As a value guy like you it’s hard to figure out how buying something in the sixes on cap rate works out to be a good deal. But what if the Fed is trapped at the Zero Lower Bound and we are turning Japanese? Their ‘Lost Decade’ is now old enough to graduate with a Master’s degree and we’re following the exact same playbook. I offer last week’s Fed decision as exhibit #1. They would dearly love to raise rates just to prove they can but there’s just thin ice between us and
What a month it was for apartment building investment loan rates. The week we were all wondering How is Columbus Day Still a Thing? The 10yr rate we track fell to a low of 4.139% with the spread between it and the 10yr Treasury (T10) breaking below 2% to 1.929 (See below for details on both). I have to hand it to the ULI, they’re good. They had just said:
In more good news for apartment building investors, both the 10 year Treasury and apartment loan rates have moderated since the Fed’s “non-taper” announcement in mid-September. The spread between the T10 and the 10 year apartment loan rate we track has come in as well. Since 9/16 the Treasury has drifted down from 2.88% to yesterday’s quote of 2.53% while the loan rate has moved from 5.282 down to 4.921, bringing the spread in to 2.381 from 2.402. The average spread for 2013 has also narrowed to 2.573%:
10 year apartment building loan rates had been in a range the last few weeks until Ben Bernanke ‘failed to taper’ last Wednesday causing the bellwether 10 Year Treasury to fall about a dozen basis points to today’s quote of 2.72%. This is good news for apartment building investors, home buyers and builders, stock market speculators, just about everyone except savers, retirees and the people running retirement plans. The upside is that loan rates may head lower but the downside is the economy and particularly employment haven’t improved enough to ease off the money printing pedal.
Here’s the latest chart showing the T10, the 10 year fixed apartment rate we track and the spread between the two:
This week’s quote for a 10 year fixed rate, 30 year amortization apartment loan is 5.131%. (See below for more detail on this loan). The other thing noticeable on the chart is that the spread between the rates has been below the yearly average consistently since the beginning of July. In fact the average spread has fallen to 2.602 from 2.661 over that period. Partly because 4.5% was about as low apartment rates were going to go no matter how far down Treasuries went but also I think that lenders are getting more aggressive, especially in the multifamily sector.
Only twice in the last forty five years has the level gotten this high without a recession following soon after. The chart is usually updated only once a month but I check it every week, especially since it had risen. When I checked this week I got quite a shock because the high levels I had seen earlier had disappeared:
The rate on the 10yr fixed (30yr amortization) apartment building loan we track stayed in the 5.0-5.1% range for the second week while the spread to the 10yr Treasury remained in the 240 area, still lower than the 2013 average of 264:
In the Analysis on Tapering QE3 post Tuesday I included a chart of the US 10 year Treasury rates and you could see them going vertical in the days since the Fed announcement and Bernanke’s press conference last week. We’re in the middle of negotiations on an apartment acquisition with a client and so what interest rates do over the next few days and weeks is extremely important to us. So here’s the updated chart:
Bill McBride over at Calculated Risk stares at this stuff all day and has a pretty good track record reading the Fed’s tea leaves. He believes that actual ‘tapering’ of QE3 purchases most likely won’t start before December although there is a slight possibility that it could happen in September if…..
3rd Qtr. GDP rose enough to make 2013 growth look like it will hit the low to mid 2% range.
Unemployment would have to dip enough to make it likely to get down to 7.2%-ish by year end.
Inflation has to be increasing. Currently the trend is in the wrong direction and Q1 produced only .3% which is well below the 2% annual the Fed Wants.
See Bill’s analysis here: Analysis on Tapering QE3 I highly recommend following Bill’s blog and this is just one of several posts in the last week on Fed comments around the end of tapering. Here’s the inflation chart he posted last week showing four different measures of inflation, note the trend since the beginning of the year:
His paper discusses the effects of financial repression on portfolio stock and bond allocations and by implication the effects on real estate and particularly apartment building investments. Financial repression is the term used to describe central bank’s strategies for forcing interest rates to zero or negative to spur investment and spending at the expense of saving. Take it away James:
William McChesney Martin was the longest-serving Federal Reserve Governor of all time. He is probably most famous for his observation that the central bank’s role was to “take away the punch bowl just when the party is getting started.” In contrast, Bernanke’s Fed is acting like teenage boys on prom night: spiking the punch, handing out free drinks, hoping to get lucky, and encouraging everyone to view the market through beer goggles. [Emphasis mine]
The paper goes into depth on the effects of financial repression on investments, which grow the longer the repression lasts, up to twenty years. Does the phrase: “… for an extended period” ring a bell? How about QE1, QE2, QE3, and now QE-infinity?