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Pressure has been building over inflation expectations. When will the Federal Reserve cut interest rates? How long before CRE could return to, if not to a zero-rate policy, then closer to the pre-pandemic situation?

But another storm is on the horizon, one that some have been warning about although they’ve been largely ignored. The issue is the level of government debt, which is up to almost $34.6 trillion according to the non-partisan nonprofit Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The reason is structural factors, such as a large aging segment of the population, rising healthcare costs, and government spending that doesn’t bring in enough taxes to pay for what Congress authorizes.

Deficit spending requires more borrowing through government debt instruments as Reuters reports.

“Investors are bracing for a flood of U.S. government debt issuance that over time could dwarf an expected rally in bonds, as they see no end in sight for large fiscal deficits ahead of this year’s presidential election,” they wrote.

The mechanism that worries them is straightforward. There are three methods the U.S. government can use to obtain revenue to pay for its obligations. One is through taxes, but the amount brought in isn’t close to what is needed. The second is by printing money, which would eventually generate inflation. Third is borrowing, the approach the U.S. has used for generations.

Borrowing dynamics follow basic economics keeping one dynamic in mind — bond prices and bond yields move inversely. The more demand there is from those who want to lend the U.S. money by buying bonds, the lower the yield the government has to offer. The more debt the government wants to sell — that is, the more supply— the higher yields need to be to attract buyers. Also, the more the U.S. presents as a risky borrower, the greater the yield lenders/buyers will demand, and the more the government has to borrow, the riskier it seems.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields, now at around 4.4%, could go up to 8%-10% over the next several years, Ella Hoxha, head of fixed income at Newton Investment Management, who favors short-term maturities in Treasurys, told Reuters. “Longer term, it’s not sustainable.”

Meanwhile in some quarters concerns are reaching nightmare proportions. Jeffrey Gundlach, the CEO of investment management company DoubleLine Capital, is afraid the growing debt burden of the US government could eventually lead to a restructuring of US government debt, which would be unprecedented.

The world would likely see debt restructuring as an admission of problems and greater risk, increasing yields even more.

The bottom line for CRE: higher yields on the 10-year and SOFR — and both are strongly correlated and baselines of loan rates — would force real estate borrowing rates up.


Source:  GlobeSt.


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In the latter half of last week, yields on Treasury 10-years jumped, hitting 4.55% on Wednesday, moving to 4.56% on Thursday, and dropping down to 4.50% on Friday. By the end of Monday, it was 4.63%

If you ignore 2023 when rising interest rates had a heavy impact on Treasury yields, the last time the 10-year was in this range was in the fall of 2007, as the initial rumblings of what would become the Global Financial Crisis.

Markets are not seeing the trembling of an out-of-control housing market and the derivatives built on top of it. But the current shakings might be worse.

“A series of weak auctions for U.S. Treasurys are stoking investors’ concerns that markets will struggle to absorb an incoming rush of government debt,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “A selloff sparked by a hotter-than-expected inflation report intensified this past week after lackluster demand for a $39 billion sale of 10-year Treasurys. Investors also showed tepid interest in auctions for three-year and 30-year Treasurys.”

The worry among investors is that if inflation doesn’t continue to sink, the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates where they are now rather than start cutting as investors have wanted. Or maybe increase rates if they decide it’s necessary to break the back of rising prices.

May will bring another $386 billion in bond sales, and, as the Journal notes, this will continue no matter who is elected president in November. The first quarter of 2024 saw the Treasury sell $7.2 trillion in debt. Last year, the government issued $23 trillion in Treasurys, “which raised $2.4 trillion of cash, after accounting for maturing bonds.” But a number of Treasury auctions did more poorly than expected. The Treasury Department decided to push short-term instruments as the Fed encouraged the idea that eventually they would cut interest rates. That would make higher-rate Treasurys more valuable in a presumed near term.

With inflation started to strengthen again, that strategy becomes less appealing to buyers. Also, the Fed has said it will slow quantitative tightening, which is how it reduces its balance sheet holdings of Treasury instruments. Tightening expects that investors would buy more debt. As the Fed reduces tightening, the government might lower its expectations of how much investors needed to buy.

From a CRE perspective, the more debt on sale, the greater degree that circumstances invoke the law of supply and demand. Prices will likely drop to get enough investor purchases, which would send yields up as the two aspects move inversely. The 10-year yield is one of the standard baseline rates used in CRE lending. The other, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR, is strongly correlated to the 10-year, though often with a timing gap.

If baseline rates go up, so do borrowing costs, which is the big problem faced by many with maturing loans and who need refinancing but who based their business case on low interest rates and high leverage that are no longer available.

And then there is the psychological factor. All investors, whether individuals, organizations, or sovereign states, are under the thumb of human emotion. The more risk they perceive, the more skittish they are as buyers, which could push down Treasury prices even more, driving up expected yield and negatively affecting CRE.


Source:  GlobeSt.

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Wednesday’s Consumer Price Index numbers were higher than expected, sending Wall Street into a swoon about what it could mean.

For starters, it’s just about a given that, following this latest evidence that prices are not declining as fast as had been expected, the Fed will delay implementing its promised rate cuts. But some prominent voices are wondering about a worse case scenario: that the Fed might actually start raising rates. If this were to come to pass, simply put it would raise havoc in commercial real estate. has heard repeatedly over the last few months that transactions were resuming in part because the market believed that the Fed was done raising rates, introducing some much-needed certainty into forecasts.

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers is one of these voices.

“You have to take seriously the possibility that the next rate move will be upwards rather than downwards,” Summers said on Bloomberg Television. He said such a likelihood is somewhere in the 15% to 25% range.

The odds still do favor a Fed rate cut this year, “but not as much as is priced into markets,” he said.

Also, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said earlier this month that it’s possible interest rates may have to move higher to control inflation.

“While it is not my baseline outlook, I continue to see the risk that at a future meeting we may need to increase the policy rate further should progress on inflation stall or even reverse,” she said in a recent speech to the Shadow Open Market Committee in New York.  “Reducing our policy rate too soon or too quickly could result in a rebound in inflation, requiring further future policy rate increases to return inflation to 2 percent over the longer run.”

Bowman is a permanent voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has also floated the possibility that rates could increase in his letter to shareholders. The investment bank is  preparing “for a very broad range of interest rates, from 2% to 8% or even more,” he wrote.

These voices, though, are in the minority. Right now, most analysts have coalesced around the theory that rate cuts will be delayed this year.

Less than 24 hours after the CPI was released, Wall Street economists began revising their outlooks. Goldman Sachs and UBS now see two cuts starting in July and September, respectively, while analysts at Barclays anticipate just one reduction, in September, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Others are even more pessimistic about the timing.

“The lack of moderation in inflation will undermine Fed officials’ confidence that inflation is on a sustainable course back to 2% and likely delays rate cuts to September at the earliest and could push off rate reductions to next year,” Kathy Bostjancic, chief economist at Nationwide, said in a research note that was reported by The Associated Press.

Right now the Fed’s official expectation is that inflation continues to move down albeit in an uneven trajectory. If this is true, then rate cuts are still likely this year.

However, Wall Street worries that inflation has stalled at a level closer to 3% and if the evidence bears this out in future reports, it is conceivable that the Fed could scrap cuts altogether.

One indicator that does not bode well for rate cuts this year is the so-called supercore inflation reading, which besides excluding the volatile food and energy prices that the core CPI does, also strips out shelter and rent costs from its services reading.

Supercore accelerated to a 4.8% pace year over year in March, the highest in 11 months, according to CNBC.

Tom Fitzpatrick, managing director of global market insights at R.J. O’Brien & Associates, told the publication that if you take the readings of the last three months and annualize them, the supercore inflation rate is more than 8%.

All this said, the Fed has promised it would cut rates three times this year and that is a hard promise to unwind. The upheaval a rate hike would cause would give the institution a black eye even worse than its promises a few years ago that the creeping inflation in the economy was transitory.


Source:  GlobeSt.

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A drumbeat for stagflation as a possible scenario for the US economy is growing louder.

Last week, strategists from the Bank of America wrote that the macroeconomic picture is “flipping from goldilocks to stagflation,” which they defined as growth below 2% and inflation of between 3% and 4%. Inflation is higher in developed and emerging markets, while the US labor market is “finally cracking,” wrote Michael Hartnett.

JPMorgan Chase’s Marko Kolanovic raised similar concerns in February. A halt in inflation’s downward trend, or price pressures broadly resurfacing “wouldn’t be a surprise” given outsized gains in equities, tight labor markets and high immigration and government spending, he said, according to Bloomberg.

Between 1967 to 1980, stock returns were nearly flat in nominal terms as inflation came in waves, with fixed-income investments significantly outperforming while stock returns were nearly flat in nominal terms. Kolanovic sees “many similarities to the current times.”

“We already had one wave of inflation, and questions started to appear whether a second wave can be avoided if policies and geopolitical developments stay on this course,” he said in his note, adding that inflation is likely to be harder to control as stock and cryptocurrency markets add trillions of dollars in paper wealth and quantitative tightening is offset by Treasury issuance.

Recent economic reports back up these analysts: The February Consumer Price Index came in at a higher-than-expected 3.2% year over year. Retail sales reported on Friday rose 0.6% from January to February, falling short of projections expecting 0.8% growth.

The Wall Street Journal highlighted these developments but ultimately dismissed the idea of stagflation taking hold in the US economy. So have the equity markets,

Barclays Plc strategist Emmanuel Cau wrote in a note that was reported in Bloomberg.

“With the Fed so far endorsing current market pricing of three cuts starting in June, investors continue to see the glass half full on the soft landing narrative,” he said.

This week the Federal Open Market Committee will meet and the minutes it releases will show how Fed officials’ thinking changed from recent bad data on inflation.

One sign doesn’t bode well for Fed watchers hoping for rate cuts to happen sooner than later.

More than two-thirds of academic economists polled by the Financial Times believe that the Federal Reserve will be forced to hold interest rates at a high level for longer than markets and central bankers anticipate. Respondents to the FT-Chicago Booth poll think the Fed will make two or fewer cuts this year with the most popular response for the timing of the first cut split between July and September.

“The Fed really wants to cut rates. All of the body language is about cutting. But the data is going to make it harder for them to do it,” Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University, who was one of 38 respondents polled this month, told the FT. “I expect the last mile of inflation to prove quite stubborn.”

However, there is one viable theory for rates in June. Vincent Reinhart, a former Fed official who is now chief economist at Dreyfus and Mellon, told the FT that politics will play a role in the timing this year.

“The data say the best time to cut rates is September, but the politics say June,” said Reinhart, who did not participate in the poll. “You don’t want to start cuts that close to an election.”


Source:  GlobeSt.

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The Federal Reserve’s October 2023 Financial Stability Report reads like a slightly early major Halloween trick for commercial real estate — no treat in the pages. Overly high asset valuations, even after all that’s happened so far, and ongoing high interest rates are flashing warning signs for the central bank.

One aspect is of particular concern to CRE professionals.

First, the overall view, based on a periodic survey the Federal Reserve Bank of New York conducts, the most recent having taken place from August 10 to October 4. Here is the top line:

“The two most frequently cited topics in this survey — the risk of persistent inflationary pressures leading to a more restrictive monetary policy stance and the potential for large losses on commercial real estate and residential real estate — were mentioned by three-fourths of all survey participants, up from one-half of all participants in the previous survey.”

The grim views are all focused on real estate, whether commercial or residential. For a bit of moderation, the survey was of 25 people, “including professionals at broker-dealers, investment funds, research and advisory fi rms, and academics,” the Fed wrote.

Far from a representative sample, but given the expertise, concerning. About 70% of the experts pointed to commercial and residential real estate as among the biggest risks over the next 12 to 18 months. The only other factors gaining that type of attention were a pairing of persistent inflation and monetary tightening. Auspicious company.

The big problem for CRE is valuation. As the Fed wrote, “Valuation pressures arise when asset prices are high relative to economic fundamentals or historical norms.” An apt description for commercial real estate. And elevated valuation pressures can “increase the possibility of outsized drops in asset prices.”

What is an apparent puzzlement in the Fed’s report is that even as prices have continued to decline, real estate valuations have remained elevated.

“Aggregate CRE prices measured in inflation-adjusted terms continued declining through August,” the report said. “Capitalization rates at the time of property purchase, which measure the annual income of commercial properties relative to their prices, have increased modestly from recent historically low levels but have not increased as much as real Treasury yields, suggesting that prices remain high relative to rental income.”

Office sector prices are particularly elevated, “where fundamentals are especially weak for offices in central business districts, with vacancy rates increasing further and rent growth declining since the May report.” But that doesn’t leave other sectors free and clear.

Some part, maybe significant, of this may be the ongoing lack of price discovery. With transactions down and many sellers holding off, waiting for improved pricing, while a lot of buyers look for bargains in distress, it’s hard to tell how much properties should be worth. CRE has the possibility of seeing significant additional drops in valuation, which would then cause even more problems with refinancing.


Source:  GlobeSt.

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Multifamily properties are still going strong in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector. But it’s not business as usual. Coming off record growth in 2021, the industry is recalibrating, which creates dynamic investment, valuation and risk environments for multifamily property investors.

Heading into 2023, inflation and rising interest rates prompted forecasts for a slight slowing of growth in the multifamily property sector. Through the first quarter, overall occupancy rates held steady, with a modest increase in vacancy rates to 6.7%, up from 5% one year ago. Rent income is still growing, but month-over-month increases are returning to pre-pandemic norms. Nationwide, demand for multifamily units remains strong, with plenty of inventory in the construction pipeline.

Looking ahead, multifamily properties continue to offer appealing and profitable opportunities for commercial real estate investors. However, today’s evolving market can’t be predicted based on past performance. For investors, keeping a pulse on key demographic, economic and risk-related trends is more important than ever.


1. Demographics and Demand

Demographic trends are favorable for increasing demand. Forty-five million Gen Z-ers, born between 1997 and 2013, will be in their peak years as renters by 2025. At the opposite end of the generational spectrum, an increasing number of Boomers are expected to opt for multifamily properties as they retire and downsize their homes.

Beyond the population numbers, other factors come into play. Inflation and rising interest rates may prompt Gen Z to live at home longer and Boomers to push back their timelines for downsizing from their single-family homes. At the same time, many Millennials are renting longer, having been priced out of the housing market due to a smaller inventory of starter homes and higher levels of personal debt compared to previous generations.


2. Inflation and Valuation

Inflation and higher interest rates have created a challenging near-term capital market environment for the multifamily sector. Capital is available but at a higher cost. With narrowing margins, lenders are taking a more cautious approach and loan-to-value ratios are down. With higher cap rates, the value of a stable multifamily property is lower. Similarly, value depreciation accelerates with slower rent growth and increased operating costs.

Inflation creates uncertainty about how much a property is worth, how much rental income will — or will not — grow and how much operating costs may increase. Digging into the details within a property’s valuation is critical in the current evolving market. An independent third-party valuation analyzes the historical performance of the property, comparable rental rates in the local market and expected operational expenses. The valuation projects the net operating income (NOI) and provides a benchmark of the property’s value over time.


3. Risk and Insurance

Insurance costs for multifamily properties are also on the rise. Over the past three years, property owners have seen double-digit increases in premium costs. Extreme weather events, such as wildfires, hurricanes and flooding, are a primary reason, with losses exceeding the premium collected. As a result, insurers are reducing their risk exposure in high-risk areas, which means property owners must often seek partial coverage from multiple carriers.

Inflation is also driving increased insurance costs. The cost of construction materials and labor has risen sharply since the start of the pandemic, with multifamily construction costs up 8% in 2023. An up-to-date valuation, which is required by many insurers at renewal, helps property owners to ensure their insurance covers the cost of rebuilding at current prices.

Liability insurance premiums have also increased in recent years, as several carriers exited the excess liability insurance business. Primary liability insurers are mitigating rising costs by increasing premium rates, deductibles and self-insurance limits. Many insurers are managing costs by implementing policy exclusions that may save property owners money in the short term but increase financial risk in the long term.

Insurance advisors can help property owners take a proactive approach to monitoring policy changes, conducting regular property assessments and calculating maximum probable losses in the event of a catastrophic event.

The dedicated commercial real estate team at CBIZ can help you optimize the valuation, insurance and tax strategies for your multifamily investment. Explore more resources and connect with a member of our team today.


This article includes input from John Rimar, Managing Director of CBIZ Valuation Group’s Real Estate Practice, and Greg Cryan, President of Southeast CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc. Their teams provide the initial and ongoing services needed to accurately assess and insure your real estate investments. 


Source:  CBiz

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As they say, if you don’t want the answer, don’t ask the question. But Congress did insist that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell talk about the economy and the Fed’s take this morning. His testimony is probably not what most people want to hear, but certainly what businesspeople, especially in CRE, need to.

If, like an economic Dylan Thomas, you were concerned that the Fed’s policies might go gentle into that good night, don’t worry, they aren’t.

In the testimony, Powell quickly invoked the Fed’s dual mandate of promoting maximum employment and stable prices. Notice, there is no direct mention of easing business costs or supporting asset prices. Those are supposed to come as byproducts — boost business to indirectly promote employment and slow it to moderate prices.

“We have covered a lot of ground, and the full effects of our tightening so far are yet to be felt,” Powell said, for those who want a pause to assess progress. “Even so, we have more work to do. Our policy actions are guided by our dual mandate to promote maximum employment and stable prices. Without price stability, the economy does not work for anyone. In particular, without price stability, we will not achieve a sustained period of labor market conditions that benefit all.”


Or, as Oxford Economics translated in an emailed note: “Fed Chair Jerome Powell used his semi-annual testimony to push back against financial markets as his comments were hawkish, noting that the terminal rate for the fed funds rate could be higher than previously anticipated. He noted that he isn’t hesitant to increase the pace of rate hikes if the data on employment and inflation continue to come in stronger than anticipated.”

Although inflation had seemed to be slowing, January was a jarring reminder that inexorable progress toward goals is unusual. Jobs, consumer spending, manufacturing numbers, and inflation “reversed the softening trends that we had seen in the data just a month ago.”

It was the “breadth of the reversal” that meant inflation was running hotter than during the last meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee. And even then, the underlying message was not to expect immediate lower interest rates.

Inflation “remains well above the FOMC’s longer-run objective of 2 percent,” and Powell was talking not just the overall number, in which housing costs were a major driver. He specifically mentioned core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation without the volatility of food and energy that push upwards, and core services without housing, which discounts that outlier.

“Although nominal wage gains have slowed somewhat in recent months, they remain above what is consistent with 2 percent inflation and current trends in productivity,” said Powell. “Strong wage growth is good for workers but only if it is not eroded by inflation.”


Then he got to interest rates. “We continue to anticipate that ongoing increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2 percent over time. In addition, we are continuing the process of significantly reducing the size of our balance sheet.”

So, continuation of maybe 25-basis point increases and also continued scaling down of the balance sheet, which means reducing purchases of bonds that help fuel home mortgages and, so, that entire part of the construction and sales ecosystem.

However, the maybe is not to be ignored.

“While a quarter-point increase in the Federal Funds rate is still the most likely outcome of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting, expect the Fed to adopt a half-point increase in March if data on inflation and labor conditions continue to run hotter than expected,” said Marty Green, a principal with mortgage law firm, Polunsky Beitel Green, in an emailed note.


Source:  GlobeSt.

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There’s no denying that uncertain financial times lie ahead. A recent poll by Bloomberg cited that 70% of economists predict a mild recession in 2023, following moderate growth the previous year. The U.S. economy faces the headwinds of increasing interest rates, stubborn inflation, a stagnant job market, and weak market exports abroad.

Despite these troubling signs, however, those in commercial real estate enjoy a unique position. There’s far less leverage in the consumer and financial sectors than during the Great Financial Crisis, and plenty of liquidity remains ready and able to deploy in long-term vehicles. The overall uncertainty will lessen demand and potentially unearth value-add opportunities, and different asset types will experience different momentary signs of distress while others will experience boosted demand.

Overall, prices and demand are shifting, and the time may be nigh for those looking to invest in real estate, whether for the first time or for those who make their livelihood. These seven ideas to keep in mind will keep the investor prepared to face 2023 with awareness and agility, well-positioned to strike opportunities when the iron is hot.

1. Trouble Unearths Opportunity

In times of distress, opportunities usually arise. Assets or markets facing headwinds today may eventually develop into solid, long-term holding investments. Good real estate fundamentals (location, location, location) remain essential even in challenging economic cycles. Those who can shore up their capital nicely will be best prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. If you’re in a position to take advantage of low prices in well-positioned asset types or markets, next year may be the time to invest and many great investors often say the outcome is won at acquisition.

2. Capital Costs will Likely Stabilize Soon

This last year, the Fed’s continual interest rate hikes increased overall cost of capital, making debt and equity much more expensive. These hikes resulted in lower leverage, higher debt service, and greater discount rates, which lowered net present values or created higher yield requirements. Additionally, fixed income yields increased and, when adding in the risk premiums associated with CRE, added to required property yields (or cap rates).

Number shifts like these aren’t so bad when they’re infrequent, but the Fed’s aggressive measures to curb inflation have made deal-making much more expensive. However, the latest increase to between 4.25 and 4.5% in mid-December points to a deceleration (the last increase was 75 basis points), a trend that will hopefully continue into 2023.

The cost of capital will likely stabilize as rate hikes taper off – encouraging stakeholders to start investing again. Additionally, a massive supply of capital seeking placement means plenty of liquidity. We’re still seeing demand continue to bid up deals to healthy values, particularly for good buys in good markets. Now’s the time to get your ducks in a row and prepare for quick action if you want to access good deals ahead of the competition.

3. Real Estate Buffers Against Stubborn Inflation

Real estate, as an inherently longer-hold investment vehicle, remains a haven that better buffers against stubborn inflation than other capital markets, thanks to its predictable cash flow. Lease terms that allow for underlying rent increases connected with rising costs or annual/regular rate increases in both long-term and short-term leases (e.g., in offices and multifamily) allow landlords to adapt more quickly to rising costs and keep up with inflationary changes.

Even though inflation is finally (hopefully) tapering, commercial property represents an excellent long-term option. But don’t forget: operational expenditure also inflates, so lease structures where tenant covers all or a portion of expenses can be important.

4. Now’s the Time to Lean on Your Broker

Partnership and expertise are more important than ever. Your broker is your partner in deal-making and serves as an essential business partner as you navigate changing valuations and asset performance. Brokers provide detailed in-market knowledge and economic cycle experience and make it their business to know what’s happening in the sector – so why go it alone?

In an uncertain market, now is the crucial time to partner with someone who can find you the best comps, source the best data, and find the best buyers for your listing or next investment option. Additionally, in times like these, brokers often are better at finding off-market opportunities, which can be acquired at opportunistic pricing if buyer can navigate unique circumstances.

5. Assess Tech Stacks and Optimize for the Best Tools

In a lean market, businesses need to cut overhead spending to focus on managing costs and optimizing the best possible tools and headcount for task efficiency. Running your business affordably is essential before venturing into the market. A lean, efficient tech stack can empower you to manage business operations while minimizing spending successfully. Prioritize technology that saves time, determine what’s essential and what’s fluff, and if you can find one software that solves multiple business needs, all the better.

6. Solidify Relationships with Capital Sources and Financial Partners

Now’s the time to foster closer relationships with your capital sources, lenders, and financing partners. It’s essential to maintain these connections – they will allow you to collectively stay more agile and make smarter, faster decisions as the economic climate changes.

Open communication with these parties will position you to act fast when the time is right, ready to strike on value-add opportunities as soon as they emerge.

7. Back to Basics: Understand Your Brick-and-Mortar

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s even more essential to understand your tenants’ day-to-day realities. Get to know their business operations, keep a pulse on market happenings, and maintain a steady flow of communication with your operators.

A clear understanding of the present and fundamentals of your tenants’ businesses will open your eyes to potential changes and allow you to make strategic moves or adapt as needed. Additionally, clear communication is more likely to set your tenants at ease and make them more likely to renegotiate and continue their leases with you.

The Bottom Line

We’re long-term bullish on commercial real estate. With open eyes and an agile, ready-to-act team, we’re confident that the savvy investor will discover valuable ROI diamonds in the rough. These tenets are, at their core, essential elements of well-run commercial real estate operations, even in prosperous economic times. However, in turbulence, it’s all the more important to stick to your investment principles and – as always – consider the long-term while resisting short-term distractions.


Source:  Global Banking & Finance Review


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A recent investor survey by Marcus & Millichap reveals that while CRE transactions may level out this year, investor sentiment remains strong.

The mid-year survey’s headline index value of 159 is “somewhat reminiscent of the trend we saw in 2016,”in which sentiment declined a bit as higher interest rates bit into the market, says Marcus & Millichap’s John Chang.

”But they’re not down by as much as people might expect,” he says.

In 2016, the index declined 12 points and the number of CRE transactions flattened. This year, the index has declined 11 points and that could deliver relatively similar results, in what Chang calls a “relatively modest softening.”

“Yes, the market is going through a recalibration as investors rework numbers based on the rising costs of capital, but the survey respondents aren’t telegraphing a significant market change,” he says.

According to the survey, the top two investor concerns are interest rates and inflation. About two-thirds said interest rate increases aren’t affecting their investment plans, and almost 9% said they’d buy more commercial real estate because of rising interest rates. On the sell side, 77% said the rate increases haven’t caused them to change plans and 11% said they plan to sell more.

Respondents were even more dismissive of inflation, according to the survey. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they’d buy less CRE but almost 12% said they’d buy more. The buying intentions with respect to more inflation-resistant property types like apartments, hotels and self-storage indexed higher, with about 14.4% of investors overall saying they’d buy more of those assets because of elevated inflation.

Cap rates are expected to rise as a result of rising interest rates as well, with 14% of investors surveyed saying they think cap rates will rise by 50 basis points or more over the next year. About 35% think they’ll go up by less than that, and 27% expect no change. And Chang says  since there’s still a lot of capital coming into CRE, yields and stability look compelling.

“Consider that the last 12 months ending in the second quarter of 2022 was by far the most active commercial real estate investment transaction year on record,” Chang says. “Even if activity steps back a bit over the next 12 months, it will still likely rank as the second most active year.”


Source:  GlobeSt.

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Construction starts have remained robust this year but certain sectors could begin to see a slowdown in the coming months.

Total construction starts rose 4% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $979.5 billion, according to data released late last week by Hamilton, New Jersey-based Dodge Data and Analytics LLC. But among the major categories tracked by Dodge, nonresidential building starts was the only one that increased, by 20%, while residential starts fell by 4% and nonbuilding starts dropped 2% during the month.

It’s a signal homebuilders are starting to pull back on what had been an active construction pipeline through the Covid-19 pandemic, as demand for housing wanes amid a rising-interest-rate environment.

Year-to-date, total construction is 6% higher in the first five months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. In that period, residential starts have actually grown 3%, suggesting the tide is only starting to change on the homebuilding front.

Nonresidential building starts have increased 17% annually in the first five months of the year, while residential starts are 5% down.

Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Construction Network, said in a statement the construction sector has become increasingly bifurcated in the past several months.

“Nonresidential building construction is clearly trending higher with broad-based resilience across the commercial, institutional and manufacturing spaces,” he said. “However, growth in the residential market has been choked off by higher mortgage rates and rapidly falling demand for single-family housing. Nonbuilding starts, meanwhile, have yet to fully realize the dollars authorized by the infrastructure act.”

Branch said while the overall trend in construction starts is positive, the very aggressive stance taken by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation risks slowing momentum in construction.

Ken Simonson, chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America, said in an interview he felt homebuilders are in much more precarious position right now than multifamily or nonresidential construction.

Ripple effects on construction starts from the passage of the federal $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act late last year hasn’t been felt yet. Simonson said for a while he’s expected contractors wouldn’t go to work on any IIJA-funded projects until late 2022 or early 2023, which he said he continues to expect. When that occurs, that’ll bolster the pipeline for the nonbuilding sector.

Outside of single-family home construction, multifamily and warehouse development — both of which have seen big growth through the pandemic — may be the most vulnerable to a slowdown, Simonson said.

Seattle-based Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) disclosure this spring that it had excessive warehouse capacity is one signal of slackening demand, he continued.

“Now that there’s doubt about how strong consumer demand is going to be for goods, I think other businesses are going to slacken their buying and building of warehouse space,” Simonson said.

Amid rising costs and interest rates, it’ll become more challenging for multifamily developers to pencil out deals, also making it more vulnerable than other sectors, he added.

One of the sectors likely to boom: manufacturing. New automotive plants, and large-scale facilities to support the burgeoning electric-vehicle industry, will translate to new business for general contractors nationally, Simonson said.


Source:  SFBJ