Although serious supply-demand imbalances have continued to plague real estate markets into the 2000s in many areas, the mobility of capital in current sophisticated financial markets is encouraging to real estate developers. The loss of tax-shelter markets drained a significant amount of capital from real estate and, in the short run, had a devastating effect on segments of the industry. However, most experts agree that many of those driven from real estate development and the real estate finance business were unprepared and ill-suited as investors. In the long run, a return to real estate development that is grounded in the basics of economics, real demand, and real profits will benefit the industry.
Syndicated ownership of real estate was introduced in the early 2000s. Because many early investors were hurt by collapsed markets or by tax-law changes, the concept of syndication is currently being applied to more economically sound cash flow-return real estate. This return to sound economic practices will help ensure the continued growth of syndication. Real estate investment trusts (REITs), which suffered heavily in the real estate recession of the mid-1980s, have recently reappeared as an efficient vehicle for public ownership of real estate. REITs can own and operate real estate efficiently and raise equity for its purchase. The shares are more easily traded than are shares of other syndication partnerships. Thus, the REIT is likely to provide a good vehicle to satisfy the public’s desire to own real estate.
A final review of the factors that led to the problems of the 2000s is essential to understanding the opportunities that will arise in the 2000s. Real estate cycles are fundamental forces in the industry. The oversupply that exists in most product types tends to constrain development of new products, but it creates opportunities for the commercial banker.
The decade of the 2000s witnessed a boom cycle in real estate. The natural flow of the real estate cycle wherein demand exceeded supply prevailed during the 1980s and early 2000s. At that time office vacancy rates in most major markets were below 5 percent. Faced with real demand for office space and other types of income property, the development community simultaneously experienced an explosion of available capital. During the early years of the Reagan administration, deregulation of financial institutions increased the supply availability of funds, and thrifts added their funds to an already growing cadre of lenders. At the same time, the Economic Recovery and Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA) gave investors increased tax “write-off” through accelerated depreciation, reduced capital gains taxes to 20 percent, and allowed other income to be sheltered with real estate “losses.” In short, more equity and debt funding was available for real estate investment than ever before.
On a sunny afternoon in Florida, an energetic crowd gathers on the lawn of a high end luxury estate. A loud and eager banter between an auctioneer, a group of bidders and bidder assistants fills the air. For several minutes the auctioneer asks for the next highest bid and the bidders respond. Suddenly the bidders grow silent. The high bidder holds his breath in anticipation of winning the auction. The auctioneer calls for one more bid. In a loud clear voice which rolls over the audience he says, “Fair warning, last chance” the auctioneer pauses, “SOLD!” And in less than 10 minutes another multimillion dollar estate has changed owners.
Successful real estate auctions like the one above are happening all over North America and the Caribbean. Recently real estate auctions have been on the rise, the increase in popularity is partly driven by growing inventories and fading buyer confidence. Properties that were selling in weeks using traditional methods are now languishing on the market unable to attract buyers even as seller’s lower prices. Many say the real estate boom is over but savvy buyers and sellers are profiting from real estate auctions.
Real Estate Auctions Work in Up or Down Markets.
Regardless of trends or market cycles, real estate auctions provide an open and transparent process for buyers and sellers. Properly conducted real estate auctions attract ready and willing buyers and motivate them to act now.
The auction method removes the “wait and see” attitude which serves to further depress real estate values. Buyers are always concerned about overpaying. Buyers gain confidence with their purchases at real estate auctions because they can see what others are willing to pay.
When market demand is high and inventories low, real estate auctions can deliver selling prices well above what a willing seller would have accepted in a negotiated private treaty sale. In good selling climates many property owners using traditional real estate methods; negotiating with one buyer at a time, leave thousands of dollars of equity on the table. During up markets real estate auctions are the best way to establish top market price.
Evaluating Your Real Estate for Auction
Not every property or seller for that matter makes a good candidate for auction. First of all sellers must be ready to sell now and for the current market value. Also a real estate auction will not fix problems caused by a downturn in market value of your property, if you owe more than a willing buyer will pay, be prepared to come to closing with your check book.
Properties that do well in real estate auctions have a high uniqueness factor. Ask your self, “What makes my property different from most others?” Maybe you own a resort property or high end luxury home, commercial properties and land do very well at auction. Real estate auctions thrive on uniqueness. If your property is like everyone else’s, the best thing you can do is offer the most competitive price.
Most importantly sellers must be reasonable about setting a minimum bid. A seller must look at the lowest, most current comps and price below that to generate the interest and urgency necessary for a successful real estate auction. Once the auction begins and qualified bidders start competing against one another you can watch the selling price increase.
Locate a Qualified Real Estate Auctioneer
Start by checking with the National Auctioneers Association, the best real estate auctioneers belong to this organization. These real estate auctioneers are well trained and adhere to a standard of practice and a code of ethics. Many attend the annual International Auctioneers Conference where the latest techniques and innovations in the real estate auction industry are presented.
Find out if the company you are interviewing is a full time real estate auction firm. Many real estate agents are getting auction licenses yet have no experience with the auction method of marketing. Conducting a successful real estate auction is nothing like (private treaty) traditional real estate sales. Go with a real estate auction pro.
Real estate has always been known as the safest of investments.In fact, real estate investment completed after proper research into and evaluation of the property (to determine actual and future value), can lead to tremendous profit. This is one reason many people choose real estate investment as their full time job.Discussions about real estate tend to focus on residential real estate; commercial real estate, except to seasoned investors, typically seems to take a back seat. However, commercial real estate is also a great option for investing in real estate.Commercial real estate includes a large variety of property types. To a majority of people, commercial real estate is only office complexes or factories or industrial units.
However, that is not all of commercial real estate. There is far more to commercial real estate. Strip malls, health care centers, retail units and warehouse are all good examples of commercial real estate as is vacant land. Even residential properties like apartments (or any property that consists of more than four residential units) are considered commercial real estate. In fact, such commercial real estate is very much in demand.So, is commercial real estate really profitable?
Absolutely, in fact if it were not profitable I would not be writing about commercial real estate at all!! However, with commercial real estate recognizing the opportunity is a bit more difficult when compared to residential real estate. But commercial real estate profits can be huge (in fact, much bigger than you might realize from a residential real estate transaction of the same size).
There are many reasons to delve into commercial real estate investment. For example you might purchase to resell after a certain appreciation level has occurred or to generate a substantial income by leasing the property out to retailers or other business types or both.In fact, commercial real estate development is treated as a preliminary Indicator of the impending growth of the residential real estate market.
Therefore, once you recognize the probability of significant commercial growth within a region (whatever the reason i.e. municipal tax concessions), you should begin to evaluate the potential for appreciation in commercial real estate prices and implement your investment strategy quickly.
Opportunity present itself, your investment strategy might need to be revisited and altered, sometimes considerably. For example: If you find that commercial real estate, (i.e. land) is available in big chunks which are too expensive for you to buy alone but represents tremendous opportunity, you could look at forming a small investor group (i.e. with friends or family) and buy it together (then split the profits later).
Or in another case (i.e. when a retail boom is expected in a region), though your commercial real estate investment strategy was devised around purchasing vacant land, you might find it more profitable to buy a property such as a strip mall or small plaza that you can lease to retailers or a property that you can convert into a warehouse for the purpose of renting to small businesses.