Sep 09

Axios has a good article on the health of small businesses, well if you read it good is not a thought that comes to mind…

Failure of small businesses is bad for both commercial landlords, and because 49.2% of America’s private-sector employees work in a small business, it will impact the long term viability of residential rentals as well.

Source: https://www.axios.com/small-business-confidence-goldman-sachs-74ba6e69-ad0e-4cb5-bee3-d03445b2a30e.html

From the SBA

Small businesses make up:
99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs, 49.2 percent of private-sector employment, 42.9 percent of private-sector payroll, 46 percent of private-sector output, 43 percent of high-tech employment, 98 percent of firms exporting goods, and
33 percent of exporting value.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, SUSB, CPS; International Trade Administration; Bureau of Labor Statistics, BED; Advocacy-funded research, Small Business GDP: Update 2002- 2010, www.sba.gov/advocacy/7540/42371

Aug 30

A published research paper that found:

“Our research shows that in order to keep rental housing affordable and sustainable for low-income families, lawmakers have to walk a fine line in determining what will benefit the tenant and what may ultimately be detrimental to them,” Shen said. “On the surface, strict landlord regulation sounds good for tenants, but our paper points out, the solution isn’t that simple. The research suggests that conventional thinking on the issue of more regulation may have the opposite effect on tenants.”

“Though advocating for tenant rights seems noble and the right thing to do, the resulting consequences could have a devastating impact on this vulnerable population,” Shen said. “Our research indicates that if landlords aren’t allowed to evict, rent will likely increase to compensate for their losses. The housing supply would diminish, though the demand would still exist. These landlords may choose alternative investments if owning property is no longer feasible. A reduced housing supply would mean less competition, which would drive up the cost of rent for everyone.

Coulson, N. Edward and Le, Thao and Shen, Lily, Tenant Rights, Eviction, and Rent Affordability (July 4, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3641859 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3641859
Aug 23

Bold highlights are mine:

https://www.zillow.com/research/zillow-weekly-market-report-27151/

 

Previous Zillow research found that this recession’s wave of layoffs disproportionately affected renters, and now the unemployed are having even more trouble paying their bills. The National Multifamily Housing Council’s rent payment tracker showed a two-percentage point increase in the share of renters who had not paid August rent as of August 13, compared to the same time in 2019. While many renters are currently covered by eviction moratoria, very few can expect rent forgiveness or extensions on the same scale, or structured similarly, to the forbearance policies that have protected homeowners. Consequently, many renters are moving out and looking for other shelter when unable to pay rent. Millions of young adults, predominantly 18-25 year-olds, moved back in with their parents or grandparents this spring. And as detailed above, many of the most financially secure renters in the Millennial generation are taking advantage of low mortgage rates to jump into homeownership. 

Jun 17

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/16/success/rents-are-dropping-us-cities-coronavirus/index.html

“I’m seeing rents are down 10% to 20%, with higher-end and luxury units taking the biggest hits,”

Considering that the typical owner’s net operating income after mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, repairs, employees, is 7-9% there will be a lot of failures, of both owners and municipal budgets.

Apr 30

https://www.naahq.org/news-publications/explaining-breakdown-1-rent

Apr 09

As an industry, rental housing providers must be present to PREVENT harmful legislation, because it is much more difficult to be made whole after the fact.

If the government does something that causes a large number of owners to fail, those owners will not have financial resources to fight back. They will be merely trying to feed their families.

This is not just bad for the owners that lost, but bad for tenants as well. In the years after the 2008 crash, there was a significant consolidation of rental ownership in Milwaukee. The city went from around 36,000 individual owners down to ~23,000 at a time that homeownership plummeted. Today Milwaukee has 41.8% owner occupancy. Nationwide that number is 65.1%.

Consolidation and owners doing what they could to survive the ’08 crisis has driven rents up significantly.

Those owners that come out of 2020 intact will likely be stronger than today. But not necessarily as municipalities will suffer more financially this go-round than in 08.

Owners that don’t fare well in the next few months will continuously be looking over their shoulders, hoping Jeff Bezos’ latest robot doesn’t take their job at the Amazon warehouse.

Or our government can keep printing trillions of dollars of new money and when end up like Venezuela where a quart of milk costs 4,200 bolivares, 11% of the monthly minimum wage. In 1990, a VEN bolivar was nearly equal to USD.

Hyperinflation, while bad for working folks, is good for those who enter it with assets and debt. Your debt remains in old dollars that you are paying off with new, cheaper dollars. Your assets acquired before the inflationary cycle will rise in value.

Look at what happened in the US during the late seventies and early eighties with annual inflation and interest rates on standard bank loans hit 18% in 1980. I was buying everything I could get my hands on. It was a risky, but good play when interest rates corrected and I could refinance at low rates like 12% APR. Yes, you can make money on rentals financed 90% at 18% APR. But you do have to pay almost nothing.

Look at average new home prices Dec 1977, when I started in real estate, $52,700 to Dec 1987 at $111,800.

Then look at historic interest rates. They were “cheap” in 1975 at 8.8% and cheap again in 1986 at 9.3% with a belly of 18.6% early 1981.

Yes, I do laugh when I hear investors fretting over half percent fluctuations in rates.

I’ll end this overly long post with there will be a huge risk to some, but also huge opportunities for others in this economy that we’ve never seen before and have no idea how it will turn out.

Feb 04


For many reasons I’ve felt that much of commercial real estate is a poor investment. From Amazon keeping people out of stores, to increasing work from home arrangements. My daughter does an important job for AT&T. She has worked from her living room for many years, since they closed their main Brookfield office.

Now there is one more reason for companies to abandon commercial space – pandemics .

“It’s a good opportunity for us to test working from home at scale,” said Alvin Foo, managing director of Reprise Digital, a Shanghai ad agency with 400 people that’s part of Interpublic Group. “Obviously, not easy for a creative ad agency that brainstorms a lot in person.” It’s going to mean a lot of video chats and phone calls, he said.

Bloomberg 2-2-2020

Dec 14

The is a great, worth the time to read, article on landlord regulation over at BiggerPockets.

Nov 30

In 2006

Everyone: “The market is high, aren’t you going to sell and make a killing?

Me: “Nope, don’t know where I would put the money if I did sell.

In 2009

Everyone: “Wow! you must have lost a lot of money due to the real estate crash!

Me: “Nope, I did not sell, I’m not selling, occupancy rates are the highest I’ve seen and rents are going up.

If you are in this for appreciation or flipping, the fluctuations in real estate values directly impact you. If you are a buy and hold owner, then the market does not impact you as much.

My buddies who sold out in 06, 07 and thought they made a killing, lost a lot when the stock market corrected, plus paid taxes on the sales. Those of us that stayed in the rental game did okay.

Property values and rental returns do not move in unison.

In forty years I’ve seen the worst housing markets being the best rental markets, as long as you bought right and financed right. In 05 and 06, when anyone who could fog a mirror was given a mortgage, we saw double digit vacancy rates.

So strong housing markets can actually be bad for the rental market.

Jun 19

Rents have not changed significantly in Milwaukee (2008-2012) compared to 2013-2017)

What has changed significantly is the number of people paying over 35% of their income in rent.  That percentage DROPPED from 50.1% in 2008-2012 to 45.9% in 2013-2017.

While there is still room for improvement, it looks like the financial status of Milwaukee’s tenants is improving.  This is a good thing for all.

Table is from the US Census Data:

Milwaukee Rental Data From US Census

Milwaukee Rental Data From US Census

preload preload preload