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Real Estate Investors Skip Paying Loans While Raising Billions – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Some of the largest real estate investors are walking away from debt on bad property deals, even as they raise billions of dollars for new opportunities borne of the pandemic.

The willingness of Brookfield Property Partners LP, Starwood Capital Group, Colony Capital Inc. and Blackstone Group Inc. to skip payments on commercial mortgage-backed securities backed by hotels and malls illustrates how the economic fallout from the coronavirus has devalued some real estate while also creating new targets for these cash-loaded investors.

“Just because a prior investment didn’t work out doesn’t necessarily mean that should tarnish the reputation for future endeavors,” said Alan Todd, head of U.S. CMBS research for Bank of America Securities. “It’s not like something was done in bad faith.”

While cutting losers to buy winners is an age-old investment proposition, the Covid-19 pandemic may create even more openings than the past crises that became bonanzas for real estate investors. The mass exodus of Americans from public spaces has hammered already-weak retailers and their landlords, crippled business travel, crushed restaurants unable to fill all of their tables, and sown chaos for office towers whose tenants may never need as much space again.

Hotels and malls have been the biggest CMBS losers during the pandemic. Lodging and retail debt turned over to so-called special servicers — workout specialists — is at the highest level since 2010, according to industry tracker Trepp.

Relatively Painless

Missing payments on CMBS debt is relatively painless, because it’s typically non-recourse, meaning borrowers can hand over the keys to a property and lenders won’t be able to come after other assets. Property owners are more likely to walk away when their equity has been wiped out by lower values.

“They know that if they borrow from most lenders, they win if they win and they win if they lose,” said Ethan Penner, an investor who pioneered CMBS deals in the 1990s at Nomura Securities.

Starwood founder Barry Sternlicht and Colony Chairman Tom Barrack got their starts thanks to the 1980s savings and loan crisis, while Blackstone President Jon Gray traded stakes in hotels, offices and single-family homes to generate big returns through the financial crisis.

Now these firms are raising money for their next round of bets, even as they skip debt payments on old obligations.

At least 11 Brookfield malls with more than $2 billion in CMBS debt are delinquent or seeking payment relief because of Covid-19. The company has already repurchased some of its former debt at reduced prices.

“The lenders are willing to sell us their loans or the mortgages back at a discount,” Brookfield Property Chief Executive Officer Brian Kingston said during an Aug. 6 earnings call. “And so in that case we’ve been able to essentially reacquire the asset at an attractive basis.”

Brookfield Asset Management Inc., the parent of the property firm, raised $23 billion from investors in the most recent quarter, including $12 billion in new commitments for a distressed fund. Brookfield spokeswoman Kerrie McHugh declined to comment.

Digital Strategy

Colony has stopped making payments on many of its hotel bonds since the pandemic hit, while focusing on its long-planned “digital” real estate strategy — buying properties like cell towers, data centers and network infrastructure.

It began raising at least $6 billion for a second digital fund shortly before announcing plans in May to evaluate “strategic and financial alternatives” for 245 lodging properties with $3.5 billion in debt. Wells Fargo & Co., trustee of Colony’s Tharaldson hotel portfolio, sued in June in federal court to appoint a receiver to manage those hotels after Colony defaulted on the debt. The portfolio, with $842.7 million in loans, was reappraised in June at $836.7 million, down 36% from $1.3 billion in January 2018.

“We’ve been very careful not to put good money into bad situations,” Colony CEO Marc Ganzi said on a conference call earlier this month.

Blackstone, which ended its second quarter with $46 billion to invest in real estate deals, is delinquent on a $274 million mortgage for four Club Quarters Hotels. Blackstone is considering walking away from those properties, because it would cost too much to make them competitive, Bloomberg reported in June.

Hotels, Retail

Hotel and retail properties represent just 13% of Blackstone’s real estate exposure and the Club Quarters mortgage is its sole delinquent CMBS.

Starwood is said to be raising $11 billion for a new opportunistic investment fund while also falling behind on payments for 17 of its 30 retail properties with almost $2 billion in CMBS debt. Management of three Starwood malls was assigned to a court-appointed receiver in April after it missed payments.

Debt on a four-mall portfolio was downgraded to junk following an appraisal that cut the property value 66% and wiped out Starwood’s equity.

“We remain committed to ensuring the best outcome possible for our investors in what has proven to be a very challenging asset class,” Starwood said in an emailed statement. “The level of uncertainty regarding tenant performance, anchor stability, capital markets and now the impact of the pandemic remains unprecedented and our strategy for these assets is evolving.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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What is Happening in the Fredericton Real Estate Market? – RE/MAX News

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Across the country, the real estate market boasted record-breaking numbers all summer long. From the Vancouver housing sector to the Fredericton real estate market, sales activity and prices popped, despite the COVID-19 pandemic lingering in the background. The industry has found the developments remarkable. Canada slipped into a recession and many companies were decimated, but the Canadian real estate market has remained solid during this chaotic time. It is a testament to the superb work of real estate agents, as well as the strength of the nation’s overall housing market.

Before the virus outbreak, New Brunswick was becoming one of many noteworthy real estate hot spots in the country. Although it faced a slump at the height of the pandemic, it has witnessed a remarkable recovery. Sharon Watts, executive officer for the Real Estate Board of the Fredericton Area (REFBA), recently described the state of the market as “like no other” the industry has seen before, since the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted by the province.

Whether it is pent-up demand or limited stocks, there are many factors contributing to the boom of the Fredericton real estate sector. Could these bullish factors sustain the market over the next few months?

What is Happening in the Fredericton Real Estate Market?

According to the REBFA, residential sales rose one per cent in July, the second-best July on record. The average price of homes sold surged 16.8 per cent to $218,760. In addition to growing demand in Fredericton, overall supply has trended downward for the last five years. Today, inventory sits at a 20-year low, and this could continue to decline, as recent real estate trends favour smaller cities and suburban or rural markets.

Fredericton has turned into a seller’s market as bidding wars have become commonplace within this city of about 60,000 people. Homebuyers are placing bids as high as $60,000 over the asking price.

“Activity in Atlantic Canada was back to pre-COVID-19 levels by May 2020, and like many sellers’ markets in Canada, multiple offer scenarios continue to happen in these regions,” the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report stated.

Could this impressive feat be sustained for the remainder of 2020 – and beyond?

With low borrowing rates expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future, money has never been cheaper. The Bank of Canada (BoC) has reduced its five-year mortgage rate to below five per cent, and there is no reason to dismiss the idea that the central bank would lower it again.

During the pandemic, realtors have been relying on technology and digital tools to conduct transactions and work with their clients. Online documents, virtual tours and detailed web-based advertisements – real estate agents have used digital mechanisms to their advantage. This has allowed people from all over Canada to confidently purchase houses or condominiums in other places, even without seeing these properties in person.

Immigration is another factor that the industry is paying attention to. This year, immigration levels have cratered due to border restrictions and changes in travel. In June, more than 19,000 new permanent residents entered Canada, down from the more than 34,000 immigrants who were welcomed the same time a year ago.

This trend might have an impact on the Canadian real estate market, including Fredericton. The New Brunswick capital is also considered a college town that typically attracts a large number of international students. But while this may not affect the buying and selling of homes, it is disrupting the rental market.

Should this trend continue, developers might think twice about constructing rental units. But Fredericton locals are confident that this renewed demand for houses could be enough to encourage investors to bring new supply to the market.

Is Atlantic Canada the Next Major Housing Market?

Could Fredericton join the broader Atlantic Canada real estate boom? Whether it is the sizzling market of Halifax or St. John’s, cities across the Maritimes are witnessing better-than-expected sales activity and residential prices. Many of these cities are becoming appealing destinations for homeowners due to a renewed focus upon urban development initiatives and more affordable housing options. Plus, with rates as low as they are and remote work policies prevalent throughout the labour market, many are taking advantage of the opportunity and considering other cities and towns across the Great White North.

Once the coronavirus pandemic is safely behind us and society attempts to return to normal, the permanent shift could turn out to favour Fredericton and its neighbours on the east coast. Atlantic Canada may not just be a vacation hotspot for families from Toronto or Montreal. Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia could soon become top destinations for Canadian (and international) homebuyers.

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Firm Capital Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust TSX Venture Exchange:FCA.U

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Firm Capital Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust Announces Closing of Previously Announced 50% Interest in a 235 Unit, Multi-Family Residential Building for $37.5 Million in the Washington D.C. Metro Area

All amounts are in US Dollars unless otherwise stated.

TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Firm Capital Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust (the “Trust”), (TSXV: FCA.U), (TSXV: FCA) is pleased to announce it has closed the previously announced joint venture with an unrelated third party to acquire a $37.5 million multi-family residential property located in the Washington D.C. Metro Area.

The Trust has closed the North Pointe Apartments (“North Pointe” or the “Property”), a 235-unit, multi-family residential property located in Hyattsville, Maryland. The joint venture purchased the property for $37.5 million or approximately $159,575 per unit ($217 per square foot), representing a 5.7% capitalization rate. The Property was financed with a new first mortgage for approximately $29.7 million with an approximate 3.0% interest rate. The terms of the financing include a four-year interest-only or I/O period, 30 year amortization and a twelve year term. The remaining capital requirement, including closing and working capital, is approximately $10.8 million and was funded through $6.8 million of common equity held 50% by the Trust and 50% by the unrelated third party, with the remaining $4.0 million funded as preferred equity at an 8% rate of return, held 100% by the Trust.

ABOUT FIRM CAPITAL APARTMENT REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST
Firm Capital Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust is a U.S. focused real estate investment trust that pursues multi-residential income producing real estate and related debt investments on both a wholly owned and joint venture basis. The Trust has ownership interests in a total of 2,308 apartment units diversely located in Florida, Connecticut, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Georgia and Maryland.

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain information in this news release constitutes forward-looking statements under applicable securities law. Any statements that are contained in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as “may”, “should”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “intend” and similar expressions.

Forward-looking statements necessarily involve known and unknown risks, including, without limitation, risks associated with general economic conditions; adverse factors affecting the U.S. real estate market generally or those specific markets in which the Trust holds properties; volatility of real estate prices; inability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources, and/or inability to access sufficient capital on favourable terms; industry and government regulation; changes in legislation, income tax and regulatory matters; the ability of the Trust to implement its business strategies; competition; currency and interest rate fluctuations and other risks. Additional risk factors that may impact the Trust or cause actual results and performance to differ from the forward looking statements contained herein are set forth in the Trust’s Annual Information Form under the heading Risk Factors (a copy of which can be obtained under the Trust’s profile on www.sedar.com).

Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list is not exhaustive. Readers are further cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as there can be no assurance that the plans, intentions or expectations upon which they are placed will occur. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. Except as required by applicable law, the Trust undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Neither the Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

For further information, please contact:
Eli DadouchSandy Poklar
President & Chief Executive OfficerChief Financial Officer
(416) 635-0221(416) 635-0221
For Investor Relations information, please contact:
Victoria Moayedi
Director, Investor Relations
(416) 635-0221

 

Source:- GlobeNewswire

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Vancouver real estate: homes priced $500000-$750000 lead most number of sales in two weeks – The Georgia Straight

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A total of 132 homes sold in Vancouver in the last two weeks.

Real-estate site fisherly.com tracked the deals between September 7 and September 22.

The average price of the homes sold came to $1,261,420.

The most number of homes sold were those priced between $500,000 and $750,000.

An example is 3001-1009 Expo Boulevard, a one-bedroom and den condo in Yaletown.

Prompton Real Estate Services Inc. sold the 688-square-foot property for $690,000 after listing it for $699,000.

Some 35 homes within this price range of $500,000 to $750,000 sold in the city as of around 1 p.m. on September 22.

Second in terms of most sales were those priced between $1 million and $1.5 million. There were 28 transactions involving these homes.

Third in volume of sales were homes bought between $750,000 and $1 million. Some 20 properties in this category changed hands in the last two weeks.

One home in the price range of $5 million to $6 million found a buyer.

That was the six-bedroom, seven-bath, and three-car garage mansion at 4778 Trafalgar Street in the affluent MacKenzie Heights neighbourhood.

Luxmore Realty sold the luxury propert at $5,180,000 on September 11. It was the most expensive home sold in the last two weeks.

The property was listed for $5,498,000 on June 17, 2020.

Four homes in the price range of $250,000 to $500,000 sold.

In terms of neighbourhoods with the most sales, downtown and Kitsilano came ahead with 15 transactions each between September 7 and September 22.

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