Are Interest Rates Caught in a Catch 22?

Are interest rates caught in a Catch-22? What if the Fed is waiting to raise rates until the economy is growing stronger but the economy won’t grow stronger until rates go up?

10 year Treasury Rates June 2014 - May 2015

For three years everyone has ‘known’ that interest rates were going up but other than during the Taper Tantrum of June 2013 which affected loan rates more than Treasuries, the T10 only moved up to the 2.75% area which was just picking itself off the floor of 1.66 where it got down to in May that year.

The Fed would like to raise rates, if for no other reason than to prove they aren’t turning Japanese by leaving rates low for two and a half ‘Lost Decades’. They’d also like to have room to lower them again if the economy dips back into recession (Note Q1 GDP was just revised down to -.7% that’s Continue reading Are Interest Rates Caught in a Catch 22?

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

CA Retirment Plan Commits Additional $2 Billion to Apartment Builidng Investments.

Updated 1:46pm Correction: Updated to reflect that CalPERS is only shutting down its hedge fund investments, not its private equity placements. See Calpers Is Done With Hedge Funds; Paid $135 Million in Fees Last Year for 7.1% Return at

Was just on a call this morning with Peter Linneman, Chief Economist at NAI Global where they were discussing CalPERS’ decision to eliminate their investments in hedge funds. That hasn’t had any effect on their apartment building investments however [Or has it in a positive way?]. While I was on the call I received a note from PERE announcing that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension plan in the US has committed more than S2,000,000,000 additional funds to multifamily investments during meetings this past July:

  • $1.33 billion to Institutional Multifamily Partners, seeking multifamily acquisition and development opportunities throughout the US.
  • $412.79 million to a partnership with Invesco Real Estate for core apartment properties in the West and Midwest.
  • $200 million went to a joint venture with Pacific Urban Residential for Class B multifamily assets in the western US.
  • Note that the 200M was in addition to the 214M committed when the JV was formed in January this year.
  • A less than $100M commitment to apartment lender and asset manager Centerline Holding which is now owned by Hunt.

All this was part of a 6.6B commitment to commercial real estate joint ventures, one of the largest single month investments made by the $300 Billion retirement plan. For the details see CalPERS commits $6.6bn to RE on PERE. Note: registration may be required.