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.
Bill McBride over at Calculated Risk has a post out this morning with 2 charts of data from LPS on the housing recovery. The first shows that homes in ‘active’ status, either in foreclosure, delinquent or otherwise ‘non-current’ has fallen below 2008 levels for the first time.
Which is the primary axis and which is the secondary is kind of a mystery and we are left to assume that both are x1,000 so that would imply the left axis is secondary (Or is it?) The most interesting factoid on the chart is in the box on the upper left; The percent of DQ homeowners active (in the foreclosure pipeline instead of being ignored) has doubled. To me this looks like a market that’s starting to clear, which is good for housing and the economy in general.
In their June 2012 Economic Update, Freddie Mac says: “Over the year ending March 2012, an additional 1.5 million households moved into rental housing. That’s a 4 percent increase in renter-occupied dwellings in a single year.”
The increase in apartment demand has helped to enhance property values, on average up about 25 percent during the past two years from their trough during the first quarter of 2010…
Apartment building investments are a top choice according to Gary Shilling, one of the world’s foremost economic forecasters, a long-time Forbes columnist, publisher of Insight Newsletter with his editor Fred Rossi, and author of “The Age of Deleveraging,” (http://amzn.to/L9hm7W on Amazon) the perfect playbook for America’s new Age of Austerity.
Rental apartments. A huge inventory still overhangs the housing market as prices continue falling. The American dream of homeownership may be history. Renting is the affordable option. And with REIT prices running high, “direct ownership of rental apartments may still be attractive.”
See the whole post for more ideas for investing in these turbulent times.
Last week in Economists Prove Einstein’s Theory About Repeating Behavior And Expecting Different Results I was talking about how mainstream economists have earned their dismal reputation because I’ve been searching for a better model of how the economy actually works. Now a new book explains just how the current mainstream economic theory of ‘Rational Expectations’ not only is wrong but in fact is one of the leading causes of the financial collapse. Better yet the author explains why the new economic model which is based on game theory is better for understanding the financial world but additionally offers a way to avoid future collapses.
A year ago for Christmas I received a Kindle eReader (thank you Tammy!) and it has greatly accelerated my consumption of books. One of the subjects that I dove (continued to dive) into was the causes of the financial collapse. The conditions that contributed to our undoing, how we get out of our ongoing mess and the steps that should be taken to prevent a repeat are vitally important to our future as well as to our children and their children.
I have written about this myself since 2008 (see here and here for instance) and have read a number of books on the subject (see my Whodunit list down to the right on this page under Learning From History) that I thought covered fairly well the breadth of the subject and helped me refine my understanding. However I was humbled last night by a blog post on The Baseline Scenario that linked to Reading About the Financial Crisis: A 21-Book Review by Andrew Lo, a truly epic undertaking that is well worth reading on its own.
In a comment to my FB post about the video on QE2 Sean DeButts asked what my solution would be for the economy. It’s an important question that deserves a detailed response.
Jobs are the number one thing we need to get the economy moving and jobs require capital and the willingness to put that money to work. Now …there is plenty of money around, billions and billions sitting on the balance sheets of banks and companies but it is not being put to work. Why not? Let’s look at companies first.
Companies will only invest if they think they can get a return on that investment and are confident that the rules won’t change before they can earn that return. Right now everyone knows that the deficits the US is running will lead to collapse if something doesn’t change but until what those changes will be is decided companies (and individuals) are worried that they might be singled out to pay for those deficits. That’s why I believe the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s deficit reduction plan must be put into law by Congress and signed by the President. See: http://bit.ly/h1tILt for the Charley Rose interview with the co-chairs of the Commission. Continue reading What to do about the economy.