Productivity Without Wage Gains
It’s always something, isn’t it? Now, the strong dollar restrains economic growth… Exports are off, imports are up… The trade gap widens... Savings from lower gasoline and heating prices offers some offset, but since a majority of Americans have little cushion in their bank accounts or retirement plans with many living pay check to pay check, spending is better but not off the charts. After lagging in the post-recession malaise, car sales finally spurt. But…Read More
What is a Secondary Market?
You know we are in the mature part of the cycle when institutional investors start hashing over just what is a secondary market. What they are really concerned about and trying to rationalize is buying assets in higher risk markets with suspect tenant depth and limited exit strategies if times go bad. And oh by the way that’s just about everywhere outside the leading 24-hour cities. It’s just a matter of degree of how risky…Read More
The Perennial Question: When Will Interest Rates Increase?
It’s a new year (BTW a very Happy New Year to you) and the markets face the same question confronting them and us since recovery began.Read More
Convenience at a Price
All the new apartment construction in-and-around the convention center in Washington DC is another example of sterile neighborhood development sweeping through our cities in a rush to create profitable 24-hour environments.Read More
Don't Get Greedy
So to answer definitively the “What should I do now?” investment question previously posed, I say it’s time to hold with the caveat—sell anything sketchy or past its prime. I don’t think it’s a great time to buy and the always narrow development window is closing.Read More
"What Should I Do?"
Some recent private chit-chat heard among a group of prominent real estate dealmakers: “Land prices are out of reach.” “I’m struggling with low yields.” “Opportunities are harder to find.” “You can’t make the numbers work on (building) condos.” “Not buying existing core assets.” “Spread compression is too much.” “It’s insane pricing on industrial.” “Underwriting is loosening.” “It’s a tremendous time to borrow.” “Debt has never been cheaper. “We’re seeing limited or no call protection--loans will come back to you.” …Read More
Infrastructure Spending Post Mid-terms: More of Less
The new totally GOP-controlled Congress appears poised to continue the course for infrastructure policy set by the House during the last two sessions— in the politest terms that amounts to benign neglect. In fairness, most Democrats have been reluctant to raise the federal gas tax too or find other funding sources for the nation’s rapidly deteriorating roads, bridges and tunnels, not to mention rusting water lines and overtaxed sewage treatment systems as well as crumbling…Read More
Downtown LA Revival—For Millennials Only?
You can pick up some of your most cogent, well-spoken market information from cab drivers… A hack in LA was no exception earlier this week. “It’s the smart young people who work hard and play hard who are moving into downtown.” And he should know—he shuttles them back-and forth between the Staples Center’s one-big open sports-bar scene and rental apartment towers, which spring up and shoehorn in among office buildings and decked parking garages east…Read More
Wall Street Swoon Raises Real Estate Worries
Real estate lags, the stock market predicts… So should we be worried? Really only perceptions among investors are finally changing by turning more pessimistic. For real estate markets—retail and hotels will register the impacts sooner. The recent volatile downward moves on Wall Street and world exchanges only underscore what has been obvious—the global economy remains impaired and has lived off extremely low interest rates. Europe has not recovered from the 2008 debt crisis—ageing demographics and welfare state systems…Read More
The Waldorf and Strong Dollar
Waldorf Hotel Sale: Here is a confluence of an offshore investor seeking to park money in a safe place, the power of 24-hour city-global gateway dynamics, and overshooting on iconic properties. Just up Park Avenue two condo developers hope to cash in on the same factors by building sky-high trophy towers to attract skittish capital. You think wealthy Chinese are not nervous over the Hong Kong demonstrations—highlighting the widening gap between rich and poor? How…Read More