Mike Scott of apartment research firm Dupre+Scott has some shocking news for apartment building investors. While most lenders require a minimum reserve of $250 per unit per year for capital expenses and many owners reserve up to 400, according to actual expense budgets Mike tracked for properties in the Seattle area actual capital expenses have been averaging $750 a year for the last dozen years and the trend is definitely up:
HUD and the Census Bureau released the latest version of the Rental Housing Finance Survey. The “Survey fills an important gap in our understanding of who owns multifamily rental housing – mostly individuals, not large companies — and how multifamily rental housing is financed, especially as the structure of finance is changing. In light of recent changes in the availability of capital for rental housing, the Rental Housing Finance Survey also provides important insight about the financial health and stability of multifamily housing properties.” said Erika Poethig, HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development.
This is one table from the xls on the Census Bureau’s site here. Note the tabs on the bottom which have the data broken out by different types.
A few bullet points from HUD’s release linked at the top of the post:
Approximately 20 percent of American households live in multifamily rental buildings.
There are 2.3 million such properties in the United States.
Nice article in MHN Online, good tips and reminders. There are still plenty of properties worth less than the debt, and there are more foreclosures to come. Most of the distressed multifamily properties are B, C and D class properties. These properties can provide great returns with cap rates from 8 percent to 12 percent on existing income, and in most cases have plenty of vacancy for even more upside.
My top two that apply to all properties distressed or otherwise:
Good management: Distressed B, C and D properties require experienced and diligent asset and property management. Your management team should be top notch. Your turnaround plan should be realistic and properly implemented.
Talented leasing staff: Your leasing team should be properly motivated and for lease marketing extremely thorough. You want a well-thought-out, multi-disciplined lease up plan to stabilize properties in this cycle.
Year-over-year rent growth reached a two-decade high in the Dallas/Fort Worth apartment market. And demand in 4th quarter — typically a slow leasing period — was unusually strong.Record Multifamily Rent Growth in DFW
After a recent speaking engagement I was asked about how and why I use the earnings multiple concept when evaluating apartment investments. It was a great question and so I’m sharing my answer here in this blog post.
As a value investor two of the fundamental questions I always ask is what am I buying and how much do I have to pay for it. With an apartment investment (or really any investment) I am buying current income and the potential for appreciation so the second question comes down to “How many years of earnings do I have to pay for these returns?” The question can be answered by converting the cap rate to an earnings multiple. The Cap Rate is the return in current income on an apartment investment you could expect if you paid all cash. To convert a Cap Rate into a Earnings Multiple use the formula: Continue reading Converting Cap Rates to Earnings Multiples
If you listen to any conversation about commercial real estate (CRE) within a minute the subject of cap rates will come up. Those who are just beginning to explore CRE are often thrown off by what one is and how it is calculated. A cap rate is really a simple thing that is often made overly complicated by the way it is explained. Let’s walk through what a cap rate is and then we’ll look at how they are used so that the next time the conversation turns to CRE you’ll be right there in sixty seconds when they get to cap rates.
With today’s stock and bond markets overrun by insiders and the volume of options, futures and other derivatives dwarfing actual investment in good companies while driving wild swings in their prices what is a traditional value investor to do? What about the accounting trickery that happens when CEOs raid their own companies for the short term results their huge bonuses are based on? Should you shrug your shoulders and be patient, very patient hoping eventually value will be recognized? What kind of income will you live on while you are being so patient? With interest rates so low and the Fed trapped into keeping them that way how can you earn decent current income without taking unreasonable or unknowable risks?
There is an alternative for conservative value investors: Apartment buildings.
What if you could find good value stocks in a market where the price was dictated by the financial results, not market ‘sentiment’, momentum traders, short sellers, high frequency trading programs or what a butterfly did in Shanghai?
What if you could find good value stocks in a market where the cycles were observable and understandable?
What if your favorite value stocks paid annual cash dividends of 7, 8, 9% or higher while at the same time increasing their equity like clockwork?
What if you could walk into the boardroom of your favorite value stock and dictate that they improve their performance? What if you could fire boardmembers who didn’t perform?
What if you could buy a second stock with funds from your first stock without having to sell it or pay taxes on the capital gain?
Recently I’ve been working with several new clients who are conservative investors looking for better returns than CDs and Treasuries but aren’t interested in taking on the volatile market risk of stocks, bonds and derivatives. I was explaining why apartment investments make sense and there are quite a few reasons but the biggest one is how the math of an apartment building investment works. In this post I’d like to share that with you in case you’re also looking for conservative income producing investments with inflation protection and upside potential.
Here’s the numbers on a typical apartment investment:
In this example is a 100 unit building with 850 per month per unit average rents which is purchased with a down payment of 25% and a 30 year loan for the balance at 5.5% interest. Vacancy is 5% of Gross Potential Rent, expenses total 50% of Gross Operating Income and a cap rate of 7.5% is used. Today in some markets cap rates are higher (buildings less expensive) and in a few others cap rates are lower (buildings more expensive).
Apartment Buildings are valued on the income they produce. (This post is about properties larger than 4 units, smaller properties are valued more similarly to single family homes.) There are several ways to calculate the value based on the income but the most common is the capitalization rate, or cap rate for short. The cap rate is the percent of the property value that the Net Operating Income (NOI) represents: Continue reading Why We Like Apartments- Owning them that is.
For value investors, Demand, Supply and the Cost of Acquisition are the three factors affecting the apartment building investment decision and all are saying the time to buy is now. There is a tidal wave of new renters coming into the market and there has been little apartment construction to meet this growing demand. Outside of the gateway cities the prices of existing apartment buildings remain below the cost of building new. Fixed rate financing is available for apartment buildings at rates lower than we will see again for years if not decades.
“The multifamily sector is probably the only commercial real estate sector that has very positive fundamentals behind it,” said Jeffrey Baker, managing director at Savills LLC, a real estate investment bank that raises capital for multifamily owners and developers. “You’ve got a demographic that is producing more households that want to rent an apartment. You’ve got virtually no new supply that’s been added over the last several years.”1 Continue reading The Apartment Building Investment Triple Opportunity Is Right Now