the prices of single-family houses due to the depressing effects of excess inventories will add fat to the fire.

It will take a surprisingly small shift in housing patterns to make a big difference in the demand for and construction of rental apartments. Today, there are 114 million housing units in the U.S., of which 38 million are rented. If only one percent of total households decided to move to rented units, the demand for rentals would increase by over one million, most of which would need to be newly built apartments, after current vacancies are absorbed. This is a big number compared to new apartment starts of 333,000 on average over the past 10 years. To put it another way, each 1% decline in the homeownership rate increases rentals by more than one million, to the extent those ex-homeowners don’t double up.

Rental apartments will also appeal to the growing number of postwar babies as they retire, downsize and want less responsibility and more leisure time.

See all of Gary’s picks in this edition of John Mauldin’s Outside The Box

Multifamily’s Future in 2012

Amid limited supply and demand edging up, market conditions for the multifamily sector should be favorable in 2012 but Europe is a wildcard for the economy.  Demographics support demand says Ron Witten, president of Witten Advisors; “The data suggests that somewhere over 60 percent of the jobs created in 2010 and 2011 have been 20- to 34-year-olds going to work. That’s very good news for the apartment sector.” See more at: http://bit.ly/Aq73Sf