Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, DC apartment markets at risk of overbuilding says NMHC panel

Report on the state of apartment building investment markets from the good folks at Joseph Bernard Investment Real Estate in Portland:

there is a wall of private equity wanting to buy apartment building investmentsContinued positive multifamily demand fundamentals and ready access to capital at attractive rates is fueling a surge in new apartment development, according to industry executives.

Several hundred senior-level apartment executives gathered in Scottsdale, AZ, last week for National Multi Housing Council’s (NMHC) Apartment Strategies/Finance Conference and Spring Board of Directors Meeting. The following is the NMHC’s summary of what was discussed.

Continued low levels of new supply have led to a big bounce-back in rents as demand outpaces new construction. According to one panel of apartment executives, the new supply shortfall may be larger than once thought — as many as 700,000 to 1 million units — because many of the apartments built in recent years have been in the affordable, rather than market-rate, section of the market. Moreover, much of the current apartment stock dates back to the 1970s and is becoming obsolete, creating additional demand for new supply.

Select areas have seen such large upticks in the number of planned and under construction units that could turn into hot spots for potential overbuilding. In particular, certain submarkets of Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, D.C., appear somewhat at risk.

But, overall, new completions are still a very low percentage of total inventory.

Money Flowing for Multifamily

There is a wall of private capital that wants into the multifamily space. More than 250 private equity funds currently are Continue reading Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, DC apartment markets at risk of overbuilding says NMHC panel

Portland OR Q1 Apartment Building Investments Now Posted.

Here are some interesting transaction statistics for 1st Quarter apartment building investment transactions:

  • Average price per unit was up 11% from Q1 2011
  • 6.86% was the average cap rate, vs. 7.07% in 2011
  • 77% of properties sold had between 5-50 units

Click on the image to see the list of Q1 apartment building investment sales in Portland:

Portland Apartment Building Investment Sales Q1

For more on PDX apartment building investment see City Rents Rise As Buyers Wait Out Housing Bust from Joseph Bernard Investment Real Estate.


The Top 10 Fastest Growing US Cities. Own an apartment building investment in each.

Apartment investing is about where and when to buy properties; here’s 10 good ideas for the where part. Nice slide presentation via CNN/Money-

“Despite the housing bust and the recession, these 10 U.S. cities still managed to record population gains of 30% or more in the decade ending in 2010, according to the Census Bureau. The national average was less than 10% during that time.”

Apartment Investing in the 10 fastest growing US cities

See the presentation here: 10 fastest growing U.S. cities

If you can’t Continue reading The Top 10 Fastest Growing US Cities. Own an apartment building investment in each.

Life Companies up their Apartment Building Investment lending, competing with Fannie/Freddie on rates, quicker rate locks and easier terms

Life companies are increasing their lending on apartment building investments says MFE Magazine.

Apartment Building Investment Loans

Life insurance companies upped the ante last year, processing apartment building investment loans hand over fist. And this year, most have increased their appetite and are charging through the first quarter at full speed, giving the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) a run for their money.

Most life companies today have the ability to be competitive with, and sometimes price inside of, the GSEs.  This is particularly true for lower-leverage deals—and the most desirable assets.

But it’s not just attractive pricing—life companies also offer Continue reading Life Companies up their Apartment Building Investment lending, competing with Fannie/Freddie on rates, quicker rate locks and easier terms

What do these Niche Multifamily Teams know about battling the big guys (and winning) with Apartment Building Investment?

Great MFE article on apartment building investment  niche strategies from teams who battle the big guys and win. Five different teams and strategies are profiled and they all have something to teach but I wanted to highlight one company whose strategy is very similar to ours. Here’s my exec sum in bluue:

LumaCorps Apartment Building Investment Strategy

LumaCorp. quietly owns and operates a 4,800-unit portfolio of 1980s, Class B properties managed to meet the needs of working-class renters.

These [renters] historically can’t buy a house, but they still want clean, quality, safe housing. We think it’s a much bigger slice of the market than other renter demographics.

Rent growth can be modest, but that’s OK. One of the advantages of owning property in small tertiary markets is that they are less active [in terms of new construction and competition, the rent growth is more predictable.LumaCorps Apartment Building Investment Strategy

LumaCorp. begins with old-fashioned real estate research, looking for distressed or underperforming working-class properties with potential. “We make money by fixing problems.”

But the firm isn’t interested in just any Class B property with deferred maintenance and an attractive price.

We’re very picky about the properties we acquire

We know our market very well, and we know what works in terms of floor plans, unit mix, and architectural designs.

We pick a property with good bones, and then we invest the money to bring it up to our standards.

LumaCorp. runs some of the tighter costs, yet when you drive up to the property, it always looks terrific. Some multifamily firms spend lots of money, and their properties still look tired.

Only a few properties will make the cut for the LumaCorp. treatment. We might look at 100 packages. Out of that, we’ll find 20 worth looking at, and 10 will get offers. One might get done,” says Kelly, who made “a couple dozen offers” in 2011 and got one—Bardin Oaks in Arlington, Texas.

See the whole MFE Mag article here: Niche Guys Win


Pathfinder Buys REO Multifamily Complex Near Seattle for $5.1M Via MHN Online. 78 units @ $65.4k+/unit

San Diego-based Pathfinder Partners LLC makes Apartment Building Investment in Seattle area.

Seattle Area Apartment Building Investment

San Diego-based Pathfinder Partners LLC has acquired the View at Redondo, a 78-unit apartment property in Federal Way, south of Seattle. The apartment complex, built on a …. [Cut to the chase]

Key Concept:

“We believe there are opportunities throughout the major markets in the western United States to invest capital in high-quality projects with distressed or fatigued ownership that will result in significant returns,” Lorne Polger, senior managing director of Pathfinder Partners, tells MHN. “To that end, Pathfinder focuses on smaller apartment building investment, sized below the radar of the largest institutional buyers.

The company’s strategy, Polger adds, is to buy the loan on a small property that needs finishing, has a large vacancy, or is beset by other issues. “These are typically transactions that need to be concluded very quickly, on an all-cash basis,” he says. “We have a track record of closing this type of deal in 15 to 20 days, and frequently get the call when a financial institution is seeking to conclude a challenging deal quickly.”

A very good strategy indeed.

Where is your apartment market in the cycle? Latest Multifamily Market Cycle Charts now posted via Glenn Mueller, PhD.

See the details and charts for the other CRE sectors here:

When long time contrarians flip is that confirmation of a market top? What about in multifamily?

Read this week that well known stock market perma-bears have gone bullish and that struck a nerve in my contrarian’s contrarian heart. This morning I read a post on the Joseph Bernard Investment Real Estate blog that really got my attention.  Here’s what stopped me in my tracks:

In three decades working in and ­studying multifamily, Johnsey, president of Dallas-based research firm Axiometrics, has developed a bias toward an outlier’s view of what’s happening and what’s coming next. This time, though, it’s different. Strangely, he’s finding no counterpoint position to argue.

“Everything is just ripe for a robust apartment market,” Johnsey says. “I’m always looking for problems. But these numbers are just some of the strongest I’ve seen.”

Johnsey has company aplenty. Market researchers, Wall Street analysts, REIT executives, big multifamily players, and small alike can scarcely quell optimism over practically a sure bet for a bountiful 2012. [Emphasis mine]

Regular readers and students of the financial collapse will instantly recognize the first highlight as echoing the title of probably the best book ever written on the subject, “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”. Authors Rogoff and Reinhart have researched and written (exhaustively) about how many times that sentiment has proven exactly wrong. If you haven’t read it, check it out on Amazon by clicking on the book image in the ‘Learning From History’ section on the right of this page.

Granted the rest of the article goes on to lay out the great fundamentals the national apartment market is currently enjoying and further that short of institutional grade properties in core markets multifamily is a very local business (and properties are more reasonably priced). But still…

What are you seeing in your market?

Multifamily Sales Close Out 2011 on the Rise, Lead by Garden Style.

A recent report from New York–based commercial real estate research firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA) reveals that apartment sales figures closed out 2011 on a positive note. The firm’s “2011 Year in Review” report shows that the fourth quarter of 2011 netted $16.6 billion in sales, the highest quarterly volume racked up since 2007. This marks a 16 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 24 percent bump from fourth-quarter apartment sales in 2010. Among the more optimistic data revealed in the report was the rebound of garden-sector sales.

Garden properties ended up 47 percent ahead of the 2010 figures, and it appears that the sales momentum experienced in the fourth quarter will carry over into the first quarter this year. “Given the stable cap rate environment for garden properties, compared to sinking caps in mid-/high-rise, that trend is likely to continue in 2012,” projects Thypin.

See the whole AHF article here: Apartment Sales Close Out 2011 on the Rise

Zero Bound Interest Rates, The Zirp Dimension, Stagflation and #Multifamily

Zero interest rates and apartment building investment.

First my condolences to Bill Gross on the loss of his brother-in-law. Reading his piece in PIMCO’s latest Investment Outlook it is clear that the world’s biggest bond manager is running out of places to generate returns for their investors and by extension this applies to all income investors, especially retired people trying to live on interest income. For those would like to retire soon you may have to delay that decision for “an extended period’ as Edward Harrison over at Credit Writedowns put it in Permanent Zero and Personal Interest Income.

Gross’ points out that the Fed’s zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) which they have just announced to maintain through 2014 and their defacto though opaque continuation of quantitative easing (QE2.5 as he tweeted it) threaten to take us into another dimension where their policies have the opposite effect of their intentions.

“Much like the laws of physics change from the world of Newtonian large objects to the world of quantum Einsteinian dynamics, so too might low interest rates at the zero-bound reorient previously held models that justified the stimulative effects of lower and lower yields on asset prices and the real economy.” – Bill Gross

His bullet points:

  • ​ Recent central bank behavior, including that of the U.S. Fed, provides assurances that short and intermediate yields will not change, and therefore bond prices are not likely threatened on the downside.
  • Most short to intermediate Treasury yields are dangerously close to the zero-bound which imply limited potential room, if any, for price appreciation.
  • We can’t put $100 trillion of credit in a system-wide mattress, but we can move in that direction by delevering and refusing to extend maturities and duration.

For more views on this and Europe too see also Entering the Debt Dimension from Phil’s Picks on the Phil’s Stock World Blog.

What does this mean for Multifamily?

The Zirp Dimension leads to Stagflation where economic growth remains anemic yet prices on essential Continue reading Zero Bound Interest Rates, The Zirp Dimension, Stagflation and #Multifamily