3 Things I Learned Charting Apartment Building & Commercial Real Estate Market Cycles

Seattle’s Strange Trip Through the Apartment Building Investment Cycle Part II

In part I we saw that some of the most widely followed market cycle research can’t be relied on without question. If knowing where we are in the market cycle is the most important thing (and not everyone agrees, see the comments from one of my private equity guys about that under part I here) then the best solution is probably to chart the cycles for the markets we’re investing in ourselves. If you’re in multiple CRE sectors in a lot of markets hopefully you have someone on your team or can hire a consultant (like Ashworth) to chart those cycles.

SEA occupancy v cycle position WTH
Click on images for full size.

Building our own CRE market cycle chart

To track a cycle for one market and sector we only need to answer five questions according to Professor Mueller’s methodology: Market occupancy, the 30 year Long Term Average (LTA) occupancy, rent growth, inflation and new unit construction. Later we’ll look at whether we can Continue reading 3 Things I Learned Charting Apartment Building & Commercial Real Estate Market Cycles

Widely Followed Apartment Market Cycle Research Misses Widely

The Strange Tale of the Seattle Apartment Building Investment Cycle and Maybe Yours Too.

Back in 2012 it appeared that Seattle’s movement through the real estate cycle was stalling out. Not the actual market by any stretch of the imagination but instead where it was placed on the apartment market cycle charts in the Cycle Monitor report from Dividend Capital Research. These quarterly reports on the real estate market cycles for the five main Commercial Real Estate (CRE) sectors in more than fifty markets around the US were widely followed but something was wrong.

Seattle apartment occupancy vs. Cycle Monitor Market Position 2005 - 2014
Click on images for full size.

Why this up to date proprietary data is vitally important to your investment success:

You can fix a property but not a market cycle. Knowing where a market is in its cycle is critical for investors seeking to buy low and sell high. If signals are a year or more behind, prime opportunities will be missed to Continue reading Widely Followed Apartment Market Cycle Research Misses Widely

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 Continue reading More important than unemployment for apartment building investors?

Top US Cities for Job and Apartment Building Investment Revenue Growth Charted. Axiometrics via MFE Mag

MFE Apartment Trends posted an Axiometrics chart of the top US cities for job growth and apartment revenue growth for 2013:

Apartment Building Investment Revenue and Job Growth 2013 Continue reading Top US Cities for Job and Apartment Building Investment Revenue Growth Charted. Axiometrics via MFE Mag

Risks to Apartment Overbuilding Averted, For Now says ReisReports

In a piece just out today ReisReports says that new apartment starts have been postponed to 2014 by many developers.

The “bubble” now shows up in 2014, but if economic growth ramps up, then additional supply will most likely be absorbed relatively painlessly.

But not all Metros escape. The report mentions Washington DC and suburban Maryland as two of those who will still see large increases in supply next year.

US Apartment Market moves big supply increase to 2014

Interestingly they name Seattle as a market that should be able to absorb the new supply coming because Continue reading Risks to Apartment Overbuilding Averted, For Now says ReisReports

What’s not to like about the Seattle and Portland Apartment Building Investment Markets?

“Even compared to a healthy and expanding nationwide market, multifamily in the Pacific Northwest is seeing exceptionally strong gains. A growing renter population and accelerating job growth have helped solidify cities like Portland and Seattle as cornerstones of the apartment industry, and the positive trends show no sign of letting up.” So begins a glowing report in the latest digital edition of MHN Magazine (On page 22). What’s not to like about an article like that, especially one with a cover shot as beautiful as the one in this article? Below is just a portion of it and Photoshopped or not it is something to behold.

The glowing words and photos are accompanied with a pretty good looking chart too, showing the declining vacancy and rising rents in those two markets as well: Continue reading What’s not to like about the Seattle and Portland Apartment Building Investment Markets?

UPDATE: Top 10 US Submarkets for new apartment building units in the pipeline.

In May we posted an article Top 10 US Cities for new apartment building permits where Seattle came in sixth in new apartment building units permitted. Now a new list is out from Axiometrics with a breakdown by submarket and Seattle’s Downtown/Capitol Hill/Queen Anne submarket lands at number two with almost 4,000 units due to come on line in the near future.

Seattle number 2 in Top 10 most new apartment units in the pipeline

And that’s on top of nearly 6,000 units (3,500 in the last two years) that have already been delivered downtown since 2005. Plus there are several other hot neighborhoods such as Belltown and South Lake Union that Continue reading UPDATE: Top 10 US Submarkets for new apartment building units in the pipeline.

Nice chart of top Apartment Building Investment markets for rent and employment growth.

Nice Axiometrics chart posted by MFE Mag showing the top apartment building investment markets for rent growth and employment growth. I understand the tech employment growth in SF San Jose and Seattle but the 2.8% job growth in Salt Lake City caught me by surprise. What do you think is driving job growth there?

top apartment building investment markets for rent and employment growth

Employment growth is one of the key drivers of a good apartment market but it can be overrun by Continue reading Nice chart of top Apartment Building Investment markets for rent and employment growth.

Top 10 US Cities for new apartment building permits.

Coming soon to these big MSAs, lots of new apartments:

  1. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island
  2. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
  3. Washington, D.C.-Arlington, Alexandria
  4. Los Angeles, Long Beach-Santa Ana
  5. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown
  6. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
  7. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos
  8. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont
  9. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville
  10. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach

For details see: MFE Mag online

Will they be able to fill them all? How will older properties in these markets fare? Let us know what you’re seeing-