US – Single Family Price Drops in 16 Metros: Case-Shiller

March 28, 2012

Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price indices for the month of January show prices falling in most major metro areas.   The latest report shows annual price declines of 3.9% and 3.8%, respectively, for the 10- and 20-city composite indexes in the month of January.


Both composites combined fell 0.8% in January, with 16 of the 19 metropolitan statistical areas surveyed experiencing price drops over the prior month. Analysts with Econoday said “the unadjusted monthly decline of 0.8 percent is the best reading since September with the year-on-year rate, where adjustments play a much less significant role than on month-to-month rates, at minus 3.8 percent rate for the same rate as the unadjusted data.”

The only cities with price increases for the month included Miami, Phoenix and Washington D.C.  S&P says eight metro areas and both composite indexes posted new lows in January on the index chart.

Still, the 10- and 20-city composites marginally improved their annual return rates over the month of December.  The Dallas, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa and Washington D.C. metros saw their annual rates improve over the month of December while price returns fell in nine other areas.

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US – Multifamily Markets Top 2011 Picks

March 28, 2012

Not surprisingly, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston and other high-barriers-to-entry cities make it to the list of top apartment markets in 2011.  As for the bottom markets, the apartment industry appears positioned to stage such a strong comeback this year that investment sales advisors counsel that all markets—even the currently weak ones—may be coming into play as investment choices.

“In our view, there are no markets to be avoided,” says Gleb Nechayev, senior economist at CB Richard Ellis, Global Research and Consulting, Econometric Advisors, in a typical assessment.

Top 2011 markets

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US – Best Cities and States for Job Growth

March 27, 2012

The analysis is by Lee McPheters, research professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Comparing non-agricultural job data for January 2011 and January 2012, McPheters calculates that metro Denver-Aurora saw 2.47 percent job growth, adding 29,100 jobs in that time.

Denver ranked third among metros with 1 million or more people for its 2011 growth rate, McPheters said. It ranked seventh in 2010, with a 1.58 percent growth rate.  Houston ranked first in job growth over the one-year period among large metro areas (up 3.7 percent), followed by Atlanta (up 3.1 percent) and Denver, McPheters said.

Also in the top 10:

  • 4. Dallas — up 2.4 percent.
  • 5. Seattle — up 2.2 percent.
  • 6. Cincinnati — up 2.1 percent.
  • 7. Phoenix — up 1.9 percent.
  • 8. Riverside, Calif. — up 1.7 percent.
  • 9. Tampa, Fla. — up 1.7 percent.
  • 10. Pittsburgh — up 1.6 percent.
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US – Mass layoffs decline, 345 metros report falling jobless rates

March 27, 2012

Mass layoffs declined in February, and 345 metro areas reported lower unemployment rates for the month of January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The February unemployment remains at 8.3%, the same as January, but declined from 9% a year ago.

Twelve of the bureau’s 19 major industry sectors reported over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims connected with mass-layoff events, which involve the termination of 50 or more employees. The largest decrease occurred in the information sector.

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US – Apartment rents climbing in downtown Seattle, Bellevue

March 27, 2012

Monthly rents topped $1,500 for the first time in downtown Seattle and Bellevue during the first quarter of this year, according to a new report from Tom Cain of Apartment Insights.  The Seattle-based company tracks apartment complexes with 50 or more units in King and Snohomish counties.

Downtown Seattle is the first Puget Sound area submarket where rents exceed $2 a square foot. The average monthly rent in downtown Seattle is $1,512, or $2.03 a square foot. In downtown Bellevue, the average monthly rent is $1,520, or $1.76 a square foot.

Rents had declined in the fourth quarter of last year after climbing steadily, if slowly, since the second quarter of 2010. In the first quarter of this year, rents jumped $18 to an average rent of $1,094 in King and Snohomish counties. Cain attributed the rent spike to a large number of more expensive new units — 1,753 in all – being included in the rent survey for the first time this quarter. When these new properties were excluded, the rent increase fell by half, with average monthly rent rising $9 to $1,085.

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US – Large Banks Cut Their Bad Loans

March 27, 2012

Large U.S. banks have been making headway in dealing with their troubled commercial real-estate debt, selling off and reworking bad loans at a faster rate than smaller banks.

While the high debt levels tied to commercial real estate caused significant worry among analysts and federal regulators in the early days of the economic downturn, banks have gradually been finding their footing more than three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.


US – Mortgage bankers throw weight behind GSE refi bill

March 27, 2012

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., got a boost to a bill he introduced last month that could eliminate repurchase risk for banks choosing to refinance Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages.  The Mortgage Bankers Association sent a letter to Franken Tuesday endorsing the bill.

The Helping Homeowners Refinance Act would direct the Federal Housing Finance Agency to prohibit Fannie and Freddie from holding any investment that could prevent a loan from refinancing. The bill was filed in response to a ProPublica report on a controversial “inverse floater” allegedly keeping Freddie from approving some workouts.

Also in the bill, the GSEs would hold all financial institutions to the same repurchase and warranty risk of a loan being refinanced, regardless if it originated the original mortgage or not.  The policy, if enacted, would apply to only to loans with a resettlement date on or before May 31, 2009.

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