Apartment building investment broker ABI Multifamily’s Research Director, Thomas M. Brophy is out with part 1 of a pretty in-depth ‘overview’ of water rights in Arizona this week (Part 1 of 3). This is important not just because most of AZ is a desert (duh) but because Phoenix is expected to grow by the size of Denver over the next twenty-five years (See Phoenix population to add 2.6 million by 2040, housing supply not keeping up). They’re going to need a lot more apartments but the biggest limiting factor will be the ability to provide water for that many new tenants.
The Urban Land Institute/PriceWaterhouseCoopers annual report on Emerging Trends for Real Estate 2014 was released last week and apartment building investors and commercial real estate pros have some good things to look forward to next year. Note that this post refers to the Americas version of the report with separate sections on Canadian and Latin American markets but they also publish Asia-Pacific and European editions as well. This is the 35th edition of the report is it’s based on individual interviews or surveys from more than 1,000 investors, fund managers, developers, property companies, lenders, brokers, advisers, and consultants.
Here are the 5 key trends we should all be aware of with my comments:
Survey participants continue to rank private direct real estate investment as having the best investment prospects. Pretty expected from this group but the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) recently released its property performance index for the third quarter of 2013 and on a trailing 12-month basis, the index’s return was 11.0 percent, split about 50/50 between income and appreciation. A pretty nice return compared to fixed income rates and a much safer looking bet than buying equities at their all time highs.
Dependence on cap rate compression to drive value is being replaced by an emphasis on asset management. Especially in the 24 hour gateway markets apartment building cap rates are about as low as they can get (well until you look at Vancouver BC) so property performance has to come from actually making the property perform. You also have the problem of what to do with your proceeds if you do sell, as you would be reinvesting right back into the same cap rate market that you sold in… unless you changed to a higher cap rate sector, suburban strip centers anyone?
Opportunities to develop property are finally appearing in sectors other than multifamily. CBRE Econometrics had a piece out last week showing that large (> 350k sf) warehouse properties are being snapped up as fast as they’re being built. Maybe developers who moved over to doing apartments the last few years will move back to their home sectors and ease off on the new supply of multifamily units.
Value-added investment ranked highest in terms of investment strategy; distressed properties and distressed debt ranked last. We were licking our chops a few years ago waiting for RTC 2.0 fire sales to begin and while we were able take down some bank owned inventory, the anticipated tsunami of defaults on commercial loans never materialized. At this point most everything has been extended and pretended into performing status or sold off and so it’s back to making money the old fashion way: Finding and/or creating value.
Both equity investors and lenders are widening their search for business to include secondary markets and niche property types. This will be a double edged sword for investors who are focused on those secondary and tertiary markets as debt financing will be more available but there will also be more competition from sophisticated outsiders with deep pockets. The key will be to make them your buyers so dig in, find the right properties and tie them up quickly.
Back in February we posted an Axiometrics chart plotting the revenue growth vs. job growth in leading apartment investment markets in the US. They were out last week with an updated chart but not just in the way we might think since the numbers are Axiometrics’ 2013 forecasts for revenue and job growth updated through May this year. To me the real ‘update’ is that they reversed the axises on the chart and I think it makes more sense laid out this way:
Tom Barrack was on CNBC last week to talk about real estate with the traders. Great TB quote to open the show: “It’s always great to be the slowest guy on Fast Money”. There’s more wisdom in that statement than any of the show’s regulars understood.
A couple bullet points but definitely worth watching the video. The link on the image below goes to the Colony website where they edited the three segments together (commercial free too):
Housing [of all types] is the best opportunity. Today there might be a Fed bubble but there isn’t a housing bubble.
The rise in interest rates while not big and still low historically speaking, will hit entry level housing. 100bp (basis point, where 100bp = 1%) rise in interest rates will cost a borrower an extra $150+/- a month on their mortgage payment for a $200,000 home. That will keep more people renting.
CBRE Econometrics is out with a new report showing population growth trends in major US metros has shifted towards urban centers since 2010 but apartment building investors have been keeping pace (or exceeding it) with new construction. Author Gleb Nechayev, Senior Managing Economist lays it out nicely in a series of charts:
The NAHB was out with their weekly Eye on Housing report and this week’s edition took a look at the Q3 SOMA data from the Census Bureau. SOMA stands for Survey of Market Absorption of Apartments and overall things are looking pretty positive for developers. One interesting chart they had showed the types of properties that were being built since 2005: