Month: November 2020

Mortgage demand from homebuyers drops to lowest level in 6 months

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 3% for the week and were 16% higher than a year ago.

Another record low interest rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage last week did not help drag homebuyers out of their recent slump.

Declining demand from buyers caused mortgage application volume to fall 0.5% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 3% for the week and were 16% higher than a year ago. The annual comparison is now shrinking steadily.

“The purchase market continued its recent slump, with the index decreasing for the sixth time in seven weeks to its lowest level since May 2020,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “Inadequate housing supply is putting upward pressure on home prices and is impacting affordability — especially for first-time buyers and lower-income buyers.”

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    Renters Now a Majority in 23 Cities, Including Seattle

    Renters became a majority in 23 cities over the past decade even as ownership increased, according to a new study by Rent Café.

    “We looked at 10 years of U.S. Census housing data to determine where we stand now in terms of renter and owner population. Renting made significant gains in the last decade but dipped in the latter half, reaching a 7-year low in 2019. In the meantime, ownership rose to an all-time high, slowly rebounding after the great recession,” Rent Café said in the study.

    Renters took over 23 cities with more than 100,000 residents between 2010 and 2019. Established hotspots such as Seattle or up-and-comers like Memphis and Pittsburgh transitioned from an owner to a renter majority.
    In a surprising turn, Chicago, Sacramento, Reno, and Baltimore are among the 12 new owner-majority cities.
    Looking at the cities with the fastest-growing share of renter population, four of the top 10 cities are in Texas. Frisco and Plano are in the lead with a 41 percent and 59 percent change since 2010. On the other side, ownership gains were much smaller; Hartford, Conn. saw the largest increase in owner share, 27 percent.

    Renting made significant gains in the past decade but dipped in the last 5 years

    The renter population grew by eight million in the last decade, and is now 107 million strong.

    Specifically, renters currently make up 33.6 percent of the U.S. population — up from 33 percent in 2010. However, the latest numbers are far from the 2015 peak in renting, when 111 million Americans rented their homes for a 35.5 percent share. In fact, the number of renters reached a seven-year low at the end of the decade.

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      Apartment Investors Mull Opportunities in Distressed Malls

      Developers have proposed to redevelop more than a hundred malls into mixed-used properties with apartments.

      Apartment dealmakers may find an opportunity to build new apartments around the shells of under-performing or empty regional malls. Hundreds of troubled shopping malls may be seized by lenders over the next year, experts say.

      “In the current market with the pandemic, the number of properties considering this kind of redevelopment has multiplied three or four-fold,” says Brian McAuliffe, president of CBRE Capital Markets and leader of the firm’s multifamily sales business, working in the firms Chicago office.

      Regional malls, class-B and class-C shopping centers in deep trouble

      The pandemic has put tremendous pressure on many shopping malls. Hundreds have lost many of their largest, most important retail tenants as department store chains like J.C. Penney and Lord & Taylor declared bankruptcy and others scale back in the chaos caused by the coronavirus.

      The vast majority of class-B and class-C malls have lost at least one anchor tenant, according to research from Green Street Advisors. That adds up to several hundred properties that have lost a significant part of their income.

      Trepp has identified more than 100 properties that owners may soon surrender to lenders, more than a quarter of those are regional malls.

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        Multifamily Investors Plan to Add Value in the Pandemic

        One way for savvy investors to make deals pencil out in a tough market is target assets where strong management can generate some upside.

        Given current market conditions, some apartment investors are looking for a little something extra when they consider buying apartments.

        They have recently been able to close deals to buy apartment properties, despite the chaos caused the spread of the novel coronavirus. But to make these deals work, these investors often need a plan to add value to the property. Simply buying and holding an income-producing asset is not enough.

        Given current market conditions, some apartment investors are looking for a little something extra when they consider buying apartments.

        They have recently been able to close deals to buy apartment properties, despite the chaos caused the spread of the novel coronavirus. But to make these deals work, these investors often need a plan to add value to the property. Simply buying and holding an income-producing asset is not enough.

        That’s largely because of the risk of more job losses in the U.S. economy and an uncertain outlook on rent growth. Most buyers need some plan to raise the income from an apartment property to offset the risk of a slow economy.

        The plan to increase the income from an apartment community doesn’t have to include extensive renovations, extra amenities or higher rents. Many investors plan to improve the operations or management of apartment properties to create new value.

        “There is more downside risk than upside—buyers see that risk but also see some value-add,” says Sam Isaacson, president of Walker & Dunlop Investment Partners (WDIP), the investment management arm of Walker & Dunlop, managing three private equity funds that invests in multifamily properties.

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          HUD Charges Apartments with Discrimination Against Tenants Who Need Emotional Support Animals

          The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has charged a Philadelphia apartment owner with discriminating against a person with disabilities based on its refusal to waive pet fees for emotional support animals, according to a release.

          HUD is charging Post Presidential Property Owner, LLC, and Post Commercial Real Estate, LLC, the owner and manager respectively of Presidential City Apartments in Philadelphia, with disability discrimination.

          A tenant with a disability requiring an emotional support animal reached out to HUD alleging that she had been denied a reasonable accommodation to have pet fees waived at the apartments for such an animal.

          The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on disabilities, including denying reasonable-accommodation requests for the waiver of pet fees for assistance animals and rejecting requests for a designated handicapped parking space needed by a person with a disability.

          The complaint said “the tenant received an email from apartment’s counsel stating ‘a landlord is entitled to charge pet fees for an emotional support animal, which is considered a pet, unlike a service animal’.”

          Based upon this evidence, HUD recommended testing the subject property.

          The tests focused on reasonable accommodations relating to designated accessible parking and emotional-support animals for prospective tenants with disabilities.

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            Industrial, Multifamily Price Gains Drove Modest CPPI Increases During the Fall Months

            Some commercial property sectors are still seeing increases in values during the pandemic.

            Upticks in prices of industrial and multifamily assets and some alternative property types this fall resulted in increases in overall Commercial Property Price Indexes of the three major market trackers.

            Real estate data firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA) reported that its U.S. National All-Property Index rose by 0.2 percent in September compared to August and by 1.4 percent compared to September of 2019.

            The change upward was driven by modest month-over-month increases in the prices of multifamily and industrial properties (both up by 0.6 percent) and by an equal increase in the prices of office buildings in Central Business Districts (CBDs). Prices on retail assets dropped the most, by 0.7 percent, during September, followed by a modest 0.1 decline in prices of suburban office buildings. RCA noted no major difference in the CPPIs of commercial properties in major and non-major metros—both went up by 0.1 percent.

            RCA’s CPPI is based on repeat sales transactions that took place in September and is benchmarked at 100 for prices reported in December 2006.

            The CoStar Group reported that its equal-weighted U.S. Composite Index rose by 1.4 percent during the month of September and by 2.2 percent during the third quarter of 2020. The growth was driven primarily by sales of multifamily and industrial properties and transactions taking place in the Northeast and Western markets. CoStar’s U.S. Multifamily Index rose by 1.9 percent during the third quarter. The firm’s Industrial Index went up by 3.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 through the third quarter of 2020. Prices on all remaining property types tracked by CoStar’s Index except office declined (the U.S. Office Index remained flat). The equal-weighted Index also remained 1 percent below the one released in March of this year, right before the pandemic overtook U.S. in full force.

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              The 5 Best Ways to Deal with Rent Delinquencies Right Now

              Landlords and tenants are facing rent delinquencies due to covid-19 so here are some thoughts to help from a veteran property manager.

              By Justin Becker
              Property Manager

              There is no denying that right now, COVID-19 continues to affect the real-estate and rental market.

              If you’re a property manager or landlord of a multifamily housing community or complex, navigating these waters for the last eight months has been somewhat challenging.

              Nevertheless, with no real end in sight, mass unemployment, fluctuation in available job opportunities, and the ongoing pandemic, it is still very difficult for tenants to be able to pay their rent and still afford their other monthly expenses.

              Working with tenants who are experiencing economic hardships due to COVID-19 has been par for the course for these last couple of months. Moreover, with most property managers’ and landlords’ hands being essentially tied in regard to legally dealing with late rent payments or lack of payments, it is not too surprising that people are starting to get creative by finding proactive ways to deal with rent delinquencies.

              Other than being more flexible, many property managers are not sure what else they can do during these uncertain times. But the good news is that there is definitely more that can be done.

              That said, here are the five best ways to deal with rent delinquencies right now.

              No. 1: Build Proactive Partnerships

              One of the best things you can do as a property manager right now is to collaborate with your tenants to ease the pressure and address financial hardships.

              Obviously, open lines of communication are key here, and looking for a win-win solution to the problem makes everyone walk away from negotiations feeling a little better. A prime example of building proactive landlord-tenant partnerships is deferring a portion of rent and establishing a reasonable repayment plan.

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                All Hail Amazon: Why E-Commerce is All Powerful in CRE

                One hundred new warehouses. One thousand new delivery hubs. One hundred thousand jobs.

                Amazon likes its numbers round, and it likes them in headlines. The e-commerce behemoth has been on a tear over the last several months, leasing, outfitting, and opening hundreds of millions of square feet across the country, in stark contrast to the general economic gloom.

                Amazon opened 100 warehouses in September alone, in addition to the 100 distribution facilities and 1,000 neighborhood delivery hubs it leased, or plans to lease, in the near future.

                It has more than 100 million square feet of planned space underway, and has ramped up its activity across the United States. These include at least six new warehouses in Georgia, four in the Atlanta area; at least seven distribution centers in Texas, near Dallas, Houston, Austin and El Paso; five scheduled to open in Arizona by December, doubling the number of its facilities in that state; and 12 in California.

                Online sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that the
                e-commerce king is a pandemic winner. In the process, Amazon is taking a lot of industrial real estate with it.

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                  Despite the Crisis, Some Apartments Traded During the Third Quarter

                  Buyers have closed these deals to buy apartment properties with help from new capital from investors.

                  Investors bought more apartment properties than anyone expected in the third quarter of 2020, despite the ongoing chaos stemming from the pandemic.

                  First, apartment investors found ways to complete deals planned before the coronavirus spread. Additionally, investors began to make new deals to buy apartment properties, especially in strong suburban markets.

                  These deals are moving forward despite new uncertainties, as doctors diagnose tens of thousands of new cases of the coronavirus. Dealmakers are also making decisions amid a backdrop of political uncertainty with the control of the White House and Congress at stake in next week’s election and with it the potential fate of any new COVID-19 relief that could extend a needed lifeline to millions of Americans that remain unemployed.

                  “We are surprised by the amount of acquisition activity,” says Sam Isaacson, president of Walker & Dunlop Investment Partners.

                  Investors spend billions

                  Investors paid a total of $24.0 billion for apartment properties in the third quarter of 2020, according to Real Capital Analytics (RCA). That’s down 51 percent from nearly $50 billion in the third quarter of 2019. It sounds like a steep and sudden fall—but the volume of sales is a step up from a second quarter in which much of the U.S. economy shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus and deal volume ground to a near halt. The volume of sales was down 67 percent in the second quarter compared to the year before.

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                    A $50 Billion Housing Bond Market Is Stuck in Regulatory Limbo

                    Questions are arising about the long-term viability for agency-backed credit-risk-transfer securities.

                    (Bloomberg) — A $50 billion bond market once heralded as the future of housing finance has been stuck in limbo since the start of the coronavirus crisis, and now proposed regulatory changes have left investors worrying that they might be left holding the bag.

                    At issue are so-called credit-risk-transfer securities offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are tied to Fannie and Freddie’s mortgage-backed securities and pay investors principal and interest as long as the borrowers don’t default.

                    Fannie hasn’t issued the bonds since the pandemic began, and the company’s executives are privately telling some investors that it has doubts about the market’s longterm viability. Freddie, meanwhile, has resumed issuing the bonds after a pause near the start of the pandemic. The lack of activity is starting to worry investors that they will be saddled with securities that are akin to museum pieces that no one is interested in buying.

                    The uncertainty stems from a proposal by Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria that many say would make it uneconomic in some cases for Fannie and Freddie to keep issuing the securities. Calabria’s plan would reduce the capital relief the companies get by issuing CRT by about half in some circumstances, according to Chris Helwig, a managing director at Amherst Pierpont Securities.

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