News Alerts. Dec. 21, 2013. #RealEstate

Linking ≠ endorsement. Enjoy and share:

  1. Florida real estate flooded with foreign buyers | Fox Business Video

    The Campins Company founder Katrina Campins weighs in on the real-estate market.


  2. When Seattle shakes from quakes, it's going to slide, too | Local News | The Seattle Times

    Get your Earthquake Insurance on!

    The peril of earthquakes is usually an exclusion in standard property-insurance policies. Earthquake coverage may (availability varies by, among other things, carrier/insurer) be added via an endorsement or written in a Difference in Conditions policy to supplement commercial-property insurance.

    To add earthquake to a Dwelling Property Policy, a standard endorsement is the DP 04 69-Earthquake endorsement form. Different states have different forms available. In California, for instance, there's the DP 23 82 form: "ADDITIONAL EARTHQUAKE COVERAGE — CALIFORNIA."

    A new study finds that in Seattle more than 10,000 buildings — many of them homes — are at high risk from earthquake-triggered landslides.

    With its coastal bluffs, roller-coaster hills and soggy weather, Seattle is primed for landslides even when the ground isn't shaking. Jolt the city with a major earthquake, and a new study from the University of Washington suggests many more slopes could collapse than previously estimated.

    A powerful earthquake on the fault that slices under the city's heart could trigger more than 30,000 landslides if it strikes when the ground is saturated, the analysis finds. More than 10,000 buildings, many of them upscale homes with water views, sit in areas at high risk of landslide damage in such a worst-case scenario.

    This appears to be a helpful general article on the subject as pertains to the Seattle area: http://www.king5.com/news/quake/Informat ion-about-earthquake-insurance-98039284. html


  3. America's Top 10 "Back To Normal" Housing Markets – Forbes

    Of the 100 largest metros, 10 are back to normal or nearly there for both prices and permits. (By "nearly there," we mean that prices are undervalued by less than 2% and permits are less than 10% below normal.)

    Top 10 "Back to Normal" U.S. Housing Markets

    Austin, TX
    Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD
    Dallas, TX
    Denver, CO
    Houston, TX
    Nashville, TN
    Orange County, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    San Jose, CA
    Seattle, WA

    Note: Listed in alphabetical order.


  4. Point: Why 2014 Will Be a Seller's Market – Multifamily Executive Magazine

    Very interesting:

    The timing was impeccable. Kushner sold 17,000 units in 86 complexes to AIG and Morgan Properties in June 2007 for $1.9 billion. In 2008, the economy fell into recession. By 2010, acquisition pricing looked a lot better to Kushner (as it did to other opportunistic buyers around the country). So, over the past four years, the company has scooped up $3.5 billion worth of assets as the younger Kushner expanded the firm's footprint beyond the Garden State to his new home in New York City, plus seven markets around the country.

    But that dynamic is changing as more investors chase yield off the beaten path. …

    Some indicators say it's 2007 again. As of the third quarter of 2013, cap rates came in at 6.2 percent nationally. "That's every bit as low as 2007," says Dan Fasulo, managing director at New York—based Real Capital Analytics (RCA).

    With $22 billion of sales volume in the third quarter of 2013 and $30 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, the apartment market was reaching the lofty volume it hit during the last boom. In fact, single-property deals are at an all-time high.

    Part of that might be from a lack of supply on the market. That situation could actually make dispositions appealing for opportunistic sellers in 2014, especially for those that made value-add acquisitions (and have now stabilized those properties) during the recession.

    "With supply ramping up, you might face more competition from other sellers over the next few years than you might in the near term," says Ryan Severino, senior economist and associate director of research at New York—based Reis. "If you're in a position to harvest those gains (from a value-add situation) and redeploy that capital into something else that might present better return options going forward, now is not a bad time to do it."

    Who will buy in the face of such cap rates? Who will sell at a low enough price to make sense to a buyer in the face of such aggregate cap rates?

    More units are in the developmental pipeline too (being constructed).

    We'd like to see the cap rates overlaid on a map with some other info, such as: cap rates going up, down, holding steady; building permits; vacancy rates; and unemployment and wage rates up, down, steady; etc.


  5. Disinfloyment — the state of strengthening labour markets and falling inflation | Bond Vigilantes

    Bernanke told us yesterday that he presently sees the glide-path for tapering to continue at $10 billion at each meeting, until liquidity provision stops at the end of 2014. I believe that there is a very difficult line for the Fed to tread over the next 12 months. As tapering continues and the markets come to expect the end of the stimulus, long-term yields will rise (as we saw in the Summer) and the economic data risks going in the wrong direction for the tapering to continue. For a gradual rise in rates not to detrimentally affect the recovery, the economy must be growing with such underlying momentum as to shrug off these higher rates: and in this environment, surely inflation would be returning? So: either the Fed finds the recovery to be too fragile to continue tapering, in which case it continues to increase the supply of money each month, thereby risking higher inflation further into the future when the economy improves; or the recovery is sufficiently strong, and inflation (excluding commodities, which the Fed cannot control) is rebounding.

    Lest we forget: the Fed will have increased the supply of money by $4.25 trillion at the end of the tapering cycle. When the velocity of money starts rising on top of the increases in money supply, nominal output will start to rise unless the money supply is taken out to an offsetting extent.


  6. Yuan gains stature as China relaxes currency controls – Dec. 18, 2013

    The government has also expanded a program allowing approved foreign firms to invest in mainland stocks, and relaxed the eligibility criteria.

    Analysts have cheered China's steps to loosen its grip, and are increasingly optimistic as government officials tout measures to make the yuan — or renminbi — freely tradable, and to give markets a bigger role in the economy.


  7. Testosterone Pit – Home – The Multi-Pronged Mortgage Debacle Next Year (So Long, "Housing Recovery")

    … mere talk of ending it [tapering QE] has sent mortgage rates soaring — and mortgage applications plunging to the "lowest level in more than a dozen years," lamented the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Refinance Index has crashed. The all-important Purchase Index is now 12% lower than last year.

    People who need mortgages to buy homes — hence, not hedge funds, private equity firms, oligarchs, and other sundry investors — have been throttling back. Sales of existing homes slumped for the third month in a row in November, down 4.3%, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.9 million, 1.2% below last year — the first annual decline in over two years. It's just getting too darn expensive. Home prices have soared over the last two years. And mortgage rates have soared since May. A toxic concoction.


  8. 5 Critical End-of-Year Must-Do's Rental Owners Can't Ignore! – AllPropertyManagement.com

    Revisiting and evaluating insurance policies and rental regulations and laws is key to protecting your rental property investment. John Bradford, CEO and Founder of Park Avenue Properties, LLC, recommends that rental property owners set an annual calendar reminder to review their insurance policies for proper and adequate coverage and check on new local ordinances affecting landlords.

    Insurance policies and their respective coverage amounts change frequently. Bradford has seen many owners move out of their property and convert it to a rental but forget to call their insurance provider to make sure their policy is updated from a primary occupant policy to a landlord policy. If an owner does not make this policy change then it is very likely a future claim will be denied for the wrong policy classification. Bradford cautions that he has witnessed firsthand a property owner who received a claim denial because the policy was still considered a primary occupancy policy and not a landlord policy. The classification change to a landlord policy will likely result in a premium increase but without the proper classification the property owner is not adequately insured which, in the end, will be a much bigger price to pay.

    Review rental property insurance policies; update amounts if necessary.

    If you don't have an umbrella liability insurance policy, consider one.

    Make sure that if you have converted your primary residence to a rental property, that you made that classification change with your insurance company.


  9. Full Housing Recovery Hinges on Young Adults Getting Jobs

    Trulia added young adult employment to its barometer because the demographic is "a key age group for household formation and first-time homeownership"—and it is this indicator that is furthest from normal, presenting a major obstacle for the housing recovery.

    At 74.9 percent, the employment rate for those ages 25 to 34 is just 23 percent of the way back to its normal rate of 79.3 percent, according to Trulia.

    "The housing market cannot fully recover until young adults get back to work," said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, in his report.


  10. [Actually recommended] BP Podcast 049: Real Estate Tax Tips, Jokes, and Loopholes With Amanda Han

    Amanda Han, CPA, does a really good job of covering tax tips for American investors in real estate.

    In This Show, We Cover:

    • How to find a good syndication deal
    • Important tax changes YOU need to know for 2013 and 2014
    • The Obamacare Tax — do you need to pay it?
    • The loophole that allows real estate investors to write off "paper losses."
    • The new laws and tax changes that may limit your mortgage interest deduction
    • When to talk to a tax strategist
    • How to find a great CPA
    • The biggest misconceptions about tax deductions
    • What legal entity should you have?
    • Things YOU need to do before the end of 2013
    • How to deduct your cat food?
    • Investing with a Self Directed IRA
    • Common tax mistakes that many investors make
    • And much, much more.

    Books Mentioned in the Show

    Listen to The Show on iTunes

    Click here to listen on iTunes.

    Listen to the Podcast Here

    Play

    | Download


  11. NJ sues Credit Suisse over mortgage securities – Worcester Telegram & Gazette – telegram.com

    TRENTON, N.J. — The state of New Jersey is accusing Credit Suisse Securities and two affiliates of misrepresenting the risks involved in the sale of more than $10 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities.


  12. London Unseats Hong Kong as World's Most Expensive Office Market

    London's West End unseated Hong Kong-Central as the world's highest-priced office market, but Asia continued to dominate the world's most expensive office locations, accounting for four of the top five markets, according to CBRE Global Research and Consulting's semi-annual Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs survey. The study also found that rents are rising fastest in the Americas, where real estate fundamentals continue to improve. Overall, the Americas accounted for eight of the 10 markets with the fastest growing occupancy costs with Boston (Downtown), Mexico City and San Francisco (Downtown) included among the top five.


  13. REAL ESTATE: November sales 'underwhelming' in Southern California | Business | PE.com

    Southern California home sales plunged in November, falling with a 10.4 percent thud across Riverside County and by the same percentage in the entire six-county region, the latest report from San Diego-based DataQuick said.

    Collectively, sales in Southern California fell below the seasonal average. Southland sales have shown a decline of 7.6 percent, on average, every October and November since 1988 when DataQuick statistics begin.

    "Price has come a long way, and it's put a crimp in affordability for some people," LePage said, prompting some buyers to take a pause and to push them into condo purchases. First-time homebuyers are down to the lowest level in eight years, Wunderlich said.


  14. US housing: Problems ahead?

    Shari Olefson, CEO of The Carnegie Group, explains how the new U.S. mortgage law will impact the housing market and argues that the raised debt ratio requirement "will be a problem."


  15. Wall Street Unlocks Profits From Distress With Rental Revolution – Bloomberg

    The article is a mini history of the new institutional-investment mode in distressed, detached, single-family houses-to-rental industry/asset class.

    In their buying binge, the largest landlords are leaving the most depressed areas virtually untouched. About 30 miles from Rosebud Park, the community of Pittsburgh in Atlanta is riddled with dilapidated properties partially hidden behind grass growing wild. About 40 percent of the homes are vacant, sealed off with wooden boards on windows.


  16. Regional Mall and Apartment Sectors Poised for Growth in 2014, Analyst Says

    Rick Romano, managing director and portfolio manager with Prudential Real Estate Investors, joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWorld 2013: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

    … we like the regional malls and apartments going into 2014. We think that they underperformed a little bit in 2013, and are poised now to show cash flow growth in 2014."

    Compare that to the "Point: Why 2014 Will Be a Seller's Market – Multifamily Executive Magazine" article linked to above.


  17. US Treasuries — are we nearly there yet? Maybe we are. | Bond Vigilantes

    The following is all relevant to the Fed's current and future decisions and where mortgage-interest rates are and are going, hence real estate and particularly housing. The following are only highlights to pique your interest:

    … the 10 year bond yield is effectively the compounded sum of all short rates out to 10 years, plus or minus the term premium (which we will discuss in a minute). If the FOMC members are correct that 4% is the long run interest rate, then if the term premium is zero, the 10 year forward rate at 4.13% has already overshot where it needs to be, and we should be closing out our short duration positions in the US bond markets.

    The following are background links. It might be best to read them first:

    An investor in 2013 is faced with the reality that the US treasury bond rate does not have much room to get lower and, if mean reversion holds, has plenty of room to move up, and if history holds, it will take the ERP up with it.

    In a previous post, I noted that stocks do not look over priced. While you may feel that this post is in direct contradiction, let me hasten to provide the bridge between the two. In the prior post, I noted that stock prices are being sustained by four legs: (1) robust cash flows, taking the form of dividends and buybacks at historic highs for US companies, (2) a recovering economy (and earnings growth that comes with it), (3) ERP at above-normal levels and (4) low risk free rates. Thus, my argument is a relative one: given how other financial assets are being priced and the level of interest rates right now, stocks look reasonably priced.

    The danger, though, is that the US T.Bond rate is not only at a historic low but that it may be too low, relative to its intrinsic level, based upon expected inflation and expected real growth (a topic for another blog post coming soon). If you believe that the T.Bond rate is too low, then you have the possibility that you are in the midst of a Fed-induced market bubble(s) and that script never has a good ending. The scary part is that there are no obvious safe havens: gold and silver have had a good run but don't seem like a bargain and central banks around the world seem to be following the Fed's script of low interest rates. You could use derivatives to buy short term insurance against a market collapse but, given that you are not alone in your fears about the market, you will pay a hefty price. Source: http://aswathdamodaran.blogspot.co.uk/20 13/05/equity-risk-premiums-erp-and-stock s.html

    and this:

    The FRBNY report also shows that the recent bond sell off is large but not extraordinary by historical standards. The fact that the rise in rates is driven by a change in term premia means that it is not that investors expect a different path of short term interest rates from what they expected before. The unwinding of the Fed's bond purchases is instead causing a reappraisal of the inherent risk of holding long term bonds. But the volatility of that term premium and the difficulty of estimating it accurately complicate the Fed's decisions on monetary policy.

    Consider a very simple example. There is a 1 year bond that has an interest rate (or more accurately a yield to maturity, which takes into account the time value of the cashflows received — it's the internal rate of return of the bond) of 5% now and a market expected interest rate of 6% in the second year. If you buy the bond and reinvest the proceeds after one year in another one year bond then you expect to get the product of 5% and 6% which is 11.3%. If there is also a 2 year bond trading in the market and it has an interest rate of more than 11.3% then you would sell the short term bond (go short) and buy the long bond, because you can in effect borrow at 11.3% and in vest at more than 11.3%. Equally, if the long bond interest rate was less than that of the compounded short bonds rates, then it would make sense to do the opposite. Only when the expected rates of return are equal is there equilibrium in the market. Source: http://www.simontaylorsblog.com/2013/08/ 06/analysing-changes-in-long-term-intere st-rates-the-term-premium-in-us-treasury -bonds/


  18. Rates sweetener makes Fed tapering pill easier to swallow | MacroScope

    … the bond sell-off was limited, only taking yields to the top-end of ranges held in recent months. On Friday, U.S. yields were mixed and German borrowing costs little changed.

    The reaction not only shows that tapering had already been largely priced in — even though it came earlier than some had expected — but it illustrates that the central bank successfully contained its fallout by tweaking the forward guidance.

    The U.S. central bank said it was likely to keep interest rates near zero well past the time that the jobless rate falls below 6.5 percent, especially if inflation expectations remain below target.

    We agree with that analysis; and, as our readers know, we were surprised the taper was announced in 2013 and for $10 billion rather than in 2014 and for $5B to start with. We also think that saying that the Fed will look to cut $10 at each future announcement until it hits zero is a bad idea. Provided the reports on it are accurate, we feel Ben Bernanke should have remained silent on that.

    Those things said, the Fed did a vastly better job explaining than it did back before May 2013. Educating the markets is largely responsible for the greater stability in bonds.

    The last thing we need right now is for mortgage rates to go through the roof due to easily spooked, uneducated speculators.


  19. Sales Volume Down From Year Ago in 14 of 50 Largest Metros | Mortgage News | Daily National and State Headlines

    Annualized sale volume declined from the previous month (October 2013) in 18 states and was down from a year ago in four states: California (down 14 percent), Arizona (down 12 percent), Nevada (down nine percent), and Rhode Island (down four percent). Annualized sales volume declined from a year ago in 14 of the nation's 50 largest metros, including seven California metros, two metros in both Arizona and New York, along with Las Vegas, New Haven, Conn., and Portland, Ore.

    • Institutional investor purchases represented 7.7 percent of all residential property sales in November, up from 7.1 percent in October and up from 6.3 percent a year ago.

    • Markets with the highest share of institutional investor purchases included Columbus, Ohio, Phoenix, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Fla., and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.

    • Sales of bank-owned homes (REO) accounted for 10.0 percent of all residential property sales in November, up from 9.1 percent in October and 9.4 percent a year ago. November marked the third consecutive month where REO sales increased from the previous month.

    • Metro areas where REO sales accounted for at least 20 percent of all sales and increased from a year ago included Stockton, Calif., Las Vegas, Cleveland, Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., and Phoenix.


  20. No end in sight for emerging market bond woes /Euromoney magazine

    Idiosyncratic and political risk has also loomed large at the sovereign level. Western investors have had plenty to worry about in their home markets, with concerns about the future of Europe and the longer-term implications of austerity.

    Dealing with politically unstable or unpredictable emerging markets has been a bridge too far for many, acting as a further catalyst to the flow of money into developed economies.

    It will be interesting to see what the Fed's taper announcement will do in this arena.


  21. Multifamily Tech Trend | Property Management Companies Going Paperless in 2014 – Apartment Intelligence™

    From the clearing of the office clutter to the fact that going paperless can be a great marketing message here are some great tips for promoting a paper-free zone in your work-zone.

    When it comes to the business of leasing, going paperless can present a whole new series of benefits. One of the foremost benefits is the ability to execute leases anywhere in the field. With the fact that you're digitally transmitting everything, only a wireless internet connection and connectable device are needed to present, sign, and distribute those documents to the tenants email and a virtual office file that your staff shares access to.

    If you're just looking to store and share documents online with your users/agents then Google Docs is a simple, no cost solution. In addition, Adobe EchoSign is Adobe's free e-signature app that allows you to both sign documents digitally and send those documents via email or Google Docs/Google Drive.

    But, if you are looking to have that same power of Drive/Docs while also adding the ability to capture actual legal signatures on your leasing documents in an all-in-one environment, then you'll need to enlist the services of a company like DocuSign, Lease Runner, or On-Site.


  22. No, Human Sacrifices Do Not Lead To Economic Growth

    John Aziz:

    The real trick in agriculture, of course, is learning to irrigate and fertilise the land. This is analogous to Keynesian fiscal policies — spending money to create jobs and raise incomes. If we had been judiciously using up the supply of cheap credit that resulted from the depressed economy on infrastructure and other long-term projects, we would have likely had an actual recovery years ago. This of course, takes imagination and courage. Many Keynesian stimuli — like the Obama stimulus — fail to meet expectations because they do not even come close to using up the supply of cheap credit, or creating enough jobs to sufficiently lower the unemployment rate.

    Of course, defying the human sacrificers and demanding the use of irrigation and fertiliser in agriculture also took courage and imagination. It is difficult to convince those who are certain that correlation is causation and a bad harvest simply means more people need to be sacrificed to non-existent gods. But eventually, agriculture moved beyond this. I hope economics soon does, too.

    We agree.


  23. [Recommended] 12-17 Housing "Bubble 2.0?; Same as "Bubble 1.0?, only different actors

    Mark Hanson:

    In reality, on Main Street — to tens of millions of homeowners — from 2003 to 07 mortgages were much cheaper on a monthly payment basis than ever before in history and ever have been since. This statement is true, even when factoring in the much higher nominal house prices back then, and the recent Fed-induced sub-3.5% that lasted from 2011 through May 2013. This was because the incremental — in fact, the "primary" in many regions around the nation — buyer, refinancer, and HELOC user used "other than" 30-year fixed rate money.

    Today, those looking at 2006 house prices as a benchmark for where house prices are headed — or assuming house prices are 'safe' or not back in a 'bubble' because they haven't regained those prices — are looking at the wrong thing. That's because house prices never can get back there unless employment surges and incomes rise double-digit percentage points with a respectable number in front. Or, unless all the exotic, high-leverage, no documentation loans come back.

    Masking the "unaffordability" of today's housing market is "all-cash" buyers who are not "governed" by end-user fundamentals (what somebody could buy or qualify for using a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and guidelines looking at real employment, income, assets, DTI, appraisal etc.)

    Bottom line: as investors slow or shut down the buying and the market turns more "organic" — or normal — in nature, significant price pressure will present again.

    Bottom line: Houses have NEVER BEEN MORE EXPENSIVE" on a monthly payment basis than right now. [That's California]

    That's the right way to look at it in our view.


  24. Mortgage Rates Run to 3-Month Highs Complicated by Fee Hikes

    Mortgage rates continued higher today [December 19, 2013], reaching levels not seen since the week before the FOMC Announcement in September. Today's weakness owes itself completely to yesterday's news. While the Fed's decision to "taper" didn't cause an excessive move higher yesterday, it did confirm the significant move higher that began in May.

    While we're not moving higher at the same pace seen in May and June of this year, the determination is as high as ever. In a real sense, the pace of the movement–in general–and the mass behind it, are glacial.

    The other incredibly important factor is the recently announced increases to the Guarantee Fee imposed by Fannie and Freddie's conservator the FHFA. This will raise rates by .25-.375% for many borrowers by the time the up-front cost changes are applied, and that's happening a lot sooner than most people realize.

    What will Mel Watt, incoming Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, do? See the next link below.


  25. Calculated Risk: "Will Mel Watt begin to reverse DeMarco's damage?"

    DeMarco [outgoing head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency] has for five years recalibrated GSE underwriting to strangulation.

    … the fee hikes are designed NOT to ensure that the GSEs/taxpayers earn a "fair" return, but rather to encourage a "further return of private capital to the mortgage market."

    CR note: These fees are scheduled to take effect on April 1st. I expect the decision to be reviewed – and hopefully reversed.

    We hope so too.


  26. Flipping success in a smaller city | Investors Beat

    Many of these principles can go a long way in the buy-to-hold strategy too.

    First impressions are critical to buyers, so enhancing curb appeal is important to make a quick sale. While landscaping and exterior improvements do not always need to be drastic, presenting a clean, attractive property will go a long way in getting people in the door.


  27. Pocket-sized flats provide a start for the young first-time buyer | Housing Network | theguardian.com

    The purchaser of any Pocket home must be a first-time buyer earning less than the affordable housing limit set by the mayor of London. This is currently £66,000, although most buyers earn £40,000. Crucially, buyers are compelled to sell to others earning below that level, too. Because the resale market is restricted by income, it effectively caps the value of the property by aligning it with increases in wages instead of property prices. Vlessing predicts this type of income-restricted housing will become the norm over the next 25 years in metropolitan areas where young people make up a large amount of population growth and where house prices are out of reach.

    Interesting, but make them larger anyway. They need to be subsidized if incomes can't afford them. It's the price the superrich should have to pay to keep all the workers and consumers going societally. It's either that or level the playing field. The same holds for rentals. Your thoughts? Comment below.


  28. Interest rate rise with no wage increase 'will push heavily-indebted to edge' | Business | The Guardian

    Heavily indebted homeowners will be hit hard if interest rates start to rise before wages have picked up, according to research by the Bank of England that underlines the dilemma facing policymakers as the economy recovers.

    Amid speculation that borrowing costs may have to increase sooner than expected as unemployment falls and the housing market picks up, the Bank's study, published in its Quarterly Bulletin, suggests rate-setters will have to tread carefully.


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