The Story Behind the Sale of CityView

According to this piece on Triad Business Journal’s site, Signature Property Group’s sale of CityView to The Carroll Cos. was motivated by their need to free up capital for projects outside of the Triad:

The sale, a first for Signature in its 25 years of business, lifts constraints on cash resources, allowing the group to develop four more properties in the year ahead, said owner Frank Auman.

“The main reason we’re selling it is to fund expansion outside the Triad,” he said. “We currently have three properties under contract between Raleigh and Burlington, and we are in negotiations with a fourth in the Raleigh area. We plan to start two this fall and two next spring.”

He declined to provide further information about those plans.

The Carroll Cos motivation for the purchase seems to be deepening its presence downtown:

Carroll said the acquisition will help The Carroll Cos. take advantage of a “variety of synergies and operating efficiencies that come from owning three projects just blocks from each other in downtown.”

CityView joins Carroll’s other major downtown projects: Center Pointe, 98 luxury condominiums in a 17-story toweron North Elm Street; and Bellemeade Village, a large-scale mixed-use project planned near NewBridge Bank Park. Bellemeade Village, a $50 million project that will include a Hyatt Place hotel and 300 upscale apartments, could see site work begin “any moment,” Carroll said Wednesday.

 

May 14, 2015 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Home Prices on the Rise

A front page story in the Wall Street Journal highlights a rise in home prices in 1Q15 and how that might affect the apartment market:

The number of metropolitan areas that saw double-digit percentage increases in home prices more than doubled during the first quarter, reflecting a mix of thin supply and strong demand that points to heated competition for home buyers.

Fifty-one metro areas posted year-over-year double-digit price increases compared with 24 metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 37 in the first quarter a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said Monday…

The accelerating gains are a welcome sign for the spring selling season—a crucial period for sales because families typically want to lock in to a school district by the end of summer—and an early indication that the moderating gains of the past few years might be picking up. But affordability concerns could keep many would-be buyers out of the market…

In Winston-Salem, N.C., where prices are up more than 15%, broker Eric Munger said that clients are becoming discouraged by the lack of inventory. He said one client recently decided to renew his lease for six months because he couldn’t find a house to match his criteria.

The story goes on to describe how some economists think home builders will ramp up to meet the increasing demand, but others think that won’t happen until the employment picture in the country improves:

But builders disagree that a lack of new construction the sole factor for an unbalanced housing market. They blame relatively weak demand because of a relatively sluggish job market, young people putting off homeownership and people hesitating to put their homes on the market because they still can’t get prices to match what they paid during the boom.

And even when the demand does come back, it will take builders a while to ramp up production:

But Mr. Hamill said it will likely take several more years before builders have the capacity to fully meet demand. “We lost a lot of builders, lost a lot of trade contractors, we lost a lot of people to other industries,” he said of the lingering impact of the 2007-09 recession.

All in all the news still looks good for the apartment industry.

May 12, 2015 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

Large Multi-Use Development Planned Next to BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem

A few years ago the mayor of Winston-Salem took a bit of a political hit for leading a public bailout of the development that would eventually become the BB&T Ballpark just off of Business 40 in downtown Winston-Salem. Really the mayor and the rest of the city’s leaders didn’t have a choice – if they didn’t come up with the financing to finish the construction the private developer had started, then the city would have a giant red clay mud pit on a site that was envisioned as a vital part for the redevelopment of downtown – and because of the recession that was in full swing at the time there really weren’t any private sector options. Since they took the political hit and came up with the dough the city now has one of the nicest minor league ballparks in the country, the baseball team regularly sets tremendous attendance numbers and thousands of people are regularly drawn downtown from spring through the early fall. Oh, and they were able to restructure the debt so that it would be payable over 25 years and could eventually net the city some money.

So why the brief history lesson? Because today we’ve learned that a private developer is planning a very large multi-use project that will help the city realize the vision it had for that part of downtown those many years ago. From the Triad Business Journal:

An Atlanta-based real estate investment group has announced plans for more than 1 million square feet of retail, office, hotel and residential property adjacent to Winston-Salem’s downtown ballpark.

The proposed development by Brand Properties, called the Brookstown District at BB&T Ballpark, would include 300,000 square feet of retail, 300,000 square feet of office space, 250 hotel rooms and 580 luxury residential flats.

If this comes to fruition then the overall downtown plan that’s been promoted by the city’s leaders for years, with the Innovation Quarter to the east as one bookend and the ballpark/Brookstown area to the west as the other, will take a HUGE step towards being realized.

May 7, 2015 at 3:44 pm 1 comment

Three Triad Apartment Communities Sold

The Triad Business Journal covered the sale of three Triad apartment properties:

Rehobeth Poine, constructed in 2009 on 4.58 acres off Meadow Oak Drive near Interstate 85, has an assessed value of $5.56 million, according to tax records.

Juliet Place was constructed in 2008 and 2014. It sits on 6.22 acres near West Vandalia Road and U.S. 220. Tax records show it has an assessed value of $4.34 million.

The Keystone Group sold the properties to Elkal Inc. for $63,745 per unit…

Capstone also brokered the sale of Hanover Court in Asheboro. The 152-unit complex, constructed in two phases with 72 units built in 1972 and 80 units completed in 1984, is located on 7.4 acres near Dixie Drive.

Kings Cross and Hanover Associates sold the property to Keystone for $5.75 million, or $37,823 per unit.

May 6, 2015 at 7:52 pm Leave a comment

CoStar Purchasing Apartment Finder

Hot on the heels of its acquisition of Apartments.com, CoStar Group has announced it is also purchasing Apartment Finder. From the press announcement:

CoStar Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:CSGP), the leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces, today announced that it plans to acquire Apartment Finder pursuant to a definitive agreement and plan of merger with Network Communications, Inc. for $170.0 million in cash which is subject to customary post-closing purchase price adjustments. This amounts to approximately seven times Apartment Finder’s EBITDA for the fiscal year ended March 2015. The Company expects the acquisition to close within 90 days, subject to customary closing conditions, and expects the acquisition to be accretive in 2016 and to achieve run-rate synergies of $20 million within 18 months after the acquisition closes…

“Over the past year we have transformed Apartments.com into one of the fastest growing industry websites, and we are excited to do the same for Apartment Finder,” stated CoStar Group Founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrew C. Florance…

Apartment Finder will remain a distinct, complementary brand to Apartments.com with a unique user interface, but will also be powered by CoStar’s information.  By offering two online marketing solutions, the Company believes property managers and owners will get more exposure for their listings and more effective and precise targeting of leads. CoStar expects by the end of the year it will have integrated the back ends of Apartments.com and Apartment Finder thereby leveraging the same research, systems, support, and sales platform to power both Apartments.com and ApartmentFinder.com. CoStar anticipates that this will create tremendous cost synergies and greater operating efficiencies.

Apartment Finder has approximately 400 employees, including approximately 120 field sales representatives located across the United States. CoStar plans to combine the sales forces and eventually all sales representatives will cross-sell multiple marketing and information solutions. CoStar believes this will further increase sales force production.

Florance continued, “I am looking forward to working with the great team at Apartment Finder and welcoming them to the CoStar family. We are all dedicated to building and growing commercial real estate’s premier online apartment platform and strengthening CoStar’s leadership position in the $2 trillion U.S. multifamily asset class.”

April 29, 2015 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

Homeownership Rate at Lowest Level in Over 20 Years

The latest US census data reveals that the homeownership rate has plummeted over the last ten years from 69% to just under 64%:

For the first time in more than 20 years, the homeownership rate in the U.S. has fallen below 64 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau has announced.

The seasonally adjusted 63.8 percent rate is far below the 69 percent rate just 10 years ago – a time when homebuying may have been the easiest for Americans.

And the steepest slide has come in an age band that you might not expect:

Census data shows homeownership rates for individuals aged 35-44 years are falling the fastest – from a high of almost 67 percent in 2009 to little more than 58 percent in 2015.

The article goes on to point out the contributing factors, like tight lending standards and stagnating income levels, but then it ends with a paragraph that folks in the apartment industry will not be surprised to read:

On the same day, the Census Bureau also released rental vacancy rates across the U.S., and the market could not be tighter. The vacancy rate of 7.1 percent during 2015 first quarter, and 7 percent the quarter before, are at their lowest in about two decades.

Here’s a link to a chart with showing the ownership and rent data in more detail.

 

April 29, 2015 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Realtors ID 7 Million People Who Won’t Likely Buy a Home Again

The National Association of Realtors has released a report that basically says that 7 million of the 9.3 million people who were foreclosed on during the recession will not likely buy a home in the future:

According to a new study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nearly 1 million of the people whose homes were foreclosed upon during the financial crisis have already repurchased homes. Another 1.5 million are likely to buy again within the next five years.

But that leaves out of the market nearly 7 million of the 9.3 million who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2006 and 2014.

“They won’t be a significant factor to the housing market going forward,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told Bloomberg Business. “The majority of the 9.3 million won’t be coming back.”…

But one thing that will dampen the demand for many of the homeowners that went underwater is that mortgage underwriting standards have become much stricter, so people who, for example, used a subprime mortgage to purchase a home will be unlikely to re-enter the market.

“Many of them should not have gotten a mortgage to begin with,” NAR’s Yun said in his interview with Bloomberg Business.

April 27, 2015 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

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