(Bloomberg) — Private equity real estate investors are raising money faster than they can spend it.
U.S. funds have amassed a record $287.8 billion for commercial-property deals, according to Preqin. That’s up 11% from a year earlier and 57% more than at the end of 2019.
The pileup of capital affirms the bet that real estate’s rally will continue while inflation rises, stocks wobble and bond returns lag — and despite new Covid-19 variants that could threaten a comeback for offices, hotels and malls. U.S. property investment volume is expected to rise by 5% to 10% next year as firms try to spend down their dry powder, according to CBRE Group Inc.
Private equity giant Blackstone Inc. raised $33.5 billion for real estate deals in the first three quarters of this year while deploying only $25.3 billion. The challenge is that clients — pensions, endowments, high-net-worth individuals — are hungry for more.
“Investors view real estate as a safe place to be in an inflationary and low-rate environment,” Nadeem Meghji, Blackstone’s head of America’s real estate, said in an interview.
The volume of cash chasing deals helped drive up U.S. commercial-property prices an average of 18% in the 12 months through November, led by a 22% jump in warehouses and other industrial real estate, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc. An expected surge of distressed deals hasn’t materialized, freezing deployment of more than $91 billion in dry powder.
Sales have already set an annual record, with $614 billion booked in the first 11 months of 2021, Real Capital data show. Some of the increase stems from pandemic-delayed deals that finally closed. But many sellers also moved to reap profits.
GTIS Partners unloaded $1.6 billion of real estate this year and is routing capital to construct new single-family rental homes, apartments and warehouses, which can generate higher returns than existing buildings.
“Our trade is to sell old and build new,” said Tom Shapiro, president of GTIS, a New York-based real estate investor with $4.2 billion in assets. “Our focus is on putting money to work versus raising money.”
While stepping up direct investment, private equity is also contributing to the record $4 trillion of debt outstanding for real estate, lending as much as $100 billion this year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The private equity money is funding construction, remodeling and other relatively short-term borrowing that’s often too risky for banks, charging higher interest rates in exchange for more generous terms, such as greater loan-to-value ratios and no prepayment penalties.
“We are getting paid to take risks,” said Warren de Haan, co-chief executive officer of Acore Capital. He expects to lend $10 billion next year, up from $7 billion in 2021.
So far, it’s been hard to make bets far out on the risk spectrum. Acore announced a $1 billion fund for hotel rescue financing in February but has only deployed $200 million, and de Haan said he doesn’t anticipate more deals unless new Covid variants topple the the travel rebound.
As the pandemic drags on and remote work becomes more acceptable, office buildings may be the next big target for investors seeking discounted properties. Current owners are reallocating money to other real estate sectors, said Kristin Gannon, managing director at investment bank and brokerage Eastdil Secured.
“Several institutional investors are unwinding office,” she said.
Blackstone is targeting property types with higher demand than supply, based on demographic and technological trends — life-science labs instead of traditional offices, warehouses rather than malls. This week, the firm agreed to buy apartment landlord Bluerock Residential Growth REIT Inc. in a deal valued at $3.6 billion.
“In an inflationary environment, if you own assets with pricing power,” Meghji said, “they should outperform.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Another record month for Woodstock-area real estate market – Woodstock Sentinel Review
While the number of home sales in Woodstock hit a record high last year, real estate officials predict the ongoing shortage of housing inventory will continue throughout 2022.
While the number of home sales in Woodstock hit a record high last year, real estate officials predict the ongoing shortage of housing inventory will continue throughout 2022.
Last year, home sales totalled 1,888 units in the Woodstock area, Woodstock-Ingersoll & District Real Estate Board officials said, which was a 10.2 per cent increase from 2020.
Anthony Montanaro, the president of the Woodstock-Ingersoll & District Real Estate Board, said the surging home sales and scarcity of new listings were simply the result of an increased demand for housing.
“It’s basically the old supply and demand. Woodstock is in a lot of demand from outside our area,” Montanaro said.
He says this heightened demand is primarily coming from buyers in the Greater Toronto Area.
“A lot of people are migrating down the 401 (and) 403 corridors going out west, but we are also seeing some migration from Kitchener, Guelph and the Hamilton area,” Montanaro said.
Because of this new migration leading to a higher demand, the Woodstock area’s current housing shortage has only become worse.
“Although the number of newly listed properties during December was well above average for this time of year, it was still insufficient to keep up with the seemingly endless demand. As a result, overall inventory has dropped below 40 active listings for the first time in history. Without an influx of new listings, the ability of buyers to find a home that suits them will soon become severely limited,” Montanaro said.
At the end of this past month, active listings had fallen to 36, a sharp decrease of 39 per cent from December 2020. This was the lowest number of active listings for the month of December in past three decades, real estate officials said.
Despite this shortage, Montanaro said that demand will only continue.
“There’s no inventory – the demand is tight because of that – so it’s going to be more of the same. We are going to see repeats of this going forward into 2022,” he said.
A recent population study by Ontario’s Ministry of Finance also predicts Oxford County’s population will increase by more than 35 per cent by the year 2046, adding to the demand on the local market.
In light of this, Montanaro said there are more and more buyers competing for the same homes, resulting in “multiple-offer situations” and contributing to rising home prices in the region.
“It’s being fuelled by people coming from the Greater Toronto Area area,” Montanaro said.
The benchmark for home prices – measured by the MLS Home Price Index, which was used to calculate the standard prices of houses in the region in December 2021 – had reached $641,400, a 32.4 per cent from December 2020.
The total dollar value of all homes sold last month was $82.4 million, a 56.2 per cent jump from last December and an all-time record for the month.
“With fierce competition for such few listings, it’s no surprise that both average price and the (benchmark price) set all-time records in December,” Montanaro said.
Looking ahead to 2022, Montanaro said the market would be dictated by inventory levels.
“If inventory starts to increase, then I think you can see prices kind of level off but, if the demand is still there – which we forecast that it still will be there – and the inventory is low then, yes, I can see prices increasing a little bit this year,” he said.
COVID protocols slack in Toronto real estate showings, tenant says – Global News
A Toronto man renting a condominium apartment says real estate agents who showed it to prospective buyers disregarded COVID protocols. When he objected he was warned he could be evicted if he refused to allow others inside.
Connolly told Global News in a television interview that he asked the listing brokerage representing his landlord to ensure that touch surfaces were wiped down in his rented unit after showings.
The Ontario Real Estate Association, whose mandate is to help “realtors succeed in building stronger communities” according to its mission statement, directs members to take COVID protocols in showings seriously.
“Ensure door handles, light switches, counters, cabinet knobs and other high-touch surfaces are targeted. Once a showing is complete the home should be cleaned and disinfected again,” OREA writes in its guidance for safe in-person showings.
Connolly says there were seven showings on the first weekend, each with about two prospective buyers, and one group that included four visitors to his unit.
“Five of seven did not follow instructions to sanitize touch surfaces after viewing,” Connolly said.
Asked how he could be sure they were not compliant, Connolly said he was present for about half the visits.
“For the other showings I set up a camera for my own safety to watch them,” he said, adding he did not make recordings but watched at another location.
Connolly also said the brokerage did not attempt to maximize virtual visits before scheduling in-person showings as advised by OREA.
“They listed my unit using stock photos not of my unit which forced people to come in and look at my unit,” he said.
OREA instructs members that “the use of virtual open houses and virtual tools are still strongly recommended.”
“Conduct as much business as possible virtually,” OREA tells members on its website.
When Connolly, in a series of emails, reported his concerns that buyer agents were not following his requests in accordance with the OREA rules, he finally advised the brokerage that he would not permit further showings until cleaning was made a priority.
The response was swift.
“If I didn’t back down they were going to move to evict me,” Connolly told Global News, providing an email sent by the brokerage raising the possibility of legal action and removal.
Conolly, a project manager in the construction sector, says he considered it a direct threat and he allowed showings to continue.
The listing brokerage is Pierre Carapetian Group, which boasts “Pierre is in the top .3 per cent of Toronto realtors…with over 14 years of experience.”
Carapetian’s website claims “We’ve facilitated over half a billion dollars in Toronto real estate transactions.”
When Global News contacted Carapetian for comment, an associate speaking on his behalf said “no sorry” in response to a request for a video interview, adding “he is booked this week.”
However, in a 465-word written statement, Carapetian asserted “we have done nothing illegal.”
Carapetian said his company “did try to accommodate” Connolly “as much…as reasonably possible.”
“We took precautions to call each showing agent and personally ask them to wipe down surfaces in addition to following the showing instructions,” the statement continued.
Carapetian said “we called the Landlord and Tenant Board to verify if the tenant’s request was reasonable” and that blocking of viewings could give the owner the opportunity to consider an eviction process.
Later, Carapetian accused Connolly of trying “at every turn to impede the sale of this property, deliberately and intentionally.”
However, he offered no details.
The second-floor condominium unit, which Connolly had expressed an interest in buying after moving in about a year ago, has since been sold. Connolly says he understands he will soon receive an eviction notice because the new owner wishes to occupy the apartment.
One of Carapetian’s business associates, speaking on the broker’s behalf, had previously told Global News the written reference to eviction for not cooperating was “not a threat”.
In explaining that the agency “did everything we could” she suggested by telephone that Connolly could do his own housekeeping after the showings.
“Couldn’t he do the same thing? Couldn’t he just wipe down the surfaces?” the spokesperson said, before being reminded that Connolly was a tenant, not the unit’s owner.
Carapetian concluded the letter to Global News with a warning:
“We consider these types of statements on our business slanderous and misleading and we will seek damages for any false or misleading narratives,” Carapetian wrote.
Connolly says he raised the concerns about cleanliness and safety to alert other tenants in the province to make sure they assert their rights if their unit is put up for sale during the pandemic.
“So that every tenant is respected and their safe place where they should feel safe—at home during a pandemic when they’re told to stay at home—that they they have that protection.“
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
More real estate trends to watch in 2022 – The Washington Post
Here are three additional real estate trends we’re seeing start to blossom:
Trend 4: Cash-out refis are back.
According to CoreLogic, a leading real-estate-analytics company, homeowners with mortgages saw their equity increase by more than 31 percent in the third quarter. The Homeowner Equity Report showed “a collective equity gain of over $3.2 trillion, and an average gain of $56,700 per borrower, since the third quarter of 2020.”
No wonder cash-out refinancing became a hot commodity in 2021. Black Knight, a leading provider of technology, data and analytics solutions, reported that tappable equity surged $254 billion to an all-time high of $9.4 trillion. Its latest “Mortgage Monitor” report says cash-out refinances pulled the highest “quarterly volume of equity in 14 years.”
Trend 5: Build-to-rent homes rise in an unaffordable housing market.
As home prices rose dramatically over the past few years, many millennials began to find themselves priced out of the housing market.
Take Boise, where the typical home now costs $519,081 and skyrocketed 35.6 percent over the past year, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. According to Mark Meyer, a principal and chairman of the board of TGB, a landscape architecture firm, the average price of a home in Texas has increased by 35 percent.
“In Dallas, you can’t buy a townhouse for less than $280,000 … Land prices went up during covid, and that affects the sales price of a house. We have a huge affordability issue,” he said during the NAREE conference.
While our nephew is living the Instagram lifestyle, traveling the Western United States and living out of his truck, most people prefer to have a home with walls, floors, a ceiling and indoor plumbing. So, if you can’t afford to buy, you’ve got to rent.
There are approximately 43 million rental properties in the United States, and about 34.5 percent of Americans rent, a number that has been steadily rising over the past few decades. According to RCLCO, the real estate consulting firm, about 22 million of those are single-family rental homes. And the number of single-family rental units being built is on the rise. RCLCO estimates that single-family rental homes now represent about 5.1 percent of all new single-family home construction, up from 3.5 percent in the 2000s.
Not everyone is happy with large private equity and hedge funds engaging builders to build single-family rental homes.
“It’s the most anti-American thing in the last 50 years,” said Alex Kamkar, managing shareholder for Bold Fox Development, based in Texas. He notes that the investment world is “changing the economics and those rents will never come down,” adding that the “rents being charged for these communities are so high that tenants can’t save enough for a down payment.”
For now, this trend looks well-funded and unstoppable. And in the future? Kamkar predicted that the build-to-rent movement “would go poorly. There are so many A-list build-to-rent [communities] that will become the slums of the future,” he added.
Trend 6: Covid-19 is a trend-accelerator and a change-maker.
According to the Counselors of Real Estate annual report on the Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate, covid-19 has not only been a trend-accelerator, but has forced fundamental economic structural change.
The report details how the foundations of the economy are now in flux. Employers can no longer take “cheap, pliant labor for granted.” The movement toward hybrid or remote work has confused the expected demand and use of both commercial and residential real estate. And as we’ve all seen, supply chains remain under pressure or are broken.
Two years ago, no one could imagine that the world would very nearly shut down, that offices would close and employees would be sent home to work remotely. Or, that employees would choose not to come back, putting small business owners, restaurants and other business service providers at deep risk of failure.
As a trend accelerator, covid-19 pushed millennials to buy homes in suburban and rural areas. Previously, younger Americans gravitated to city centers, with walkable neighborhoods, public transportation and plenty of entertainment options and restaurants. They weren’t the only ones, of course. American adults of all ages suddenly desired more space.
Covid-19 also accelerated an extreme version of political polarization, the Counselors of Real Estate report noted.
For real estate investors, “persistent pandemic uncertainty raises real estate investment risk” across the board. Commercial property owners are focused on retaining tenants, managing cash flow and training and retaining labor. Small residential landlords, who perhaps own a few properties, are focused on tenant management and getting the rent paid, while waiting for eviction moratoriums to lapse.
And covid-19 underscores the top issue affecting real estate over the past two years: remote work and mobility. As we ended 2021, the Counselors of Real Estate noted that just 36 percent of office workers were back in the top 10 markets, versus 25 percent overall. Eighty-three percent of companies are permanently shifting to a hybrid work model, with dire implications for all sorts of real estate: residential, commercial, medical, education and retail. Companies like Google have indefinitely postponed its employees’ return to the office.
Satisfaction with remote work remains high, according to a number of recent surveys. Goodhire’s recent survey found that 68 percent of employees would choose remote work versus being in the office, while 85 percent believe their colleagues and other employees around the nation prefer working remotely rather than working from the company office. And 61 percent would take a significant pay cut to stay remote.
If these numbers continue to hold up, they’ll have a profound impact on the size and location of new homes and the amenities they include for decades to come. Real estate trends have already profoundly shifted to accommodate the pandemic.
We’ll be watching in 2022.
Vaccination plus infection offered most protection during Delta surge, U.S. study shows – CBC News
Scientists study trajectory of meteorite that landed in B.C. in October – Red Deer Advocate
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