Real Estate has Lower Leverage, Despite Rising Global Debt Levels

Executive Summary:

  • Unlike the previous cycle, U.S. commercial real estate is not over-leveraged.
  • This suggests that real estate may offer a defensive strategy in coming years.
  • CBRE’s house view is expressed despite the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) warning on debt levels in the global economy.

The build-up in U.S. commercial real estate debt levels has been much more measured than in previous cycles, in particular prior to the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). Figure 1 shows that real estate debt as a percentage of U.S. GDP reached a peak of 23.1% in 2009. After the GFC, commercial real estate de-levered, with the ratio of commercial real estate debt to GDP falling to 19.1% in 2013. While overall asset values in the U.S. are now substantially above their previous pre-recession peak, debt accumulation has lagged. As of 2017, the ratio of commercial real estate debt to GDP (20.9%) remains more than 2.2 percentage points below its previous peak. This contrasts with the expansion of private and sovereign debt levels globally, which is of concern to the IMF. While current commercial real estate debt levels are above the long-run average of 17.9% since 1990, we think they are sustainable in a continued low-inflation and low-interest-rate environment.

Full Article HERE

Source: CBRE Capital Markets

Millennials ISO Affordable And Established Tech Hubs

The “flight to suburb metros” are in such cities as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. These areas will attract primarily older Millennials looking to establish households; they will want to stay close to urban centers, preferring areas with short commutes and urban amenities, according to TH Real Estate. This group will potentially give a boost to suburban office properties and well-located lifestyle shopping centers.

“Millennial Magnets” such as Chicago, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Austin, Orlando, Charlestonand Raleigh will be the preference of younger Millennials, who want to work in the technology sector, and in communities with a lower cost of living compared to other big cities.

Full Article HERE


2018 will be one of the Triangle's busiest years for builders. Here's what's coming.

The Triangle is a “huge, growing market,” said Ashley Rogers, JLL’s senior research analyst in Raleigh. “What is driving that is tenants attracted to talent in the area where 47 percent of the millennials have a bachelor degree or higher. As tech and life science (companies) are looking at the markets with affordability — not everyone can afford the Silicon Valleys of the world — Raleigh-Durham is a good entry point.”

Full Article HERE

Source: Triangle Business Journal

Higher Interest Rates Mean More Renters for Apartment Sector

The steady rise of mortgage rates presents a good-news/bad-news situation for the multifamily property sector, according to CoStar research. 

While any bump in interest rates increases borrowing costs for apartment developers and other commercial real estate projects, it also makes it harder for would-be homeowners to qualify for mortgages, which results in more demand for apartments. 

Recent research from CoStar posits that for every rise in home mortgage interest rates, thousands of renters who may be looking to buy homes are priced out of qualifying for a mortgage - thereby remaining in the pool of renters. 

On the other hand, this group of renters is more likely focused on affordable and mid-priced rentals rather than the most expensive luxury units that most developers are building. 

CoStar’s analysis weighs a number of factors in determining the reduction in potential new homeowners resulting from interest rate increases - including a market’s median income, the market’s average home prices, and other factors.  

"Assuming that up to 30 percent of a household’s income can be designated for monthly mortgage payments [under commonly accepted mortgage qualification guidelines], a 100-basis-point increase in the 30-year fixed rate would reduce the nation’s potential homebuyer pool by approximately 4.2 percent, or 5.3 million households," according to a report authored by Boston-based managing consultant Jeff Myers, of CoStar Portfolio Strategy.

Full Article HERE

Source: CoStar

North Carolina’s Research Triangle Tops Our 2018 List Of The Best Places To Rent

Home to UNC Chapel Hill, N.C. State and Duke University, North Carolina’s Research Triangle region—including the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill—is best known for top notch universities, but students would be wise to consider sticking around after graduation. Reasonably priced apartments, coupled with strong population growth and ample employment opportunities, earn the area the top spot on our 2018 list of the best places to be a renter this year. 

Full Article HERE

Source: Forbes

Prices Keep Rising for Apartment Properties, Forcing Investors into Smaller Markets

Investors keep looking for apartment buildings to buy at good prices. The search is leading them to smaller properties in smaller markets.

“Things continue to be very good in multifamily,” says John Sebree, national director of the national multi housing group with brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap.

The amount of money multifamily investors are spending has stabilized at a high level. Investors continue to accept relatively low yields on their acquisitions, even though interest rates rose substantially in 2017 and are expected to rise further. Part of the reason is that apartment rents continue to rise across the country, attracting investors to bid for new properties.

Full article HERE

Source: National Real Estate Investor


Are Commercial Real Estate Prices on Shaky Ground?

The sustained rise in prices of commercial real estate over the past seven years has prompted questions whether valuations may be getting ahead of themselves. Most recently, the Federal Reserve warned in its latest Monetary Policy Report of valuation pressures in commercial real estate markets.

Let’s take a look at four measures of valuations in commercial real estate:

  • Cap rates and cap rate spreads to yields on Treasury securities;
  • Price gains, and whether such gains are driven by rising net operating income (NOI) or declining cap rates;
  • Economic fundamentals, including occupancy rates and growth of demand; and
  • Leverage and debt growth.

None of these measures is flashing a warning signal, suggesting that commercial real estate prices remain on solid ground.

Full article HERE

Source: NAREIT

Managing Partner, Maurice Malfatti, Interviewed by NYC Accounting, Audit, Tax, and Advisory Firm, EisnerAmper on Private Equity Real Estate Trends

We recently spoke with Maurice Malfatti, managing partner at Blue Heron Asset Management LLC, regarding the latest trends in real estate private equity as well as his outlook for the future.

Mr. Malfatti began by discussing the change in underwriting trends from the recession to today. He noted that six to eight years ago, investment returns were able to be generated simply by buying deeply discounted assets. Lenders were required to shed assets; therefore, buying well-located assets at wholesale prices and then selling at retail prices had the ability to produce favorable returns. Price appreciation was also driven in part by yield compression as the economy stabilized. Today, it’s a little more complex and relies upon operational expertise. Underwriting needs to carefully consider and build a value-creation plan, and good asset management requires diligent execution of that business plan. At Mr. Malfatti’s funds, which focus on multi-family as a property type, the underwriting consists of a target maximum level of debt of 65% at the portfolio level and requires strong property level fundamentals. The belief is that prudent leverage and sufficient capital to weather any future downturns will provide cushion and adequate runway to preserve value and generate returns in the long-term.

In real estate, the common notion is “location, location, location.” Blue Heron focuses on areas such as Raleigh, Charlotte, and Nashville, which over the past 10-15 years have shifted from 12-hour to 18-hour cities. Mr. Malfatti noted that while capital from institutional and foreign sources will always flow into primary gateway markets such as New York due to the liquidity and safety associated with those locations, “secondary” markets are increasingly drawing the attention of institutional investors, as evidenced by two recent multi-family sales by Blue Heron, each of which was purchased by a Canadian REIT. Mr. Malfatti, a former New Yorker, provided some examples of the changes he has seen in these markets, such as the transformation of downtowns to include shopping, entertainment, transportation, and other cultural aspects that have caused areas in Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, etc. to be compared with Brooklyn. Mr. Malfatti stated that while some people will still want to be in Brooklyn regardless of the cost, more and more employers and employees are finding the reduced cost of doing business and living, respectively, are very attractive in select secondary markets. 

Mr. Malfatti also touched on instances where Blue Heron has participated in competitive bidding for deals. He talked about the possibility of up to 30 bidders during the process and how, with the competitive nature in mind, 90% of his funds’ deals have been cultivated through Blue Heron’s relationships. He stressed the importance of ‘doing the right things’ – being responsive and thoughtful, sharing knowledge, and providing meaningful feedback. He strives to educate his relationships on his firm’s multi-family focus and investment philosophy. Mr. Malfatti stated it is crucial to “be the person others think of when deals come to their desks.” He stressed that even in the event of a recession, a good reputation and the resulting relationships will help keep a firm strong.

A common theme/question at real estate events is “which inning we are in” relative to the current real estate cycle. Mr. Malfatti and his team at Blue Heron are currently in the process of starting their third fund. He said regardless of what inning we are in, if underwriting is conservative, the asset-level business plan is well structured and executed to unlock/create value, and prudent leverage is used, there will be ample opportunities for good investments.

Full Blog Post HERE

Source: EisnerAmper

Raleigh is second-best performing city for jobs in U.S., report says

Raleigh is the second-best performing city in the United States, according to the latest index released by the Milken Institute.

In its report “Best-Performing Cities: Where America’s Jobs are Created and Sustained,” Milken points to Raleigh’s comparatively low business costs and thriving research and development-driven industries as major reasons for the high rank.

A number of metrics were considered in the overall ranking, including job growth, wage growth, GDP growth, etc. Raleigh ranked in the top 10 in several categories such as 5-year wages/salary growth, 1-year job growth and high-tech location quotient.

Raleigh climbed four spots from last year’s report. “The region has experienced strong job and wage growth in recent years, and short-term job gains indicate that economic momentum remains strong,” the Milken report stated. “In the 12 months ending in August 2017, the rate at which new positions were created in Raleigh was 2 percent higher than the U.S. average.

Full Article HERE

Source: Triangle Business Journal

9 real estate markets to watch in 2018

#5: Nashville: Music City matures

Across the street from the Ryman Auditorium—former home of the famous Grand Ole Opry and a link to Nashville’s past—a new development looks toward the city’s future. 

The $430 million Fifth + Broad mixed-use project, set to open in 2019, is just one of the more obvious signals that Music City is becoming a bigger financial and business center. Observers counted more than 50 cranes hovering above Nashville last year. 

Analysts have praised the city’s low cost of business, connectivity to the East Coast, and low cost of living—Zillow found median rent was $1,498, and the median home cost $228,900—as key factors driving job growth and resettlement. 

One of’s hot homebuying markets for 2018, Nashville is also witnessing a commercial boom. Capitalizing on the growth of tourism, numerous hotels have broken or will soon break ground, including boutiques like the Joseph and the Printing House. New projects in the River North neighborhood are drawing tenants, and the gargantuan, billion-dollar Nashville Yards project has started taking shape.

#7: Raleigh-Durham: An affordable center for innovation

While they may not house the corporate headquarters of other growing cities, Raleigh and Durham have first-rate universities and booming economies that are vaulting the Research Triangle area to first-tier status. 

Tech hubs like American Underground, part of the massive redevelopment of the American Tobacco historic district, have become centers of a resurgent tech scene, and the area’s median rent of $1,441 offers affordable living for budding entrepreneurs. 

In addition to larger projects—like the Dillon, a mixed-use project opening in Raleigh’s Warehouse District this fall, and Mosaic, a large, $800 million mixed-use commercial and retail space—housing and suburban developments, especially in Apex, Cary, and Wake Forest, are rolling out at a breakneck pace. More than 600 new subdivisions have been built or greenlit in region in the past seven years, adding 40,000 new homes. Even with that new inventory, home prices have spiked: In Raleigh, the median home costs $314,900, according to Zillow, up 16.9 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Full List HERE


Charlotte — and Raleigh — among nation's 'hottest' housing markets for 2018; Here's why

North Carolina's two largest cities — Charlotte and Raleigh — are home to the "hottest" housing markets for 2018, according to a new prediction from residential real estate site Zillow.

Both housing markets ranked among the top five on Zillow's list of the nation's hottest during the current year. Raleigh placed at No. 2, while Charlotte landed at No. 4. 

In order to compile the rankings, Zillow measured six components for the 50 largest U.S. metro areas. That includes weighing home value and rent forecasts, income estimates, population growth, current unemployment rates and job opening data from Glassdoor to create a "hotness" score. 

Western housing markets and tech hubs largely dominated the list. San Jose, Calif., had the "hottest" projected market, while Seattle ranked third and San Francisco ranked fifth. Austin, Texas; Denver; Nashville, Tenn.; Portland, Ore.; and Dallas rounded out the top 10 markets.

"This list shows that just because a market is smaller or more affordable doesn't mean it isn't dynamic," said Aaron Terrazas, Zillow senior economist, in a statement. "Growing cities in the Sun Belt, places like Raleigh, Charlotte and Nashville, offer plenty of opportunities in health care and finance, while providing a less-expensive, but still-convenient, alternative to the larger and pricier markets in the Northeast."

In Charlotte, as is the case with Raleigh and seven of the other top markets, home values are expected to increase at a higher rate than the national forecast of 3.2%. Charlotte is expected to see a 4% increase in home values in 2018, compared to a 3.7% increase for Raleigh. Meanwhile, rents should climb 1.9% in Charlotte and 1.2% in Raleigh, says Zillow.

Charlotte's expected income growth of 9.4% — from a household estimate of $59,979 — registered as the highest of the top 10 markets ranked by Zillow. Raleigh trailed closely with a projected rise in income of 9%. Its recent household income was estimated at $71,685.

Raleigh's population growth of 2.3% from 2015-16 slightly outpaced Charlotte's 2% rate.

Both unemployment rates were also somewhat similar: 3.6% in Raleigh and 3.9% in Charlotte. Raleigh has 29,136 online job postings compared to Charlotte's 49,736.

This is the second time in as many months that high expectations have been placed on the Queen City's housing market in 2018.

Full Article HERE

Source: Triangle Business Journal

Millennials Prefer These 5 Tech Hubs To Silicon Valley

Raleigh, NC #2 on the list!

Tech jobs in Raleigh have grown 38.5% from 2010-2015. The sector is growing almost as quickly as it is in Silicon Valley. Raleigh also has several accelerators and incubators such as Innovators Program and First Flight Venture Center.

Raleigh has a relatively lower cost of living too, compared with other established tech hubs. “I was attracted to Raleigh by the growing urban area, great weather, and overall amazing ratio of quality of life / cost of living balance,” said Will Bernholz, VP, Marketing for Dropsource. “Having lived and worked in expensive and hyper-fast-paced cities before (Beijing and NYC), I was ready for a smaller city experience. I also wanted a city that would provide the right balance of activity (nightlife, sports, restaurants), space (sick of living in a broom closet), and affordability. The clean natural environment and easy access to nature here was also a big draw. ”

Full article HERE

Source: Forbes

Charlotte Ranks #5 Among Cities Luring Tech Talent from Silicon Valley

Tech is booming in North Carolina’s biggest city, which expanded its job count by 62 percent from 2013-2016 — the fastest pace in the nation. Over the past decade, Charlotte has increased STEM workers by 23 percent, largely due to its thriving health care, environmental, and banking sectors. Its breadth of industries, influx of tech jobs, and affordable cost of living make Charlotte a city to watch.

Full article HERE



From the ‘Gen Z effect’ to the housing crunch: It’s a good time to invest in Triangle real estate

The Triangle has moved up three positions to No. 4 on an authoritative national ranking released Thursday that identifies emerging trends in real estate investment.

The survey by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Urban Land Institute say the region is among a robust market of smaller and secondary cities with young, educated workforces and diverse economies that are reshaping investment opportunities. Joining the Triangle in that trend are Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale and Nashville. Seattle topped the list.

“It’s a major shift we’ve been observing,” Mitch Roschelle, a PwC partner and author of the report, said in an interview Wednesday. “Raleigh-Durham has been a beneficiary. If you go back 10 years and look at the average size city in the top 10, they were two or three times the size of the cities in the top 10 today.”

Young, skilled workers are driving the economic growth in these secondary cities, the report says. The Triangle benefits from the universities in the region, an influx of new residents and growth in 15- to 34-year-olds that is more than six times the national average. The cost of doing business, which is below the U.S. average, and disposable income growth that is 40 percent above the average are also attractive, the report says.

The report included other trends:

▪ The “Gen Z effect”: Traditional stores will have to understand the “gadgeteria” attraction of this post-millennials demographic group, the oldest of whom are now turning 19. The report contends Gen Z rejects the millennial’s embrace of open, collaborative work spaces in favor of more personal and private offices.

▪ Housing shortage: There’s been an increasing housing squeeze that’s only going to get worse with more than 150 million millennials and Gen Z youth, exacerbated by baby boomers who are staying in their homes longer. But that’s an opportunity for developers to build smaller, more energy-efficient houses, townhouses and condominiums that are affordable starter homes.

▪ Apartments: With demand for affordable rents from the younger generations comes a strong market in multi-family housing.

▪ Senior squeeze: There isn’t enough housing for seniors, a segment expected to grow across the country by 25 million in the next 15 years.

This is the 39th year the emerging trends report has been issued. It incorporates the views of 1,600 real estate experts.

Full article HERE

Source: News and Observer


It's about time we stopped calling hip, up-and-coming areas "the Brooklyn of blank,right? Not just because few people outside of New York can relate, but because when it comes to the stages of gentrification and being the next cool place to live, Brooklyn has pretty much run its course. Have you tried living in Brooklyn lately? “Cheap” and “under-the-radar” it is not.

For the cash-strapped among us who are looking to make a change, there are still some actually fun small towns in this country, and some truly cheap, underappreciated cities you should consider moving to. Or maybe you’re just looking for the next mildly affordable neighborhood that has something to offer young creatives -- that is, cool kids like you.

We tapped trendsetters, developers, and real-estate professionals -- folks with their fingers on the pulse of America's cities and towns -- for their predictions of the country's next hotspots. From South Beach (not the one you’re thinking) to the North Shore (also not the one you’re thinking), here are the neighborhoods to keep an eye on.

1. Mills 50, Orlando, FL

2. Southwest, Washington, DC

3. W Nashville, Nashville, TN

4. South Beach, San Francisco, CA

5. North Shore, Chattanooga, TN

6. Little Haiti, Miami, FL

7. Downtown East, Minneapolis, MN

8. Warehouse District, Raleigh, NC

9. Downtown Bellevue, Bellevue, WA

10. W Greenville, Greenville, SC

11. East 11th St, Austin, TX

12. Warehouse District, Phoenix, AZ

Full article HERE

Source: Thrillist


ULI/PWC's 2018 Emerging Real Estate Trends

Raleigh/Durham (#4), Nashville (#9), Charlotte (#12), Charleston (#14) and Orlando (#16) all ranked in the Top 20 of US Markets for Overall Real Estate Prospects as reported by by PWC and Urban Land Institute's in their 2018 Emerging Real Estate Trends. Nine of the top 20 are located in the Southeast as this region "continues to see the benefits of a mobile population."

Full Report HERE

Source: Urban Land Institute and PWC, October 2017

Raleigh (#10) and Charlotte (#26) Rank in the Top 50 Best Places to Live in the US by USA Today

As the land of opportunity, the United States has attracted people from around the world for centuries. Yet not all parts of the country are equally desirable, and some cities are far more livable than others.

On an individual level, subjective measures often override other, more objective, considerations. Sometimes, we live in a place simply because it is where we grew up — it is familiar and where we feel at ease. Still, a range of factors can help compare U.S. cities objectively. Low crime, a healthy economy and affordability are just a few examples of universally desirable attributes in any community.

24/7 Wall St. created an index of over three dozen socioeconomic measures to identify the 50 best American cities to live in. The most livable cities span the country — from the Deep South to New England and from the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest.

Full List HERE

Source: USA Today

Raleigh-Durham Listed as on of the Six Best Apartment Markets in the US Projected by Ten-X Commercial

·        Sacramento, CA

·        Las Vegas, NV

·        Phoenix, AZ

·        Raleigh-Durham, NC

·        Jacksonville, FL

·        Riverside, CA

*Top markets were selected based on projections as reflected in the Ten-X Research Long Term Forecast


Southeast – Raleigh-Durham Apartment

Raleigh-Durham apartment market vacancies lowered to 4.6% in the second quarter, per REIS, but remain 30 bps higher than a year ago. Overall, vacancies have declined more than 400 bps from the recessionary peak as heavy construction was met with strong absorption. Effective rents are currently growing in robust fashion, up 5.1% year over year.

The market is faced with heavy supply additions through the rest of 2017 but completions will cool in years to follow. Absorption is also forecast to remain vigorous through 2018 and resilient amid our 2019-2020 stress test scenario. With demand set to keep pace with supply from 2018-2020, Raleigh is one of the few remaining US markets not forecast to see substantial vacancy increases during the forecast period, and a subsequent decline in the first recovery year. Strong rent growth is likewise forecast through 2021.

Full report HERE

Source: Ten-X Commercial Capital Markets Update

Raleigh: Solid Fundamentals Round Triangle’s Edges

Raleigh-Durham, a life science hub and educational hotspot, has a booming rental market. Local universities are producing highly educated workers, and the metro’s low cost of living draws young professionals from across the nation.

Raleigh-Durham, a life science hub and educational hotspot, has a booming rental market. Local universities are producing highly educated workers, and the metro’s low cost of living draws young professionals from across the nation. Furthermore, many local university graduates prefer to remain in the area and work in the Research Triangle’s expanding technology and biotechnology industries.

Raleigh-Durham added roughly 27,000 jobs in the 12 months ending in June 2017. Professional and business services (10,800 jobs) and education and health services (5,900) led employment gains, followed by hospitality (3,100) and government (1,800). Employment will continue to grow, as Credit Suisse recently signed a lease at the 1.8 million-square-foot Parmer RTP research park in Raleigh, where it plans to add 1,200 new jobs. Information Technology juggernaut Infosys also announced 2,000 new jobs in Wake County.

Population growth and steady rent gains—2.8 percentyear-over-year as of July—are luring multifamily investors and developers to the Triangle. Roughly $760 million in multifamily properties traded in 2017 through July, and more than 29,700 units are in the metro’s development pipeline. The overall performance of the market is strong: Demand is outstripping supply, but with more than 5,000 units scheduled for completion by year-end, that trend is likely to moderate. As a result, Yardi Matrix forecasts a 3.0 percent rent growth in 2017.

Full article HERE

Source: MultiHousing News

Apt. Sector Holds The Line On Vacancies

Even as apartment supply ticked up in many markets, just six of 79 metro areas saw declines in effective rents for the third quarter, writes Barbara Byrne Denham at Reis.

The multifamily sector is containing the effects of increased supply on occupancy, as the national vacancy rate increased by just 10 basis points during the third quarter to 4.5%, a smaller-than-expected uptick, Reis said Tuesday. Even as vacancies rose during Q3, so did both asking and effective rents on a national basis.

The average asking rent grew 1.0% in Q3, just under the average quarterly growth rate of 1.1% seen over the previous six quarters. Similarly, effective rent growth was 0.9% in the quarter, also just below the average seen over the prior six quarters: 1.0%.

Reis notes that the gap between asking rent growth and effective rent growth had widened in recent quarters to 20 bps. Accordingly, the firm’s senior economist, Barbara Byrne Denham, writes that the narrower gap in Q3 suggests that landlords’ offers of free rent have become less aggressive, thanks in part to stronger housing prices that are keeping more potential home buyers in rentals. As a case in point, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday that sales of existing homes were down 3.4% in August, simultaneously with S&P Dow Jones Indices reporting that the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index rose 5.9% in July compared a year ago.

Full Article HERE