Monday, August 31, 2015

Trend Czar

About This Blog

Unvarnished truth. Consultant Jonathan Miller (Miller-Ryan) has compelling views on the market, and he shares them with subscribers.
  • No Better Than Bric-a-Brac

    On NPR yesterday morning the resident expert said all he knows is that “stocks go up and down,” which of course is all any of us really knows. But as I have been saying for quite a while now the U.S. economy and our property markets have been living off low interest rates with this government pump priming making us look better than we deserve and much better than just about anywhere else in the…

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  • Experiencing Millennials

    Amid strengthening consumer buying, most department stores continue to struggle—their sales range from sluggish to flat to down.  The big demographic bubble of Millennials dresses down—scruffy beards, jeans, and even tee-shirts become acceptable office attire in more companies. Suits and blazers are only necessary occasionally, if at all. And for years now it has been obvious that most people (not only GenerationY) no longer have as much time or interest to stroll through aisles of…

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  • Wary About Office--Tenants Edge

    We are six years into recovery and the national office vacancy rate is hovering somewhere around 15%. Is this the new equilibrium? Ten percent or under vacancy used to be the rationalized comfortable zone for relative supply-demand balance, but not many office markets can boast those numbers, especially out in the suburbs where much of the vacancy concentrates. Now, spec projects ramp up in many downtown markets beyond the relatively safe 24-hour cores like in…

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  • Our Exceptional US Infrastructure

    Just before I left for a trip to England last month, an Amtrak train left the tracks north of Philadelphia, killing eight and injuring more than 200. It was not a high speed train—we don’t have those in the U.S. In fact we don’t have many passenger train lines in this country, and the accident ironically precipitated another round of let’s cut funding to Amtrak from a Congress which has chronically underfunded passenger train service.…

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  • The Five Cap Rate Rule

    I was talking to a portfolio manager last week just as he was reviewing the latest benchmark quarterly return for open-end diversified funds from the NCREIF-ODCE. The total return for the first quarter on the highly followed index was 3.39%, including a hefty appreciation component of 2.20%....

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  • Private Equity Firms: The Curse of Success

    Blackstone’s $14 billion acquisition of GE’s real estate holdings highlights again the concentration of institutional property assets among a relative handful of global private equity players, who mostly trade among themselves, driving up prices. 

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  • Water Crisis

    About 15 years ago, I was out in Phoenix and a local was telling me about the unlimited supply of water available from regional aquifers. I had been questioning how the city could maintain all its vernal golf courses in the middle of cactus filled deserts, let alone the rampant suburban development stretching to the horizons. …

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  • Potholed Thinking: What's More or Less

    More and Less The monthly jobs report tells a familiar story—the unemployment rate heads down, lots of new low wage jobs are created, the overall labor force has not grown appreciably as more baby boomers retire, and the small minority of people at the high end of the education scale (with graduate degrees) have the greatest opportunity to secure most of the wage gains, while everyone else treads water or loses ground… Employees of Wal-Mart,…

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  • The Real Threat To Malls

    America’s malls could be terrorist targets… That’s according to the head of U.S. Homeland Security… And this is supposed to be news as we approach 14 years after 9-11? Of course, Secretary Jeh Johnson was trying to make a point to a recalcitrant Congress that his agency needs to be funded to protect the country properly. Throwing a little scare into Americans might get their representatives to act. In particular, the warning signaled--watch out at…

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  • 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…

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