Multi-Family Properties Might Be The Way To Multi-Millions

In the current commercial real estate market, investing in multi-family homes should be on the radar. Multi-family properties don’t always have to be 20 floor sky rise apartments in a big city. They can be smaller duplexes, town homes Read more

New Real Estate View: Why The Homeless Are Big Business In New York

It's a grim scenario: In New York, there are more than 50,000 homeless. Of that number, 21,000 are children, an increase of 21 percent from last year, according to a report by the Coalition for the Homeless, a New Read more

Red Is the New Green – Chinese Investors Eye US Assets

***This blog entry is a guest post from Elton Steinberg, Marketing Associate at United Realty*** American fund managers should be aware of current and future trends that may make the Chinese account for a more significant portion of overall foreign Read more

Gimme Shelter - Foreign Investors Seek Returns and Safe Haven in US Real Estate

***This blog entry is a guest post from Elton Steinberg, Marketing Associate at United Realty*** Foreign investment has been a significant driver of the US real estate market recovery. Investors from across the globe have been responding to negative stimuli Read more

Commercial Real Estate

Multi-Family Properties Might Be The Way To Multi-Millions

In the current commercial real estate market, investing in multi-family homes should be on the radar. Multi-family properties don’t always have to be 20 floor sky rise apartments in a big city. They can be smaller duplexes, town homes or small condos. These smaller properties are recommended for startup investors.

Investing in multi-family homes is a great way to enter the real estate market. As opposed to investing in single family homes, the cash flow of multi-family homes is increasing due to lower property values, mortgage cost and rent increases. This can lead to many advantages for an investor. There is also less risk and less cost as opposed to owning five single family homes where you have to maintain five different properties. With all five families in the same building, there is only one roof to maintain and the tenants are in the same location.

With many unable to afford homes in the suburbs, the demand for multi-family homes is increasing. Also, the construction on new multi-family apartments is bouncing back. Many are having trouble finding stable jobs so they are leaning toward renting apartments as opposed to buying single family homes. The baby boomer generation is starting to live more frugally because they realize that they don’t have enough saved for retirement. As a result, they are spending less and recognizing that they can’t live their current lifestyles. They are working longer and see renting as a more cost efficient option. With the overall increase in demand, this inevitably leads to an increase in rent which makes investing in multi-family homes very attractive.

Now speaking of rent, if an investor is going to rely on rent to cover the property’s debt and operating costs, it is necessary for the investor to choose an area where the rent demand is high and the vacancy rates are down. Depending on the right location, a larger apartment can rent faster than a smaller one. Location is critical for a successful multi-family home to reap high rewards.

As new investors, starting off investing in multi-family properties is a good foundation for a strong and diverse portfolio. It is important to know all the “ins and outs” of the market. Evaluating past transactions and possible properties for transactions is essential. A small investment in a multi-family complex can be the outlet for a cash flow gaining investment. The right multi-family properties are income producing assets that provide great long term returns.

 

Posted on by Jacob Frydman in Commercial Real Estate, Guest Blog Post, Housing Market, multi-family, News, Residential Real Estate Comments Off

The Virtual Reality of Commercial Real Estate and Mobile Technology

Real Estate and Mobile Technology
The commercial real estate market is rebounding, and with that bounce-back, comes the increased use of mobile technology.

Commercial real estate used to rely on newspapers, magazines, radio and television ads to carry the message to the consumer, but those methods simply aren’t as effective in the 21st century. A “direct line” is more often than not facilitated by satellites in space, GPS towers, and apps downloaded onto a smart phone. To reach people where they truly live, you must slip into the virtual reality inherent in cloud computing, social media, and viral Web content. In a very real context, change has indeed come.

A recent report by inMotion Real Estate cited that mobile usage in commercial real estate is up 61 percent. And we can reasonably expect an increase this year if the trend holds. The report lists the iPhone, iPad, Sony Ericsson LT 15i Xperia Arc, HTC EvO 4G and the Motorola Droid X, as the top mobile devices of last year, with 25 percent of Internet consumption in the U.S. derived from mobile devices. In short, we carry the future of commercial real estate in our pockets. And more people are taking advantage of this technology.

Last month, the BE-Mobile app (from Building Engines), marked 1,000 downloads, and this should come as no surprise. The app helps the user to manage key operational tasks including work orders, preventive maintenance, incidents, and inspections – it’s all paperless.

And here’s something else to consider: Google Maps can now host your property with its Google Maps Floorplans app, which allows tenants or investors to better understand a building’s accessibility, suite layout, parking field and more. Additionally, it can be combined with Google Maps in 3D and a 360 Panorama by Occipital and you have a real virtual reality tour.

See? The future is truly occurring in real time. Mobile technology is the great equalizer at play in today’s society. How we capitalize – and innovate – within this seismic shift will depend on our ability to embrace this new present for a profitable future.

It’s a reality, however virtual, worth pursuing.

Posted on by Jacob Frydman in News Leave a comment

United Realty Launches Students Scholarship Program

At United Realty Partners we believe that we can invest in our future by investing in education, which is why we have recently launched United Realty Students.  Our scholarship program is awarding $100,000 to students over the next 12 months.

In recent years the cost of attending college has skyrocketed.  Bloomberg reported that the cost of tuition and fees has risen at a rate of 1,120% since 1978, four times faster than the increase of the consumer price index.  Also, CNN Money publishes that the cost of a four-year public college has risen 4.8% in the last year. While many factors have contributed to the rise of prices, the amount of students needing help to pay for higher education is rising too.

Students Scholarship

In the years to come these students will be running corporations, taking seats in government, educating the youth and many other jobs.  We believe that students are the key to our future and we must invest in them the same way we would invest in our personal portfolios.

As tuition costs have continued to raise so has the average amount of student loan debt students are graduating with.  Government aid, parents’ and students’ incomes have not increased in conjunction with the rising cost of tuition.  Students are more motivated to look for alternative ways to pay for their education.  Scholarships provide great opportunities for students as they are awarded and are not required to be paid back.

United Realty Students is providing students with multiple prizes, awarded every two months.  Investing is at our core of our beliefs and we would like to hear from students about their thoughts on investing.  Entry for the scholarship is for students to submit a short, original, previously unpublished written response to the scholarship question, “How Do I Invest In My Future?”  Students can win scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 — just by writing a response to this short essay. Scholarships will be awarded on an ongoing basis.  The first submission period has begun, and will run until March 1, 2013.

Click here to Apply.

Posted on by Eric Fischgrund in News, United Realty News Leave a comment

The Fiscal Cliff and Commercial Real Estate

The Fiscal Cliff, or more appropriately, the reason we are dealing with the Fiscal Cliff, will undoubtedly impact our economy in such a way that opportunities will abound in commercial real estate.

The reason Congress has been dealing with the fiscal Cliff is because our nation’s $16 trillion in debt. Worse, we have $60 trillion in unfunded government pensions, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security obligations. In other words we are a $76 trillion debtor nation.

The Fiscal Cliff is Congress’ way of dealing with the increasing deficit necessary to service our debt, it does not address the debt itself. Our real issue is the debt itself. We can only solve our debt problem by increasing taxes or cutting our spending. Since Congress is obviously not inclined to do either, our government needs to find an alternative way of solving this problem. I believe they have.

The Federal Reserve, which historically has dealt with interest rate policy on a quarterly basis, announced in an unprecedented move that it intends to keep interest rates at the Fed discount window at 0% through early 2015. This has created an artificial cap on interest rates. At the same time, by virtue of the Fed’s QE3 policy, the Fed is effectively printing $85 billion a month—without end. Undoubtedly this devaluation of the currency will help us pay our debt off in cheap dollars. It should also have an upward pressure on interest rates. But, by virtue of the fact that interest rates remain artificially low, we will not feel the effects of this printing of money until the Fed removes its cap on interest rates.

And when that happens, watch out. Interest rates should increase dramatically. Rising interest rates will have a significant impact on commercial real estate. Rising interest rates will bring with inflation. They will also bring with them increasing rates. Properties, such as triple net lease single tenant assets which have very nominal rent increases, typically lower than CPI, will start to act and look like bonds, diminishing in value with rising interest and capitalization rates. By contrast, inflation-protected real estate, those assets with underlying leases that adjust for inflation, should be able to maintain or increase in value.

Adding to the opportunity,  we’re approaching a time when many properties can be purchased at below replacement costs, and financed at historically low interest rates. Investors are able to acquire real estate assets at below replacement cost prices, finance them with long-term low-rate financing, and protect them with inflation-protected leases will benefit from the inflationary cycle we see coming.

While the drama on Capitol Hill is certainly causing headaches for economists around the world, those in the commercial real estate industry should see opportunity amidst the frustration.

Posted on by Jacob Frydman in News, United Realty Leadership Leave a comment

CRE Opportunity in 2013

Office Buildings NYC - Real Estate NYCThe Mayans might have had a bleak vision of 2012, but the financial forecast of 2013 – as far as the commercial real estate market goes – is a future worth exploring, and possibly living in. It’s been a hard road for many Americans since the recession began eating away at the economy as far back as 2007, resulting in a calamitous decline in property values, and a rise in foreclosures. But while other sectors are slowing, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Housing market remains a key economic driver.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) chief economist, Lawrence Yun, the market has been slowly building momentum, and the economy is expected to grow by 2.5 percent next year. The NAR’s quarterly real estate forecast finds that vacancy rates over the next four quarters are forecast to decline 1.0 percentage point in the office market, 0.6 point in industrial, 0.2 point for retail and 0.1 point in multifamily.

In a recent article, the New York Times reported home values in the first six months of the year were up by 5.9 percent (the best it’s been in seven years), and a report by The Conference Board, a private group, have pointed at an increase in consumer confidence since September. Throw in the Labor Department’s report earlier this month citing the addition of 146,000 jobs in November (which brought the unemployment rate down to 7.7 percent), and a more optimistic view is clearly on the horizon.

Forbes contributor Bill Conerly, has a less enthusiastic view of 2013, and sees only marginal improvement ahead as it relates to commercial real estate, with a real boost occurring either in 2014, or 2015. But perhaps, the real lesson here has more to do with the country’s mood than with hard numbers and statistical projections. True enough, improvement in commercial real estate will likely hinge on improvement of the national economy, but good news can be its own catalyst.

Just take a look at your own neighborhood. Some homeowners are already seeing an increase in their home’s value, however small. And more people are renting with an option to lease, as a way of getting around the stricter criterion for traditional mortgages.

While no calendar exists to give us a glimpse of 2013 before it actually happens, the evidence, so far, seems to suggest a more robust economy than we’ve seen in years, which should have a positive impact on commercial real estate.

So what comes next? If you ask me, there is plenty of opportunity out there.

Posted on by Jacob Frydman in Commercial Real Estate, News, United Realty Leadership Leave a comment

RENT-ing is Sweet Music to Brooklyn Investors.

Real Estate NYCYou don’t need to have a Broadway hit to enjoy rent. Brooklyn is booming.

Although the American dream is still to own property, renting has taken off in the years since the Financial Crisis, especially in highly desirable neighborhoods like Brooklyn. That has caused a flurry of activity among commercial real estate investors looking to capitalize on rising rents and low financing. A recent report in the New York Times mentioned sale of 111 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn for $55.5 million, or more than $895,000 for each of 111 Kent’s 62 apartments. The NYTimes article goes on to mention that the price paid per apartment is a record for such properties outside Manhattan, according to the data company, Real Capital Analytics.

Steiner Studios recently acquired a 60-unit rental in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn for $24.5 million, or $408,000 a unit, and is in contract to buy another rental building in the borough. Other big sales include Invesco Real Estate’s purchase of 75 Clinton in Brooklyn Heights for $50.8 million, or roughly $686,000 a unit. Invesco also bought the Arias Park Slope at 150 Fourth Avenue for $57.5 million, or roughly $605,000 a unit. Equity Residential bought 175 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg for $76 million, or nearly $673,000 a unit. The Naftali Group recently bought a vacant site at 267 Sixth Street in Park Slope that was intended to be a condominium and is instead building a 12-story, 104-unit rental building.

Reports point to several factors behind the trend, including a strong rental market and low interest rates. Rents in the borough increased by 10 percent in 2010 and were estimated to increase by 7 percent last year, according to a market report by TerraCRG.

Even those people who want to purchase a home are having difficulty obtaining a mortgage, according to The Times article. So they turn to renting instead. In addition to a strong rental market, Brooklyn is attracting waves of investors because of the many stalled condominium sites that are primed for conversions into rental buildings.

The Real Deal reports that studios have recently been heating up in the rental market. Previous months have shown that studios lagged behind the one and two bedroom categories for the month-to-month price change, but that is changing. Leading the way was Williamsburg with the highest monthly studio price increase.

Data from MNS shows that Boerum and Cobble Hill are listing rents that are about $100 less than last month. Although the discounts are primarily in walk-up buildings, renters looking for a hot location with a little sacrifice in luxury should hop the F/G trains and start looking. MNS reports that compared to last spring, Park Slope has achieved the highest year-on-year price increase of 33% in the borough. Two-bedrooms are up over $1,000 and new inventory, as well as rental product in condo buildings have pushed the rents up in the neighborhood.

 

Posted on by Jacob Frydman in News Leave a comment

There Are Still Clouds Amid Housing Sector’s Silver Lining

Real Estate ContractAmid mounting evidence that the extended real estate market recession is finally abating, investors are still advised to display considerable caution before jumping back into the market without the advice of competent investment counsel. Over the past few sessions, newly released industry and government data would seem to raise recovery hopes as the residential home market has shown some encouraging signs of reversal. Sales of new homes as well as resales have suddenly ratcheted upward and prices in key markets have been recovering from multi-year lows. This enthusiasm was further encouraged by Toll Brothers’ fiscal year 2012 second-quarter results which showed its revenues rose to $373.7 million with deliveries of 671 units, as compared with revenues of $319.7 million and 591 deliveries in the year ago period. But of greater market impact, according to analysts, was the fact that Toll said it ended the second quarter of its 2012 fiscal year with a backlog of $1.50 billion, for 2,403 housing units, an increase of 49% in dollars terms and 37% in units, compared to the year-ago second-quarter-end backlog of $1.01 billion and 1,760 units.

As the leading builder of luxury homes, analysts consider Toll’s encouraging results to be a possible bellwether for the housing sector in general. Nevertheless, some housing market economists have suggested that the price recovery may be more a reflection of dwindling supply, as new construction has been sharply curtailed over the past couple of years. It will take a couple of months of sustained growth in new starts numbers coupled with firming prices to confirm that a turnaround is taking hold. In the meantime foreclosure activity in outstanding mortgages from the boom years of the mid-2000s continues as a drag on the sector and the pace of loan modifications still appears to be lagging expectations. Sub-prime mortgage securitizations from the issuance boom in 2007-2008 remain well under water and even senior tranches are available at distressed sale levels. The situation is being acerbated by the reluctance or inability of banks or servicers to actually take responsibility for maintaining foreclosed properties. As a result they often are caught in unwanted litigation from tenant or tenant groups over property maintenance. Litigation serves to further delay any corrective activity leading to even greater property deterioration with the result that property values recede even further below outstanding mortgage balances.

Nevertheless, astute investors that avail themselves of well researched market intelligence should be able to identify deals that are discounted to such levels that astute management and patience should be well rewarded. For this reason it is important to seek out professional management that has experience in dealing with such mortgage instruments and that is also in touch with the market and aware of the current state of actual ground level conditions. Such an organization will be able to guide investors towards the best opportunities at any given time. But more important, they will be able to keep investors away from situations that may appear lucrative on the surface but that may actually be fraught with longer term dangers.

Posted on by Jacob Frydman in Housing Market, News Leave a comment

Top 5 Biggest Commercial Mortgage Loans In NYC From January to April 2012

***This blog entry is a guest post from PropertyShark.com and contains data developed by their analysts. PropertyShark.com aggregates real estate data and listings from hundreds of public and proprietary sources into an easy-to-use yet comprehensive property research website covering a dozen major markets.***

A recent survey done by loan officers at Federal Reserve informs us that since the beginning of February 2012, banks — domestic banks in particular — have started to ease loan standards for the commercial real estate sector. At PropertyShark.com, we searched for the biggest five commercial mortgage loans in NYC from January to the end of April 2012 and compared them to the loans secured during the same period last year to see what the changes are.

The data shows that waters remained rather still this year except for two blockbuster loans in April. The rest of the loan activity stayed within last year’s patterns, when none of the commercial loans surpassed $175,000,000.

The biggest mortgage loan this year amounted to $520,000,000, with New York State Fund Housing Agency as lender. With it, real estate developer Gotham Organization is set to bring a change in the West Side’s residential landscape, as the massive housing project at 550 West 45th Street is expected to offer more than 1,000 affordable and luxury residential units at one address.

The second was secured against the 53-story tower at 1515 Broadway. Right before media giant Viacom paid a whopping amount to renew the lease of this entire building, the landlord, SL Green, obtained a loan of more than $320,000,000 from the New York branch of Bank of China. This is not the first mortgage SL Green, the largest office landlord in NYC, receives from the Chinese lender.

Are these two loans going to set a trend? It might be too early to tell, but they sure rocked the boat a little.

As a lender, Deutsche Bank has proven quite active during this time. In March 2012, it added to its lending books a $142,148,560 mortgage secured against the 7-story office building at 10 East 52nd Street, Manhattan, after one of its subsidiaries, the German American Capital Corporation, had financed in February a $125,000,000 loan going to The Solow Building in Manhattan.

Last year during the period January-April the highest mortgage loan was the $175,000,000 associated with The Milford Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Foreign banks competed again with the domestic ones, Deutsche Bank appearing once more as one of the main lenders, with a $125,000,000 mortgage loan going to The Sheffield at 322 West 57 Street, one of the most sought-after condo buildings in Midtown Manhattan.

Here are the rankings for the highest commercial mortgage loans for January-April 2011 and 2012:

NYC Top 5 New Mortgages in January 2012-April 2012


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC Top 5 New Mortgages in January 2011-April 2011



Posted on by Jacob Frydman in Commercial Real Estate, Guest Blog Post, Hotels, News Leave a comment

Banks Compete For CRE Lending

According to a recent report from the CoStar Group, banks have picked up their lending activity to commercial real estate in recent months – a sign the slow-but-steady economic recovery is beginning to pick up steam.

The report says banks that are lending again see lower risk owner-occupied properties and multifamily properties as preferred targets. But with lenders focusing on the same ‘safe shelter’ property sectors, it is creating widespread competition for the better-quality borrowers in those areas. The real battle ground may be next year from the coming opportunities in construction and development lending.

“The area of lending that we see being the most competitive on pricing continues to be the commercial real estate arena, with a lot of players in and including the life insurance companies,” said Kirk W. Walters, senior executive vice president and CFO of People’s United Financial Inc., a bank holding company in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Kelly S. King, chairman, CEO and president of BB&T Corp. in Winston-Salem, NC, told CoStar the competition is not yet so fierce that existing customers are getting picked off, but he did say banks are looking for more diversity as their own customer base is dwindling. Richard K. Davis, chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis, MN, told the website the two coasts are where the activity is most competitive. And Joseph Ficarola, chairman, president and CEO of New York Community Bancorp, said that his $42 billion holding company in Westbury, NY, is only targeting the best borrowers.

In its quarterly survey of senior loan officers, the Federal Reserve found that business lending, or commercial and industrial loans, was enjoying increased demand – and greater competition among banks. The Fed reported that this was the second consecutive survey in which reports of stronger demand for such loans by domestic banks outnumbered reports of weaker demand. Reflecting this, commercial loans at commercial banks in the U.S. have risen about 15% between March 2011 and April 18, according to Fed banking-industry data.

Within this loan study, The Fed says most domestic banks generally reported having eased their lending standards and having experienced stronger demand over the past three months. Standards on C&I loans to large and middle-market firms, and to small firms, were about unchanged. However, moderate to large net fractions of domestic banks eased many terms on C&I loans to firms of all sizes, with most indicating that they had done so in response to more aggressive competition from other banks or nonbank lenders.

Domestic banks also reported an increase in loan demand from firms of all sizes. In contrast, a small net fraction of foreign respondents again reported a tightening of their lending standards on C&I loans and a decrease in demand for such loans. A moderate net fraction of domestic banks reported having eased standards for commercial real estate (CRE) loans. As has been the case recently, significant net fractions of domestic banks reported that demand for CRE loans had strengthened. On net, foreign branches and agencies reported that standards and demand for CRE loans were little changed.

Posted on by Jacob Frydman in Commercial Real Estate, News Leave a comment