Affordable Housing, Development, Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Residential Real Estate

Affordable Housing: Misconceptions (Part 1)

Affordable housing is and has been a buzzword in the real estate industry for years. It carries many misconceptions. Let’s clear up these misconceptions before going further.

  • First, affordable housing is not typically affordable to everyone. It is affordable in that rent or sale value is reduced from market rates in order to allow individuals and families below the median income level to not be “overburdened” by rent or mortgage payments.
  • Second, the majority of people assisted HAVE jobs and ARE productive members of their communities in which they reside. The idea that affordable housing induces crime and the lowering of community home values, to name a few, is false.
  • Third, affordable housing is just like any other rental or purchase agreement with the addition of a historical income check. Owners and tenants undergo credit checks and asked of employment. Just in case you weren’t convinced when I stated earlier that a majority of affordable housing owners and tenants are employed.

 

So, why is this topic being brought up? Of almost 116 million households surveyed by the 2013 American Housing Survey, 36 percent are by definition overburdened by housing costs. To be overburdened by Federal government definition, a household must pay more than 30 percent of their yearly income. There are multiple perspectives to even this number, but before “Part 2” of this discussion, we ask the reader to do some research.

Do you think more affordable housing is needed? Is it a policy issue? Is it a supply and demand issue?

 

Our reason to talk about affordable housing is simple. With more than a third of the United States overburdened by housing costs and as a part of the University of St. Thomas, the Shenehon Center for Real Estate serves as a resource to the commercial, industrial, residential and corporate segments of real estate industry and the community to advance the public interest in real estate issues and to advance the common good.

Development, Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Industry News, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Twin Cities Real Estate

Latest Survey of Twin Cities Home Builders Finds Them Optimistic for 2018, but with Some Concerns

St. Thomas’ fourth semiannual survey of 35 industry leaders measures sentiment and is designed to be a forecasting tool.

 Leaders in the Twin Cities single-family home-construction industry are generally optimistic about market conditions for the coming year although they have concerns about increasing mortgage rates and higher costs of land and building materials. That’s according to a new survey conducted by the University of St. Thomas Shenehon Center for Real Estate in partnership with the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.

The Twin Cities Home Builders Survey is patterned after St. Thomas’ Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Survey that began in 2010. The Home Builders Survey polls the same panel of 35 industry leaders annually in June and again in December about their expectations for the upcoming year in six key areas of the housing market. These experts are asked to assign a number of zero to 100 for each of the six questions. A midpoint score of 50 is neutral; scores higher than 50 indicate a more favorable outlook and scores lower than 50 indicate a more pessimistic outlook.

“The industry leaders we poll every six months are actively engaged in studying both the demand and supply side of the housing market,” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university. “Since they are involved in creating new housing units and adjusting supply-to-demand conditions, these individuals are close to the actual changes taking place in the market.” “These results align closely with what we are hearing from the market and our members.” Said David Siegel, Executive Director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. “While there is a great need for residential construction in the Twin Cities, there are still several factors holding it back including land prices, the regulatory burden and a shortage of labor.”

Here are the scores for each of the six questions that were asked in August 2017:

Housing Starts: 65

This score increased increased from 61 in December 2016 to 65, it indicates a high expectation that the number of single-family housing starts will show a marked increase in 2018. Last year was one of the best in recent years with about 5,300 permits issued.

Sale Price per S F: 74

This score is even more optimistic than last December’s score of 72. It reinforces the panel’s continued expectations that home prices will continue to increase. The net result is the belief that sale prices will increase at a rate that will more than offset the expected increases in project costs.

Land prices: 23

At 23 this index has decreased sharply from last December’s score of 31 moving even deeper into the pessimistic range. Indications are that the rate of increased land prices will accelerate in 2018. While there may be enough finished lots available, the higher land prices will squeeze profitability.

Availability of finished lots: 60

This index increased from 51 last December to 60 in June reflecting builders increased optimism that there will be an increase in the availability of finished lots in 2018. An adequate supply of well-located finished lots is crucial to the health of the home building industry.

Cost of building materials: 24

The outlook for the expected increases in the costs of building materials continues to persist. This index moved from 29 in December 2016 to an even more pessimistic score of 24 in June 2016. This score is an indication of increased concern by our panelists that much of the gain from increased sale prices and more building starts will be offset by higher costs. These expected increases in costs could depress profitability and could reduce the number of new homes built.

Mortgage rates: 28

This index remains unchanged at 28. It is an indication that the panel continues to expect mortgage rates to increase in the next 12 months. Although mortgage rates increased during the fourth quarter of 2016, most panelists are expecting an additional increase of ¼% to ½% half a percent within the next year. The affordability issues created by higher rates could put a damper on home-building activity.

More Information

Additional details can be found on the Shenehon Center’s website: http://www.stthomas.edu/business/centers/shenehon/research/default.html

 

Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Twin Cities Real Estate

University of St. Thomas Real Estate Analysis for June 2017

Could You, Would You, Buy a House Sight Unseen?

First Half of 2017 – 3 Major Home Price Trends

 The extreme shortage of homes available for sales is resulting in a new phenomenon of buyers who are purchasing homes sight unseen. Twenty years ago, virtual tours and 3D graphics were mainly science fiction in movies like The Fifth Element, and a “sight-unseen” purchase literally meant a buyer had no experience of the property other than static photographs. Buyers were in essence blindfolded. Today, 3D and virtual technologies have become a reality. They are able to bring a property experience to the “sight-unseen” purchase. A number of local real estate brokers have noted this ingress of technology into the real estate industry and how it has given them a new tool to present properties. One Minneapolis based broker who has personally sold 3 properties sight-unseen in the last year, said the Minneapolis market has recently seen buyers more willing to at least offer sight-unseen. All of our conversations with Minneapolis realtors shared the opinion that technology is impacting the industry. They stated that listing price and anticipated time on the market are main factors on whether a virtual tour is created. The description of the Minneapolis “sight-unseen” buyer was someone looking to relocate from out of state or internationally and has experience in home buying (i.e. not a first time home buyer). An interesting point, technology can actually be a drawback for certain listings. We were told technology removes the interactive sales process; buyers experiencing a virtual tour may never visit the property in isolation from the neighborhood experience.

 Twin Cities Home Price Trends Through the First Half of 2017

 Price Appreciation is Outstripping Income Growth 

    • Median sale prices continue to increase at record rates. Between May and June the median sale price increased 3.6%. For the first ½ of 2017 through June median sale prices increased at the red hot pace of 15.1%. The year over year increase for homes sold between June 2016 and June 2017 was 7.0%. These rates of increase are far exceeding wage and income growth and will begin to cause affordability issues for homebuyers if these trends continue
  • Market Still Lacks Adequate Inventory 
    • While the availability of homes for sale has improved slightly the number of homes for sale has been consistently running 15% – 20% less than a year ago and 20% – 25% less than 2 years ago. While the construction of new homes has picked up notably this year we are still not building enough new homes to build our way out of the current short supply situation. It will take many more new listings to get the housing market more balanced in terms of supply and demand.
  • Tight Inventory Also Impacting Rental Markets
    • The lack of homes available to purchase is creating a situation where potential home buyers are unable to find a home to buy causing them to remain in rental housing for a longer period of time. Even though there were over 4,000 new apartment units delivered in 2016 and given that 2017 is expected to be another record year for new units delivered, the market is expected to absorb all of the new construction. Vacancy rates may increase slightly in the short run in some areas as new developments come on line, but overall occupancy will remain high through the end of this year. Minneapolis / St. Paul is one of the tightest rental markets in the country. Rent growth was 4.8% in 2016 and is expected to be at least that much in 2017. That rate of increase is higher than the expected wage and income growth of 2% – 3%. Continuation of this trend over time will continue to create an affordability gap resulting in renters having to pay an increasingly larger percentage of their income for housing.
Economics, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Residential Real Estate Index, Twin Cities Real Estate, Uncategorized

Sight-Unseen Home Buying: Trend or Consequence

Twenty years ago, virtual tours and 3D graphics were mainly science fiction in movies like The Fifth Element, and a “sight-unseen” purchase literally meant a buyer had no experience of the property other than static photographs. Buyers were in essence blindfolded. Today, 3D and virtual technologies have become a reality. They are able to bring a property experience to the “sight-unseen” purchase. Local Minneapolis real estate broker Aleksa Montpetit of Downtown Resource Group noted this ingress of technology into the real estate industry, and how it has given realtors a new tool to present properties. Montpetit, who has personally sold 3 properties sight-unseen in the last year, said the Minneapolis market has recently seen buyers more willing to at least offer sight-unseen.

An article posted in the Wall Street Journal by Katy McLaughlin cites increases in sight-unseen purchases are nationally becoming more common. The annual Redfin survey showed 33 percent of those surveyed said they had made at least an offer on a house “sight-unseen” in the last year. However, this survey did not include the Minneapolis market.

Both Scott Parkin of Verve realty and Scott Stabeck of Sotheby International agreed with Montpetit that potential buyers are more willing to make offers “sight-unseen,” and they added Continue Reading

Business Valuation, Development, Investment Real Estate

Do you need some leisure time?

Last week the Minnesota Business Journal reported, Lutsen Resort, a staple of Minnesota tourism for over 125 years, went on the market for just under 10 million dollars. However, it is not the first resort in the Great North to go on the market recently. The Star Tribune reports Gunflint Lodge sold for over 6 million dollars and Superior Shores and Resort, just south of Lutsen, in Two Harbors is also currently on the market.

Is this a trend? Why are resorts going on the market? Should consumers be worried about their options for North Shore leisure?

Herb Tousley, of the University of St. Thomas’ Shenehon Center for Real Estate, commented that these resorts often times require a “hands-on”  approach to management of the site. He also noted, “due to this approach, many owners see the opportunity to sell, in what they perceive to be, a high value market in order to exit the business.”

Statistics from the U.S. Travel Association show that domestic leisure travel is up from 2 billion trips in 2007 to 2.28 billion trips reported in 2016. More specifically, the Minnesota average household income has returned to pre-recession levels at $79,893. The private sector employment numbers (FRED) also seem to indicate the economy is in relatively good health. These indicators are great for resorts and the hospitality industry in general. Even with the ominous question of, “are we due for an economic adjustment?” It is not a predictable event. From general market signs, a resort may be an investment for some leisure.

 

Shenehon Center for Real Estate has been enabled Graduate level Business and an Undergraduate Major program in real estate for more than 15 years. The University of St. Thomas is dedicated to creating leaders who are morally responsible, think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good. 

 

 

Home Prices, Housing

4th of July Real Estate Matters

Last evening, I watched the Delano fireworks. The show was excellent and the lightning made it even more interesting. It got me thinking about the past, and how 10 years ago, my family would get there 5 or 6 hours early to get prime sitting/parking real estate to see fireworks up close. Whereas, now, as long as we can see the fireworks it is a good spot. To be honest, the effort to get a good spot doesn’t have the same value as before.

Although, my preferences have changed, finding a spot to park a car or a lawn chair seems like it is even harder to find than 10 years ago. Granted, Delano hosts one of the oldest annual 4th of July festivals in the state, the town has grown substantially, and they don’t seem to ever hold back on the fireworks. A couple years back at the 100th anniversary, the Delano fireworks show had a finale “end-of-show” firework which my friends and I felt from 10 miles away. I digress. Despite my own preferences, people want prime viewing real estate to watch the fireworks up close, but there isn’t enough. As the effort [price] to acquire the sitting space rises, people, like my family, have decided to locate farther away.

To the point, the fireworks show reminded me of the current housing market. Low housing inventories with high demand. From a simple economic standpoint, people should be entering the market as the price rises, but like the fireworks show there is an intangible element to housing. Individually, we all value these intangible attributes of living differently. For example, some people in a median priced house may value geography and education opportunities higher than the house alone, and they may not be able to find a home with similar geography and education. Therefore, they do not enter the market keeping inventory low.

FRED reports the average American family can afford a mortgage. So, why are we not seeing more sales? Can people not afford or not willing to pay current prices? Could it be trends changing social norms (Home ownership)? Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see at what point housing inventories truly begin to climb.

Home Prices, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Residential Real Estate Index

Low Home Inventory Beginning to Affect Sales Volume: First Time Home Buyers Fueling Growth

MINNEAPOLIS, (June 21, 2017)— According to the First-Time Homebuyer Market Report recently released by Genworth Mortgage Insurance this segment of the market is having a big influence on the national housing market. The report found that this demographic accounted for 424,000 single-family home sales, or 38 percent of the total homes sold in Q1 of 2017. This amount is an 11 percent increase from Q1 2016, and the most since 2005. Their source data dates back to 1994 and analyzes over 20 million records. The survey tracks home sales for first-time homebuyers on a monthly basis, publishes quarterly, and compares the data against national housing market indicators.

“The first time home buyer segment is poised for additional growth in the Twin Cities. In fact, historically low interest rates and a strong local economy are all feeding demand in this market segment.” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the University of St. Thomas.

There are some head winds that are creating a drag on the willingness and ability of first time buyers to jump into home ownership. Student loan debt is a major factor making it very difficult to save for a down payment, qualify for a mortgage, and afford a mortgage payment. Additionally, the extreme shortage of moderately priced homes is making it difficult for first time buyers to find affordable homes in good locations.

The limited availability of homes to buy is creating upward pressure on sale prices. Home prices have been rising faster than wages for the last several years. This situation is starting to create affordability issues for first time buyers who typically do not have large down payments. The idea of home ownership is still very much alive among younger potential home buyers. However, due to the aforementioned factors many are needing to delay their first home purchase by several years.

 Setting New Records

The Twin Cities housing market continues to set new records in May. Record high median sales prices and historically low supply continue to dominate the market. The overall median sale price jumped from $245,500 in April to $250,000 in May.

Continue Reading

Affordable Housing, Development, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Industry News, Residential Real Estate

Ten Surprising Facts: State of the Nation’s Housing Report

Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, the market has seen an increase in demand for homes, but home inventories remain stagnant. Further, either from the bank restrictions or consumer caution new home growth has been at record lows for the last 10 years. Whether this is just a trend or due to socio-economic reasons can be debated, but statistics do show Millenials are living with their parents longer and seem to be putting off buying homes due to a different economic situation than previous generations at the same age (US Census).

Further a recent housing report by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, posit similar statistics in the market strengthening the argument that Millenials and uncertainty are holding down the housing market.

1. For-sale inventories dropped even lower over the past year.

For the fourth year in a row, the inventory of homes for sale across the US not only failed to recover, but dropped yet again. At the end of 2016 there were an historically low 1.65 million homes for sale nationwide, which at the current sales rate was just 3.6 months of supply – almost half of the 6.0 months level that is considered a balanced market.

2. Fewer homes were built over the last 10 years than any 10-year period in recent history.

Even with the recent recovery in both single-family and multifamily construction, markets nationwide are still feeling the effects of the deep and extended decline in housing construction. Over the past 10 years, just 9 million new housing units were completed and added to the housing stock. This was the lowest 10-year period on records dating back to the 1970s, and far below the 14 and 15 million units averaged over the 1980s and 1990s.

Read more of the Full Article or go straight to the full Housing Report by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

 

Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Property Management

History of the Empire State Building: A Financial Flop for Nearly 20 years

By QuickLiquidity | Date: June 13, 2017 | Category: History

In the late-1920s, New York’s economy was booming and a competition to build the world’s tallest building was heating up. One man who was at the center of it all was Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation, who wanted to build the world’s tallest building as a monument to himself and American capitalism. Chrysler began construction of his monument, the Chrysler Building in 1928 at 405 Lexington Avenue. Despite the buildings name, the Chrysler Corporation did not pay for the construction of the building and never owned it. Instead Chrysler paid for it himself, with the hope of his children one day inheriting the world’s tallest building.

The architects of a competing building, 40 Wall Street, had devised a plan to prevent the Chrysler Building from ever becoming the world’s tallest building. Seeking the title for themselves, they planned 40 Wall Street to be 925 feet tall: 85 feet taller than the Chrysler Building had originally planned to be. When Chrysler found out about 40 Wall Street’s plans he decided to add a surprise 186-foot spire to his building. 40 Wall Street finished construction first in April of 1930, and held a celebration for being the tallest building in the world, without knowing that they were about to be surpassed. Less then two months later, the construction workers at the Chrysler Building hoisted 4 parts of the secret spire to the top and riveted them together in 90 minutes. At 1,046 feet high, the Chrysler Building became the world’s tallest building¹.

John J. Raskob of General Motors, a rival of Chryslers, also aspired to build the world’s tallest building. Raskob purchased 350 Fifth Avenue and began construction of the Empire State Building in March of 1930, only a few months before the Chrysler Building was completed. Raskob hired architect William F. Lamb, who finished the original drawings for the Empire State Building in only two weeks. In one of their first meetings Raskob had taken a jumbo pencil, stood it on its end and asked Lamb, “Bill, how high can you make it so that it won’t fall down?” Using over 3,400 laborers a day, the building went up in just over a year, well ahead of schedule and under budget at $40 million, which would be nearly $600 million today. During certain periods of construction, the frame grew a remarkable four-and-a-half stories a week. Not to be bested by the Chrysler Building, Raskob put the final cherry at the top of his building – a spire, making the Empire State Building a soaring 102 stories and 1,250 feet high. The Empire State Building was completed in May of 1931 and became the world’s tallest building, a title it would hold for nearly 40 years until the World Trade Center was completed in 1970. While successful in beating the Chrysler Building in height, the Empire State Building was far from being the success Raskob had hoped.

 

Full Article: http://www.quickliquidity.com/blog/history-of-the-empire-state-building-a-financial-flop-for-nearly-20-years.html

Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Real Estate Trends

Minnesota: Commercial Development Hub

A recent post by the New York Times blog, shows Minneapolis is among the leaders in urban development. One may ask, why and how does Minneapolis keep attracting people to the city? Simple, the city’s diverse population allows for vibrant restaurants and events, and municipal transportation creates accessibility to and from these destinations. Looking deeper, destinations and even housing were only possible through recent Minneapolis commercial development. You can see from almost any point in the city a construction crane or sign saying, “Opening Soon.”

Setting aside apartment and condo developments, the last 15 years has seen revitalization of major Minneapolis buildings. The old Sears building on Lake Street is now the Midtown Global Market which hosts over 1.5 million visitors a year, and the Foshay Tower is now the W-Hotel. Recently, the Minneapolis Armory, also on the national landmark registrar, looks to be renovated into a venue hosting large crowds as an event center. The Armory was recently sold for $6 million dollars to Nedal Yusuf Abul-Hajj who has submitted plans to convert the 80 year old building.