September 25, 2015

The Market Is Speaking Loud And Clear

It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “Rental rates in Brickell and average days on the market have remained essentially unchanged for two quarters, said Jonathan Garcia, broker for ONE Sotheby’s International Realty. The main difference in the past six months, he said, is more rentals are now available. Several new condominium buildings have opened in 2015, and at least 50% of the inventory is going straight to the rental market, Mr. Garcia said. Mr. Garcia said the median income for tenants in downtown and Brickell is not rising. In fact, he said, Miami-Dade has one of the highest rental rates compared with median income in the country.”

“He’s doubtful condo rental rates can grow higher. He also says it’s becoming less and less feasible to have condo units as investment properties, given that landlords are carrying more expense with rising taxes. ‘Rents are already at a peak,’ he said. ‘Perhaps some of the units will be sold to people who live there.’”

“The Triangle housing market continued its strong performance this summer, with sales increasing 8 percent in August compared with the same period a year ago. The lack of inventory, combined with steady demand, is helping raise home prices. The average sales price of homes that sold in August was $271,400, up 5 percent from the same period a year ago. Homes that are in good condition and priced correctly continue to sell quickly. Sixty-three percent of existing homes that sold in August did so within 30 days.”

“Still, there are signs that the housing market recovery may not be as robust as it appears. The percentage of sellers that paid financial concessions in August was 68 percent, up from 52 percent during the same period a year ago.”

“According to the Ohio Association of Realtors, the number of housing units sold through the first eight months of this year in the Mansfield Multiple Listing Service area, or Richland and Crawford counties, is up 7.0 percent above the same period in 2014. That’s consistent with the trend in nearly all of the 18 MLS regions in the state. Pam Gruvel, a Realtor at Martin Realty in Bucyrus, voicing a long-held truism in the real estate business, said, ‘The quickest homes to go are the ones that are priced right.’”

“Still, all is not ideal with the Bucyrus housing market, even seven years after the last recession. There are more than 150 properties in Bucyrus that are in foreclosure, whether it’s through default, auction, or as a bank-owned property. And 10.35 percent of the homes in Bucyrus are vacant.”

“With oil prices in the tank, and Alberta’s economy weakening, million-dollar houses in Edmonton are flooding the market. There are currently about 250 homes in Edmonton listed over one million with the highest at $6 million and about 30 over the $2 million mark. ‘There are a lot of houses for sale between $1 million and $1.5 million, but some of those might not be worth $1 million,’ said Sally Munro, an Edmonton real estate agent for over 35 years. ‘This year has been trying, to say the least — they’re not flying off the shelf. If you’ve tried to sell at $1.1 million or $1.2 million and it hasn’t moved in six months or a year, then I think the market is speaking loud and clear.’”

“In spring 2014, it was not uncommon for brand new houses priced in the $500,000 range to jump 10 per cent to 15 per cent a few months later without making any adjustments to the houses themselves. ‘There was nothing to substantiate these increases other than buyers were buying,’ said Munro. But if you’re having troubles selling your house, don’t panic. ‘Stay positive. Slow and steady wins the race,’ says Munro. ‘It’s panicking that causes all the problems.’”

“In Perth’s most popular auction suburb, Wilson, 13km south of the Perth CBD, the median price for homes sold at auction was $624,500 — $20,000 more than homes sold at private treaty. When Jessica Wright saw a sale sign go up in the street she was renting, she couldn’t resist. ‘We were driving by and saw the sign and had a bit of a ‘stop the car’ moment,’ the 27-year-old said. She was able to nab the home for under $700,000. The first-homebuyer had been researching prices for some time and noticed Perth had become a buyers’ market.”

“‘One girl at the auction said she bought a house around the corner for $50,000 less recently, so we knew it wouldn’t get any better,’ she said.”

“Ahmed and Mohamed are both married with children but still live with their mother, unable to afford one of the hundreds of thousands of homes sitting empty in Egypt’s capital. A construction boom has seen new housing developments mushroom around Cairo but they are out of reach for many, including the two brothers in their 30s. Almost half of Cairo’s population of about 20 million lives in informal settlements with poor infrastructure and buildings often constructed with no permits.”

“At the same time, the government says there are 1.5 million vacant homes across the country. In 2013, then-housing minister Tarek Wafik, quoted by state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, said 30 percent of the country’s housing units were left unused. According to experts, empty units are either held as an investment by their owner, bought for children for when they get married, or remain empty because they have no water or electricity. ‘Those projects are not made for us,’ said Ahmed, a father-of-two who earns about $160 a month.”

“More than two-third of the unsold housing inventory in Mumbai is priced above Rs 1 crore, well beyond the reach of most of the city’s prospective home buyers. Currently, there are about 33,500 residential apartments in this category out of a total 44,032 units. About 83 per cent of the housing units launched in the second quarter ended June fall in this price range. It is overwhelmingly high for a city where only a limited percentage of residents can afford ticket sizes of over Rs 1 crore. ‘The need of the hour is to reduce the size of apartments and undertake value engineering of construction cost to ensure more home buyers can afford houses in Mumbai,’ said Ramesh Nair, COO & International Director, JLL India.”

“Macau casinos’ decline over the past 15 months has been both stunning and surprisingly sustained, with revenue heading for a 30% fall this year. Wells Fargo Securities senior analyst Cameron McKnight suggests Macau’s growth spurt of mid-2009 to early 2014 came from a bubble that’s unlikely to repeat. Structural changes, as the report calls them, have also reshaped the landscape. McKnight says contacts tell him that the era of ‘easy money’ in China is over, which means the growth of Chinese wealth, and therefore the Macau gaming market, is likely to be below the rates witnessed during the previous five years.”

“A recent attack on Hong Kong billionaire property tycoon Li Ka-shing in China’s state-controlled media highlights the symbolic importance of his recent decision to sell off his holdings in Shanghai, analysts said. A recent attack on Hong Kong billionaire property tycoon Li Ka-shing in China’s state-controlled media highlights the symbolic importance of his recent decision to sell off his holdings in Shanghai, analysts said.”

“A Sept. 13 editorial by Liaowang Institute, which is linked to the official news agency Xinhua, attacked Li after his plans were revealed. ‘At this sensitive time, when China’s economy is in crisis, he continues to sell off his assets and to spread pessimistic sentiment,’ the article said. ‘He has fallen from the moral high ground,’ it said, reminding Li that his huge wealth as head of the Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate had come from his connections to powerful Chinese officials, not from a level playing field in a market economy. Li, dubbed ‘Superman’ for his business acumen, had enjoyed huge discounts to land in prime locations, the article said.”

“A Beijing-based writer identified only by his surname Liu said the official reaction to Li’s withdrawal was the public manifestation of political changes going on behind the scenes in Beijing, however. ‘There are quite a lot of investors from the U.S., Japan and Hong Kong and Taiwan who are also pulling out, because of rising costs,’ Liu said. Xie Tian, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina at Aiken, said ‘China’s property bubble is in a serious state right now, with high prices but no market. Everyone has got boxed in, except for him, because he quit.’”

“‘The worst is yet to come.’ Those were the words of Amarillo economist Karr Ingham — words sure to bring a collective groan from this community. We heard it, as reported by business reporter Rye Druzin, and, yes, we have concerns. Earlier this week, the city reported a seventh-straight month of falling city sales tax collections, and this month’s was a 15 percent drop. And, yes, there has been a decrease in hotel-motel tax revenue.”

“Fewer crews are needed in the oil patch because fewer holes are being drilled, and, therefore, there is less money floating around. Sales tax money is down, but again, what are we talking about? The answer right now is 2013 levels, which at the time were the highest in the city’s history. The idea of this downturn lasting into late 2016 and beyond is reason to worry. But remember when community leaders told us the number of students walking the halls inside Midland ISD schools would be down? We know now that isn’t taking place.”

“We ask our community one question: What did you expect? People have moved from the community. Hotels and apartments are no longer needed to handle the overflow, and the artificially high housing rates that punished many in our community also are creeping back to relatively normal levels.”

Bits Bucket for September 25, 2015

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here. Please visit my Youtube channel which you can also find here: