Friday, June 29, 2012

Keep a Close Eye on Apartment Completions Via

Nationally, apartment market completions hit a historic low in 2011, and tight supply conditions remained prevalent in Q1 2012. With demand for rentals benefiting from the continued moribund state of the for-sale housing market, muted inventory growth is helping boost the performance of apartment properties around the nation. Only 7,342 apartment units came online in Q1 2012 – the lowest quarterly figure for new completions since Reis began publishing quarterly data in 1999.

Risks may manifest later in the year, however. With multifamily remaining one of the few shining stars in commercial real estate, developers have begun building properties to take advantage of rising incomes. Unless there are delays, Reis expects about 66,000 units to come online in 2012. That is about 150 percent of the rate of supply growth in 2011. Even more units are slated to come online in 2013, somewhere in the order of 150,000 units in the 79 main markets that Reis tracks.

Read more...Keep a Close Eye on Apartment Completions Via

Texas 1 of 5 states with most foreclosures in past year via Dallas Business Journal

The Lone Star state processed 58,000 foreclosures for the past 12 months ending in May, behind other top ranking states of California, Florida and Michigan, according to data released Friday from California-based CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX)

“There were more than 819,000 completed foreclosures over the past year, or an average of 2,440 completed foreclosures every day over the last 12 months,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a written statement. “Although the level of completed foreclosures remains high, it is down 27 percent from a peak of 1.1 million in all of 2010.”

Read more...Texas 1 of 5 states with most foreclosures in past year - Dallas Business Journal

10 Submarkets With the Most Units in the Pipeline - Development via Multifamily Executive Magazine

As multifamily construction increases around the country, some submarkets are seeing a lot more cranes than others. Here are the 10 submarkets with the most units in the pipeline, according to Dallas-based Axiometrics.

Read more...10 Submarkets With the Most Units in the Pipeline - Development - Multifamily Executive Magazine

May at the Top for 2012 Sales Volume - Mergers And Acquisitions via Multifamily Executive Magazine

The sales data for May apartment transactions was released yesterday by New York City-based Real Capital Analytics (RCA) and the numbers didn’t disappoint.

Last month saw the highest monthly total in multifamily sales volume so far in 2012, with $5.5 billion changing hands. That brings the year-to-date total sales volume to $22.1 billion as of June 1.

Read more...May at the Top for 2012 Sales Volume - Mergers And Acquisitions - Multifamily Executive Magazine

Thursday, June 28, 2012

48% of property managers say rents rose over past 12 months: TransUnion via HousingWire

Roughly 48% of property managers surveyed by TransUnion said rental prices increased over the last 12 months on the majority of their properties.

The credit firm surveyed more than 1,200 large and small managers. Last year, less than 40% of respondents said rents were rising.

Roughly 70% of large managers, those handling more than 200 properties, said rents increased from last year.

Read more...48% of property managers say rents rose over past 12 months: TransUnion | HousingWire

Texas A&M: Lone Star State housing recovery under way via HousingWire

It requires a little bit of courage in this bearish economy to share optimistic views about any U.S. housing market, but Mark Dotzour with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University is doing just that.

Dotzour says the Lone Star State is finally walking down the trail of a housing recovery. Texas single-family building permits in the first four months of the year shot up 17.9% over the same period a year earlier, the Real Estate Center concluded.

While Dotzour expects the housing recovery in Texas to be gradual, he feels confident enough to suggest "homebuilding has apparently turned a corner" in the state.

Read more...Texas A&M: Lone Star State housing recovery under way | HousingWire

Future Exposure and Occupancy Drive Rent Pricing Decisions via Multifamily Executive Magazine

In its first-quarter 2012 conference call, Chicago-based Equity Residential told analysts and investors that turnover was up in its properties—almost 100 basis points versus the first quarter of 2011, coming in at 94.9 percent (the same as the first quarter of 2011). A few years ago, that figure would have set off alarms. This year? Not so much.

“The occupancy in our key markets actually declined throughout the quarter as we held on to our higher rates,” said EQR president of property management Fred Tuomi in a transcript provided by “And we believe that making a trade right now in our strong markets, trading some occupancy or holding those higher rates is actually a good strategy at this point in the cycle. Now, as we enter the leasing season, we fully expect and are beginning to see a recapture of that occupancy at those higher rates that we held onto as we enter the leasing season.”

EQR’s dialogue on its conference call raises an interesting question—how much occupancy should an apartment owner let bleed out in an effort to raise rents? With rents continuing to move up, it’s something every apartment owner and manager deals with.

Read more...Future Exposure and Occupancy Drive Rent Pricing Decisions - Rent Trends - Multifamily Executive Magazine

Green Building Industry Marching Forward, but Facing Some Uncertainty via CoStar Group

Even as the CRE industry continues to embrace higher levels of green certification as the norm, diminished government commitment to sustainable building practices and achieving conformity between a myriad of local codes and international voluntary requirements continue to present challenges that green building teams will have to face going forward, noted experts at CoStar’s most recent Current Trends In Green Real Estate webinar.

A major issue for the green building industry is expectations for continued pull-backs by the government, both in the volume of construction undertaken and the public sector’s commitment to sustainable measures, with more lean years ahead in both areas, said Peter Morris, director with Davis Langdon, consulting company on cost modeling and other economic issues in sustainable building.

Read more...Green Building Industry Marching Forward, but Facing Some Uncertainty - CoStar Group

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CraigsList Cold War via Multifamily Insight Blog

I had a conversation the other day (at times a thinly-veiled argument) with a representative from an apartment listing publication which shall remain nameless, over the impact of Craigslist on the apartment publication industry. She refused to acknowledge the quality and volume of renter prospect traffic that can be generated by a Craigslist ad and couldn’t even own her patently obvious disadvantage that the lease acquisition cost of Craigslist is zero and all other serious print/online pubs are, well, much more than that. I know she has to tow the party-line but at this point, if you’re an apartment print magazine claiming you’re as effective at driving traffic as Craigslist, especially when advertising costs are computed, then you’re losing serious credibility.

For many property owners/managers, Craigslist is the alpha and omega of critical marketing activities. Personally, I don’t have one community under Leonardo Management which couldn’t thrive strictly off leads generated by Craigslist ads. I understand that during a lease-up or asset repositioning, a wider shotgun approach is necessary to try to reign in as many leads as possible in the shortest amount of time, even if the lease acquisition cost is high. For a stabilized community in a primary or secondary market, however, Craigslist is, without question, the “go-to”.

Read more...CraigsList Cold War | Multifamily Insight Blog

Role of CMBS Watchdogs Weakens via

In the dark days of the downturn when financial markets seized up, Wall Street firms tried to jump-start the commercial-mortgage-backed securities business by adding a watchdog into the process to protect investors.

Now, those watchdogs are losing their fangs.

Starting in 2009, most issues of commercial-mortgage securities included a new player: a so-called operating adviser whose job is to make sure bondholders get a fair shake if property owners default on the mortgages underlying those securities.

Read more...Role of CMBS Watchdogs Weakens -

Plugging In via

Handling Utilities Requires Multi-Pronged Approach

A signature building at Mesa del Sol, a master-planned development in Albuquerque, N.M., is the Aperture Center, designed by the distinguished architect Antoine Predock. Besides attracting offi ce and retail tenants with sleek modern lines, the 78,000-square-foot building also offers a glimpse into the future of commercial buildings and the utilities that serve them.

The building is the subject of a four-year pilot project that integrates a solar power storage unit into the power grid operated by PNM, the local electric utility. When the pilot program wraps in 2014, the Center for Emerging Energy Technologies at the University of New Mexico will take custody of the project and use it for continued research and development.

For all its promise, the renewable smart-grid technology being tested at the Aperture Center is years away from becoming a daily fact of life for most property managers and owners. In the meantime, real estate managers are continuing to seek ways to make dealings with utilities as effi cient and effective as possible. Recent studies suggest that aggressive steps by owners of multiple commercial building types, and sometimes by tenants, are helping to keep utility costs down.

Read more...Plugging In via

Construction to start on carbon-capture plant via

Skyonic Corp., an Austin-based carbon-capture firm, has raised $9 million from investors including prominent players in the oil and gas industry to begin construction on a full-scale manufacturing facility.

The company said it has a commitment of $35 million from investors to build the San Antonio facility, which it says will be the first commercial carbon capture and utilization plant in the country. Officials said the plant will demonstrate the viability of capturing and reusing carbon dioxide as a profitable business-scale venture.

Read more...Construction to start on carbon-capture plant via

NAREE Special Report: Multi-Family’s New Trajectory via Commercial Property Executive

Despite growing rents and occupancies, there is still room for improvement in the multi-family sector, Mark Obrinsky observed during the panel discussion “Multi-Family Boom: When Will This Hot Segment Sputter?” at the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ real estate news conference in Denver. The chief economist for the National Multi Housing Council noted that although rents increases have risen between 4.5 and 5 percent, real rates (after expenses) are actually up 1.5 to 2 percent. While still good, the national average at the last peak, in the third quarter of 2011, was still 6 percent lower than increases in 2006. “By some measures, there’s still some recovery to come,” he said.

And with vacancy rates significantly improved over the past couple of years, landlords can work to make that rent recovery happen. The national average vacancy rate in the first quarter was 5.1 percent, Obrinsky noted, a far cry from 2009’s 15 percent and closer to the range of 4 to 5 percent in 2006-07. “Landlords have pricing power,” declared Adam Fruitbine, managing director for Alliance Residential Co. Both rents and vacancies vary by market, but all the markets have come through the downturn and snapped back very quickly, he maintained. At the same time, don’t underestimate the impact of the economy, warned AIMCO CEO Terry Considine: “How the capital markets play out is the biggest threat to multi-family.”

Read more...NAREE Special Report: Multi-Family’s New Trajectory | Commercial Property Executive

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Special Servicers’ New Revenue Drive via

Competition in the universe of special servicers can be strong , and it may only grow stronger once the current spate of peak-market problem loans are worked through and servicers are left with a finite pie of defaulted loans. “Truth be told, much of the workout activity has occurred already in CMBS,” asserted Glenn Brill, managing director of real estate solutions for FTI. “Demand is going to fall.”

To benefit their bottom lines, some special servicers are seeking additional fee opportunities. “If you are a special servicer that is affiliated with a B-piece-owning entity and all the B piece has lost value, then the only thing left is the special servicing fees that come from servicing those loans,” explained David Rodgers, principal at Park Bridge Financial.

Read more...Special Servicers’ New Revenue Drive via

“Waltons’ Effect” Confirmed - Trend Czar Article via

Over the past three years I’ve been talking about the “Waltons’ Effect”—how families will need to pool resources and live together in order to get by in the Era of Less. Last week the Census Bureau confirmed what we can see happening all around us. In fact, young adults have moved back in or are staying in parent homes while more grandparents are moving back in too. And as you would expect in down economic times more non-related adults also are living together.

According to the Census Bureau, the number of adults sharing households with family members or other individuals increased by more than 11% between 2007 and 2010, the latest data available. That amounts to close to 20% of all households and helps account for two million fewer occupied homes in the U.S., according to the Washington Post.

In typical recessions, this move-back-in phenomenon is expectable and short-lived. But the impacts of a generation of over-borrowing by consumers and government in addition to productivity gains (read technology enables companies to be more profitable using fewer U.S. employees) promises to stunt household formations in the ongoing slow, painful, and now possibly stymied economic recovery.

Read - “Waltons’ Effect” Confirmed - Trend Czar Article

San Antonio still rising above the housing fold, report finds via San Antonio Business Journal

Prices in many of the country’s housing markets are — slowly — starting to rebound.

But two cities — San Antonio and Houston — have the enviable distinction of boasting improvement in the aftermath of the latest housing crash.

Home prices in San Antonio rose .6 percent between March 2012 and April 2012, according to the latest analysis by Oxford, Miss.-based real-estate information technology company FNC Inc.

Read more...San Antonio still rising above the housing fold, report finds - San Antonio Business Journal

Is Multifamily Too Hot? via Multi-Housing News Online

At the recent ULI and NMHC meetings, if there was one question on everyone’s mind it was whether the market is becoming overheated. There are several reasons for investor exuberance over multifamily—demand is up, valuations and rents are rising, and vacancy rates are falling. But is it sustainable? To get an insider perspective, I consulted a couple of experienced investors, Jeff Allen, CEO of Raintree Partners in Southern California, and Sam Goldstein, CFO at the Galman Group in the Philadelphia area.

The short-term outlook is selectively positive

Both Jeff and Sam are bullish on the market—and Jeff ticked off a number of specific factors that lead him to be optimistic, at least over the short term. He noted that Gen Y is entering the marketplace, and that for the large cohort of recent immigrants, renting is still the rule. But he also pointed to “steady population growth at a time when there seems to be a cultural shift in attitudes towards renting.” In other words, they see multifamily demand drivers as a whole remaining very strong.

Read more...Is Multifamily Too Hot? | Multi-Housing News Online

Four Things to Think About When Greening Your Portfolio via Multifamily Executive Magazine

When Greenbelt, Md.-based Enterprise Community Partners made the call to focus on green housing in 2009, vice president of Green Initiatives at Enterprise, Dana Bourland thought the biggest hurdle would be convincing owners to go green. That turns out to not be the main issue. Instead, the hurdles are navigating through the process of making apartments more energy efficient. By stepping back and asking four important questions, Bourland says companies can make better decisions about where to spend their dollars on green.

--How is your portfolio performing financially?

Read more...Four Things to Think About When Greening Your Portfolio - Green Communities - Multifamily Executive Magazine

Monday, June 25, 2012

Laws Allow Children in Off-Campus Student Housing via

Evanston, IL is a suburb north of Chicago and home to Northwestern University. And earlier this year, the city was the site of an unusual student housing scenario as Interfaith Housing Center settled a federal fair housing suit against Bernsen Management alleging that in one of its off-campus buildings, landlord Bernsen would rent only to Northwestern University students, turning away students and families with children.

According to Viki Rivkin, director of Fair Housing with the Winnetka, IL-based Interfaith Housing Center, a student had called saying that Bernsen Management had a policy in place to rent only to students rather than to students with families. "The Bernsens wouldn't rent to people claiming to be Northwestern students who had children," Rivkin tells "In a place like Evanston, with a large rental population, it becomes difficult for families to find places to rent that are large enough. If you work for the university and have a child and don't want to buy, where do you live?"

Read - Laws Allow Children in Off-Campus Student Housing - Daily News Article

Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey via Dallas Fed

Texas factory activity surged in June, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose from 5.5 to 15.5, posting its strongest reading in 15 months.

Other measures of current manufacturing conditions also indicated strengthening activity in June. The new orders index rose to 7.9, following three readings around zero, suggesting demand finally grew after staying flat since February. Similarly, the shipments index rebounded to 9.6 after two months of near-zero readings. The capacity utilization index rose from 5 to 13.3, reaching its highest level since early 2011.

Read more...Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey - Dallas Fed

The Regional Economy: Growth Eases in the Spring via Dallas Fed

Regional economic indicators point to decelerating job and output growth this spring. Employment grew at a sluggish pace in April and May after strong activity earlier in the year. The Texas Business Outlook surveys also reflect slowing expansion. The single-family housing market is improving, although residential construction remains weak. Monthly exports fell in April, as did the Texas Leading Index. Still, the job forecast continues to call for stronger growth in 2012 than in 2011.

Employment Growth Decelerates
Employment growth slowed to a 0.8 percent annualized rate in May (Chart 1). This stemmed from the goods-producing sector, where employment contracted 4 percent. Job losses were in mining (with a 16.4 percent annualized loss, the first notable decline since 2009) and in manufacturing. Construction added jobs but at a slower pace than in April. Service sector employment growth picked up in May, spurred by robust growth in professional and business services, a sector that lost jobs in the prior two months. Since December, employment has risen in all sectors except government, which declined at a 1.6 percent annualized rate. Total year-to-date annualized job growth in Texas is 2.4 percent, nearly a percentage point greater than of the nation. The Texas unemployment rate remained at 6.9 percent in May.

Read more...The Regional Economy: Growth Eases in the Spring - Dallas Fed

Commercial Real Estate Not Out of the Woods Yet via LoanSafe

(Source: Steve Brown The Dallas Morning News (MCT) — Although the commercial real estate sector has so far escaped the severe downturn that’s hit U.S. housing, industry leaders are fretting that there’s still a lot of hurt ahead in cities across the country.

“There is a lot more to come — a lot of pain,” said Bob Jacobs, chief investment officer of Denver-based commercial property firm Broe Group. “There has been a crash.

“But it’s not as high-profile and political as the single-family home bust,” Jacobs said Thursday at a meeting of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

Commercial property prices and activity have already started to recover in many U.S. markets, including North Texas. And property values and foreclosures never reached the levels some predicted when the recession hit in 2008.

Read more...Commercial Real Estate Not Out of the Woods Yet | LoanSafe

Commercial Mortgage Repeat Defaults Poised to Increase, RBS Says via Bloomberg

Commercial mortgage defaults are poised to keep rising as loan modifications fail to prevent borrowers from running into trouble again amid collapsed real- estate values, according to Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

“The re-default rate is going to be significantly higher than many market participants think,” Richard Hill, a debt strategist at the bank, said in an interview today at the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council’s convention in Washington. “For some of these loans that were modified in the past three years, the rubber is finally meeting the road.”

Borrowers are struggling to pay off debt with property prices down 34.5 percent from 2007 peaks and U.S. economic growth stalling. More than $30 billion of loans on everything from skyscrapers to strip malls are being handled by a so-called special servicer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The companies negotiate with delinquent landlords on behalf of bondholders and decide whether to modify a loan or foreclose.

Read more...Commercial Mortgage Repeat Defaults Poised to Increase, RBS Says - Bloomberg

Friday, June 22, 2012

Commercial Real Estate Recovery Far From Complete, Says NAREE Panel via

Bill Hoffman’s business goes up as the performance of commercial real estate loans goes down. With more than $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans slated to mature between 2012 and 2015 and many borrowers still underwater, the CEO of Trigild, a San Diego-based distressed real estate, loan recovery and receivership specialist, fully expects his business to continue thriving.

Unlike lenders and investors, Hoffman doesn’t lay awake at night worrying about the euro debt crisis or the ripple effects of an economic slowdown in China. “I hate to say that because we sound like an undertaker. I prefer that you think of us as an emergency doctor. You’ll never want to see us, but when you need us we’re there,” Hoffman said half-jokingly during a panel discussion Thursday morning at the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) Conference in Denver. Hosted at the historic Brown Palace Hotel downtown, the panel discussion was titled, “Commercial Real Estate: The Crash That Never Happened?”


Austin-area home sales jump 25 percent in May; median home prices up 10 percent

Continuing its shift into a seller's market, the Austin metro area saw a 25 percent increase in sales of existing homes in May, while the median price rose 10 percent, according to new data from the Austin Board of Realtors.

Local real estate agents say several factors are fueling demand, including job growth, newcomers moving in, rising rents and low mortgage rates.

May was the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases, and the fourth month in a row that median home prices increased compared with the same month the previous year, the Board of Realtors said.

Read more...Austin-area home sales jump 25 percent in May; median home prices up 10 percent

2012 Mid-Year Construction Forecast via Multifamily Executive Magazine

It's no secret that the construction sector has been lagging when it comes to showing signs that it is anywhere close to a full recovery. While single-family starts have fared considerably worse than multifamily starts, industry economists believe it is slowly but surely moving toward positive growth.

On Tuesday, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. hosted an online news conference to share its 2012 Construction Forecast, which featured commentary from Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects (AIA); David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); and Anirban Basu, chief economist for Associated Builders and Contractors.

According to AIA’s Baker, access to credit and weak job growth are still issues holding back a much-needed recovery across each construction sector. “The construction sector, unfortunately, is the last major sector left in the economy yet to recover from this downturn we’ve been through,” said Baker. Additionally, a large inventory of distressed homes has also slowed the turnaround for new residential construction, he said.

Read more...2012 Mid-Year Construction Forecast - Construction Trends - Multifamily Executive Magazine

Thursday, June 21, 2012

7 Must-Have Tech Amenities for Gen Y Residents via Multifamily Executive Magazine

Multifamily owners and managers across the country have been scrambling the past few years, trying to keep up with innovative ways to attract tech-savvy Gen Y renters. And along the way, tough questions have been raised about which tech amenities residents really want.

KTGY’s Manny Gonzalez compares this to how Gen Y sees the touchscreen interface on their car. “[Gen Y] wants to be able to purchase upgrades for their car like they do apps for their smartphone,” he says. “And if we don’t think about that in our rental communities, that we have to be able to upgrade so that we’re constantly changing, we’re going to be out of touch with this new generation of renters.”

Here’s a look at seven ideas for amenities with tech-centric Gen Y in mind:

Read more...7 Must-Have Tech Amenities for Gen Y Residents - Technology - Multifamily Executive Magazine

Friedman: Household Formation, Not Job Growth, Key to Apartment Sector via

Jeffrey I. Friedman, chairman, president and CEO of Associated Estates, a multifamily REIT based in Richmond Heights, Ohio, took time to chat with REIT Insider, sharing his thoughts on weak job growth, future apartment demand, cap rates, potential overbuilding and REIT valuations.

Friedman has a unique perspective since Associated Estates is the smallest apartment REIT in the U.S. and also boasts a significant presence in the Midwest, a region that doesn’t get much attention from other apartment REITs. The REIT is focused on both acquisition and development, and as a result, Friedman is tracking closely cap rate compression and new unit permitting.

Friedman has been involved in the real estate business since 1969, joined Associated Estates in 1974 and took over as chairman and CEO in 1993. Today, the REIT’s portfolio consists of 54 properties containing 13,835 units across 10 states.

Read more...Friedman: Household Formation, Not Job Growth, Key to Apartment Sector via

The Shifting Renter’s Market via

One of the driving forces behind today’s multi-family market is the shift in the renter’s market itself. The demographic shift – those in the 19 – 35 age range that are choosing to push or simply remain in the renting market – is a positive force that will continue to push the need for multi-family housing. In addition, it is a strong sign that points to continuing stability, as well as a demand moving forward.

Part of this trend is the realization by many that the American Dream – that is, owning a home – may not be all it’s cracked up to be. There is a segment of our population, many from the Great Depression, that sees renting as a preferred way of securing housing. They want the freedom, comfort and flexibility that only renting offers. As a result, this is providing a strong secondary force that will continue to support the current market.

Read more...The Shifting Renter’s Market

The Bridge to Opportunity via

With the nation’s multi-housing market on the upswing, interim financing can be the bridge over troubled traditional-lending waters for experienced borrowers aiming to capitalize on opportunities to acquire or reposition multi-family properties.

Despite data from REIS Inc. showing a year-to-year drop of 21 percent in the multi-family vacancy rate—from 6.6. percent to 5.2 percent between 2010 and 2011—loans for unstabilized multi-family properties remain hard to get from traditional lending sources and government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), which are focused on stabilized properties.

The Catch-22 is that under-performing properties-—at which the occupancy level is below the minimum required by GSEs—have an urgent need for financing to execute improvements or engage better management that will make them competitive and, ultimately, increase occupancy.

Read more...The Bridge to Opportunity via

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wacky Multifamily Starts Numbers Continue to Fluctuate via Multifamily Executive Magazine

Experts indicate that multifamily starts will hit their highest totals in a few years. But in May, the volatile starts number, which had been moving up 10 to 30 percent, fell. Starts were down 24 percent from April. And year over year, they fell even further, down 32 percent. Overall, May starts were 28 percent below average for the last 20 years, but still remain 8 percent above the 2011 average.

Even more telling could be the permitting data which increased 18 percent from April, making it 46 percent higher than the 2011 average, but still 7 to 10 percent below the 10 and 20 year averages, according to a report from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW), a New York-based investment banking and security brokerage firm.

Read more...Wacky Multifamily Starts Numbers Continue to Fluctuate - Development - Multifamily Executive Magazine

How Are Renters Finding You? via Multifamily Executive Magazine

Whoever said that print was dead may have been underestimating today’s thorough, far-reaching renter.

Print newspaper ads are still the third most popular place that renters turn to in an apartment search, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 renters by and Slack and Company. In fact, 79 percent of all renters that recently signed a lease or are now searching for one say that they rely on at least four different sources.

Take a look at some of the other go-to sources renters scour during their apartment hunt:

Read more...How Are Renters Finding You? - Marketing - Multifamily Executive Magazine

Irrigation Ideas for Your Property via

Drought continues to plague the U.S., with many cities, towns, and municipalities instituting strict watering restrictions in order to conserve water. If you think these restrictions force you to choose between dry, burnt landscaping and expensive penalties, you haven’t looked at the newest irrigation systems available.

We’ve all seen the systems of the past; rain pouring down while the sprinkler system continues to pump water onto saturated land, resulting in a large amount of water waste. Or the broken sprinkler heads that launch water high into the sky, watering everything but the lawn.

Read more...Irrigation Ideas for Your Property |

Freddie Mac Sees Increase In Rental Demand via

Freddie Mac released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for June showing that rental market activity has been a bright spot for the housing market, and due to rental demand by those postponing homeownership, further increases are expected in the coming year.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac, vice president and chief economist stated, "Further increases in rental demand are likely in the coming year as newly formed households postpone homeownership decisions until the economy strengthens and they have accumulated sufficient savings. Overall apartment market trends may show further vacancy declines and rent gains, with property values improving as well."

Read more...Freddie Mac Sees Increase In Rental Demand - Multifamily News Headlines – Breaking News, Stories, Top Headlines ::

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Austin 30-year growth blueprint approved via

A plan to shape the city's growth and development throughout the next 30 years has been set into motion after Austin City Council unanimously approved -- very early Friday morning -- the comprehensive blueprint for growth.

"It's inspirational in a couple of areas: multimodal transit; vertical mixed-use, transit-oriented development -- because I think that type of density is very democratic, and it provides paths to prosperity," said Austin architect Martin Barrera. "It develops healthy communities. Through walking communities, through biking communities, we can help to overturn decades of car-designed communities -- and with that, the obesity trend that is really crippling our state."

It is called Imagine Austin – a renewed, comprehensive approach to things like:

Sustainable water resources
Investment in the workforce, education and entrepreneurs
Environmental protection and nature
Creative economy
Affordable housing

Read more...Austin 30-year growth blueprint approved |

Monthly Review of Texas Economy, June 2012 via Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University

The Texas economy gained 228,500 nonagricultural jobs from May 2011 to May 2012, an annual growth rate of 2.2 percent compared with 1.4 percent for the United States. The state's nongovernment sector added 279,800 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent compared with 1.8 percent for the nation's private sector.

Read more...Monthly Review of Texas Economy, June 2012 -- Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University

MBA: Investors Increase Commercial, Multifamily Mortgage Holdings via Mortgage News Daily

Three of the groups that most heavily invest in commercial and multifamily mortgages increased their outstanding balance of such debt in the first quarter of 2012 according to data released this morning by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The level of all commercial/multifamily debt increased by $8.1 billion or 0.3 percent to $2.373 trillion compared to a total in the fourth quarter of 2011 of $2.365 trillion. The multifamily portion of that debt now totals $818 billion, up $6.9 billion or 0.8 percent from the previous quarter total of $811.4 billion.

Banks and thrifts saw the largest dollar increase in commercial/multifamily holdings during the first quarter, $13.5 billion or 1.7 percent. Agency and GSE portfolios and MBS went up by $6.8 billion or 2 percent. The third sector, life insurance companies, increased $3.8 billion or 1.2 percent. The largest drop was in the holdings of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), collateralized debt obligations (CDO), and other asset-backed securities (ABS) which went down $11.7 billion or 2 percent. On a percentage basis the largest increase was 5.3 percent by other insurance companies and the largest percentage drop was in the household sector, down 11 percent.

Read more...MBA: Investors Increase Commercial, Multifamily Mortgage Holdings via Mortgage News Daily

ALN Monthly Newsletter June 2012 via ALN Apartment Data

ALN Data just released their May 2012 stats on occupancy and rents for 23 markets. In Texas, it includes DFW, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Lubbock, Amarillo, Abilene and Corpus Christi. It is a great read from a great provider of apartment data.

Read more...ALN Monthly Newsletter June 2012

Jim Simcoe And The Greening Of Real Estate via MortgageOrb

Over the past few years, the real estate world has embraced an ecological shade of green. From the push for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification to the efforts to maintain the Property Accessed Clean Energy program in the face of Federal Housing Finance Agency opposition, the industry is eager to maintain and expand its green hue.

This week, MortgageOrb discusses the green real estate movement with Jim Simcoe, founder and president of San Diego-based Simcoe Consulting, a developer of green strategies for real estate investment companies throughout North America.

Q: The expression "green real estate" is becoming more prevalent. In your professional opinion, what exactly is "green real estate"?

Read more...MortgageOrb: Jim Simcoe And The Greening Of Real Estate

Monday, June 18, 2012

MPF Research Looks Back at Two Years of Big Growth in the Apartment Industry via Property Management Insider

The past two years have been two of the best the U.S. apartment market has seen over the past couple decades. In the 200th episode of Apartment Market Dynamics, MPF Research measures up the industry’s growth since the market first turned in 2010’s first quarter.

Watch Video...MPF Research Looks Back at Two Years of Big Growth in the Apartment Industry | Property Management Insider

Loan Servicers Determine Success In Modifications via

Obtaining a loan modification on a commercial property may seem like an exercise in frustration, with the lender’s actions having no rhyme or reason, but there is a method to their madness, One key to deciphering lenders’ thought processes when it comes to loan modifications is understanding that the type of holder or servicer for the loan plays a significant role in whether or not you’ll get it, Gordon Gerson, managing principal of Gerson Law Firm APC, tells

“Only by understanding the motives and needs of the holder of debt may a borrower on a commercial loan in default or eminent default properly posture an offer for a loan modification,” Gerson tells

As recently reported, Gerson’s firm represented lenders in a succession of loan closings and loan-asset recoveries during May, closing more than $120 million of commercial and multifamily loans for credit unions as well as for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Lenders were engaged in loan closings in Alabama, California, Colorado and Ohio, and a major loan assumption in Indiana was also handled by Gerson’s finance team.

Gerson explains that there are generally four classes or holders of loans secured by commercial real estate: banks and credit unions, life insurance companies, servicers of CMBS loans and purchasers of distressed debt portfolios. Each of these classes considers and/or acts on a request for a loan modification in a different manner.

Read - Loan Servicers Determine Success In Modifications - Daily News Article

Tax credit rules for affordable housing developments may change via

Texas could change the way it funnels millions of dollars to builders of affordable housing projects, giving preference to complexes in more affluent and diverse areas.

A federal judge in Dallas has ordered the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to refine its rules for awarding tax credits for low-income housing.

The court ruled in March that too many of the projects were being built in poor, minority neighborhoods. Though that wasn't intentional, it was discriminatory, U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater ruled.

Read more...Tax credit rules for affordable housing developments may change via

Bigger Cap Rate Spreads Hint at Risk via

Despite cap rate compression over the last 24 months, cap rate spreads over 10-year U.S. Treasuries have actually been increasing since the middle of 2011. Does this mean markets are reflecting rising risk in commercial real estate investing?

The spread between cap rates and Treasury rates reflect the premium demanded by investors from investing in a relatively risky asset like commercial real estate, vis-√†-vis keeping their money in risk-free assets like bonds backed by the U.S. government. Increasing spreads therefore reflect heightened risk. (The recent global downturn has, of course, redefined the term “risk-free assets,” particularly when applied to sovereign debt, given heightened perceptions of default risk.)

Read more...Bigger Cap Rate Spreads Hint at Risk via

One Million Renters Added in 2011, Married and Higher Income Renter Populations Grow, New Report Shows via Multifamily Executive Magazine

One million. That’s the number of new rental households the U.S. added in 2011, according to "The State of the Nation’s Housing 2012" report, released today from the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University. That's the largest reported increase of renter households since the early 1980s.

Since 2005, 4.4 million new renters have emerged. While individuals under the age of 25 constituted 4.7 million of the new renters from 2006 to 2011, 25 to 34-year-olds accounted for fully 645,000 new net renter households in this time period. From 2001 to 2006, that group produced a net loss of 328,000 households. Eventually, these people plan to own, but it won’t happen overnight.

Read more...One Million Renters Added in 2011, Married and Higher Income Renter Populations Grow, New Report Shows - Demographics - Multifamily Executive Magazine

Thursday, June 14, 2012

ALN Austin, DFW, Houston, San Antonio: May 2012 via REAL ESTATE CENTER AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

ALN Apartment Data has released the May review of occupancy, effective rent and more for Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Houston and San Antonio.

For reference, Atlanta, Ga. and Phoenix, Ariz. are shown. The general overview includes properties in initial lease-up.

Read more...NewsTalk Texas - ALN Austin, DFW, Houston, San Antonio: May 2012

CMBS Heats Up, But Is It Back to Stay? via Apartment Finance Today

AROUND THIS TIME LAST YEAR, the CMBS industry appeared to be back in full force, quoting rates that were competitive with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the first time in years. Yet, as soon as it came, it disappeared— rates fell too far, too fast, and investors pushed back. Then, the congressional debt ceiling standoff and Greek debt crisis derailed the industry’s momentum.

But now, well into the second quarter of 2012, CMBS pricing continues to fall. Conduits are quoting rates in the high–4 percent range—not too far from where Fannie and Freddie are pricing. And a growing number of organizations, including Barclays, UBS, Cantor Fitzgerald, JPMorgan Chase, LoanCore, and Guggenheim Partners, are setting large CMBS budgets for the year.

Read more...CMBS Heats Up, But Is It Back to Stay? - Apartment Finance Today Online Article - Apartment Finance Today Magazine

VIDEO: Multifamily Financing Still Red Hot via

Grace Huebscher, co-founder of Beech Street Capital came by's headquarters to discuss multifamily financing and how there is a "tremendous apetite" to get deals done in the sector. She spoke with's Jacqueline Hlavenka.

Among the topics the two discussed were:

*Lending options other than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
*What a reduction in Fannie and Freddie would mean.
*How the election will impact multifamily finance.
*The future of home ownership.

Watch - VIDEO: Multifamily Financing Still Red Hot - GlobeSt.TV Article

Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Balances Up $8.1 Billion in First Quarter via RealEstateRama

The level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased by $8.1 billion, or 0.3 percent, in the first quarter of 2012, as three of the four major investor groups increased their holdings, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The $2.37 trillion in outstanding commercial/multifamily mortgage debt was $8.1 billion higher than the fourth quarter 2011 figure. Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding rose to $818 billion, an increase of $6.9 billion or 0.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.

“The amount of commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased during the first quarter, as lenders put out more in new loans than paid-off or paid down,” said Jamie Woodwell, Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research at the Mortgage Bankers Association. “Banks; Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA; and life insurance companies all increased their holdings of commercial and multifamily mortgages, more than offsetting declines among CMBS and other investor groups.”

Read more...Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Balances Up $8.1 Billion in First Quarter | RealEstateRama

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Scorecard Rates State Water Policies - Water Conservation via EcoHome Magazine

Although some states like Arizona and Georgia have been forced to implement water conservation policies to deal with drought conditions, the reality is that most of the United States is not taking proactive measures to promote water efficiency. This is a disturbing fact considering that a 2003 U.S. General Accounting Office survey estimated that 36 states may experience water shortages by 2013.

In an effort to move state conservation efforts forward, the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) and the Environmental Law Institute have released a draft of the report entitled “The Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard: An Assessment of Laws and Policies.” According to the organizations, the purpose of the research effort was to compile concise and useful information about state water laws and policies and, more important, bring attention to exemplary policies that may be used as models for other states to emulate.

Read more...New Scorecard Rates State Water Policies - Water Conservation - EcoHome Magazine

Recovery Pace Quickens in Lower-End CRE Properties via CoStar Group

Findings Point To Improving Market Conditions Across The Entire Commercial Property Market, Not Just Trophy Assets In Top Metros

CRE investors are stepping up their efforts to find value outside the best buildings in the top U.S. metros, casting their nets in a growing number of secondary markets and asset types as price growth slows for the highest-end properties, according to this month's CoStar Commercial Repeat Sale Indices (CCRSI) report.

For the past two years, pricing gains in the value-weighted composite index have been consistently stronger than its equal-weighted counterpart, suggesting that prices have recovered more rapidly among the larger and more expensive assets. Market fundamentals have also recovered more quickly at the top end of the market, where demand for Four-Star and Five-Star office buildings, luxury apartments, and modern big-box warehouses has outpaced the overall market.

Read more...Recovery Pace Quickens in Lower-End CRE Properties - CoStar Group

Commercial Real Estate Transactions Increase in Secondary Markets via CCIM Institute

Multifamily continues to lead investment ratings, according to CCIM Institute and RERC data.

Commercial real estate investors are expanding their search for quality office, industrial, and apartment properties into secondary markets such as Nashville, Tenn., Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, N.C., according to CCIM Institute and Real Estate Research Corp.’s 2Q12 RERC/CCIM Investment Trends Quarterly. Another positive trend is the extension of institutional investors beyond coastal hubs into large inland markets, such as Chicago and Denver, where some significant transactions are taking place, according to the survey.

Read more...Commercial Real Estate Transactions Increase in Secondary Markets | CCIM Institute

Ron Taylor: Multifamily Predictions Gone Wrong via

I recall being in a meeting with an institutional investor in the summer of 2010. This investor was absolutely convinced that multifamily assets were at their peak and that values would surely decrease over the next year or so. This was based on their predictions that 1) interest rates were going to rise dramatically, 2) the availability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt was going to be significantly reduced, 3) there was going to be significant cap-rate expansion in the near term, and 4) that revenue growth would never be able to overcome the anticipated expansion in cap rates. Their basic feeling was, “Get out now.”

All of us in the business now realize that the predictions this institutional investor was acting upon are “predictions gone wrong.” The current rate on the 10-year T-bill is 1.25 percent lower than the summer of 2010 (1.25 percentage points, or something like 30 percent). Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provided $44.7 billion in multifamily debt financing in 2011, versus $31.9 billion in 2010. Multifamily cap rates have compressed since 2010, and multifamily properties have generated strong effective rent growth in that period.

Read more...Real Points » Blog Archive » Ron Taylor: Multifamily Predictions Gone Wrong via

Rental Market Still Tightening: Moody's via

With vacancies declining and rental prices rising, the climate in the housing industry is clearly warming up to rental properties. According to Moody’s Analytics, “weak income gains, favorable demographics, and the foreclosure crises” are all causing people to choose renting over buying, and demand for rent will remain solid over the next two years.

Between 2000 and 2008, real per capita income grew at an annualized rate of 2 percent compared to 0.8 percent in 2010 and 2011, according to the report. In addition, many households simply don’t have enough for a down payment, and until households gain more in terms of finances or confidence in the economy, fears of homeownership won’t be put aside.

Read more...Rental Market Still Tightening: Moody's

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

U.S. Commercial, Multifamily Mortgage Balances Slightly Uptick in Q1 to Combined $818 Billion in Outstanding Debt via World Property Channel

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased by $8.1 billion, or 0.3 percent, in the first quarter of 2012, as three of the four major investor groups increased their holdings.

The $2.37 trillion in outstanding commercial/multifamily mortgage debt was $8.1 billion higher than the fourth quarter 2011 figure. Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding rose to $818 billion, an increase of $6.9 billion or 0.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.

"The amount of commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased during the first quarter, as lenders put out more in new loans than paid-off or paid down," said Jamie Woodwell, Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research at the Mortgage Bankers Association. "Banks; Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA; and life insurance companies all increased their holdings of commercial and multifamily mortgages, more than offsetting declines among CMBS and other investor groups."

Read more...U.S. Commercial, Multifamily Mortgage Balances Slightly Uptick in Q1 to Combined $818 Billion in Outstanding Debt - WORLD PROPERTY CHANNEL Global News Center

CMBS markets rebound, but euro crisis a worry via Pensions & Investments

Real estate owners in need of loans are still finding them on Wall Street, but the mounting European debt crisis is fueling worries that lending could slow down, imperiling the real estate market's recovery.

Wall Street lenders that package real estate loans into commercial mortgage-backed securities originated and sold $11.6 billion in loans in the first five months of the year, vs. $24.2 billion for all of 2011, according to Trepp LLC, a New York-based research firm.

Tom Fink, senior vice president and managing director at Trepp, projects that national CMBS loan volume will total about $30 billion this year, a 20% increase over 2011.

Read more...CMBS markets rebound, but euro crisis a worry - Pensions & Investments

Fed survey details middle-class pain via McClatchy

A new survey of U.S. family finances released by the Federal Reserve on Monday documents in painful detail just how deeply the so-called Great Recession and its aftermath has been felt in family budgets across America.

The Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted every three years and covering a span from 2007 to 2010, documents steep declines in family income that correspond to what most Americans already know about their own declining net worth.

It also shows how the U.S. South and West have felt more pain than the rest of the country because of the severity of the housing sector’s downturn there, and provides evidence that the self-employed and business owners have taken it on the chin in recent years.

Read more...Fed survey details middle-class pain | McClatchy

Ten Tips on how to Attract New Tenants without Breaking your Budget via Property Management & Vendor Network Blog

Article points outs items that work well with apartments

Many homeowners spent a lot of money and time remodeling or staging their homes for sale. However, not many homeowners seem to do the same when it comes to their rental properties. It is important to maintain your rental properties to attract new tenants, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to do it. It is important to keep these costs low so that it doesn’t affect your cash flow income.

Improving your rental property not only will attract more tenants, but it will also give you the ability to slightly increase the rent. The following are tips how you can improve your rental properties without spending a fortune.

Read more...Ten Tips on how to Attract New Tenants without Breaking your Budget via Property Management & Vendor Network Blog

Key Indicators - The Texas Economy June 8, 2012 via Texas Comptroller

Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 13,200 jobs during April 2012. Between April 2011 and April 2012, Texas added 225,800 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 2.1 percent.

Over the past year, Texas added jobs in 10 of the 11 major sectors, including education and health services; leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation, and utilities; professional and business services; mining and logging; manufacturing; other services; construction; financial activities; and information.

Read more...Key Indicators | Economic Outlook | The Texas Economy via Texas Comptroller

Money (And Water) Down the Drain via NAA Blog

Everyone talks about water efficiency and rebates, but not many property managers realize the huge savings and environmental benefits associated. Apartment owners and property managers can easily cash in on cutting water usage while helping their community become more environmentally friendly.

If you’re hesitant about the upfront cost of retrofitting, you should be aware that many properties can receive financial assistance to implement water-efficient systems in their communities in addition to rebates! Here are some of the best rebates available for the biggest water hogs:

Toilets: By replacing pre-1994 toilets (which suck down 2 to 3 times the amount of water needed), with dual flush or low-flow toilets, you are eligible for a $75-$100 rebate towards a 1.28 gpf toilet. You can save $1,000 in water and sewer charged over 10 years. You’ll be amazed at how many rebate programs there are just by Googling ‘toilet rebates’.

Read more...Money (And Water) Down the Drain via NAA Blog

States with the fastest growing economies via

In 2011, the U.S. economy grew for the second straight year, although at a slower pace than in 2010. According to figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. GDP increased 1.5 percent — less than half the 3.1 percent growth in the previous year. Still, this shows the economy is moving in the right direction.

The biggest contributors the nation’s economic growth were professional, scientific and technical services and the information sector, which represented 24.7 percent and 14.7 percent of total U.S. GDP growth, respectively. By far, the most significant growth industry was durable goods manufacturing, which contributed to nearly a third of total GDP growth. A state-level review shows that just a handful of the states are responsible for the lion’s share of national GDP growth. 24/7 Wall St. performed an analysis of the 11 states with the largest GDP growth in the country last year.

Read more...States with the fastest growing economies - Bottom Line via

Monday, June 11, 2012

Empire State Building Realizes Its Energy-Efficiency Retrofit Goals via

It has been a year since the bulk of a massive energy-efficiency retrofit project was finished at the Empire State Building and owners, planners and experts have had high hopes for a big payoff.

They have not been disappointed.

When the numbers rolled in for 2011, it turned out the building reduced energy usage by better than what everyone hoped: They were 55 percent of the way to their ultimate goal of a 38 percent reduction in energy use. That’s 5 percent closer than they had projected.

Read more...Empire State Building Realizes Its Energy-Efficiency Retrofit Goals via

Moody's tempers multifamily bubble fears via HousingWire

More than 34% of the national housing stock is being rented and the percentage is climbing, according to Moody's Analytics.

Slow income growth coming out of the recession and a lack of savings for a down payment pushed rental demand higher. Vacancy rates, according to Moody's, dropped for all types of properties during 2011. But for multifamily units of five or more, vacancies plunged below 10.5% from a high of 12.5% at the beginning of 2010.

To meet the escalating demand, construction starts on multifamily properties averaged 221,000 multifamily units from February to April, up from an average of 67,000 at the end of 2009. Many of the construction crews laid off after the housing bust are migrating to multifamily projects, though unemployment in the sector remains difficult.

Read more...Moody's tempers multifamily bubble fears | HousingWire

The economy: Downdraught via The Economist

THE much-vaunted recovery began to show signs of slowing a few months ago. Even so, the revelation on June 1st that employment grew by just 69,000 in May, a 12-month low, suggested a more serious deceleration than anyone had imagined. The stockmarket plunged, giving up all its gains since January. Online punters slashed the odds that Barack Obama would be re-elected to a little over 50%.

As recently as February payroll growth was running at 250,000 a month. Many of the headwinds that had held back growth for so long were abating. State and local government lay-offs have eased, and housing, though deeply depressed, has been reviving: both sales and construction of new homes are rising, as are prices, by some measures.

Read more...The economy: Downdraught | The Economist

Dallas-Fort Worth is 6th-most-popular moving destination via Dallas Business Journal

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is the sixth-most-popular moving destination in the nation, according to the American Moving and Storage Association.

According to a report in Yahoo Real Estate, DFW was in the top 10 based on inbound shipments by movers from January to March.

The Washington, D.C., area is No. 1 on the list, and our Texas neighbor Houston is third.

Read more...Dallas-Fort Worth is 6th-most-popular moving destination - Dallas Business Journal

Demographics, New Assumptions Drive Commercial Real Estate via

A turning point has been reached in the economy and both demographics and the assumptions that traditionally drove the commercial real estate industry are shifting.

But while economists speaking on a panel at the Strategic Real Estate Conference held in New York this week agreed that this is a time of incredible change, they also see opportunity

Read more...Demographics, New Assumptions Drive Commercial Real Estate via

Secondary Distress: Needles in a Haystack via

Though the tale of the bifurcated market has been the norm for the past four to five years, it’s becoming increasingly clear that one side, the popular, clean, core, coastal properties, are winning the investor attention battle. So who’s chasing the alleged amazing distress opportunities, particularly in the secondary and tertiary markets?

It’s already been a couple years since "kick the can down the road" started to become clich√© in the distress market. The massive outpouring of opportunity never materialized, and servicers are showing their weariness today more than ever, finding ways to keep borrowers afloat in hopes that more profit can be found with an owner than without.

At the beginning of 2012, things looked different. Fresh after the up-down year of 2011, with renewed positive energy and prices rising in core markets, investors were chasing secondary market deals with gusto. Volume in secondary and tertiary markets reached more than $57 billion by Dec. 31, and any site with multifamily potential was considered the new gold standard.

Read - Secondary Distress: Needles in a Haystack - Daily News Article

Friday, June 8, 2012

Distress Symposium Report: Opportunities Knock, but Change Must Come via

“Americans like the new,” but they don’t like to give new products a chance to work through growing pains, warned economist Hugh Kelly during yesterday’s Distressed Debt & Assets Symposium, produced by Deloitte in partnership with New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. For that reason, when the economy tanked and banks’ incautious lending practices caught up with them during the last recession, their response was to reject CMBS as simply too risky—“an immature reaction to an immature product,” said Kelly, who is an associate professor with Schack.

The keynote speaker at the conference, which took place in the New York Athletic Club in Midtown Manhattan, Kelly said he believes it’s possible to improve the picture, “but it’s going to require a commitment to change.” In fact, it will require massive change and massive capital. “If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, things are not going to be pretty.”

Read more...Distress Symposium Report: Opportunities Knock, but Change Must Come via

TRANSCRIPT: Facebook Chat with Marketing Expert Kate Good via

On Tuesday, June 5th, multifamily marketing expert Kate Good participated in a live chat on the MHN Facebook page to answer readers’ questions about lease-up strategies.

Below is the transcript of the chat session.

Good: Hi, everyone. This is a first for me—taking over another’s Facebook wall. But, here goes…let’s talk about marketing and leasing strategies. I have been working full-time on new construction and so happy it is back! It’s about time we start building again.

Question: Kate, what would be the three most critical things you would advise me to look for when reviewing the sales and marketing activities of a large apartment portfolio today?

Read more...TRANSCRIPT: Facebook Chat with Marketing Expert Kate Good

Witnesses: FHA remains crucial in multifamily financing via HousingWire

The increasing number of renters needs more attention, according to witnesses who testified before the House Financial Services Committee over the Federal Housing Administration's future role in multifamily housing.

"The focus of the discussion on the future of housing finance reform largely has been on single-family homeownership," said Robert Nielsen, the immediate past chairman of the National Association of Home Builders in his written testimony. "Less attention has been paid to the multifamily rental housing segment of the housing finance system, even though almost one-third of Americans live in rental housing, and demand for rental housing in the future is expected to increase."

Read more...Witnesses: FHA remains crucial in multifamily financing | HousingWire

Hayward: Fannie Mae Multifamily to Focus on Liquidity via

Fannie Mae’s top leadership position has now been filled, but it's still business as usual for the GSE’s multifamily unit, says Jeff Hayward, SVP and head of Multifamily at Fannie Mae. “Tim Mayopoulos has been a colleague and an outstanding leader,” he tells “From the perspective of understanding and caring about what happens in housing we couldn’t have found anyone better as CEO.”

All that said, a change in leadership will not impact multifamily’s day-to-day operations that greatly. The GSE’s multifamily unit has been focused on its mission of liquidity and executing on that goal, Hayward says. For that reason, it is not considering new product development or tweaks to existing products.

Read - Hayward: Fannie Mae Multifamily to Focus on Liquidity - Daily News Article

As Banks Hesitate, Mezz Funds See Rescue Opportunities via

Regardless of whether the assets go into special servicing, the sheer volume of debt coming due over the next five years or so is likely more than the current supplies of debt and equity are able—or willing—to take on. That bodes well for players in the mezzanine and preferred equity arena: “rescue capital” will have many opportunities to come to the rescue over the next few years, said locally based experts Thursday at the Urban Land Institute’s Real Estate Finance and Investment conference here.

The reasons are numerous. With a “tremendous number” of maturities happening over the next three to five years, including $232 billion in CMBS originated in 2007 alone, it’s not clear what the state of the economy and the capital markets will be during that time, pointed out moderator Robert Ivanhoe, global chair of the real estate practice for law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Read - As Banks Hesitate, Mezz Funds See Rescue Opportunities - Daily News Article

Thursday, June 7, 2012

America’s Changing Face | The Balance Sheet via Yardi Corporate Blog

America today is a veritable melting pot of demographic trends. The first Baby Boomers have arrived at senior citizen status. The population’s balance is shifting, with the historical white majority on its way to becoming the minority, while certain minorities are on their way to becoming the majority through a combination of organic growth and immigration. A huge pool of new graduates is pouring into the market. And urban centers are exploding at the expense of the suburbs.

While this flood of significant shifts is impacting virtually every property type, perhaps none is more influenced than the retail sector. Successful retailing requires layering preferences, price points and geographic placement—and tracking how these are changing to better address them with the right offerings in the right locations. Complicating this targeted planning is the growing influence of technology, in particular the competition from online retailing—so-called etailing.

Read more...America’s Changing Face | The Balance Sheet - Yardi Corporate Blog

Four Legal Issues Apartment Owners Need to Know - Legal Issues via Multifamily Executive Magazine

Back in April, the Denver Business Journalreported that a federal judge ruled one-time, nonrefundable amenity fees violated state law in Massachusetts. Denver-based Archstone lost that case, but there are other local laws out there that could ensnare unsuspecting apartment owners. Here are some key ones:

Utility Charges: Some suburban Maryland counties, like Montgomery County, have limitations on the amount of raises a landlord can administer to things like electricity and water charges. “That may be one of the things that a landlord may think they have absolute discretion to do,” says Christopher Hanback, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of law firm Holland & Knight.

Read more...Four Legal Issues Apartment Owners Need to Know - Legal Issues - Multifamily Executive Magazine

10 fastest-growing states via CNNMoney

These states experienced the fastest growth rates in 2011, which was a mediocre year for economic expansion across the nation.

Read more...10 fastest-growing states - North Dakota (1) - CNNMoney

Scott Walker and Real Estate - Trend Czar Article via

Interesting take on pension funds and their investment role in commercial real estate

The Scott Walker victory rightly has been billed as a blow to labor unions and public employees. But it also signals what will be a significant paring back of public pension funds. More states and municipalities will be moving to end their generous and unsustainable retirement packages, taking the route of corporations and turning defined benefit plans into 401Ks or some equivalent, which will reduce an increasingly impossible taxpayer burden.

The public employee pension fund plan sponsor won’t disappear entirely for quite a while, but the system that pushes tens of billions of dollars into commercial real estate investment each year will enter into a period of stepped up decline and eventual eclipse. And that means less institutional investment coming into the property sector from a major and relied upon capital source. The 401K model and its liquidity requirements have never proved particularly conducive to investing directly into lumpy equity real estate, and cannot be counted on to provide substitute flows. For investment managers who rely on heavy doses of public fund allocations, their business model will require an overhaul in the years ahead. Let’s face it--the whole pension industry as we know it is running out of time.

Read - Scott Walker and Real Estate - Trend Czar Article

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CMBS Delinquencies Hit All-Time High; Relief on the Horizon via

The time has come: The CMBS delinquency rate hit an all-time high in May 2012, surpassing the 10 percent mark as the rate saw its third consecutive month of increases. In May alone, the delinquency rate rose 24 basis points to 10.04 percent but, since March, has risen 67 basis points. Trepp pulled no punches in its report.

“Back in December, we predicted that 2012 could be a rocky year for CMBS in terms of the delinquency rate,” the agency wrote in its May 30, 2012 report. “At the time, the delinquency rate was hovering at 9.51 percent and had stayed in a fairly tight band for a number of months. We wrote that the market could easily see a spike of 70 basis points in the short term, as five-year loans that were securitized in 2007 began to reach their maturity dates.”

That prophecy now appears to be have come true. The CMBS delinquency rate set an all-time high in May. Overall, the delinquency rate for U.S. commercial real estate loans in CMBS jumped 24 basis points in May to 10.04 percent. In the process, the rate broke through the 10 percent threshold for the first time ever. Whether the rate creeping into double digits for the first time carries some psychological impact remains to be seen.

Read more...CMBS Delinquencies Hit All-Time High; Relief on the Horizon via

Dallas Beige Book June 6, 2012 via Dallas Fed

The Eleventh District economy expanded at a moderate pace over the past six weeks. Manufacturing activity was flat to up, demand for business services rose and transportation services activity was mixed. Energy activity remained strong, and the housing sector continued to improve. Retail sales rose moderately, and auto sales were strong. Loan demand picked up since the last report. Drought conditions improved. Most firms reported no change in selling prices. Employment levels were steady to slightly higher, and wage pressures remained minimal. Most firms' outlooks are optimistic, although many respondents expressed concern about U.S. political uncertainty and the European debt situation.

Most responding firms said prices were unchanged, although some noted that input prices ticked up slightly. Retailers said selling prices were stable, although food prices increased. Auto dealers said prices were unchanged. Transportation service firms expect lower energy surcharges by July due to recently reduced prices for jet and diesel fuel. In contrast, airlines expect a slight upward trend due to higher fuel costs compared to last year at this time. Agricultural producers noted lower commodity prices and input costs.

Read more...Dallas Beige Book - Dallas Fed

Do Property Managers Discriminate Against Applicants? by Nate Thomas via Multifamily Insiders

This article was posted June 6, 2012 by Ryan Green. We had an article posted on our site earlier to be on the lookout for this subject below! I though I would paste this on here for others to read!

“Property managers who use eviction records in the application screening process are discriminating against their applicants!”

This, according to a Fair Housing presentation last month in Tacoma, Washington, during which the most prevalent point made, was that a higher percentage of minorities have prior evictions and therefore, referencing eviction records in the approval criteria may lead to discrimination.

Read more...Do Property Managers Discriminate Against Applicants? by Nate Thomas | Apartment Marketing | Apartment Leasing | Resident Retention | Apartment Investment | Apartment Jobs

Growth Spurt via

50 Fastest Growing Metropolitan Areas Jan 2010 - Jul 2011

Read more...Growth Spurt

Lending Sources Step Up; Construction Debt Is Starting to Happen via

The capital markets, a market that has been in flux for the last few years, now seems like a shining beacon of hope, with more and more capital providers entering the fray. So say multiple sources that spoke with on the subject. The question then becomes: Are all product types attractive and are lending sources stepping up in areas like construction and hospitality?

According to Gary Goss, a capital markets specialist in the San Diego office of Cassidy Turley, a few months ago according, lenders, for the most part, were seeking permanent debt for multifamily, industrial, retail and office property types alone. Goss has recently noticed a rise in multiple lending sources offering programs for construction, hospitality and special use properties, a trend he expects to continue. “Lenders are expanding their lending types as a way to satisfy their huge appetite for accumulating loans,” he says. “Mezzanine debt and joint venture equity financing is also plentiful and is “playing a major role in making up for the downward shift in lower leverage senior debt.”

read - Lending Sources Step Up; Construction Debt Is Starting to Happen - Daily News Article

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Commercial Delinquencies Falling, Except for CMBS via American Banker Article

Commercial and multifamily mortgage delinquency rates fell in the first quarter of 2012 for most of the top investor groups except one: commercial mortgage-backed securities.

According to figures compiled by the Mortgage Bankers Association and released Tuesday, loans included in commercial mortgage-backed securities had an 8.85% delinquency rate at the end of March, compared to 8.56% at yearend. However, a year ago 8.86% of loans included in these securities were delinquent.

The delinquency rate for mortgage-backed securities covers mortgages that are 30 or more days late, including those in foreclosure and real-estate owned properties.

Read more...Commercial Delinquencies Falling, Except for CMBS - American Banker Article

ULI Real Estate Business Barometer -- June 2012 via

The top 12 trends in this month’s Barometer highlight a wavering economy, more down than up signals in the capital markets, mixed directions in property fundamentals, and a housing market that remains on a low simmer. Still, 76 percent of the key indicators in the Barometer are better than a year ago, 1 percent remain the same, and only 23 percent are worse. (For annual projections of key Barometer indicators, see the new ULI Real Estate Consensus Forecast).

Note: More commentary and data can be found throughout the tabs and in the accompanying tables.

In those top 12 monthly trends:

Read more...ULI Real Estate Business Barometer -- June 2012 via

After losing market share, S&P tries CMBS ratings revamp via Reuters

Standard & Poor's on Monday announced a proposed overhaul of how it rates commercial mortgage-backed securities, after a slip-up on a $1.5bn deal last year cost it much of its market share.

The agency found itself all but locked out of the market to rate CMBS offerings following the hitch in the Goldman Sachs/Citigroup deal, which capped a series of missteps by the agency.

S&P, one of the big three ratings agencies along with Moody's and Fitch, overhauled its CMBS ratings team in the wake of the debacle and sacked the then-head of the unit.

Read more...After losing market share, S&P tries CMBS ratings revamp | Reuters

Class C Leads the Way - Multifamily Trends Via Multifamily Executive Magazine

When it comes to effective rent and occupancy growth so far in 2012, Class C properties lead the pack.

Recently released research from Dallas-based data provider Axiometrics shows that Class C effective rent growth is up 2.75 percent, while occupancies have risen 93 basis points, to 91.9 percent, in the first four months of the year.

But that doesn't mean higer end properties aren't still on the rise. Class B assets are up 2.72 percent in rent growth and Class A rents are up 2.49 percent so far this year. Yet, according to the Axiometrics, overall occupancy growth is being driven almost entirely by value-add improvements being made to Class C properties.

Read more...Class C Leads the Way - Multifamily Trends - Multifamily Executive Magazine

Trepp: Loan Resolutions, Loss Severities Coming In Near Historical Norms via Citybizlist Baltimore

Loan resolutions and loss severities continued to rebound from relatively low levels in the first quarter of the year, according to Trepp.

In particular, February and March saw losses well below the 12 month moving average of 43.8%. The April and May loss severities have proven more indicative of recent trends, at 42.68% and 43.87%, respectively.

At $1.64 billion, liquidations were about 23% higher than the 12 month moving average of $1.33 billion per month. Liquidations were up 15% month-over-month in May and 85% from the 12 month low seen in February.

Read more...Trepp: Loan Resolutions, Loss Severities Coming In Near Historical Norms - Citybizlist Baltimore

Monday, June 4, 2012

Texas factory activity increased in May via Dallas Business Journal

Texas factory activity increased in May at about the same rate as the previous month, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
The Dallas Fed’s Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey released this week reported a production index of 5.5, the same as April. The index is a key measure of state manufacturing conditions.

The study surveyed 86 Texas manufacturers on their output, employment, orders, prices and other indicators.

Read more...Texas factory activity increased in May - Dallas Business Journal

Axiometrics: Multifamily Rents In 2.5% Year-To-Date Increase via MortgageOrb

The apartment rental market has turned in a strong performance this year, with national effective rents up 2.5% since January, according to new data from Dallas-based Axiometrics Inc.

Axiometrics reports that out of the top 88 markets it tracks, 31 have raised rents more than 3% since January, while 27 have raised rents more than 5%. Axiometrics has also found that Class C properties have shown the most momentum since January, with a 2.75% year-to-date increase for effective rents, and 93 basis points - to 91.9% - for occupancy. Class B properties are up 2.72% for effective rent growth, and Class A properties are up 2.49%.

Read more...MortgageOrb: Axiometrics: Multifamily Rents In 2.5% Year-To-Date Increase

Loan Default Rates Continue to Decline via

The bank default rate among commercial real estate loans in the first quarter of 2012 fell to its lowest level in nearly three years, according to an analysis released May 30.

The current default rate of 3.45 percent declined from the previous quarter’s rate of 3.57 percent and the year-earlier period’s default rate of 4.20 percent, according to the data from Chandan Economics. However, the total decline is largely attributable to the multifamily sector, which saw its default rate fall to 2.36 percent from 2.53 percent in the previous quarter and 3.67 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

“The overall decline in the default rate reflects a relatively larger improvement in legacy apartment loan performance,” said Sam Chandan, president and chief economist with Chandan Economics. He added that the improvement in the level of multifamily defaults reflected the sector’s improving cash flows and broader availability of debt for acquisitions and refinancing.

Read more...Loan Default Rates Continue to Decline via

Friday, June 1, 2012

State and Local Energy Policy via CCIM Institute

Energy remains a top concern for commercial real estate professionals. Some states are considering legislation that would provide tax credits or funding assistance to building owners that improve their building's energy efficiency. Other states are considering changes to building code requirements and/or reporting of building owners. Review proposed legislation (588Kb, PDF) or Energy Star's policy update (150Kb, PDF) for state and local governments.

Read more...State and Local Energy Policy | CCIM Institute