Tom Barrack of Colony Capital on what’s really happening in US real estate from an investor’s perspective. The clearest, most cogent look at the state of commercial, multifamily and single family markets today and where the opportunities are. The first five and a half minutes is about Europe and the bottom line there is don’t but after that it is all gold. If Tom wanted to be one of those real estate ‘gurus’ he could package this video with a big notebook and some advertising and sell it for $10,000- and it would be better than any of the other stuff out there. And you get it for free. I’ve watched three times and get an extra little nugget each time.
Yes the Fed is fighting DEflation but it sure doesn’t feel like deflation when we go to the store or pull up to the gas pump. While I am glad that Ben is battling the correct demon, it would be very helpful to know what ‘living inflation’ is doing to or for our apartment residents. Especially since on their National Apartment web conference earlier this week Reis said that in many of their largest 79 markets class B & C owners ability to raise rents has or soon will run into the 35% of income barrier. Watching what the costs of rent, food and beverages, energy and medical expenses are doing to our residents’ pocketbooks could guide us in raising rents. Today Pragmatic Capitalism had a very interesting piece on just that.
I recently met with my financial advisor to “rebalance” my … retirement portfolio. Based on my “age and stage of life” his allocation model showed a 50% bond allocation. I laughed and asked him if the company allocation model assumed interest rates would rise over the next 10 years? His answer was “yes- of course.” I showed him the graph below which shows lower than average TOTAL returns in a rising interest rate environment and he checked his long-term data and found that bond holders between 1953 and 1980 had actually lost money. We all know that as interest rates rise, bond values decline and thus the total return can be small or negative. Not to mention that a 10-year treasury at 1.5% is below expected inflation and thus a NEGATIVE REAL RETURN. He agreed that a bond allocation did not make much sense, but since my investor profile was conservative what was the alternative?
Mark Hanson of MHanson Advisors, researchers and strategists focused on North American and Australian real estate and finance markets, has a very good piece out questioning the recent calls of a housing bottom. His research shows that 20-30 million current homeowners (half the market) either cannot sell and net enough for a downpayment on another house or could not qualify for a new mortgage if they did have a downpayment.
He also charts that out in relation to the over all supply:
Here’s Mark’s breakout of the zombies:
1) “Effective” Negative Equity – 25 million borrowers / houses. These borrowers are dead to the housing market, as they don’t have the equity to pay a Realtor 6% to sell and put 20% down on a new house. They were once the most active participants, the repeat buyers. Now they are “zombie homeowners”.
Bill ‘The Bond King’ Gross, founder of PIMCO says that the long run of stocks outperforming the overall economy is done and that the only policy option left for the ‘advanced’ economies in the world is inflating their way out of debt. Since Inflation = Higher Interest Rates and rising rates reduces the value of existing bonds issued at lower (currently near zero) rates, they don’t look to good as a long term investment either. See his letter here PIMCO Investment Outlook
So what’s a saver or investor to do, especially those nearing or at retirement? Chase yields in emerging market bonds? Who would you trust for information about those issues? Have those economies really decoupled from the US and Europe? Where could you find a decent stream of income with inflation protection build in and appreciation potential on top of that?
Apartment building investments. As we’ve laid out previously apartment owners can benefit from even small increases in rents, have demographics and social trends on their side and new supply has been quite limited over the last decade (see here, here and here for the details). Does the prospect of high single digit current income with inflation protection and even appreciation potential warm your retirement spreadsheet?
In this example, raising rents $25 or about 3% increases the value and owner’s equity $190,000 or almost 12% plus the income goes up more than 9%. That is the power of apartment building investment. Notice that in this example that the building is nearly full, if we were to buy a building that had more vacancies we could have paid a lower price based on the lower Net Operating Income and we would have the opportunity to create even more value by improving the management to bring in more renters. That is why we like apartments.
When I talk about investing in apartments I am not talking about being in the landlord business, I am talking about being in the property owning business and one of the expenses we gladly pay is for professional property management. We’re not in the tenants, toilets and trash business; we hire the pros to handle that and our job is to manage the managers…. And reap the rewards. Find out how we invest in apartments and how you can too by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home prices have crashed. Interest rates are at all-time lows. If you’re in the market to buy, homes are more affordable than they’ve been in years. Or are they?
From a WSJ report posted by Motley Fool:
The median down payment in nine major U.S. cities rose to 22% last year on properties purchased through conventional mortgages. … That percentage doubled in three years and represents the highest median down payment since the data were first tracked in 1997.
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…