Fed Chair Yellen- Maybe we are turning Japanese

Actual and Expected Inflation in Japan
“Here, Japan’s recent history may be instructive: As shown in figure 9, survey measures of longer-term expected inflation in that country remained positive and stable even as that country experienced many years of persistent, mild deflation.” – Janet Yellen Sep. 24, 2015

Was talking about this just last week (again):

As a value guy like you it’s hard to figure out how buying something in the sixes on cap rate works out to be a good deal. But what if the Fed is trapped at the Zero Lower Bound and we are turning Japanese? Their ‘Lost Decade’ is now old enough to graduate with a Master’s degree and we’re following the exact same playbook. I offer last week’s Fed decision as exhibit #1. They would dearly love to raise rates just to prove they can but there’s just thin ice between us and

Continue reading Fed Chair Yellen- Maybe we are turning Japanese

10yr #Multifamily Investment Loan Rate Comes Back to Life, Rises 7.9 Basis Points

The 10 year apartment building investment loan rate we track moved up to 4.454% from 4.375% yesterday after flatlining at the old rate since the middle of January:

10 year treasury vs. apartment building investment loan rate May 2015

Even so it is still below what we used to think of as the 4.5% floor for this rate. Meanwhile the ULI rate has been tracking the 10yr Treasury, rising from 3.37% April 20th to 3.76% yesterday, a climb of almost 40 basis points.

Is this the beginning of the long anticipated (The 3rd or 4th year in a row that everyone’s known rates were going to rise) rate hikes? It makes sense that the Fed would like them to get up off the floor if for no other reason that they would have room to lower them again when they needed to. But is now the time to do that when China, Europe and the rest of the world are slowing down?

While the US economy has been Continue reading 10yr #Multifamily Investment Loan Rate Comes Back to Life, Rises 7.9 Basis Points

How to Prevent Politics from Causing ‘Black Swans’ in your Apartment and CRE Investments

As apartment building investors it’s easy to get so deep into the trenches of our market sector that we get blindsided by political events that don’t make any sense from an economic or investment perspective. With every market being so local and at the same time now subject to institutional interest it’s a stretch just to be able to track what’s happening in the lending environment at the same time. But this is the biggest risk we face; how to avoid Nassim Taleb’s ‘Black Swans’ that could destroy our investment plans. As an options trader  Taleb could very easily have been overtaken by black swans if his vision was limited to the distance from his eyeballs to the trading screens he stared at. How wide is yours?

How to avoid black swans in apartment building investiment

Short of an asteroid strike from another time dimension there really aren’t as many black swans as there are limited perspectives. Many people considered the mortgage meltdown a black swan but there were also quite a number with wider vision who understood how it would all end and some of them made fortunes putting their insights to work. Since we’re multifamily and CRE investors, not leveraged derivative traders we probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to go short the apartment building in that bad neighborhood but how do we develop that wider perspective and still have time to do any investing?

The easy answer is Continue reading How to Prevent Politics from Causing ‘Black Swans’ in your Apartment and CRE Investments

QE is the connection between international tensions and your investments- Dr. Malmgren

Video: Dr. Philippa Malmgren explaining the connection between your investments and all the geopolitical wrangling taking place right now.

The exec sum:

  • Leading industrialized nations carry (and continue to pile on) unsustainable levels of debt
  • Most options for reducing the debt are non-starters:
    • Reduce current spending- Not good for re-election in a democracy
    • Reduce future spending by cutting retirement and healthcare benefits- Also politically untenable
    • Repudiate debt- Advanced economies run on debt and can’t afford to be cut off from debt markets
    • Restructure debt- Again advanced economies can’t afford to cut off from debt markets
  • But there is one tried and true method

Continue reading QE is the connection between international tensions and your investments- Dr. Malmgren

Don’t worry, be happy. US recession chances ‘smoothed’ away.

Three weeks ago we posted an update on the probability of recession that had jumped up into the warning zone: Update on Recession Probability: Rough Seas Ahead? The chart from the St. Louis Fed’s FRED data looked like this:

US recession warning from St. Louis Fed

Only twice in the last forty five years has the level gotten this high without a recession following soon after. The chart is usually updated only once a month but I check it every week, especially since it had risen. When I checked this week I got quite a shock because the high levels I had seen earlier had disappeared:

Chances of US recession August 2013

WT…? It turns out that the ‘Smoothed’ in the chart title: “Smoothed U.S. Recession Probabilities (RECPROUSM156N)” means that the data is subject to change based on Continue reading Don’t worry, be happy. US recession chances ‘smoothed’ away.

Update on Recession Probability: Rough Seas Ahead?

Back in March I posted a FRED chart that Bill McBride over at Calculated Risk shared tracking a set of data that pretty reliably coincides with recessions. Even better is that in almost fifty years of data there have been only two false positives which brings us to a very interesting point. First, here’s the chart as it appeared when I posted back in March:

FRED Recession Probabilities March 2013
Looks like pretty smooth sailing since 2010

Next let’s look in more detail at those false positives:

FRED Recession Probabilities March Detail
FRED Recession Probabilities March 2013

This is what I like about this data series: Even if we set the bar as low as 5%, there have only been two instances Continue reading Update on Recession Probability: Rough Seas Ahead?

Update on the 10yr Treasury rate which drives Multifamily, Commercial Real Estate and Home loan rates.

In the Analysis on Tapering QE3 post Tuesday I included a chart of the US 10 year Treasury rates and you could see them going vertical in the days since the Fed announcement and Bernanke’s press conference last week. We’re in the middle of negotiations on an apartment acquisition with a client and so what interest rates do over the next few days and weeks is extremely important to us. So here’s the updated chart:

10 year Treasury rate chart YTD 2013
Click for full size image. *Treasury Yield Curve Rates, commonly referred to as “Constant Maturity Treasury” rates, or CMTs. This method provides a yield for a 10 year maturity even if no outstanding security has exactly 10 years remaining to maturity. More at www.treasury.gov

We concentrate on the 10 year Treasury because that is the benchmark most lenders base their long term rates on. In order to lure investors away from Treasuries to buy mortgage bonds lenders have to Continue reading Update on the 10yr Treasury rate which drives Multifamily, Commercial Real Estate and Home loan rates.

A Family Inflation Gauge for Everyday Americans; rent, food, energy, medical costs, education and childcare.

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.

Inflation Gauge for Apartment Building Investors and residents
Source: Pragmatic Capitalism http://pragcap.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/CPI1-e1349809833759.png

Right now ‘Family Inflation’ is in the 2% range but you can see that last year it was as high as 7% and that it’s quite volatile. Most of that feels like it could be from rising fuel costs but let’s take a look to see if we can find out what’s really going on. Continue reading A Family Inflation Gauge for Everyday Americans; rent, food, energy, medical costs, education and childcare.

The Cult of Stocks is dying, and at 0% rates bonds have nowhere to go but down Says Bill Gross. Time for apartment building investments?

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?

apartment building investment, good current income with inflation protection and upside

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 giovanni@ashworthpartners.com.

Q3 Apartment Building Investment Reports Now Available From Marcus & Millichap

M&M covers 39 major apartment building investment markets in the US and have just published their Q3 reports. Here’s a list of the metros they cover:

Marcus & Millichap Q3 2012 Apartment Building Investment Market ReportsThey also provide snapshots of the Office, Industrial, Retail and Self-storage sectors in many of those markets, accessible from the tabs on the page. Note this information requires registration at the website to view.