Tuesday, April 30, 2013

These are the 100 highest-paying jobs in Dallas-Fort Worth via Dallas Business Journal

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produces annual wage estimates for 22 major employment sectors and more than 800 individual occupations. Below are two lists of newly released 2012 figures for the Dallas-Fort Worth market (officially known as the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX, metropolitan area).

The first list shows the average annual pay for all employees within each of the market's 22 major sectors. The second list shows the area's 100 highest-paying individual occupations, again based on average annual pay.

If a given occupation is among the 100 top-paying jobs in America, its title will be highlighted. Click on the link to see a detailed breakdown of its overall wage structure.

Read more...These are the 100 highest-paying jobs in Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas Business Journal

U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Since 1995 via Businessweek

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in almost 18 years, reflecting rising demand for rentals and investor purchases in the housing market.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 65 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.4 percent a year earlier and the lowest level since the third quarter of 1995, the Census Bureau reported today. The vacancy rate for rented homes dropped to 8.6 percent from 8.8 percent a year earlier, while vacancies for owner-occupied houses fell to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent.

Investors are buying single-family homes and renting them out to capitalize on demand among families unable to qualify for a mortgage. Their purchases, many made with cash, are helping to support the housing recovery and pushing up prices. Home values in 20 cities increased 9.3 percent in February from a year earlier, the most since May 2006, according to the S&P/Case- Shiller (SPCS20Y%) index released today.

Read more...U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Since 1995 - Businessweek

Q1 2013 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations Up 9 Percent from Q1 2012 via Multi-Housing News Online

Washington, D.C.—First quarter 2013 commercial and multifamily mortgage loan originations were 9 percent higher than during the same period last year and 36 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations.

First quarter 2013 Originations 9 percent higher than first quarter 2012

The 9 percent overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending volume, when compared to the first quarter of 2012, was driven by increases in originations for hotel and multifamily properties. The increase included a 35 percent increase in the dollar volume of loans for hotel properties, a 30 percent increase for multifamily properties, a 2 percent increase for industrial properties, a 6 percent decrease for office properties, a 15 percent decrease in health care loans and a 25 percent decrease in retail property loans.

Read more...Q1 2013 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations Up 9 Percent from Q1 2012 | Multi-Housing News Online

Multifamily Permitting Jumps 37.8% in March via AXIOMetrics

The U.S. Census Bureau posted its March 2013 residential permitting numbers (not seasonally adjusted) by metropolitan statistical area (MSA) on Thursday, April 25. For the month, annual multifamily (MF) permits increased by 37.8% at the national level from the comparable period a year ago. With the March MF permit number at 280,418 units, annual MF permitting (not seasonally adjusted) has now been above 200,000 units for 13 consecutive months.

While still healthy, apartment market fundamentals moderated in March 2013 compared to March 2012. Nationally, annual effective rent growth in March 2013 was 3.2% compared to 4.1% in March 2012. Occupancy inched up a bit from 94.1% in March 2012 to 94.4% in March 2013. The increase in occupancy was primarily due to late recovering markets posting occupancy growth and others holding on to their already high occupancy rates. By the end of 2013, Axiometrics forecasts U.S. apartment occupancy to reach 94.9%, and effective rent growth to measure 3.6%. The occupancy forecast is 60 basis points above the 2012 rate but the rent growth forecast is 20 basis points below the 2012 rate.

Read more...Multifamily Permitting Jumps 37.8% in March via AXIOMetrics

Monday, April 29, 2013

US CMBS volume spikes as credit slips via Reuters

US CMBS issuance this year has hit its strongest monthly totals since 2007, but some say the rally has been at the expense of underwriting standards.

More than US$8.5bn in private-label CMBS has been marketed to investors so far in April, including a new JP Morgan conduit for US$1.2bn, JPMCC 2013-LC11, that was announced on Friday.

A further US$2.8bn in government-backed Freddie Mac multi-family deals have also priced this month, according to IFR and Thomson Reuters data.

Read more...US CMBS volume spikes as credit slips | Reuters

Dallas Fed: Regional Manufacturing Activity "stalls" in April via Calculated Risk

This is the last of the regional manufacturing surveys for April. From the Dallas Fed: Growth in Texas Manufacturing Activity Stalls

Texas factory activity was flat in April, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell from 9.9 to -0.5. The near-zero reading indicates output was little changed from March levels.

Ebbing growth in manufacturing activity was reflected in other survey measures as well. The capacity utilization index came in at 2.7, down from 5.5, and the shipments index fell to zero after rising to 10.6 in March. The new orders index fell nearly 14 points to -4.9, posting its first negative reading this year.

Read more...Calculated Risk: Dallas Fed: Regional Manufacturing Activity "stalls" in April via Calculated Risk

Booming Local Economy Draws Buyers to Houston Multifamily Properties via Commercial Property Executive

With Houston’s booming economy expected to generate approximately 117,000 new jobs in 2013, possibly the most sizable gain since the 1980s, nearly all sectors of the local economy have been experiencing increased activity. The multifamily sector is no exception.

According to a recent Marcus & Millichap report, multifamily property sales in the Houston metro area rose 40 percent in 2012, exceeding the metro’s prior peak by a wide margin. First quarter data is incomplete due to a lag in reporting, but the running year-to-date count has already exceeded the total for the same period in 2012.

Read more...Booming Local Economy Draws Buyers to Houston Multifamily Properties | Commercial Property Executive

Texas Economic Indicators April 2013 via Dallas Federal Reserve

The Texas economy continues to expand, with employment growing at a rapid 6.9 percent annual rate in February. Texas existing-home sales increased in February, while housing starts and single-family construction permits declined. Texas exports ticked up in January. Manufacturing activity increased at a slightly faster pace in March, according to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.

Texas gained 61,600 jobs in February after adding 5,200 jobs in January. Current Texas employment stands at 11.09 million.

The Texas unemployment rate edged up to 6.4 percent in February from 6.3 percent in January. The Texas rate remains lower than the U.S. rate, which was 7.7 percent in February.

Read more...Texas Economic Indicators April 2013 via Dallas Federal Reserve

Houston Economic Update April 2013 via FRB of Dallas

The Houston Business-Cycle Index accelerated to a 13.1 percent growth rate in February from a January reading that was revised down to 6.7 percent. February marks the largest one-month increase in the index since 1996. Energy-related activity and improvement in construction and real estate continue to be dominant forces in the region. Area industry fundamentals seem more firm than at the end of 2012.

Houston payroll employment grew 7.9 percent from January to February. Year to date, 27,400 jobs have been added, 18.6 percent more than at the same time last year. Construction and mining along with professional and business services led employment growth in February.

Read more...Houston Economic Update April 2013 via FRB of Dallas

Friday, April 26, 2013

Monthly Review of Texas Economy, April 2013 via Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University

The Texas economy continues to create jobs at a pace twice the national average. The state’s economy gained 322,600 nonagricultural jobs from March 2012 to March 2013, an annual growth rate of 3 percent compared with 1.5 percent for the United States. The state’s nongovernment sector added 310,000 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent compared with 1.9 percent for the nation’s private sector.

Read more...Monthly Review of Texas Economy, April 2013 -- Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University

Q1 GDP and Investment via Calculated Risk

Final demand increased in Q1 as personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased at a 3.2% annual rate (up from 1.8% in Q4 2012), and residential investment (RI) increased at a 12.6% annual rate (down from 17.6% in Q4). This was the strongest private domestic contribution (PCE and RI) since Q4 2010, and the 2nd strongest quarter since the recession began.

Unfortunately PCE will probably slow over the next couple of quarters as the sequester budget cuts ripple through the economy.

The negative contributions came from less Federal Government spending (subtracted 0.65 percentage points), less state and local governments spending (subtracted 0.14 percentage points) and from trade (subtracted 0.50 percentage points).

Read more...Calculated Risk: Q1 GDP and Investment

Damage Undone: Net Incomes for CMBS Property Rebounding to Pre-Recession Levels via CoStar Group

Surprisingly, net operating incomes on almost all yearly vintages of CMBS loans are now near or above underwritten financial levels, according to recent CMBS research.

With the April CMBS bondholder remittance reports came the first big wave of full-year, year-end 2012 property financial data, bringing the percentage of loans reporting to around 30% of the fixed-rate conduit universe, according to Marielle Jan de Beur, managing director and head of Structured Products Research CMBS and Real Estate Research for Wells Fargo Securities.

Based on the loans that have reported year-end 2012 financials, NOI growth was strong in 2012 rising 4.5% on average. For the 2010 and 2011 vintages about 30% of the loans reporting year-end 2012 financials are showing lower NOI than was underwritten. The 2012 vintage is showing a higher percentage, with around 40% of the loans having lower NOI compared to the underwritten amount.

Read more...Damage Undone: Net Incomes for CMBS Property Rebounding to Pre-Recession Levels - CoStar Group

The Value in Going Green: Where to Invest via Appfolio

The environmental benefits to “going green” are well known. For rental property owners and managers there are also significant costs savings to be realized, as well. Here are some areas in which you might consider making green investments and saving money.

Electricity Savings

* Consider tinting windows and planting shade trees. Trees on the east and west facing surfaces of your buildings will help reduce indoor temperatures in the summer. In more northern areas, the leaves will fall in the winter allowing the sun to help warm the buildings’ interiors. In addition, there are now auto-tinting windows that act like variable shading sunglasses that adjust with the sun. Some manufacturers estimate that this can save up to 40% in energy costs.

Read more...The Value in Going Green: Where to Invest via Appfolio

Why Property Managers Should Consider Micro-Apartments via Software Advice

By Ashley Halligan, a managing editor at Software Advice

Some U.S. cities are maxing out their population capacity with little room to grow. In response, they have two options: develop higher or now, in the case of the latest trend, smaller. Introducing micro-apartments, a new housing option that's popping up in population-dense cities like Vancouver, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City and Boston.

Designed to meet the growing demand for one- and two-person households in urban centers, micro-apartments target middle-class, single, and Generation Y residents, who may otherwise be unable to afford housing in these prime neighborhoods. Often smaller than existing city codes allow, the rise of micro-apartments has driven some mayors, like Mayor Bloomberg, to modify minimum living space ordinances.

Read more...Why Property Managers Should Consider Micro-Apartments via Software Advice

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DFW job growth fuels massive apartment development via Dallas Business Journal

Dallas-Fort Worth's growing economy — thanks to recent corporate relocation and expansion in North Texas — is feeding the appetite from developers to build apartments, according to the latest Marcus & Millichap research.

On Wednesday, Marcus & Millichap released data showing developers completing 8,450 apartment homes over the past year North Texas, which is up from 5,500 year-over-year, according to the research.

This year, developers are expected to complete 13,250 units, or nearly double efforts to build apartment homes.

Read more...DFW job growth fuels massive apartment development - Dallas Business Journal

Renting the American Dream via The Atlantic Cities

Home ownership is a well-entrenched component of the American dream. But, that may well be changing, according to a major survey released earlier this month from the MacArthur Foundation.

For a majority of Americans today, renting is a viable path to achieving their version of the American dream, the study finds.

The report [PDF], entitled How Housing Matters: Americans' Attitudes Transformed By The Housing Crisis & Changing Lifestyles, was carried out for the foundation by Hart Research Associates. It is based on telephone interviews with 1,433 adults conducted between February 27 and March 10 of this year as well as focus groups conducted in various cities.

Read more...Renting the American Dream - Richard Florida - The Atlantic Cities

Sector Focus: Multifamily Momentum Showing Signs of Slowing via REIT.com

While multifamily REITs have enjoyed strong fundamentals, returns from the sector continue to lag behind the broader REIT market. Industry analysts are attributing the sector’s performance to investors’ concerns with competition from the single-family home market and a muddled employment picture.

Multifamily REITs have posted total returns of 3.9 percent for the year as of April 22, trailing the average 2013 gains of 12.4 percent for all equity REITs, according to data from the FTSE NAREIT U.S. Real Estate Index. In comparison, the S&P 500 has posted returns of 10.2 percent for the same time period. In 2012 multifamily REIT returns were 6.9 percent, compared to 19.7 percent for all equity REITs.

“The markets have not been kind to multifamily REIT stockholders,” said Jim Stevens, analyst with research firm SNL Financial. Multifamily REITs’ lukewarm returns have come as projections for the growth in the sector’s funds from operations (FFO) have dropped.

Read more...Sector Focus: Multifamily Momentum Showing Signs of Slowing via REIT.com

Texas Employment Update April 2013 via Dallas Fed

Texas employment slipped in March and the state lost 7,800 jobs. Year to date however, Texas has gained 58,400 jobs

Read more...Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Forget Buying A Single-Family Home: Purchase an Apartment Complex via MainStreet

From his small rented apartment in the New York City's East Village, former advertising executive Joe Fairless, 30, is in the final stages of closing on a $6.8 million apartment building in Ohio.

"I made my first real estate purchase in Dallas in 2009 at the time when the market was perfect for the single-family home and there were a ton of foreclosures," said Fairless, principal of Fairless Investing, who switched from buying single-family homes to investing in apartment complexes last year.

Real estate investors like Fairless are kicking single-family homes to the curb in today's housing market to purchase apartment complexes in areas with low vacancy rates.

Read more...Forget Buying A Single-Family Home: Purchase an Apartment Complex - MainStreet

Commercial Real Estate and Low Interest Rates via FRBSF Economic Letter

Commercial real estate construction faltered during the 2007 recession and has improved only slowly during the recovery. However, low interest rates have led to higher property valuations and are clearly benefiting the sector. The recovery of commercial property prices has been notable. Some measures suggest that, in some segments of the market, prices are close to their pre-recession highs. Valuation measures do not suggest that current prices are excessive.

The recent downturn in nonresidential construction activity has been one of the most severe in memory. Even controlling for the depth of the recession, construction of nonresidential structures has dipped to a share of gross domestic product lower than that seen in any downturn since the 1960s. Figure 1 shows that the sharp drop in activity in the early part of the 2008–09 recession accounts for much of the recent weak relative performance in nonresidential construction.

Read more...FRBSF Economic Letter: Commercial Real Estate and Low Interest Rates (2013-12, 4/22/2013)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Apartment Markets Now Experiencing Greatest Rent Growth via AXIOMetrics

After peaking in the second quarter of 2011 at 5%, annual effective rent growth (ERG) for the U.S. slowed to an annual pace of 3.4% during the first quarter of 2013.

Digging a little deeper, we find that the recovery in the U.S. apartment market has not been the same in all geographic regions. In fact, in 27 markets out of a total of 88 markets, ERGs are increasing at a higher rate than the U.S. market average, averaging 5% in the first quarter of 2013.

If we also consider which of these specific markets had the largest changes in the rate of growth as well, our list narrows down to just four markets, making them the hottest markets now. As these markets recovered more slowly than most of the others, they merit closer analysis to determine the reasons for their growth, as well as their investment potential. To help pinpoint some reasons for the growth within these markets, we have also included a table below showing all 27 market’s new supply (permitting) and demand (job growth).

Read more...Apartment Markets Now Experiencing Greatest Rent Growth

Property Management: The Case for Strategic Vacancy via Multifamily Insight Blog

Why does a multifamily owner or property manager create vacancy? Strategic vacancy is always planned and has a purpose. Usually, that purpose is increasing rents, but it could be to retain customers in a tough market where absorption is slow.

As you know, rent is not always about price; we provide a service and our customers are looking for a comfortable place, a peaceable place to reside and security. If everyone in your market is at the exact same price point, then our potential customers are going to gravitate to the place they perceive provides the most value at that price.

The “differentiation” we create can sometimes include nothing more than color or freshness. Other times the changes are more overt like new… everything. Most times these changes are something in between. Tracking changes in rents on a real-time basis allows management to ascertain the potential increase in rents from implemented upgrades.

Read more...Property Management: The Case for Strategic Vacancy | Multifamily Insight Blog

Save Money and the Environment - Update your Toilet via The Green Minute

Today’s Green Minute will save you money and a valuable resource – water.

Thirty percent of all household water usage comes from your toilet. So, if you want to save money and use water wisely the first place you should look is the toilets in your home.

If you have an old pre-1992 toilet, it is likely to be outdated and very inefficient. Today’s toilets use at least half the amount of water as the units produced 20 years ago.

Read more...The Green Minute: Save Money and the Environment - Update your Toilet | Sustainable Products and Practices

Don't Assume All Multifamily is Rental via GlobeSt.com

The press was flush with reporting last week about strong housing data. It was one of just a few bright spots in the macro news. Elsewhere, subpar earnings announcements and a weak first quarter growth estimate from China pushed the S&P 500 to its largest drop since November.

The darling of commercial real estate, the multifamily sector dominated the housing starts data. From February to March, single-family starts declined 4.8 percent. But for properties with five or more units, starts jumped 26.9 percent and are 82.3 percent higher than a year earlier. For better and for worse, the rental market is still on fire.

Equating the Department of Commerce and HUD definition of multifamily with rental apartments is a common error that repeated itself in spades last week. It’s convenient to assume the two numbers are not far apart. But the assumption does not hold over time. Nor is it a random walk.

Read more...Don't Assume All Multifamily is Rental - Chief Economist Article - GlobeSt.com

Top 10 U.S. cities for growing businesses via MarketWatch

When a prospective business owner decides where to set up shop, or a promising young graduate considers the best place find a job, they ask themselves the same key question as any savvy investor picking stocks: Where’s the most upside?

It’s also the basic question MarketWatch addresses in new rankings of the 10 cities in 2012 that saw business prosper the most. Using a variety of economic data to evaluate business conditions in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the survey not only ranks the top and bottom locations, it illuminates the business climate, what powers growth and how well companies are increasing sales, profits and stock prices.

Read more...Top 10 U.S. cities for growing businesses - MarketWatch

Friday, April 19, 2013

Crowdfunding's Latest Invasion: Real Estate via Forbes

The following guest post is by David Drake, founder and chairman of LDJ Capital, a New York City private-equity firm, and of The Soho Loft, a global financial media company with divisions in Conference & Expo, Publishing, and Consulting. Drake has spent 15+ years working with general partners, and with institutional and multi-family office limited partners, in real-estate-focused funds and fund of funds.

Crowdfunding is rapidly changing the real-estate investment market, offering developers new ways to finance projects, small investors a way in, and the socially conscious an avenue to support their local communities—and their local farms.

Here is a rundown of the real-estate crowdfunding firms I think will have the biggest impact. (Full disclosure: I have advised Primarq (number 7) on its secondary market strategy, where investors can sell their shares without having to liquidate the actual properties.)

Read more...Crowdfunding's Latest Invasion: Real Estate - Forbes

Foreign Buyers Show No Signs of Slowing via GlobeSt.com

There’s no slow down in the influx of foreign buyers in the commercial real estate arena. In fact, foreign investment in the U.S. factored as the third largest reason why confidence levels are increasing in 2013, according to Akerman Senterfitt.

The firm released its fourth annual survey after its U.S. Real Estate Summit. The survey found that 31% of commercial real estate executives believe foreign investors will fund a significant portion of commercial real estate debt and equity in 2013. And 62% believe that the U.S. will see the most Latin American real estate investment from Brazil. Venezuelan investors are expected to be the second most active, at 28%.

Read more...Foreign Buyers Show No Signs of Slowing - Daily News Article - GlobeSt.com

Investors, Inventory Shortage Catalysts to Housing Rebound via DSNews.com

Demand for distressed properties from investors is contributing to the recovery, not creating an artificial one, according to Pro Teck Valuation Services’ Home Value Forecast (HVF) for April.

According to the report, one of the catalysts driving the housing market rebound has been large investment funds, which are buying distressed single-family homes to be used as rentals.
“These funds have also been renovating homes, which has helped to improve the overall conditions of the surrounding neighborhoods and provided a positive injection of capital,” said Tom O’Grady, CEO of Pro Teck.

Read more...Investors, Inventory Shortage Catalysts to Housing Rebound: Report

Top 10 Ways Commercial Real Estate Professionals Can Go Green for Earth Day via WSJ.com

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International has issued its "Top 10 Ways" commercial real estate professionals can make energy efficiency and sustainability a priority on Earth Day and every day. With the office building industry accounting for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, BOMA has committed to helping its members and the industry as a whole improve energy management and sustainability practices.

"These tips offer property professionals effective operational and management strategies for reducing energy consumption and elevating sustainability," said BOMA International Chair and Chief Elected Officer Joe Markling, managing director of Strategic Accounts with CBRE. "As we approach Earth Day, it's important to remember that making significant energy-efficiency improvements is within the reach of most building owners and managers, and many of the methods are no- or low-cost."

Here are the Top 10 Ways commercial real estate professionals can green their building operations this Earth Day:

Read more...Top 10 Ways Commercial Real Estate Professionals Can Go Green for Earth Day - WSJ.com

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Apartment Markets Resume Growth According to NMHC Survey via NMHC

Apartment markets improved across all areas according to the National Multi Housing Council’s (NMHC) April Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions. All four indexes – Market Tightness (54), Sales Volume (55), Equity Financing (56) and Debt Financing (59) – came in above 50, which indicates improving conditions. This reverses last January’s findings, where Market Tightness and Sales Volume dipped below 50 for the first time since 2010.

“The apartment industry is operating on cruise control, as the expansion continues unabated,” said Mark Obrinsky, NMHC’s Vice President for Research and Chief Economist. “While concern about overbuilding has begun to crop up, demand for apartment residences remains strong. New construction may have finally recovered fully, but most units under construction won’t be delivered until 2014 or later. The dearth of recent completions has contributed to relatively low product availability. As deliveries increase, we expect to see an even greater pick-up in sales volume.”

Read more...Apartment Markets Resume Growth According to NMHC Survey - NMHC - National Multi Housing Council - NMHC

Fed's Raskin: Low- and middle-income households hit hardest by Great Recession via Calculated Risk

From Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin: Aspects of Inequality in the Recent Business Cycle. A few excerpts:

To isolate my proper subject here, I want to be clear that I am not engaging this afternoon with the concern that many Americans have that excessive inequality undermines American ideals and values. Nor will I be investigating the social costs associated with wide distributions of income and wealth. Rather, I want to zero in on the question of whether inequality itself is undermining our country's economic strength according to available macroeconomic indicators.

Read more...Calculated Risk: Fed's Raskin: Low- and middle-income households hit hardest by Great Recession

March 2013 Apartment Market Summary, MSA’s and Apartment Pipeline via AXIOMetrics

Top and Bottom Performing MSAs

The following table lists some of the top and bottom performing MSAs across the country. Oakland, Houston, Denver, and Seattle continue to rank in the top tier for revenue growth. Washington, DC’s revenue growth is amongst the lowest in the country at 0.9%. It is slightly higher than Las Vegas (0.5%), but the two markets are on opposite growth paths. Washington, DC was one of the first MSAs with positive growth rates during the apartment market recovery in 2010, but its revenue growth has been fading since peaking at 9.45% in December 2010. While Washington, DC was on the first wave of the apartment recovery, Las Vegas is perhaps on the last one. Annual effective rent growth in Las Vegas was negative every month from mid-2008 until November 2012, but it has now been positive for four of the past five months.

Read more...March 2013 Apartment Market Summary, MSA’s and Apartment Pipeline via AXIOMetrics

High student debt is dragging down the U.S. economy via Washington Post

Nowadays, younger Americans are becoming less likely to take out loans to buy a house or a car. One possible reason? They’re too overloaded with student debt.

That’s one takeaway, at least, from some interesting new research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, flagged by Doug Henwood.

The paper starts by noting that student debt has grown dramatically over the last decade — some 43 percent of Americans under the age of 25 had student debt in 2012, with the average debt burden now $20,326. By contrast, back in 2003, just 25 percent of younger Americans had debt, and the average burden was $10,649.

What’s particularly notable is that these student loans appear to be crowding out other types of borrowing. For a long time, younger Americans with student debt were more likely to own homes than those without — largely because college grads are likelier to have higher earnings. But that trend has reversed:

Read more...High student debt is dragging down the U.S. economy via Washington Post

Going As Fast as its Built: Development in Houston via GlobeSt.com

Those viewing the growing plethora of building cranes in Houston might remember another time during which such cranes also proliferated – the 1980s. And those with long memories might remember the outcome of that other time, which was a long-term real estate bust.

But according to a couple of experts who will be speaking at the upcoming RealShare Houston's "Development in Houston" panel, things are vastly different between then and now. For one thing, the demand for industrial and office space is much more prevalent. These experts tell GlobeSt.com that overbuilding isn't an issue – in fact, the problem could be not enough space.

Read more...Going As Fast as its Built: Development in Houston - Daily News Article - GlobeSt.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dallas Beige Book April 17, 2013 via Dallas Fed

The Eleventh District economy expanded at a slightly faster pace over the past six weeks than during the previous reporting period, when growth was moderate. Many manufacturing firms noted that activity increased since the last report. In the nonfinancial services sector, legal and accounting demand increased, although staffing firms reported sluggish demand. Retail sales and auto sales were up. Robust housing demand led to price gains, and commercial real estate activity remained strong. Lenders noted moderate growth in loan demand, and activity in the energy sector remained at high levels. Drought conditions remained prevalent in the agricultural sector. Reporting firms said prices remained stable overall, and there were limited reports of wage pressure. Employment levels were steady to up.

Read more...Dallas Beige Book - Dallas Fed

Austin Apartment Construction Volume Keeps Climbing via Property Management Insider

Construction levels continue to surge in Austin, and yet rent growth levels remain strong. How long can that continue, with so much new supply set to deliver over the next four quarters?

Apartment development in Austin has grown exponentially over the past two years. Once the new supply is built, it will expand Austin’s apartment base by 6.8%, the largest future inventory growth rate in the nation by a large margin.

Occupancy: Occupancy is softening in face of all that new supply, falling 30 basis points in Q4 2012 and 60 basis points in Q1 2013 to settle at 94.7%

Watch Video...Austin Apartment Construction Volume Keeps Climbing [Video] | Property Management Insider

5 Great Ancillary Income Opportunities Your Property Should Implement via Multifamily Insiders

Ancillary income is quickly becoming the Midas Touch for many multifamily and student housing properties. The economy has made it increasingly difficult to raise rents for many properties and tax increases have outweighed reasonable rent increases in others. In a stroke of brilliance ancillary income makes its debut as the star of the show.

There are some standards all property managers should use including:

Read more...5 Great Ancillary Income Opportunities Your Property Should Implement - Multifamily Blogs

Investor Sentiment Hits Record High via CCIM Institute

Investors felt a renewed sense of optimism in 1Q13, according to the National Real Estate Investor/Marcus & Millichap 2013 Investor Sentiment Survey.

Despite uncertainties over the looming fiscal cliff and sequestration cuts when the survey was conducted in late 2012 and early 2013, investor sentiment reached a record-high 174 points on the index. Strengthening market fundamentals and low interest rates helped to fueled this momentum, said Hessam Nadji, senior vice president and managing director at Marcus & Millichap.

Read more...Investor Sentiment Hits Record High | CCIM Institute

March 2013 Apartment Market Summary, Effective Rent Growth via AXIOMetrics

As Q1 2013 came to a close, national effective rent growth softened to its slowest pace in the past 31 months. The growth rate had held fairly steady between 3.53% and 3.84% from June 2012 to February 2013, but dropped to 3.22% in March. While effective rent growth was weaker than in prior periods, the occupancy rate continued to strengthen, with a national average of 94.37% in March and with 38 of the top 88 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) generating an average rate above 95.0%. As discussed in recent newsletters, Class A has been a drag on the national rent growth numbers over the past several months. Annual effective rent growth for these properties slowed to 3.1% in March and annual occupancy growth was slightly negative. In fact, there was very little separation between Class A occupancy (95.0%) and Class B occupancy (94.8%) in March. Likewise, Class B properties increased effective rents at a slightly better pace–3.3%–than Class A properties over the past year, but fell behind Class C properties, which produced a growth rate of 4.0%. Class C properties also have the best absorption rates, and this trend will likely continue as the occupancy rate still averages just 93.0%.

Read more...March 2013 Apartment Market Summary, Effective Rent Growth

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Energy Benchmarking Takes Hold via EcoBuilding Pulse

Affordable housing nonprofit saves 15 percent on energy bills after benchmarking turns up areas for improvement.

Multifamily building stock in the United States has great potential for significant energy efficiency gains, with energy savings estimated at $9 billion, according to a recent report from the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT). (Click here for related story.) The study found that while energy costs have risen 20 percent in the past decade, new energy benchmarking laws in major cities that require owners of multifamily buildings to measures or disclose their properties' energy consumption are allowing owners, policymakers, utilities, and lenders to craft better programs and incentives for energy-efficient buildings.

Below, ECO-STRUCTURE talks to Dan Teague, director of business development at WegoWise, a Boston-based utility intelligence provider that tracks and benchmarks utility usage across building portfolios to reduce costs. WegoWise has the largest database of utility use in multifamily properties in the country and recently launched its commercial platform.

Read more...Energy Benchmarking Takes Hold - Multifamily, Energy Efficiency, Energy-Efficient Design - EcoBuilding Pulse

2013 Multifamily Outlook—The Roll Continues via D Magazine

Investment capital continues to pour into the apartment sector. Investors have an insatiable appetite for deals that have good cash-on-cash returns, as evidenced by what we’re experiencing in our office alone. Recently, ARA Dallas marketed four Class A communities in the Plano and Carrollton submarkets; all were 2000s-vintage product. We averaged 40 tours and 25 offers for each deal. This level is among the highest we’ve seen in years.

Even deals with unattractive debt and significant yield maintenance/defeasance are drawing a big crowd. On two recent deals, sellers are paying between $3 and $5 million in defeasance, but the buyers are chasing the cash-on-cash with debt in the 4 percent or sub 4 percent mark. Sellers are able to absorb significant penalty, pay off existing debt, and still maximize the value.

Read more...D Real Estate Daily » Blog Archive » Brian O’Boyle: 2013 Multifamily Outlook—The Roll Continues

Will the CMBS Comeback Be Derailed — Again? via Commercial Property Executive

Could the conduit financing recovery reverse course overnight? Not likely, according to some experts, who believe a sudden evaporation of conduit financing is less likely this time around because the economic recovery appears to have legs.

Make no mistake, spreads for conduit loans can spike, as has been demonstrated in recent history. “We have seen disruptions before. There were a few instances in the last years. Spreads can increase suddenly, and CMBS financing can become non-competitive very quickly,” said Gary Tenzer of George Smith Partners.

Read more...Will the CMBS Comeback Be Derailed — Again? | Commercial Property Executive

What Do Slowing Improvements in Fundamentals Mean for the Multifamily Sector? via National Real Estate Investor

According to preliminary first quarter 2013 resultsfrom Reis, apartment sector fundamentals continued to improve in the first quarter of 2013, with vacancies dipping into the low four percent range. Asking and effective rents continued to increase, but there are some signs that improvements in fundamentals are decelerating somewhat.

The national vacancy rate fell by 20 basis points in the first quarter, dipping to 4.3 percent. Over the last four quarters, national vacancies have declined by 70 basis points, a far faster pace than any other sector in commercial real estate. The vacancy rate has now fallen by 370 basis points since the cyclical peak of 8.0 percent, observed right after the recession winded down in late 2009. By contrast, office sector vacancies have only fallen by 60 basis points since fundamentals began recovering five quarters ago.

Read more...What Do Slowing Improvements in Fundamentals Mean for the Multifamily Sector? | Distress content from National Real Estate Investor

Housing Starts Rise on Strength in Multifamily in March via Multi-Housing News Online

Soaring production of multifamily apartments pushed nationwide housing starts beyond the million-unit mark for the first time since 2008 in March, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. The data show that total starts activity rose 7.0 percent for the month due entirely to a 31.1 percent increase on the multifamily side, while single-family production slipped 4.8 percent from a number that was revised strongly upward for the previous month.

While single-family starts declined 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 619,000 units in March, this was entirely due to a substantial upward revision to the previous month’s data, without which virtually no change would have been recorded. At the same time, multifamily housing starts surged 31.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000 units—their fastest pace since January 2006.

Read more...Housing Starts Rise on Strength in Multifamily in March | Multi-Housing News Online

The Top 10 Cities for Job Growth via GlobeSt.com

And the winner is . . . Houston. The Big H grabbed the First Place prize in Cassidy Turley’s measure of how employment is shaping up. In fact, year over year, February to February, Houston added 112.050 jobs.

What exactly this means for our industry is clear, say the researchers of Cassidy Turley: “For every 100,000 new office-using jobs created, vacancy typically falls by 60 basis points six months later.” So while CRE might lag behind the economy in that sense, the improvement is inevitable.

Houston beat out New York City, which added 94,900 jobs in that 12-month period, and Los Angeles with its 82,000 new non-farm workers. Rounding out the top five were Dallas at 69,800 new jobs and Atlanta, with 56,450.

Read more...The Top 10 Cities for Job Growth - Daily News Article - GlobeSt.com

Monday, April 15, 2013

Multifamily Lending Market Overheating via Chandan Economics


The credit risk profile of new apartment mortgages weakened over the course of 2012, owing in part to competition for lending opportunities between the government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) and lenders without preferential access to capital, including banks, life companies, and the conduit.

Term defaults are limited by underwriting to in-place cash flow and a low probability that cash flow will decline. Defaults on current originations are instead clustered at maturity, reflecting interest rate and policy risks that are largely mispriced in conventional credit risk models.

Read more...Multifamily Lending Market Overheating | Chandan Economics

States Love ‘Net Domestic Migration’ via the Blog of the Real Estate Center

“Net domestic migration” is a handsome phrase. It’s got a real ring to it, like “warm southern breeze” or “mom’s meatloaf.” Business owners love it. States love it. Cities do, too. It’s great for real estate owners as well.

The population growth of every U.S. state, county and city is determined by:

* Total number of births
* Total number of deaths
* Total number of immigrants from other countries
* Net domestic migration

All four of these components have important social implications, but I view net domestic migration as a key barometer of the economic viability of a city or a state.

Read more...States Love ‘Net Domestic Migration’ | the Blog of the Real Estate Center

Human Interaction Trumps Technology in Boosting Revenue via HousingFinance.com

Multifamily operators understand that when it comes to boosting your bottom line, having the right technologies on board, especially a solid revenue management system, can go a long way.

But the best operators remember that leasing agents and managers should be mentally equipped to make the right decisions for your property.

“There’s a human element involved to try and determine what your rent really needs to be,” said Todd Bowen, vice president of operations at Washington, D.C.-based Kettler Management, at the AFT Live Conference on April 9 in Las Vegas. “You have to go out there, you have to be transparent. Be prepared to change. As you determine what those rents are, the public will tell you what’s working and what’s not working.”

Read more...Human Interaction Trumps Technology in Boosting Revenue - Property Management, Technology, Conferences - Housing Finance

Texas tops the nation in wind capacity via Real Estate Center at Texas A&M

Wind energy in the U.S. topped all energy resources last year with 42 percent of all of the nation’s new electric generating capacity and setting a new installation record, according to a report by the American Wind Energy Association.

Over 6,700 wind turbines were erected last year, which is expected to produce enough energy to power about 3.5 million homes. Wind energy as a whole grew 28 percent in 2012. The 45,100 wind turbines finished last year can power 15.2 million homes.

Texas leads the nation in installed wind capacity, which grew 18 percent last year, adding more than 1,800 megawatts for a total of 12.2 gigawatts across more than 40 projects. Wind supplies 9.2 percent of all electricity generated in the state.

Read more...Texas tops the nation in wind capacity via Real Estate Center at Texas A&M

National MF, SF Permitting Increase Year-Over-Year via GlobeSt.com

AXIOMetrics Inc.'s recent numbers concerning single-family and multifamily permitting indicate that the numbers continue on the rise. For the US over the trailing twelve months ending in February 2013, annual multifamily permitting increased by 43.9% (+85,791 units) to 281,188 units and single-family permitting was up by 23.2% (+99,983 units) to 530,667 units, over the comparable period a year ago.

Read more...National MF, SF Permitting Increase Year-Over-Year - Daily News Article - GlobeSt.com

Friday, April 12, 2013

Secondary Markets Begin to Reemerge National Real Estate Investor

Top real estate markets like San Francisco, Seattle and Boston have benefitted from favorable demographics buoyant economies during the recovery. But what about, say, Oklahoma City?

Tech and energy booms and population shifts are spreading recovery to a growing list of secondary and tertiary real estate markets—including the capital of Oklahoma—according to “The Top Trends and Markets to Watch in 2013,”a new report from the researchers at commercial real estate brokerage firm Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

Read more...Secondary Markets Begin to Reemerge | Charts content from National Real Estate Investor:

Crowd Control: Texas Still Growing via Real Estate Center at Texas A&M

Texas is again a top destination for many people.

According to the results of U-Haul International Inc.'s latest National Migration Trend report, more families moved to Houston in 2012 than any other U.S. city. This marks the fourth year in a row that Houston has claimed that honor.

Other Texas cities landing among the top 50 were San Antonio (5), Austin (6), Dallas (17), Plano (25) and Fort Worth (26)

Read more...Crowd Control: Texas Still Growing via Real Estate Center at Texas A&M

Jobs Report, March 2013 via Axiometrics

On Friday, April 5, 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) posted its preliminary March employment numbers for the U.S. (The preliminary March employment numbers by Metropolitan Statistical Area will be released Wednesday, May 1, 2013). With the March employment numbers’ release, the employment numbers for the first quarter of 2013 could be analyzed for the U.S. At the national level, the employment report for first quarter of 2013 reflected an increase in job growth. Year-to-date through March 2013, nonfarm payrolls increased by 504,000 (seasonally adjusted) jobs and an annual growth rate of 1.5%. Employment growth during first quarter of 2013 was led by Professional and Business services (+177,000), followed by Construction (+91,000), and Education and Health (+74,000). Government employment decreased by 9,000 jobs, a possible result of the sequester which began on March 1, 2013.

Read more...Jobs Report, March 2013

APARTMENT MARKET STATISTICS: April 2013 via Multi-Housing News Online

Apartment total returns increased in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 2.43 to 2.81 percent, according to data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF).

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) total multifamily financing volume index increased by 49 percent in the fourth quarter 2012 compared to the same period a year ago.

Read more...APARTMENT MARKET STATISTICS: April 2013 | Multi-Housing News Online

Zero Net Energy Building Becoming Commonplace in Multifamily via Property Management Insider

As building owners and property management companies strive to be energy efficient and reduce costs, reaching for LEED and ENERGY STAR certifications may be more akin to just keeping up with the Joneses than getting a leg up on the competition. Harnessing renewable energy and zeroing out consumption will be among the top 10 megatrends in the commercial building industry – and possibly for multifamily – for 2013.

Zero Net Energy Buildings: Practical Options for Multifamily
LEED green building consultant Jerry Yudelson predicts zero net energy buildings will be increasingly commonplace in both multifamily and commercial sectors this year as developers move to gain marketplace advantage with new designs. All eyes are upon Seattle’s Bullitt Center, a 50,000-square-foot zero net energy building touted to be the greenest in the world, expected to open in April. The building is expected to achieve Living Building Challenge status, which requires self-sufficiency for energy and water for at least 12 continuous months, as well as meeting rigorous standards for green materials and for the quality of its indoor environment.

Read more...Zero Net Energy Building Becoming Commonplace in Multifamily | Property Management Insider

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"The Rapidly Shrinking Federal Deficit" via Calculated Risk

From a research note by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius: The Rapidly Shrinking Federal Deficit

The federal budget deficit is shrinking rapidly. ...[I]n the 12 months through March 2013, the deficit totaled $911 billion, or 5.7% of GDP. In the first three months of calendar 2013--that is, since the increase in payroll and income tax rates took effect on January 1--we estimate that the deficit has averaged just 4.5% of GDP on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is less than half the peak annual deficit of 10.1% of GDP in fiscal 2009.

There are three main reasons for the sharp reduction in the deficit:

Read more...Calculated Risk: "The Rapidly Shrinking Federal Deficit"

Apartment Rating Sites: Friend or Foe? via PropertyManager.com

For years now, restaurants and other service providers have used Yelp as their local review site. They’ve learned how to not just take the good reviews with the bad reviews, but also figure out how to manage those bad reviews so that people will still trust them and try them out. With review sites like Yelp.com—many people can just be plain mean, using the site to (sometimes unfairly) rant about the vendor in retribution for what they saw as a huge problem during their experience. Sometimes they’re based on true stories. Sometimes they’re not. And now there’s the whole scandal of business owners paying members of the public to post negative reviews on competitors’ Yelp pages.

Property managers of apartment buildings and other multi-family properties have had to deal with similar problems on the review sites for their industry, like Move.com, ApartmentReviews.net, ApartmentRatings.com and yes, even Yelp.com. In fact, these sites were once completely dismissed, filled as they were with only negative (and sometimes overwrought) reviews of communities. This was especially true for ApartmentRatings.com, a site that gained a reputation as being the terminus for particularly unpleasant reviews.

Read more...Apartment Rating Sites: Friend or Foe? | PropertyManager.com

ALN Monthly Newsletter April 2013 via ALN Apartment Data

ALN Data just released their March 2013 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 must read from a great provider of apartment data.

Read more...ALN Monthly Newsletter April 2013 via ALN Apartment Data

Apartments Attracted the Largest Volume of Investment Dollars in 2012 According to CCIM Report via MultifamilyBiz.com

The commercial real estate industry continues to show robust and consistent growth, despite a sluggish economy and the indecision of governmental sequestration, according to the latest CCIM Quarterly Market Trends report. CCIM Institute, one of the largest commercial real estate networks in the world, released the results today in partnership with the National Association of REALTORS®. The report features the findings of CCIM's 13,000 influential, industry-leading members.

The report shows that in 2012, commercial real estate investment sales increased for the fourth consecutive year, with an uptick of 18 percent year-over-year in sales of properties less than $2.5 million. In fact, the year ended with a deal frenzy of $98 billion in total 4Q12 sales, setting a post-2007 record for the greatest amount of fourth-quarter investment activity.

Read more...Apartments Attracted the Largest Volume of Investment Dollars in 2012 According to CCIM Report - Multifamily News Headlines – Breaking News, Stories, Top Headlines :: MultifamilyBiz.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why Rising Interest Rates Could Eventually Curb Price Gains via WSJ

Rising home prices are raising concerns among some housing analysts that prices could again become unaffordable if price gains outpace income growth.

Two charts help illustrate these concerns. First, it’s useful to compare median home prices to incomes to determine whether housing is “overvalued” or “undervalued.” Data from Moody’s Analytics shows that at the end of last September, the median U.S. home price was around 1.7 times the household income. That price-to-income ratio stood at around 1.9 for the 15-year period beginning in 1989, meaning home prices were still slightly undervalued.

Why hasn’t housing affordability been dented by rising prices? That’s where the second chart comes in handy: mortgage rates are so low that any increases in price are being offset by falling interest rates, which allow homeowners to qualify for more debt without increasing their monthly payment. This is important because many home buyers approach the buying process based on the monthly payment they can qualify for.

Read more...Why Rising Interest Rates Could Eventually Curb Price Gains - Developments - WSJ

Why Fannie and Freddie Should Exist in the New Mortgage Market via USnews.com

They may be in federal conservatorship, but a funny thing is happening to the two "troubled" mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: They are making tons of money.

It's enough to give federal bailouts a good name.

With double-digit home price appreciation and more buyers coming off the sidelines, there have been fewer defaults and more revenues on GSE (government sponsored enterprises) loan guarantees. That's translated into a handsome $17.2 billion profit in 2012 for Fannie Mae, while its twin, Freddie Mac, posted gains of $11 billion.

Read more...Why Fannie and Freddie Should Exist in the New Mortgage Market - The Home Front (usnews.com)

CRE Liquidity: Too Much, Too Little or Just Right? via CoStar Group

Morgan Stanley and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch are going to market in the coming days with a CMBS offering that has a kind of scary déjà vu feeling to it for investors.

The loans in the offering (MSBAM 2013-C9) have a 98.8% loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, according to Kroll Bond Rating Agency. That is above the high end of the range of the last 11 CMBS conduits Kroll has rated since September 2012. In addition, there are 29 loans packaged as part of the offering (42.7% of the pool) with LTVs that exceed 100%, according to Kroll.

Those are the kind of valuations that evoke the heady days of 2007 when commercial real estate values and liquidity soared to unsustainable levels, then collapsed. The CMBS LTVs aren’t the only numbers that conjure up peak comparisons.

Read more...CRE Liquidity: Too Much, Too Little or Just Right? - CoStar Group

Sequestration could impact housing bond issuers: Moody’s via HousingWire

The government's sequestration process mandates roughly $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over a 10-year period, with $85 billion set to occur in the next six months.

From a broad view, the ongoing sequestration is likely to have a low to moderate impact on public financing housing bond issuers, Moody’s Investors Service claims in a new report.

Over time though, any reductions in federal employment, as well as any sequester-related economic downturn, will have the largest impact on housing programs that are extremely sensitive to household financial stress, including single-family and multifamily mortgage programs.

Read more...Sequestration could impact housing bond issuers: Moody’s | HousingWire

Houston Appealing to CRE Investors via GlobeSt.com

Houston, it seems, is "back." Job growth continues to trend upward. Houston is in a state with a pro-business climate, no income taxes and a high quality of life. All of this has its impact on commercial real estate. Leasing in all sectors is active, while office, industrial and multifamily buildings are attracting strong interest from investors ranging from private equity and trusts, to pensions, institutions and REITs.

According to Transwestern's Steve Pumper, Houston was never really "away." Furthermore, today's investment climate didn’t happen overnight. Rather, what's going on now was about a year and a half in the making. "Most investors look for locations that have high barriers to entry, industries that are growing and general job growth," comments Pumper, who is Transwestern's executive managing director, executive leadership, capital markets. Houston has all of that, he goes on to say, meaning "it's been a huge beneficiary of investment interest."

Read more...Houston Appealing to CRE Investors - Daily News Article - GlobeSt.com

Echo Boomers Driving Multifamily Rentals via GlobeSt.com

The Related Group is responding to the high demand for multifamily rentals in South Florida with six new projects under construction. That’s because Related hears and echo. Indeed, the Echo Boomers—children of the Baby Boom generation that were born between 1981 and 1995—are expected to drive occupancy in the next wave of multifamily development in the region.

“The multifamily industry is well aware of the Echo Boomer generation and their future role in the market,” Steve Patterson, president and CEO of Related Development, tells GlobeSt.com. “However, it is a gradual phenomena, and I believe that's why it hasn't been addressed fully in the mainstream media. I think within the coming years you'll hear more about this generation's impact on the housing market.”

Read more...Echo Boomers Driving Multifamily Rentals - Daily News Article - GlobeSt.com

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Triple Bottom Line via Commercial Property Executive

The U.S. commercial real estate industry has made some significant strides on the sustainability front recently. Caught between altruistic reasons for pursuing green development and management and the need to justify it financially, a group of largely unsophisticated market players has tended to take easy, predetermined paths without fully scrutinizing the results. But as executives grow familiar with sustainability, they are evaluating green practices more strategically—and implementing those measures into more properties and even entire portfolios.

That trend gave rise in 2010 to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Volume Program, which now counts a diverse assortment of 46 investors, retailers, schools and government agencies that certify large numbers of new projects, existing properties or both. Such commitment remains the purview of the most sophisticated sustainability-minded players, according to consultant Tom Paladino, who helped to develop LEED ratings and write the reference guides for the soon-to-be-launched version 4 update. But he reports that stepped-up involvement by industry leaders and proven benefits at the property level are also fueling broad interest in a more strategic approach to sustainable design.

Read more...The Triple Bottom Line via Commercial Property Executive

Survey: 70% of lenders believe housing recovery is real via HousingWire

A new survey of bank risk professionals shows the originations space warming to the idea of expanding home lending.

Approximately 70% of the professionals surveyed feel home prices are rising at a sustainable pace, reaffirming that the housing recovery is real.

FICO and the Professional Risk Managers International Association surveyed bank risk professionals regarding their predictions for the next six months.

Read more...Survey: 70% of lenders believe housing recovery is real | HousingWire

EPA Touts Commercial Real Estate’s Progress in Sustainability via REIT.com

Cindy Jacobs, senior advisor for Energy Star with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2013 Leader in the Light Working Forum in La Quinta, Calif.

Jacobs discussed the progress that some REITs have made in regards to sustainability and best practices in energy efficiency.

“I think there has really been a sea change in the way that commercial real estate companies view energy use. When we first started talking to companies about energy management, there really wasn’t a good understanding of what’s entailed in energy management and the fact that energy use and costs are controllable,” she said. “But, as more and more companies began to take stock of their energy use, I think that realization started to dawn.”

She added that REITs were among the first to have a good understanding of energy use and the value of energy management.

Read more...EPA Touts Commercial Real Estate’s Progress in Sustainability

Real Estate Business Barometer: April 2013 via Urban Land Institute

Total commercial property transactions jumped after last month’s drop; multifamily transactions vaulted even as all other sectors declined. Buyer appetite showed overall strength with prices at or near postrecession highs, CMBS issuance close to recent monthly highs, and cap rates remaining low and stable. Permits and starts of all types of housing continue to climb. Prices of new single-family homes are just shy of all-time highs and condominium price increases were strong. The stall in employment growth and decline in unemployment raise many questions.

Urban Land is evaluating ways to bring readers more dynamic content of this type. After four years, this will be the final installment of the ULI Real Estate Business Barometer in its current form. If you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns, feel free to email Anita.Kramer@uli.org.

The top ten trends in this month’s Barometer are:

Read more...Real Estate Business Barometer: April 2013 via Urban Land Institute

Monday, April 8, 2013

Where’s All That New Apartment Construction Going? via Property Management Insider

U.S. apartment construction levels are back in line with the historic norms, and that is contributing to a slowdown in rent growth. So, where’s all this new development going? We highlight the metro-level construction leaders in this video edition of Apartment Market Dynamics.

Watch video...Where’s All That New Apartment Construction Going? | Property Management Insider

Small Steps Equal Big Savings via National Real Estate Investor

To date, SL Green has completed sustainability projects saving more than $3.2 million annually—and we are just getting started. First, it was all about occupancy sensors and LED exit signs. Then tenant lighting introduced a new, sleek and modern fixture that delivers 40 percent greater efficiency, leading the way for the next major steps. In 2009, SL Green launched a 27-property lighting retrofit, replacing antiquated lighting technology to save $500,000 annually.

The lucrative potential of energy efficiency became evident, leading to growing support from the field and our executive teams. The year 2010 marked the next steps in establishing our HVAC retrofit program, addressing “low-hanging fruit opportunities” to reduce a building’s energy usage by as much as 19 percent, while SL Green’s operations team introduced a state-of-the-art real time energy management system throughout the New York City portfolio.

Read more...Small Steps Equal Big Savings | Commentary content from National Real Estate Investor

Protecting Your Property Management Company Brand Name via All Things Property Management

Whether you like it or not, online marketing is here to stay. Don’t think that tomorrow you’ll wake up and not have to deal with it or worry about it, like a fad. No such luck. Burying your head in the sand and hoping that it’ll go away is not likely to help either.

So what is a person to do who doesn’t want to do anything, but deep down they know there are some minimum things they should be doing for the “greater good” of their company and future generations of that company?

Well, my first rule of thumb is to advise the person in charge of the company to protect the brand. Okay, so what on earth does that mean? What it means is to get your name secured in the top online marketing platforms out there, and if you don’t have a domain or blog, get the name registered as well.

Read more...All Things Property Management » Blog Archive » Protecting Your Property Management Company Brand Name

Top 3 Trends Apartment Marketers Should Not Ignore via Property Management Insider

There are hundreds of emerging trends to keep up with in apartment marketing right now. So how do you pick and choose which ones are best for your brand? Depending on your goals for the year, the list of must-haves can prove overwhelming. Lucky you, I’ve narrowed down what I’ve observed to be the top three trends to keep top of mind before wasting thousands on marketing efforts.

The Convergence of POSE Media
The convergence of paid-owned-shared-earned (POSE) media is completely disrupting how marketers … market. Those who do not integrate and align their POSE are now at a disadvantage.

What do we mean by POSE? Paid is brand content enabled through payment (includes paid search, sponsored content, promotions, advertising, etc.); owned is brand content published on a brand’s channel (includes websites, social media channels, blogs, apps); shared is consumer content enabled by a third party (includes organic search, forums, user-generated content, “likes” and retweets or comments, etc.); and earned is consumer content enabled by a third party (media coverage, etc.)

Read more...Top 3 Trends Apartment Marketers Should Not Ignore | Property Management Insider

Central Texas home starts jump 27% in first quarter via Statesman.com

Central Texas home starts rose nearly 27 percent in the first quarter, as the region’s job growth, low mortgage interest rates and rising apartment rents continued to fuel housing demand.

Builders started construction on 1,952 houses in the first three months of the year, compared with 1,539 in the same period last year, according to Metrostudy, which tracks the numbers. The first quarter jump pushed the annual home starts rate to 8,385 homes for the 12 months that ended in March — up 32 percent from the annual total for the 12 months that ended in March 2012.

“Adding jobs, annually, for nearly three straight years emboldens consumer confidence in the local economy and this is driving the robust demand for housing in the Austin market,” said Madison Inselmann, regional director of Metrostudy’s Austin market.

Read more...Central Texas home starts jump 27% in first quarter via Statesman.com

Friday, April 5, 2013

Submetering Strides via Multi-Housing News Online

The level of sophisticated energy profiling needed by high-volume consumers is unobtainable using the standard meter found at the main utility service entrance. In response to the need for greater granularity, advanced submeters provide a cost-effective way to help facility operators identify literally thousands of dollars in reduced energy use and cost-savings opportunities.

Submeters, the primary energy data acquisition tool that allows building operators to do exactly that, are metering devices with monitoring capability that are installed on the facility side of the master meter to provide any or all of the following:

Read more...Submetering Strides | Multi-Housing News Online

Green Features via Multi-Housing News Online

This month, MHN once again teamed up with research and consulting services firm Kingsley Associates to see what green features are most appreciated by apartment residents—and which ones are conspicuously absent. Renters across the country have become quite savvy about eco initiatives like recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation and urban gardening. Many are willing to pay more to live in a building that respects the environment. Integrity is key.

If your apartment community is claiming to be green, it had better be delivering on this promise.

“If the building were striving to be green and energy efficient, there would be no need to see the sprinklers still set to pump water onto the grass while it’s raining outside for days.” —Medford, Mass.

Read more...Green Features | Multi-Housing News Online

New home starts on the rise in North Texas via Star-Telegram.com

Home builders started construction on the most homes in five years during the first quarter, as job and population growth continued to fuel a housing rebound in North Texas, according to two market reports released Thursday.

Home starts reached 4,312 in the first three months of the year, up 35 percent from the same period of 2012, said Dallas-based MetroStudy.

"It is likely home builders will start over 20,000 homes in 2013," said David Brown, MetroStudy's Dallas-Fort Worth regional director. "Starts in 2013, however, will still be 60 percent below the peak activity level in 2006."

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/04/4751379/new-home-starts-on-the-rise-in.html#storylink=cpy

Read more...New home starts on the rise in North Texas | Business | Dallas Business, Texas Business,...

North Texas Appealing to Multifamily Investors via GlobeSt.com

Plenty has been written about Texas in recent years; how the state weathered the Great Recession more effectively than other states and how job growth continues. The job growth has led to apartment demand – according to MPF/RealPage's recent figures, the Dallas-Fort Worth area saw demand for 11,194 units during the year-ending first quarter of 2013.

The fundamentals, combined with continued low interest rates, are luring more multifamily buyers to North Texas. Other factors also have appeal including no state income tax and a pro-business political climate. As a result, "it's competitive," comments CBRE first vice president Chris Deuillet. "If anything, buyers are trying harder to make the deal, instead of killing the deal."

Read more...North Texas Appealing to Multifamily Investors - Daily News Article - GlobeSt.com

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Higher inventory causes rental rates to fall flat via HousingWire

Nearly four million single-family homes entered the rental market over the course of the past eight years.

This strong inventory of rental homes has finally caught up with the increased demand for rentals during the housing crisis, causing single-family home rents to flatten nationwide, according to data from Trulia.

Nationally, rents for single-family homes were flat, rising only 0.1% year-over-year. In Las Vegas, Orange County, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Phoenix — where investors have actively bought and rented out single-family homes — rents are either flat or continuing to fall.

Read more...Higher inventory causes rental rates to fall flat | HousingWire

Texas Markets Rank Tops Nationally for Apartment Demand via Property Management Insider

Among folks who pay even the slightest bit of attention to what’s happening in local economies across the country, it’s not exactly breaking news that lots of jobs are being added in Texas. The Great Recession that so many spots nationally are still struggling to recover from was barely a blip on the radar screen across much of the Lone Star State, and job growth has been at or even above the past norms for quite a while.

What you might have missed unless you pay really close attention to the stats, however, is that early figures for job production in 2013 show the economies in Texas kicking into even higher gear and breaking further away from the pack.

That’s particularly true in Houston.

Read more...Texas Markets Rank Tops Nationally for Apartment Demand | Property Management Insider

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Benchmarking Performance via Multi-Housing News Online

How long does the green sheen last? Oh, how times have changed. Ten years ago, many multifamily developers dismissed the idea of increasing project costs to expend funds on sustainable development pursuits. But today, with full proof that what has become a minimal upfront investment in eco-friendly features pays for itself in no time flat, it is the rare property owner who doesn’t pursue and tout an apartment community’s “green” aspects. But, as is frequently the case with trends, the ante is being upped with regard to the green seal of approval, and now the question is becoming, “How green is green?” Benchmarking can tell you.

Sustainable development, in terms of the actual construction process, is what it is—if you divert certain materials from landfills or utilize recycled products, the impact is immediate. But if you incorporate such features as energy-efficient windows and water-saving appliances, a property’s true sustainability can only be judged after it’s put to the test. And, in terms of energy conservation—and thus cost savings for both property owner and tenant—that is where benchmarking a building’s performance comes into play.

Read more...Benchmarking Performance | Multi-Housing News Online

Demographic Trends Drive Investor Interest in Alternative Real Estate Assets via National Real Estate Investor

At a time when real estate investors still have concerns about the future performance of many traditional property types, including office, retail and multifamily, some have started to set aside capital for alternative assets. Such assets, including student housing, seniors housing and medical office buildings, among others, have broad demographic trends supporting their success, proved immune to the recession and offer higher yields than comparable properties in other sectors. As a result, interest in these types of assets is expected to keep growing.

Read more...Demographic Trends Drive Investor Interest in Alternative Real Estate Assets | Student Housing content from National Real Estate Investor

U.S. Apartment-Rent Increases Slow Amid Construction Boom via Bloomberg

U.S. apartment rents increased in the first quarter at their slowest pace since late 2011 amid a wave of construction that will further test landlords’ ability to raise rates, Reis Inc. (REIS) said.

Effective rents, or what tenants pay after any price breaks from owners, averaged $1,054 a month, up 0.5 percent from the fourth quarter, according to the property-research firm. Landlords’ asking rents also climbed 0.5 percent, to $1,102. It was the slowest growth for both measures in five quarters. Vacancies, which for the past year have been at the lowest level in a decade, dropped to 4.3 percent from 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter and 5 percent a year earlier.

“Given how tight vacancies have become, rent growth ought to be stronger,” Victor Calanog, chief economist of New York- based Reis, said in a report today. Sluggish job and wage growth have raised questions about how much more landlords can increase rents, he said.

Read more...U.S. Apartment-Rent Increases Slow Amid Construction Boom - Bloomberg

Who Will Step Up For Multifamily Lending? via GlobeSt.com

A planned 10% reduction in new multifamily lending from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this year—down from last year’s combined $63 billion to a maximum of $57 billion in 2013—could have serious implications for the sector in the fourth quarter and beyond if other sources don’t step up and fill the gap, Gordon Gerson of locally based Gerson Law Firm tells GlobeSt.com. The big question in the capital-markets arena is how fast other providers of multifamily financing come to the plate.

“It’s not like the faucet is going to be turned off,” says Gerson. “It’s not a time for folks to panic because if the GSEs drop their lending 10% this as they’re planning to, they will still do around $57 billion this year, and even if you divide that by quarters, there would still be production in the last quarter—it just might not be production at the same level as the prior three quarters.”

Read more...Who Will Step Up For Multifamily Lending? - Daily News Article - GlobeSt.com

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Past Peak via Multi-Housing News Online

After a period of historically strong performance in nearly every fundamental, Texas’ apartment industry is finding an equilibrium just below its post-recession crests. With rent growth beginning to slow and concessions returning to the market, many developers and investors are treading more cautiously and focusing more squarely on niches they know will generate returns.

Bill Jackson, senior vice president and managing director, NorthMarq Capital, says that his Dallas office has focused mostly on the Lone Star State’s four major markets—Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio—over the last few years. He notes that while these areas will continue to be bastions for many types of growth—urban infill and suburban—some of the smaller markets once sought for development are now returning to their pre-recession statuses.

Read more...Past Peak | Multi-Housing News Online

Selling Sustainability via Multi-Housing News Online

Alliance Residential Company, a Phoenix-based real estate company, has 17 regional offices divided among six regions throughout the U.S. Over the past 12 years, Alliance has become one of the largest private apartment owners and the 15th largest management company in the nation, boasting a $6.0+ billion portfolio, 50,000 units in 24 metropolitan markets and a presence in 15 states. A fully integrated ownership, development and management company, Alliance offers a dual perspective of the industry. As owners, Alliance understands the importance of property performance and return on investment. As managers, the company recognizes the value of its associates and it knows that their individual successes comprise the backbone to the success of the overall organization. As a result, Alliance focuses its efforts on superior leadership at the local level, accentuated by comprehensive training and a national support system. This approach enables Alliance associates in the field to focus on their core responsibilities: leasing apartments and taking care of customers. MHN News Editor Jessica Fiur talks to Kelly Vickers, Alliance Residential Company’s national director of sustainability, about her new role and the company’s green programs.

What sorts of things does a national director of sustainability work on?

Read more...Selling Sustainability | Multi-Housing News Online

MPF Reports Moderate Rent Growth for Q1 2013 via Property Management Insider

Apartment occupancy remained right around the essentially full mark of 95% in the nation’s core 100 metro areas, according to preliminary 1st quarter 2013 data from MPF Research. But rent growth levels continued to ease as apartment construction continued to ramp up.

Read more...MPF Reports Moderate Rent Growth for Q1 2013 | Property Management Insider

Trepp US CMBS Delinquency Rate Inches Higher in March via ereleases.com

Trepp, LLC, the leading provider of information, analytics and technology to the CMBS, commercial real estate and banking markets, released its March 2013 U.S. CMBS Delinquency Report today (available at http://www.trepp.com/knowledge/research).

The delinquency rate for U.S. commercial real estate loans in CMBS inched higher by eight basis points in March to 9.50% after reaching the lowest level in a year last month. Overall, the rate has fallen 84 basis points since hitting its all-time peak of 10.34% at the end of July 2012.

Read more...Trepp US CMBS Delinquency Rate Inches Higher in March

DFW apartment market takes hit, but still strong, expert says via Dallas Business Journal

Dallas-Fort Worth's apartment market is cooling off, as occupancy rates fall for the third straight quarter to 93.6 percent, but the market is still in healthy shape, one expert says.

The reason behind lower occupancy: A ramp-up in apartment construction and home sales.

"Dallas-Fort Worth is one of only a handful of markets nationally where apartment development has already topped historic norms," said Jay Parsons, the National Market Analysis Manager at Carrollton-based MPF Research, a division of RealPage Inc., wrote in an email Monday.

Read more...DFW apartment market takes hit, but still strong, expert says - Dallas Business Journal

Monday, April 1, 2013

Texas Employment Update 4/1/13 via Dallas Fed

The Texas economy continued to expand. Texas added 61,600 jobs in February. Year to date, Texas has gained 66,800 jobs.

Read more...Texas Employment Update - Dallas Fed

Rise of the renter via bedtimesmagazine.com

When billionaire investor Warren Buffett speaks, people tend to listen. The Oracle from Omaha said this during an interview on CNBC Feb. 27: “If I had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes–and had a way of managing them–I would load up on them, and I would take mortgages out on them at very, very low rates. …That’s as attractive an investment as you can make.”

Buffett was right on the money: Profound changes in the housing market have reversed decades of increases in homeownership rates and pushed upward the number of people needing or wanting to rent. The 2011 housing report from global financial services firm Morgan Stanley puts it this way, “The combination of falling home prices, limited mortgage credit, continued liquidations and better rental options is fundamentally changing the way Americans live…moving the country toward a Rentership Society.”

Read more...Rise of the renter: What changing patterns of homeownership mean for mattress manufacturers

Many Lenders Offering Low Rates for Multifamily via The Commercial Observer

It seems like the perfect storm: investors are paying record prices to acquire residential rental apartments in metropolitan areas. And at the same time, financial institutions—especially regional and local commercial and savings banks—are offering the lowest rates for long-term financing for this asset class. Ramping up the competition, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, insurance companies, CMBS and conduits are all offering borrowers low rates, with terms we have not experienced in decades.

People in the commercial real estate finance world are left scratching their heads, intrigued as to why lenders are offering such amazing loan rates for financing.

Read more...Many Lenders Offering Low Rates for Multifamily | The Commercial Observer

Who's that billionaire buying up homes in South Dallas? via Dallas Business Journal

A California billionaire has been snapping up hundreds of homes in southern Dallas County, including South Dallas, snowballing into double-digit purchases a day as the market becomes more attractive for single-family home rentals.

The billionaire, B. Wayne Hughes, founder of Malibu, Calif.-based Public Storage (NYSE: PSA), one of the largest self-storage real estate investment trusts in the nation, has been buying thousands of homes throughout the country, including North Texas, through his recently formed company, American Homes 4 Rent.

The company has a collection of 10,000 homes in the country, the second largest collection of single-family home rentals in the U.S.

Read more...Who's that billionaire buying up homes in South Dallas? - Dallas Business Journal

Axiometrics Reports Effective Rent Growth Slowdown for Apartment Market During First Quarter via marketwire.com

Axiometrics Inc., the leading provider of apartment data and market research, reports that at the national level annual effective rent growth slowed to 3.4% in the first quarter of 2013. For comparison, annual effective rent growth measured 4.0% in the first quarter of 2012 though it moderated to a 3.6% annual rate by the end of the year. Further, Axiometrics' data indicates that the effective rent growth rate has slowed for seven consecutive quarters as many Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are decelerating from very strong growth the previous three years. Peak annual rent growth at the national level during this cycle was 5.32% in July 2011. Despite the overall slowdown, many markets are still experiencing above-average rent growth rates, with 29 of the top 88 MSAs reporting annual effective rent growth of greater than 4.0%.

Read more...Axiometrics Reports Effective Rent Growth Slowdown for Apartment Market During First Quarter via marketwire.com

Construction contracts on rise in North Texas via Star-Telegram.com

Contracts for future commercial and residential construction recorded in February increased in the 12-county North Texas region, according to the latest reports from McGraw-Hill Construction.

For the month, $264.7 million worth of commercial construction activity was recorded, a 60 percent jump from February 2012, when $165.4 million in contracts was recorded.

Also, $533.1 million in contracts for residential construction was recorded, a 14 percent increase from $466.5 million for the same month a year ago.

Read more...Construction contracts on rise in North Texas | Business | Dallas Business, Texas Busine...