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How to Make Profitable Investments Throughout the Real Estate Cycle

Opportunities for profitable investments exist at every stage of the real estate cycle. Here’s how to identify which strategy is best for where the market is now.

During the recovery phase, just after a recession or pullback in the market, there is low demand for housing and high vacancy rates. Prices and interest rates are low, so if you have the liquidity, it’s a great time to buy properties below value, or to refinance.

When the market starts to recover, we enter the expansion phase. New construction begins and interest rates are still comparatively low, so your value-add properties’ equity is ready to capture with a refinance. Reinvest in new development, re-development, or purchasing additional value-add assets.

In the hypersupply phase, the market has become overconfident. An abundance of inventory compared to the demand means prices are ready to decline, and construction slows. This is the tipping point for high sales prices; sell now or buy a stable asset for long-term cash flow to get you through the next cycle.

Time for trouble: the recession phase. Over-inflated growth causes demands to plummet and default rates on mortgages and loans to soar. This is your chance to buy properties for rock-bottom prices, especially distressed sales. Go for value add.

Of course, in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered in any stage of the real estate market, you need to know where we are currently; for an in-depth analysis and “You Are Here” guidance, contact one of our advisors.

Source: Million Acres

5 US cities with the highest cost of living

According to a recent report by Move.org, the Bay Area’s major cities continue to rank in the top five for the highest cost of living nationwide. San Francisco holds the top slot, with New York City close behind, followed by San Jose, Oakland, and Boston. The report measured the average monthly cost for rent (a 1-bedroom apartment), food (groceries and some restaurant meals), gas, utilities (electricity, water, etc.), and internet for each city.

Surprising no one, San Francisco, California is the most expensive, with rent among the highest in the nation; rent makes up 80% of the $4,210.60 monthly cost of living in the city. The city also has some of the highest gas prices at $197.88 per month, though residents who commute via bike or public transit can avoid these costs. Food is expensive, around the 80th or 90th percentile, but utilities are comparably cheap at $123.22 per month, about 30% of the national average. Internet costs are pretty middle-of-the-road compared to other cities, averaging about $66.62 per month.

New York, New York is just $250 behind SF, with an average cost of living of $3,956.11. Food is the problem here, costing over twice as much as San Francisco, at $468.60 per month. Rent is also extremely high, at $3,126.35. Gas is more expensive than the national average, around the median value, at $155.55 per month, and internet is just about average at $62.77. Utilities cost a little less than elsewhere, around $142.84 per month.

San Jose, California is the third most expensive city to live in, with lower rents than SF or New York but high gas prices and above-average food costs. The $3,289.07 cost of living includes $2,555.85 for rent, $186.15 for gas, $359.85 for food, $63.36 for internet, and $123.86 for utilities (significantly cheaper than the national average).

Despite Oakland’s reputation for being cheaper than the City, its cost of living is still fourth-highest nationwide, at $3,212.14 per month, only about $1,000 less than San Francisco. Rent and gas are the highest costs compared to the median, at $2,481.65 per month and $175.95 per month. Food is just a little more expensive than the national average, around the 30th percentile, at $347.33 per month. Internet and utility costs are pretty average, at $65.00 and $142.21.

In the last spot of the top five is Boston, Massachusetts, with New York’s high rent and food costs. An average cost of living of $3,211.51 includes $2,420.26 for rent, $435.78 for food, $145.35 for gas, $62.97 for internet, and $147.15 for utilities.

Source: Move.org

Can opportunity zones improve Calfornia’s economy?

How federal ‘opportunity zone’ tax incentive can help California build an inclusive economy.

The federal opportunity zone program created by the 2017 tax overhaul, enables investors to defer capital gains taxes on funds invested in designated communities. Opportunity zones offer one path forward that relies on private capital to bear the cost. The program is designed to attract investors holding $6.1 trillion in unrealized capital gains, according to the Economic Innovation Group.​

Read more on NAI Northern California’s Newsletter

Is Bay Area housing still a sizzling hot housing market?

Even cool, Bay Area housing market is still hot.

The San Jose housing market has cooled more than any other in the country — and it’s still the hottest in the nation, according to a recent Zillow survey. The bidding wars and quick cash sales have abated, and home sellers are cutting prices more often and waiting longer to close deals than a year ago. But middle-income families still struggle to afford the median-priced home of $1.2 million in the San Jose metro area. A typical family needs to put about $600,000 down to fit that mortgage comfortably in their budget.

Read more on NAI Northern California’s Newsletter

 

 

How are there over 100,000 vacant homes in the San Francisco metro area?

An estimated 100,025 homes are sitting empty in the San Francisco metro area.

Compared to other cities, San Francisco metro area’s vacancy rate is actually low at 5.6 percent. Of the 1.784 million households counted in the census region, roughly 1.684 million are occupied. LendingTree concludes a region like San Francisco – which includes Oakland, Hayward and surrounding areas is what’s considered a sellers’ market, meaning people selling their homes will easily find buyers, while future homeowners will struggle to buy. Anyone who has tried to buy a home in the city in the last decade knows this to be true.

Read more on SF Gate

Landlord-tenant relationships are changing, thanks to cryptocurrencies, Airbnb, and more

New challenges facing landlords in 2019.

This could be a great time to be a landlord.

The real-estate market still only has enough supply for half the population. We’re still seeing high divorce rates, so people need more places to live. And households are still being created faster than the housing supply. All that combined means higher rents and that trend looks likely to continue for a long time.

In fact, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, rising rates on 30-year mortgages — now firmly above 5% and on track to reach 5.8% by the end of the year — will help to drive rents higher in the coming year as more people get priced out of home buying by these higher interest rates. According to an analysis by Zillow, rent growth will pick up in 2019 as the Federal Reserve continues to raise rates.

For landlords, this is all very good news. And, given the evolution that the real-estate market has gone through over the last couple of decades — expanding to include short-term rentals, absentee owners, do-it-yourself property managers and more — the future looks bright for all involved.

Read more at MarketWatch 

 

Downtown San Jose, Oakland opportunity zones attract investors, spur development plans amid Google effect

Developers eye projects in downtown San Jose and parts of Oakland, bolstered by tax incentives keyed to opportunity zone.

Developers and a new crop of investors are eyeing projects in downtown San Jose and parts of Oakland, bolstered by opportunity zones enabled by President Donald Trump’s tax-cut initiative.

Potentially the first project in a local opportunity zone would be development of a brand-new office and retail complex on South First Street in downtown San Jose at the site of the old Lido night club, said Erik Hayden, president of Urban Catalyst, a company that as formed an opportunity fund that would provide cash for selected developments in designated areas.

“These opportunity zones are ways to create greater economic activity in lower-income areas,” Hayden said. “They were originally presented to the Obama Administration but didn’t get a lot of traction. Then they became part of President Trump’s tax cuts and jobs act. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo very successfully lobbied Gov. Jerry Brown to get downtown San Jose included.”

Investors who plunk down cash for an opportunity fund can “defer or eliminate federal taxes on capital gains,” according to information on the state’s Department of Finance site.

The Lido night club site, currently a two-story building at 26 and 30 S. First St., is now owned by a partnership led by Gary Dillabough, who has emerged as one of downtown San Jose’s most active realty investors and developers. Among the properties Dillabough-headed groups have bought: the nearby Bank of Italy building, a historic office tower at the corner of South First and East Santa Clara streets.

 

 

 

Read more on The Mercury News

 

 

 

Demand for apartment rentals surges unexpectedly as home sales slump

Surging demand and strong occupancy in the nation’s apartment market is “surprising” experts who say the continued strength is “unexpected.”

Just a year ago, as dozens of cranes swarmed over major U.S. cities, there was concern that the rental apartment market was overheated and overbuilt.

Apartment absorption, which is the rate at which new units are rented out, is now at the highest level in three years, according to the U.S. Census. Apartment construction took off in 2012 and reached a 20-year high in 2017. It remained elevated this year, despite warnings that demand would slow as more millennials aged into their homebuying years.

And while buyer demand did surge, sales were thwarted by tight supply that has pushed prices higher in the past few years, weakening affordability. When mortgage rates surged this year, even fewer people were left with the means to buy a home.

“People underestimate how far away from homeownership a lot of renters across the country, even in luxury apartment buildings, are,” said John Pawlowski, residential sector head at Green Street Advisors. “The demand has been better than expected. It’s been a stickier tenant base and pricing power at that tenant base, again in the face of elevated supply, has simply surprised us.”

The third quarter of this year marks the fourth consecutive quarter of positive operating “surprises” for apartments, according to a recent report from Green Street, which noted that the asset values of these apartment properties remain on firmer footing than most core property types. Apartment earnings were also better than expected.

 

 

Read more on CNBC

 

 

Trump is getting involved in Opportunity Zones, and experts think that’s a good thing

Opportunity zones have become the darling of real estate investors since their adoption last year, but the still-under-the-radar program is poised to receive a lot more attention, and possibly scrutiny after it was promoted in the Oval Office last week.

President Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order to push more federal resources into the Opportunity Zone program is a step in the right direction and could bolster the little-known tax incentive program and the distressed communities that benefit from investments, experts said.

“I think investors in the marketplace are going to be excited that there are going to be a number of new federal benefits aligned to these zones,” Develop founder Steve Glickman said.

Glickman is a former Obama administration official and one of the original architects of the Opportunity Zone program, which was enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

“Frankly, these zones need a lot more than private capital,” Glickman said. “They need infrastructure investment, they need to deal with crime, workforce training, and other strategies and dollars. Opportunity zones were always meant to stimulate that kind of holistic activity not just on a federal level, but on a state and local level.”

Erik Marks, a Seattle-based commercial real estate attorney and founder of Opportunity-Funds.com, a website that tracks opportunity zone funds and designated areas, said the executive order still does not address the current shortcomings and problems that are present from people trying to do opportunity zone deals now.

“I think the regulation may be useful, but this is not a problem-solving regulation,” Marks said. “I don’t know what his strategy is, but I think when there are opportunity zone successes, he has a clear opportunity to put himself and his Cabinet at the locations for the photo opportunity. I don’t mean to say that in a derogatory sense … This is to make sure [everyone knows] he’s still part of it.”

For the past year, the at-first unheralded Opportunity Zone program, passed last year as part of Trump’s $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has flown under the mainstream radar.

The program’s goal is to generate economic development in the form of the redevelopment or the development of market-rate housing, affordable housing, new offices, retail buildings and businesses in these communities.

 

 

Read more on Bisnow

 

 

Report: U.S. Commercial Real Estate Pricing Growth Cools in Late 2018

Growth in U.S. commercial property prices decelerated in October to the slowest annual pace in 2018 so far, according to a new report by Real Capital Analytics.

The company’s U.S. National All-Property Index was up 6.4% from a year ago. The pace of annual price growth has been gradually slowing since a 2018 high of 8.4% in February, but in fact, price growth as measured by annual gains has been slowing down for about three years, RCA reports.

Year-over-year gains in 2014 and early 2015 were well over 10% each month for all assets, which represented a strong comeback from the recession, when property prices during much of 2009 contracted by over 20% compared with a year earlier. Since mid-2015, annual gains have slowed considerably.

According to the report, easing growth in major U.S. metros placed the largest drag on national prices, presumably as investors perceive that prices in some major markets have bubble-like aspects. For the purpose of the report, major metros include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Prices in U.S. major metros were growing an average 8.8% year over year at the beginning of 2018, but as of October, that growth was down to 3.1%.

Growth in the non-major metros has also slowed since a high in the summer, though the change is more modest than in the major metros, RCA reports. Prices rose 7.8% year over year in non-major metros in October, down from 8.4% in May.

Apartments are still leading the way in price growth, up 9.6% year over year, but even that property type has seen a slowdown. In April, the annual gain for apartments was 12.4%.

 

Read more on Bisnow