News & Press

Below are press releases announcing; acquisitions, divestitures and industry news.

Black Creek CEO Raj Dhanda Talks About Why It Still Makes Sense to Buy Industrial Assets

In spite of low cap rates, Black Creek still sees opportunity in industrial and multifamily acquisitions.

Real estate investment management firm Black Creek Group recently reported that its fundraising had surged to $702 million through July 31, 2019, including $290 million in equity commitments from institutions. The company raises capital across different solutions, including its two non-traded REITs. Black Creek has been busy putting that capital to work. During the first seven months of the year, the firm acquired 4.7 million sq. ft. of assets and has 3 million sq. ft. of industrial properties under construction. Black Creek’s holdings currently span about 67 million sq. ft. of industrial, multifamily, office and retail assets. NREI recently talked to Black Creek CEO Raj Dhanda about the firm’s recent capital raising and the market climate for new acquisition and development opportunities.

NREI: Your firm raised $702 million through July 31st as compared to $817 million for the full year in 2018. What’s driving that momentum?
Raj Dhanda: I think there are a couple of factors contributing to our success. One is more specific to Black Creek. Black Creek’s story of being focused on a real estate operating model that combines acquisitions and development to assemble portfolios one property at a time is in demand and attractive to a lot of different investors. More broadly, I think commercial real estate continues to be an asset class that is benefiting from capital flows and increased investor allocations. Of course, low interest rates and a fundamentally strong economy don’t hurt either.

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Searching for Yield: Multi-Tenant Retail Offers Net Lease Investors Attractive Opportunities

Multiple tenants can mitigate risk and allow more frequent rent increases for investors.

In the past few years, we’ve seen an uptick in private investors that were focused solely on single-tenant retail branch out and expand into multi-tenant product at a more rapid pace as they chase yields. It’s seemingly a natural progression, but prior to about 2015, it was perhaps a bit less common for the private investor segment.

As it relates to retail assets specifically, familiarity is why most investors can make the transition from single-tenant to multi-tenant with confidence—the general rules apply to both product types. Of course, there are nuances that will play a role, but if one understands retail and the economic drivers of a location, the investor has a solid foundation to build from and they’ll be able to expand their focus successfully.

By acquiring multi-tenant retail assets, investors can enjoy better yields and diversification wrapped up into one investment. Not only can they mitigate the risk if one tenant happens to vacate or go out of business, but lease terms are often shorter in multi-tenant properties, which may offer an opportunity to push rents higher or replace them altogether.

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Foreign Investors Ramp Up Multifamily Acquisitions

Even as the overall volume of cross-border investment in U.S. real estate slows down, apartment properties remain popular with foreign buyers.

Foreign investors continue to spend money on apartment properties in the U.S., even while they may be slowing down on purchases of assets in other sectors. In the second quarter, cross-border investors became net sellers of U.S. commercial real estate overall for the first time in seven years, according to Jim Costello, senior vice president with research firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA).

But “we are not seeing any slowdown from global capital into multifamily,” says Brian McAuliffe, president of capital markets with real estate services firm CBRE, based in Chicago.

These investors are lured by the ongoing strong demand for apartments that has shrunk vacancy in the sector. In addition, because apartment buildings rely on their income on dozens or sometimes hundreds of different tenants, their incomes are viewed as less volatile than, for example, a single-tenant office building, according to McAuliffe.

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Apartment supply exceeds demand in only 3 U.S. markets

There are half a million more renters than units

The nation’s 150 major apartment markets have seen approximately 2 million new apartments built since 2010, but there’s a problem. The number of renters in those cities have increased by about 2.5 million in that same time period. And with renting an apartment becoming more popular than it has in 20 years, that leads to many markets were demand exceeds supply.

In fact, according to a new study from RealPage, there are only three markets among those 150 where supply has outpaced demand: Washington, DC, Miami, and Austin, Texas.

Overall, apartment occupancy was the highest in August that it has been at any point since the tech boom in 2000, RealPage said earlier this month. August also marked the seventh consecutive month that apartment occupancy has risen, and the 12th consecutive month of rent growth at or above 3%.

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Industrial Investors Drive Cap Rates Lower in Secondary and Tertiary Markets

Going into smaller markets in search of yield, industrial investors are starting to cause cap rate compression in those areas.

Investors don’t like the high pricing and low cap rates on industrial assets, especially since cap rates continue to compress in some markets. But they still want to invest in this asset class, because continued rent growth and low interest rates should boosts net operating incomes (NOI), overcoming low yields during the first year or two of a 10-year investment horizon, says Jack Fraker, vice chairman and managing director of global industrial and logistics with CBRE.

Strong market fundamentals, including low vacancy and robust demand, have continued to attract investors to the asset class, increasing values and leading to sustained cap rate compression, according to CBRE’s first half 2019 cap rate survey.

Demand for industrial space is still outstripping supply, despite a record-high construction pipeline that delivered 126.8 million sq. ft. of new space in the first half of the year. Another 327.5 million sq. ft. underway, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s second quarter 2019 MarketBeat industrial report. Net absorption for the first half of the year totaled 88.6 million sq. ft., and new leasing activity in the first two quarters involved 256.6 million sq. ft.

With demand for logistics facilities still going strong, vacancy has remained at or below 5.0 percent, according to Jason Tolliver, managing director of investment services at Cushman & Wakefield.

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The U.S. Commercial Real Estate Market Remains Strong Despite Global Economic Concerns

Many savvy investors thought the markets reached its cycle peak a few years ago. That turned out not to be the case.

Ten years since the economic expansion started after the Great Recession, commercial real estate remains strong. Many real estate professionals and investors expected markets, including real estate, to contract sooner, entering hyper-supply.

At the 2015 CCIM Institute’s annual conference Sam Zell, the founder and chairman of Equity International, discussed the sale of his multifamily portfolio with more than 23,000 apartments to Starwood Capital Group for $5.4 billion. He believed that it was an opportune time to sell his portfolio; and, many real estate professionals believed that he had sold at the top of the market, based strongly on his foresight in 2007 to sell his office portfolio before the market crashed. Obviously, taking profits off the table is a win, but were there more profits to realize? Since then, multifamily properties have continued their run, driving prices even higher and squeezing cap rates even more.

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How to Turn That Eye Sore Into a Business Opportunity

When you tell most people that you are a “real estate investor”, they probably reply something to the effect of “oh, you flip houses?”. Whether or not this assumption is true in your case, the fact remains that one of the most popular forms of real estate investment is house “flipping”. Flipping is a term used to describe the process of purchasing a property, putting some money, or some work into it, and quickly turning around and selling the house or the land for a premium. The term “flip” is used to describe the fast turnaround time of repairing and selling right away.

As we discussed above, “Flipping” is a term used to describe the process of purchasing a real estate investment with the goal of turning it around quickly and selling it for a profit. Typically, this process involves investing some money, and work into the property to help increase its value and the chance that it sells for a profit quickly. This style of investing is attractive for many reasons, these projects can be very enjoyable for those who are interested in the work of fixing up or making a property more aesthetically pleasing. The most common motivation for flipping a property is profit, and how quickly profits can add up. A seasoned investor with resources on hand can routinely clear tens of thousands or more per “deal” done. (A “deal” is a slang term for a property investment project). The name of the game in flipping is speed, and so profits can be realized very quickly. Like anything else, high potential reward can also mean a high potential loss if something goes wrong on your project. The purpose of this guide is to help clear some of those hurdles out of the way by highlighting key terminology, common pitfalls, and what to look for when getting into flipping.

So why flipping? Of all the different ways that investors can leverage real estate as an investment tool, why do investors select flipping over more common buy and rent or commercial property deals? The answer is simple, flipping is fast paced and offers a high potential of profits. Rather than owning a large portfolio of properties, each requiring a manager as well as a list of services and maintenance requirements, flipping allows investors to turn over their portfolio quickly and leave the ongoing maintenance to someone else. A flipper can purchase a home, fix it up for a month and immediately sell.

There are many advantageous aspects of this quick turnover flipping strategy, at the top of the list is low ongoing costs, as well as maintenance requirements, but flipping also allows investors to do many more deals in any period of time than other types of investing. Flippers also enjoy immediate lump sum profits. Where a landlord has ongoing payments and therefore small, steady profits over time, a flipper makes all his or her money all at once. They can purchase a property in the beginning of the summer for fifty thousand dollars and sell in august for seventy-five. When everything is said and done, our investor keeps whatever is left over after all closing and administrative costs. This results in tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit being made all in one swing.

This allows an investor to quickly turn one hundred thousand dollars into much more money very quickly assuming everything goes well. Of course, that is not an assumption that investors can always make. As mentioned, any time there are potential high rewards, investors should expect an equal chance for financial loss. There are many factors that can quickly turn a great investment flip project into a drawn out and costly mistake.

One of the highest risks that a flip investor faces is the inability to sell a property for a profit after investing money in rehabilitating the property. Remember that each month an investor fails to sell, he or she is responsible for paying all costs of upkeeping and maintaining both the property, and the debt service on that property. Three months of interest, electricity, gas, other utilities, on top of any other cosmetic or structural work that an investor is paying for can really add up and chip away at any profit an investor may see. This market risk is one that should not be overlooked and can be very difficult to quantify and get down on paper.

For example, imagine an investor who purchases a townhome in a city that’s home to a large employer that brings many people to the community. A flipper identifies a property near the company’s headquarters, that will require just a few thousand dollars to fix up and get ready to sell. The investor, after looking into the numbers, identifies an opportunity to make around fifteen or twenty thousand dollars by selling the renovated property to an employee of this large firm.

The flip goes well, and after closing the needed work is done quickly and effectively, the property is in great shape and should sell quickly. Two weeks before the house is on the market, this large company announces layoffs at the local headquarters, and will be shifting its operations to other parts of the country. Nearly overnight, the value of this home has plummeted. With less and less employees in the area, demand for the home falls and what once was a property worth one hundred thousand dollars, an investor may have to settle for seventy. Instead of netting a cool fifteen thousand, our investor takes a multi-thousand-dollar bath for all the hard work they put into the project.

In this example, the investor did everything correctly and saw their investment derailed by something totally outside of their control. This market risk is built into flip investing and should give investors pause. It is critical to understand the economy and unique qualities of any area where a flip is being considered. While a buy, hold, and rent investor can stand to watch their properties value fluctuate over time, a flip investor is beholden to the local market as well as the timing that can come into play in relation to home prices in the area. For this reason, many flippers elect to invest close to home, or at least in an area where they understand local economic trends in real estate pricing.

One of the other disadvantages of this strategy is the capital that is required to flip. An investor looking to flip will need to have cash on hand, or an ability to secure financing frequently throughout the year. While they plan to have all their cash back sooner rather than later, putting in multiple offers requires an investor to have an ability to drum up funding at a moment’s notice.

When it comes to selecting flip properties, there are many schools of thought. It’s best for new investors to spend time reading and educating themselves on investing and the different strategies involved with investing in certain property types. An investor who understands small single-family properties in one area will have a very different process for screening potential deals than an investor who specializes in commercial buildings. Very simply, an investor should be on the lookout for properties available in up and coming areas, understanding the local market.

In the example above the investor was seeking to invest in property near a large employer in the area. In this scenario, an investor will want to understand what do employees of this firm do for fun? Where do they shop? Are they family-oriented buyers or are they young professionals? Understanding who and how you plan to target your investment will allow you to narrow down potential properties. Families will be looking for larger homes with good schools and access to recreational events. Young professionals might like smaller more urban properties walking distance from local entertainment or nightlife.

When selecting property types, or locations, this is where investors get to have some autonomy. What do you enjoy? What are you good at? Do you enjoy skiing? Maybe condos near mountains in the northeast is your target? As someone who understands the culture of skiing, you will be in a much better position to understand what buyers will be looking for when it comes to buying a ski condo. So, find what works for you, it will make investing more fun and enjoyable, and will help you in sifting through all the available deals in your area.

When it comes to searching for homes, many online sites such as Zillow will provide you with a comprehensive database of properties available in a specific area. This will give you a starting point for your research and will give you a general idea of local pricing, competition, and what buyers in an area are looking for. Keep in mind that while these tools do come with lots of information available, the information is not always completely accurate and so it is best to use these sites as a research tool in tandem with many other methods of evaluating your deal. Go see the property in person and bring a friend in real estate or who is a home inspector.

Look for structural damage, look for water, and keep an eye on the age of certain features on the home. Hot water heaters, roofs, plumbing, and mostly any other component in your property have a shelf life. Be careful not to buy into a property that will need to be completely updated to get ready to sell. A tip for investors looking to own in certain parts of the country, buy in the spring. When snow is melting and everything is wet, you’ll get a better idea of how the property responds to water and other natural elements. Make sure you understand how the utilities on the property work. Is the heating electric? Gas? Do you have baseboard heat? Maybe the home has central air?

All these factors should align with your ideal buyer and should match up with what that type of buyer is looking for. Once you have a solid idea of the tangible aspects of the property and have discussed them with a professional, you can begin to look at financial modeling. This step of the process is more complex and probably could have an entire guide dedicated to it. There are many free resources available online offering templates for excel worksheets designed to evaluate potential deals based on the numbers.

At this stage, you will compile all your research into the location, market, timing, features of the home, and psychology of local buyers and start to assign numerical values to these things. You will never be able to perfectly map out how cash flow will work within a real estate deal, but you can get surprisingly close. You should have an idea of cost of the property, and the kinds of work, if any, that needs to be done. Get quotes from local builders and add those into your financial model. In creating the best possible chances for success, it is important to build in unforeseen costs. Plan for the sale to take 20% longer than you anticipate. Plan for a drop-in market value, the more fail safes you build into your numbers, the more likely your chance of either experiencing a positive outcome or identifying a possible landmine before you buy.

Once you have looked at both the tangible and intangible aspects of your potential deal, bring it to a professional. Many real estate professionals would be more than happy to help you identify anything you may have overlooked, and you’ll need to find a real estate agent anyways to complete a successful sale. Contact a mortgage underwriter and get an idea of how you will be financing the property. Once you have your research, the backing of a few professionals, and with a little luck, you should be on your way to a successful flip.

While this is an exiting step for many investors, it is important to restate the risks associated with the flip strategy. You absolutely could potentially lose thousands of dollars, when a deal goes south, you as the investor are squarely responsible and you can lose out. There are few guarantees in investing and real estate is no exception. Exiting and high reward strategies have an equal ability to lose out. Being cautious and doing your due diligence is key to shielding yourself from these losses.

Potential for loss aside, most investors who do their homework should find a decently straight forward path to profits. As you become more comfortable with your specific process and become more adept at identifying “good” deals, you should see a commensurate rise in the profitability of your projects. This is the goal of flip investors, work on your own schedule, on something your passionate about, and make a lot while doing it! If that all sounds good to you, then you may be a flipper! Just make sure to do your research before diving in. To learn more about investing in real estate, and to get into more detailed guides, click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Nearly half of Americans have anxiety over their debt

This is causing physical and mental distress

Adults in the U.S. over the age of 18 say they have an average of $29,800 in personal debt (not including mortgages), and 15% of Americans say they think they will be in debt for the rest of their lives.

According to Northwestern Mutual’s 2019 Planning and Progress Study, this is still an improvement from last year’s average of $38,000 in personal debt.

“The road to financial security is long, even in the best of circumstances,” Emily Holbrook, senior director of planning at Northwestern Mutual, said in a release. “By carrying high levels of personal debt that road gets even longer, often requiring all kinds of detours and other twists and turns. The fact that there’s been some year-over-year improvement in debt levels is good, but the numbers still remain worryingly high.”

An average of 34% of people’s monthly income goes towards paying off debt, the study showed, while another 34% of respondents said they aren’t sure how much of their monthly income goes towards paying off their debt.

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Blackstone Is in Talks to Buy the Bellagio and MGM Grand

The private equity firm is negotiating to be the buyer in the sale leaseback of the two casinos.

(Bloomberg)—Blackstone Group Inc. is in advanced talks to buy and lease back the iconic Bellagio and MGM Grand Las Vegas casinos from MGM Resorts International, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

They have yet to agree on a transaction and one may not be reached, said the people, who requested anonymity because the talks are private. The terms of the potential deal couldn’t be learned.

Representatives for Blackstone and MGM Resorts declined to comment.

MGM Resorts shares rose as much as 5% before settling up 1.4% to $29.47 at 12:06 p.m. in New York.

MGM Resorts has been exploring selling and leasing back the properties individually or bundled together, Bloomberg News reported in July. Property sales free up cash for casino companies to expand while letting them continue to manage their resorts.

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Lenders Won’t Cover Rising Construction Costs on Multifamily Projects

To make up for rising materials costs, apartment developers are being forced to put more equity into their projects.

Low interest rates are not enough to make up for the rising cost of construction on new apartment building projects.

“The drop in interest rates will not make a bad project look good,” says Matthew Swerdlow, director of capital services for Ariel Property Advisors, a real estate and advisory services firm based in New York City. “If it didn’t work with higher interest rates, it might not work with low.”

Apartment developers across the U.S. are struggling to pay for the rising cost of construction. Banks and debt funds are still eager to make construction loans at low interest rates, but these loans are not typically large enough to cover the higher cost of development. Many developers are now being forced to accept lower profits to make their deals work.

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