Monday, February 20, 2017

Follow the Out-of-Town Investors

If you drive around New Haven these days, you will see building after building that is being renovated, remediated, or repurposed.  Many of them have been bought by investors that can no longer afford the prices commanded by properties in New York City or Boston.  Once someone makes his or her first purchase, there is a good chance that he/she will continue to buy other offerings, especially given the prices on some of the older industrial buildings.  In addition to the lower acquisition costs, it's also cheaper to renovate here than in a bigger city. 

Some of these purchases are being driven by the desire to diversify investments, while some are opportunistic, and others are for specific purposes. The rash of new rental options will inevitably lead to other retail and commercial needs in those neighborhoods.  There will be money made, as early adopters get ahead of the curve. Organizations and companies that are renting should consider now the possibility of buying, before prices rise further, even though current rental rates may seem like (and often are) a bargain.

What does this mean for those of us who live here?  Will we continue to watch as others grab what's on the market?  Or will we make the classic mistake of sitting on the sidelines until it becomes so clear that outsiders are making money, that we buy at the end of the cycle, or buy something that is more problematic or risky?  Only time will tell, but it's our job to point this trend out, and the job of readers to think about their own portfolios.

Friday, January 27, 2017

CERC survey: View of CT realty upbeat

Written by Gregory Seay

Connecticut landlords and other realty professionals feel better about the near term prospects for the residential-property market than they do the commercial-space sector, a new survey shows.

According to the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC), its latest SiteFinder semi-annual online survey of Connecticut commercial real estate conditions indicates that respondents are generally positive about markets, except for the office market and overall economy.

The 72 respondents included brokers (65 percent) and economic development professionals (22 percent) from Connecticut and out-of-state. Almost one-third of respondents (32 percent) were from New Haven County.

Respondents generally rated local market conditions as satisfactory, with a majority saying the industrial, investment, and residential markets in their respective geographic areas were "excellent" or "good" (53 percent, 50 percent, and 62 percent, respectively).

Respondents were more pessimistic about their local office markets, with one-quarter rating it as "poor" and 56 percent rating it as "fair."

At the state level, residential was the only market for which a majority (51 percent) said it was "excellent" or "good." One-quarter (25 percent) said the office market was "poor," and one-third (30 percent) said the overall economy was "poor."

Respondents are also seeing tangible improvement in the real estate markets in the state. Over half of respondents (57 percent) reported seeing an increase in buyer interest or inquiries compared to this time last year.

Nearly half (48 percent) also reported an increase in the number of deals. There was an increase of those reporting increased number of deals (from 38 percent) and buyer interest or inquiries (from 48 percent) from the first quarter of 2016.

"As the need for large office space continues to decline, the demand for modern industrial manufacturing and distribution space continues to increase,'' said CERC Real Estate Program Manager Erron Smith. "End-users have communicated that they are willing to pay a little more, if it translates into occupying a space that can satisfy their operational needs."

More than half of respondents thought sale prices for industrial, retail, investment, and residential properties would increase in the state in the next three months (63 percent, 51 percent, 61 percent, and 57 percent, respectively). Most expected this gain to be less than 5 percent, but more than 10 percent of respondents thought there would be a gain of at least 5 percent in sale prices for residential.

"There was a similar pattern for lease prices, with expected gains in sale prices for industrial, retail, investment and residential, and a loss for office," said Alissa DeJonge, CERC's research vice president.

Nonprofit CERC is a public-private partnership that provides economic development services. Its SiteFinder Real Estate Survey measures the health of Connecticut's commercial real estate market.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Multifamily Still Strong

Despite talk in the NY area that prices for residential property are overheated, and although Connecticut is considered to be one of the places where buying makes more sense than renting, both have more multifamily properties in the LoopNet weekly report of the most viewed properties.  In the NYC region, 7 out of 10 of the listings mentioned were multifamily, and 8 of the 10 in CT were in the same category.

What this suggests is that it may be less about demand for the end product, and more about demand for investment properties for mostly smaller investors, at least in Connecticut.  By that, I mean that REITs may be looking at other things, but that much of what would be considered "affordable" purchases for individuals are now falling into the multifamily basket.  It could also mean that sellers are beginning to put those investments up for sale, either to reap the profits to reinvest, or to lock in gains before there is an oversupply.  Or that the stock market is getting the proceeds from any sales.

Under any scenario, it's clear that the action lately is strongest in the investment realm.  Since LoopNet is telling us that buyers are looking largely at those types of listings, it makes it a good time to list. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Change in town grand list values over time

Many towns experienced an increase in their grand list between 2013 and 2014 but the vast majority are still below where they were in 2008, according to an analysis of recently released data from the Office of Policy and Management.

Only 15 towns, including Stamford and Bridgeport, have rebounded from the Great Recession and seen an increase in the aggregate valuation of taxable properties.

Click here for interactive map.

The most recent grand list data for municipalities is from 2014, but more recent data from a different study, which looks only at home values, shows that a downward trend in that category might be continuing statewide.

Home values in all other states increased between 1 and 10 percent from 2015 to 2016, but Connecticut’s decreased by half a percent, according to a recently released report from CoreLogic.

Connecticut was the only state in the country to show a valuation decline from 2015 to 2016.  Connecticut also was one of five states in the study furthest from peak home values – 20.1 percent below.

Article from Trend CT

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Web Traffic Patterns

We have always known that people take a few months to think about a real estate transaction, so that we need to pay more attention to visitors to our site than someone selling sneakers or office supplies, but we didn't have much empirical evidence to go by.  Now we have more.

We track all of the new and returning visitors to our site, as well as all the visitors who click on our website from a search.  Although we know that our region is education-driven, and therefore not, in many cases, the usual seasonal pattern found elsewhere, even we were surprised to learn the two-week period in which the greatest number of new visitors appeared.  Can you guess?

It was during the last two weeks in January!  That means that, despite weather and paying off tax and holiday bills, more people are starting a property search right after the first of the year than at any other time. Our greatest number of clicks from Google last year came in February and March, suggesting that the search for specific properties might be ramping up just after the new visitors started the process.  

Since all industry data suggests that most property closes in the late spring and summer, except for a surge in commercial closings at the end of the year, this would suggest that, if you are a seller who wants to have the broadest exposure for your property, you need to list it now!  Not next month, not when the days are longer or the weather improves, but now.  This is when people want to look at real estate, at least in our region, and we should be giving them what they want, when they want it.  Because that's how property gets sold!  So act quickly, for maximum results.