Posts

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

Homes are Finally Getting More Affordable; Will Apartment Downside Risk Follow?

Housing price growth has moderated and mortgage rates have declined, leading to increased housing affordability at the same time as rising consumer confidence and incomes have prompted developers to start building more quickly. What will this mean for the apartment rental market?

According to CoStar Analytics, both existing and new home sales rose in August, with new single-family home sales increasing all summer and existing home sales increasing two months in a row. And single-family housing starts increased in August for the third month in a row despite continually rising costs, delays, and lot scarcity. This has resulted in the lowest home price growth since 2012, below 4% per year. Mortgages are getting cheaper as well due to monetary policy and 10-year Treasury yield changes; CoStar reports “NAR’s housing affordability index based on fixed rate mortgages was up more than 10% in July compared to a year ago.”

However, homeownership rates have not yet increased; overall, they continued to decline over the first half of the year. But as new data becomes available for the second half of the year, multifamily investors are advised to proceed with caution.

Source: CoStar Analytics

Bay Area cities rank in top 10 for most LEED units

California has more LEED-certified multifamily properties than any other state, over 57,000 units worth, and the Bay Area has over 12,000 of these green apartments and condos, with three cities ranking in the top ten statewide. Just behind Los Angeles, San Francisco ranks #2 for the most LEED units, at 8,090, and San Jose is just two spots behind at #4 and 2,545 units. While Oakland hasn’t quite caught up to these levels, it still ranks in the top ten, at #8 with 1,648 units. 

According to Multi-Housing News, “While LEED certification positively impacts the health and well-being of people, as well as the planet, it’s a valuable feature for investors, as it translates to faster lease-up rates and higher resale value.” Owners of LEED multifamily buildings are primarily real estate investment trusts; AvalonBay Communities, owner of the various Avalon, AVA, and eaves complexes in the Bay Area, and the Essex Property Trust, owner of over 80 Bay Area buildings, hold over 9,000 units between them.

The green housing trend really took off in 2008, jumping from 315 LEED-certified apartments and condos statewide in 2007 to 1,947 the next year. The numbers continued to grow through 2017, with a slight dip last year from 7,378 in 2017 to 6,185 in 2018. The developments still are mostly an urban trend, clustered in and around California’s major population centers, though the report only included communities with at least 50 residential units.

Source: Multi-Housing News

Investor confidence in multifamily real estate begins recovery

According to a survey by National Real Estate Investor, confidence in multifamily properties appears to be recovering after a dip in 2018, though all other classes of commercial real estate have been neutral or dropped slightly. The survey asked respondents to rate the attractiveness of the major commercial real estate markets on a scale of one to ten. Most investors prefer multifamily and industrial properties over hotels, office, and retail; last year multifamily and industrial were tied for desirability, but this year multifamily pulled ahead at a 7.9 and industrial fell to a 7.5. They are both still well ahead of the other categories, though; hotels are a 5.9, offices are a 5.8, and retail is just a 4.8. 

Compared to 2018’s rankings, hotels dropped .2 points, offices dropped .1 point, retail held steady, and industrial dropped .2 points. Overall, multifamily has been a rock in the current real estate cycle, despite cap rates being driven lower by the high demand for multifamily. 

While desirability doesn’t necessarily reflect actual sales and purchases, sentiment can be a useful data point in the commercial real estate market. For more information about the current state of the market and how the San Francisco Bay Area differs from the nation as a whole, contact one of our advisors; we have specialists in multifamily and industrial properties as well as office and retail.

Source: National Real Estate Investor

Foreign investment rising for net lease assets

Foreign investment in commercial real estate is on the rise due to the search for yield and portfolio diversification, according to the World Property Journal. Globally, investment in net lease properties (office, retail, and industrial) averaged $3 billion per year from 2011 to 2014 and is up to more than $8 billion per year from 2015 to 2019. In the United States, foreign investments for Q1 2019 represented 15.1% of net lease transactions, totaling $1.9 billion, up 6.6% compared to Q1 last year when they only represented 12.9% of the market. In 2018, foreign investors held 30.1% more net lease properties than in 2017, an $8.8 billion increase.

Most of these investors are from Canada, South Korea, and China. Canadians invested $5.55 billion, with a focus on industrial properties; South Koreans invested $3.28 billion, overwhelmingly preferring office space; and Chinese investments of $3.22 billion also focused on industrial assets.

So far this year, New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Columbus, and Los Angeles have received the most foreign capital, but commercial real estate investments in high-growth secondary and tertiary markets like Phoenix, Seattle, Baltimore, and Atlanta are also becoming popular.

Source: World Property Journal

San Jose and Oakland challenge SF in private equity real estate market

California’s largest cities for real estate investment, San Francisco and Los Angeles, are now being challenged by San Jose and Oakland. California holds almost 20% of the private equity real estate (PERE) in the country and 12% of global PERE assets under management, according to a study by accounting and advisory firm EisnerAmper and Preqin. PERE properties include office buildings (high-rise, urban, suburban and garden offices); industrial properties (warehouse, research and development, flexible office/industrial space); retail properties, shopping centers (neighborhood, community, and power centers); and multifamily apartments (garden and high-rise). Less common but still an option are senior or student housing, hotels, self-storage, medical offices, single-family housing to own or rent, undeveloped land, and manufacturing space (via Investopedia). 

So how do the Bay Area cities compare?

San Francisco’s strength is in its office market, with $3.2 billion PERE deals in 2018 (a $1 billion increase over 2017) and another $1 billion already invested this year as the Bay Area’s largest tech companies continue to expand. The overall PERE total for last year was $4 billion,down from $4.8 billion in 2017; according to an article in the San Francisco Business times, “the drop-off in the quantity of large mixed-use transactions compared with recent years is at the heart of the decrease.” San Francisco is also running out of space, which limits growth.

While San Francisco is still the largest market for office transactions in the Bay Area, San Jose is leading in growth. Their office transactions in 2017 and 2018 both reached $1 billion, with a record in 2018 at $1.2 billion. In Q1 of 2019 alone, these transactions reached $500 million, putting San Jose on track to quadruple its PERE deals this year. The overall PERE total for 2018 was another record of $2.7 billion, almost 60% more than 2017 and a sharp contrast to San Francisco. 

Oakland may be emerging as a competitor, with more reasonable housing options for tenants; the tech company Square announced at the end of last year their intent to move 2,000 employees into an Oakland office. Even as a smaller city, it is on track to reach a total of $1 billion in PERE deals this year, with $560 million in Q1 2019 already; $493 million of that was just two office space deals by Starwood Capital Group. The city also has more Opportunity Zones than either of the other two cities.

With San Francisco as the “benchmark,” San Jose as the “growth leader,” and Oakland as the “up and comer” (according to the SF Business Times), all three cities are going strong.

Source: SF Business Times

 

How to take advantage of “Opportunity Zones”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created new rules for “opportunity zones,” underdeveloped neighborhoods, sheltering your investments from federal taxes with minimal limits and employment requirements. You only have a few more months to maximize the benefits of this program: so how does it work?

When you sell a property, you can immediately reinvest that gain, tax-deferred, into an Opportunity Zone by depositing it into a qualified Opportunity Zone fund (either one you create or a traditional one). Then you have two choices; buy a property in one of the zones, or invest in a business in the zone. We’ll focus on the property option.

You have 31 months to purchase your new property, whether it’s multifamily, retail, industrial, or office space. Eventually, you need to invest the same amount of money as the property’s structures (not land!) currently are worth; if the current building is worth $100,000, you need to spend $100,000 remodeling, rebuilding, or otherwise upgrading the building. This means if you buy a property with a structure worth very little, you don’t have to do much to get the tax benefits.

Speaking of benefits, not only is the tax on your original gains deferred until 2026, but if you hold it for seven years, 15 percent of that gain will completely avoid federal capital gains taxes. (You only get 10 percent if you hold it for five years.) And if you hold it for ten years and your new investment appreciates? None of that appreciation is taxable under federal capital gains taxes. This is an opportunity indeed!

There are 102 opportunity zones designated around the Bay Area, including in Oakland, Concord, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, and even San Francisco; visit the SF Business Times’ site for maps and stats about the zones, or contact one of our advisors to find a property that matches your investment goals.

Sources: BizJournals.com, Tax Policy Center

Read our June 25, 2019 newsletter

Could anti-price gouging laws slow rising rents in California?

California lawmakers are exploring new ways to limit skyrocketing rents.

Crooning in the shower is not Chad Regeczi’s thing.

That’s why when he learned last year his monthly rent would go up $300 so the new owners of his La Mesa apartment in San Diego County could upgrade his bathroom with a sound system, he was bemused.

“300 bucks!” he said. “I mean an iPod costs less than that. Everybody has got a phone now. Who needs a Bluetooth speaker in a bathroom apartment? It’s just weird.”

Regeczi, a VA employee, said the 30 percent rent increase didn’t match the condition of his apartment. But he felt powerless to challenge his landlords on the hike.

“Who’s gonna tell them no?” he asked. “There are no rules to how much your rent can go up.”

That may change. Talk is underway about putting a law on the books that would bar California landlords from raising rent beyond a certain percentage.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in November the rule would mimic limits on what businesses can charge during natural disasters.

“When there’s a fire, you pass an anti-rent gouging ordinance,” Schaaf said. “The state has a fire. It’s called the housing crisis.”

Rents are surging in some California cities where there is no rent control by double, even triple digits, according to mayors and tenants rights advocates.

And more than half of the state’s renters pay more than a third of their income on housing, according to the California Budget & Policy Center. And a third of renters spend more than half of their paycheck on a place to live. The real estate firm Zillow reported last month that communities where people pay more than a third of their salary on rent, see a faster rise in homelessness.

 

Read more on East Bay Times

 

 

Apartment rents expected to rise faster than inflation in 2019

Rents are likely to rise the most for class-B apartments, and the least for class-C and -D units.
Rents are likely to rise faster for older, class-B apartments in 2019 than for any other class of apartment property.“We expect Class-B to continue to have the strongest average rent growth, as it has through recent history,” says Andrew Rybczynski, senior consultant at research firm the CoStar Group.

“While occupancy is sky high in class-C product, rent growth in that sector is beginning to slow a little,” says Ron Willett, chief economist for MPF Research, a RealPage company.

 

 

 

Read more at National Real Estate Investor

 

 

 

 

Lucca Ravioli Co.’s parking lot sold — five-story tower may rise

Lucca Ravioli Company’s parking lot at 22nd and Valencia Street, which went on the market in August, quietly sold in October for around $3 million — and now plans are in the works to develop it into a five-story residential building.

The parking lot’s new owner — M3 LLC — filed a preliminary application with the city in mid-December. The plans for 1120 Valencia Street envision a five-story, 18-unit building with around 1,171 square feet of ground-floor retail and a rooftop deck. Two of the units will be below-market-rate, and the building will include 18 bicycle spaces but no car parking.

The project’s estimated cost is $4.8 million.

The owner of M3 LLC could not be reached for comment, as his or her identity could not be confirmed. Planning documents list the owner’s address as the Garaventa Accountancy Corporation on Church Street.

 

 

Read more on Mission Local