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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

 

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. 

 

 

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.

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

Finance & Commerce: Will Minnesota law change revive condo development?

Original Article

Date: June 7th, 2017

By: Brian Johnson

 

A change in Minnesota law that makes it more difficult for homeowner associations to sue over construction defect claims may or may not revive condominium and townhome construction. But builders, developers and real estate agents who pushed for the change say it’s a good start.

House File 1538, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton last week, requires homeowner associations to implement a preventive maintenance plan, go through mediation, and get the majority of association members on board before they can proceed with a construction defect lawsuit.

“None of us have a crystal ball as to whether any of this will change the market,” said Ryan Hamilton, associate legal counsel for the Minnesota Association of Realtors, which supported the bill. “It is an effort to improve the risk environment. We hope it does that.”

Builders and developers have been clinging to that hope for a while. In recent years, they have been hesitant to move forward with condo and townhome developments for fear of litigation, despite growing demand for such homes. Another barrier: Some still feel the sting of the condo bust in the previous decade, and the lenders do, too.

As Finance & Commerce has reported, state law allows a condo owner or association to sue project teams for “major construction defects” for up to 10 years after the unit or building was completed. The law was amended in 2010 to add commercial contractors to the list of liable partners. That 10-year statute still applies, said Minneapolis attorney Peter Coyle, who worked with the Housing Options Coalition.

Homebuilding has been on the upswing overall. More than 7,600 new multifamily units were added in the seven-county metro area in 2015, up from 2,329 in 2007, according to the Housing Options Coalition, which pushed for the new law. Coalition members include the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities and the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

But because of the liability issue, condos and townhomes represent a much smaller share of new housing units. Two years ago, 3 percent of new multifamily units were condos and townhomes, down from 23 percent in 2007, the coalition said.

Speaking to the demand side, Herb Tousley of the University of St. Thomas points specifically to downtown Minneapolis and the city’s North Loop.

Demand is solid for condos there, but “hardly any” units are for sale, said Tousley, director of real estate programs at St. Thomas. Still, he noted new ones are coming online, including developer Jim Stanton’s 374-unit Legacy Condos project at 121 12th Ave. S. in the Mill District of Minneapolis.

“I think you will see people moving in to fill that supply,” he predicted.

Abbey Bryduck, legislative director for AGC-Minnesota, hopes the change will encourage more development. In particular, the preventive maintenance requirement “goes a long way in making sure these buildings are maintained properly,” she said.

The bill, which was approved by a wide margin in the Legislature, had a Republican author in the House and a DFL author in the Senate.

Despite the bipartisan support, some language in the bill, including the requirement to get the majority of condo owners on board with a lawsuit, gives pause to David Hellmuth, an Edina attorney who represents homeowner associations.

Hellmuth said the requirement puts an “unnecessary restriction” on the association when legitimate claims need to be addressed.

A typical defense against construction defect claims is that the association didn’t do enough preventive maintenance. In other words defendants claim the association “caused their own problems,” he said.

“Whether or not that is true is debatable,” Hellmuth said.

Even so, housing industry advocates like David Siegel of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities expect to see more condo and townhome projects sprout up in the metro area and across the state with the changes in effect.

How far has townhome ownership declined?

A number of years ago, BATC held an event that showcased townhomes, condominiums and other for-sale multifamily properties. “We could not do any such thing today,” Siegel said, because the options are too limited.

“I think this legislation will lead to more condo development, and will similarly result in more townhome construction,” Siegel added.

The Builders Association of Minnesota also supported the legislation, said Remi Stone, BAM”s executive vice president.

Stone said it “improves the landscape” for builders and developers looking to produce condos and townhomes, which appeal to younger buyers just entering the market as well as empty-nesters. That goes for markets such as Rochester, St. Cloud and Duluth, as well as the Twin Cities, she said.

Stone hopes the statute changes will spur more development. “This is one feature,” she said. “We still have issues of financing, we still have regulatory costs. But there is demand. And where there’s demand, the market will go.”

Architecture & Design, Development, Twin Cities Real Estate, Urban Planning

Former Washburn-McReavy Funeral Home Development Remains Postponed

If you take a leisurely drive east over the 3rd Street bridge, you will see a familiar building. Familiar in the sense, the building is 90 years old. Your grandparents likely could have seen it as children. However, today unlike 90 years ago, fences surround the building with visible graffiti and construction equipment. It is the sight of one of many development projects in historic Northeast Minneapolis. 

The plan for the 90 year old building, previously occupied by Washburn-McReavy funeral home, was demolition to make way for a 40 story high rise. The project thus far is similar to the redevelopment efforts of Nye’s Polonaise which occupied the historic Harness shop and 112 Hennepin building. The Nye’s Polonaise project originally planned a high rise building, but in the end scrapped 24 of the original 30 floors to accommodate the neighborhood and Heritage Preservation Commission.

While it is not the same building as Nye’s, the project has been postponed now for almost a year. It will be interesting to see what happens, but recent history and potential project pressures may indicate serious alterations to the original plans.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/2017/05/31/court-blocks-teardown-for-alatus-40-story-condo.html

 

Commercial Real Estate, Development, Economics, Executive Insight Series, Housing, Industry News, Investment Real Estate, Real Estate Programs, Real Estate Trends, Think Outside The Box, Twin Cities Real Estate, Upcoming UST Events

Real Estate Executive Insight Speaker Series Bob Lux – Inside the Mind of A Developer

 

Real Estate Executive Insight Series

Bob Lux – Inside the Mind of A Developer 

Event Details Tuesday, March 28th 2017 5:30 p.m. University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis Campus Schulze Hall, Room 127

A candid conversation with industry leader Bob Lux, Founder Alatus LLC

Quality real estate development requires innovative thinking. Bob Lux, founder of Alatus LLC, has been in the real estate development and investment business for over 30 years. His company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions and high quality projects by wisely using his team’s talents and strengths to achieve the client’s vision and form a better community.   Lux will discuss the challenges, opportunities and trends in developing residential and commercial real estate in the Twin Cities. Lux will also share his views on the condo market and as the largest private owner of parking facilities in Minnesota Bob will outline his expectations for future parking and infrastructure needs in the downtown area.

Agenda 5:30-6 p.m. Networking 6-7 p.m. Presentation by Bob Lux

Register Today
 
Development, Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Twin Cities Real Estate

Survey of Twin Cities’ home builders finds them in a slightly more optimistic mood than six months ago

The composite score of this new forecasting tool increased slightly, but there were more significant changes found in the six individual questions that St. Thomas asked industry leaders.

Leaders in the Twin Cities single-family-home-construction industry were “slightly less pessimistic” about market conditions in June than they were last December. That’s according to a survey conducted by the University of St. Thomas Shenehon Center for Real Estate in partnership with the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC). Last December’s survey produced a composite index of 45. The second survey, conducted in June 2016, produced a slightly more optimistic 46. 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 every six months about their expectations in six key areas of the housing market one year in the future.  The first survey was conducted in December 2015.

“The participants were strongly optimistic in their expectation of increasing sale prices per square foot and the number of single-family housing starts, and they were moderately optimistic about an increase in availability of finished lots in the coming year,” said Herb Tousley, director of Real Estate Programs at the University of St. Thomas. “However, the expectation of increasing land prices and a belief that the cost of building materials will increase over the next year was a cause for concern that tempered the composite index,” according to David Siegel, executive director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.  “Increasing prices of land and building materials increase total building costs which in turn creates a drag on single-family housing construction and is reflected in the survey as a pessimistic score. There is also an expectation that mortgage rates are going to increase moderately over the next year. This is also reflected pessimistically in the survey as it adds to the total cost of purchasing a home,” said Siegel.

Tousley noted that these first two surveys are providing a baseline to compare with future surveys. “As we accumulate more survey results over the next few years, the results will begin to reveal market trends that will be useful as a forecasting tool,” he said. “The industry leaders we poll are actively engaged in studying both the demand and supply side of the housing market,” said Tousley. “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 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 survey also provides a composite score, or overall average, for the six questions.

Here are the scores for each of the six questions:

Housing Starts: 63 (up 3 from December)

This score indicates an increasingly optimistic expectation by the panel that the number of new single-family housing starts will increase in the coming year.

Square-foot sale price: 69 (same as December)

This reflects the panel’s strong belief that sale prices will be significantly higher a year from now. The net result is the expectation that when compared to previous years, 2016 will be a much better year for single-family home builders.

Land prices: 31 (up 1 from December)

This pessimistic score changed little from the first survey in December. The score reflects a belief that the rate of increase for land prices is going to be greater than the rate of increase for home prices in general.

Availability of finished lots: 56 (up 6 from December)

This indicates an increasing optimism that there will be more finished lots available over the next 12 months. That’s a good thing for the market since it helps moderate land prices and encourages more construction.

Cost of building materials: 36 (up 2 from December)

Like land prices, this score is just slightly less pessimistic and continues to reflect a concern that some of the gains from increased sale prices and more building starts could be offset by the higher costs of building materials.

 Mortgage rates: 32 (up 2 from December)

This reflects the panel’s expectation that mortgage rates are going to increase moderately over the next year. Most panelists are expecting an increase of .5% to 1%.

June 2016 Homebuilders Image

More Information

Additional details can be found on the Shenehon Center’s website: http://www.stthomas.edu/centers/shenehon/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2014/07/Twin-Cities-Home-Builders-Survey-June-2016.pdf.