Tuesday, November 26, 2013

National Trends: Will CBD's Continue to be the Center of Attention?

Nationally speaking, central business districts have been "where the action is" since the recession ended.  Worries are growing that oversupply may rain on the urban parade.

Read more.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ready or Not? Micro-Units Arriving in Portland

Footprint Investments
Back in March, Portland's first micro apartments opened in the Pearl District at the eko haus Freedom Center. When they opened, the Freedom Center was featured in a TV news story by KGW. 

A few months later, CNN offered an inside look at a similar 295-square foot apartment building in San Francisco. Micro-apartments have been going up in downtown Seattle since 2008. Click for video.

The story continued on November 5th when Portland real estate reporter Elliot Njus of The Oregonian wrote about current Micro-Apartments in NW Portland on Thurman Street and a future planned development in the Hollywood District on his real estate blog here. 

Just three days later on November 8th, The Oregonian editorial board weighed in with an opinion piece critical of government for allowing developers "a thousand ways" around a set of minimum standards. Click here.

Most recently, on November 20th, KATU-TV reported that neighborhood residents in the Hollywood District of Portland began protesting fight construction of the planned micro-apartments there. Click here.

Is Portland ready for more micro-units? What do you think?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

HFO Sells 104-Unit Apartment Property in Vancouver, Washington for $9.1 Million

HFO Investment Real Estate (HFO) is pleased to announce the sale of the Village on Seventh apartments in Vancouver for $9.1 million.

Using its extensive network of investors, HFO was able to source a buyer who recognized the upside potential of the asset and had the ability to assume the existing debt.

Village on Seventh consists of 13 buildings on nearly six acres in SE Vancouver. Built in 1991, this low-density garden-style asset features unusually large apartment units and offers a long list of renter amenities including fitness center, clubhouse and pool/spa.

The buyer -- FPA -- is a real estate investment firm utilizing institutional private equity for apartment investments. FPA and its affiliated management and general contracting companies has a portfolio of approximately 20,000 apartment units valued at $1.9 billion.

HFO represented the parties in the transaction.

Owners of LLCs May Qualify For New, Lower Oregon Tax Rates!

Harris Berne Christensen LLP has published an important update regarding new tax rates that take effect in 2015.  These new business income tax rates give a significant tax cut to business owners . . . if they have the correct business structure and if they meet the requirements. If necessary, you may want to consider restructuring to take advantage of these new lower tax rates.  Read more.

In addition, Oregon's unemployment tax rates will fall in 2014 for the first time in three years. The average tax rate will drop from 3 percent to 2.76 percent, a savings of $85 per employee on average.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Construction Leading Oregon's Job Recovery

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in October, its low point for the year, and the lowest in five years. Construction jobs surged 9.3% in the past year. 

In October, 135,298 Oregonians were unemployed. This was 22,322 fewer
individuals than in October 2012 when 157,620 Oregonians were unemployed.  The labor force participation rate declined to 61.2 percent, a record low. The participation rate has declined in Oregon and across the nation and is a measure watched by the Federal Reserve to gauge the extent to which the economy is operating at full employment.

Read more at Oregonlive.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1031 Exchange Basics [Video]

Toija Buetler, Attorney and Regional Manager of IPX 1031 Exchange, gives a primer on 1031 Basics.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Value of Trade & Harbor Jobs Explored in Recent Studies

In Oregon, jobs involving trade have grown 7x faster than other jobs.  The Portland Business Alliance in conjunction with the Value of Job Coalition have released data from three major studies on the job growth powered by Oregon's import/export trade.

Click here to visit the website with full details.

Leasing an Apartment is now the New American Dream

In its latest report, Property Management Insider argues that the middle class is being squeezed out of the ability to afford a median-priced home in cities throughout America.

City populations are booming at levels not seen since the 1920's and the percentage of home owners headed by young adults is falling significantly.

Check out this fascinating and detailed look at renting as the new American Dream. Read more.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fake Apartment Reviews: Don't Write Them

Some apartment owners may notice fake reviews on apartment rating sites about their properties, or they may write fake reviews themselves in an attempt to improve their ratings.  In its Property Management Insider newsletter, MPF Market Dynamics has a word of advice: Don't.

Read "To Fake or Not To Fake: The Apartment Review Question"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Want Gen Y Renters? Here's how to get them. . .

Here are some secrets about what attracts today's younger people from a recent survey:

  1. Those of us in Gen Y use Google or Craigslist to find apartments -- can we find you there?
  2. If we can find  you on Google, it's better if your links are to specific properties -- not to another page where we have to fill something out! (Puhleeze! Can you say "hassle?")
  3. Please include floor plans. We care about them.
  4. When we check out reviews of your apartments, we want to know they're clean.
  5. Our biggest turn-offs are comments about pest management challenges, loud or bothersome neighbors or complaints about customer service.
and there's more...

Click to download a PDF of the full article from Units magazine.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

HFO-TV: Mary Beth Christopher on Improving Investment Performance

HFO Lead Underwriter Mary Beth Christopher explains a bit about ways apartment owners can control expenses and improve income.  We also discuss HFO's asset review program.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

U.S. Census Reports Q3 Portland/Vancouver/Beaverton Multifamily Vacancy at 2.1 Percent - Nation's 3rd Lowest

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today the Portland/Vancouver/Beaverton vacancy rate remained flat at 2.1 percent in the third quarter, the nation's third lowest among the top 75 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ranked #9 with a Q3 2013 vacancy estimate of 4.4 percent, up from 4.0 percent from the prior quarter.

MSA's with the lowest vacancy rates were as follows:
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA - 1.8
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA\34 - 2.0
  • Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA\25 - 2.1
  • Springfield, MA - 2.1
  • Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro, TN\21 -3.2
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA\33 - 3.2
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA \19 - 3.8
  • Denver-Aurora, CO\12 - 4.1
  • El Paso, TX -4.1
  • Tulsa, OK -4.2
The MSA's with the five highest vacancy rates were as follows:
  • Richmond, VA - 13.5
  • Syracuse, NY - 13.7
  • Las Vegas-Paradise, NV - 14.3
  • Memphis, TN-AR-MS - 14.6
  • Columbia, SC - 15.1
  • Orlando, FL - 17.4
Average national vacancy rate for Q3 2013 was at 8.3 percent for rental housing and flat at 1.9 percent for homeowner housing. The rental vacancy rate was 0.3 percentage points lower than last quarter.

The nation's homeownership rate ticked up slightly to 65.3 percent, up 0.3 percentage points from Q2.

Download the Census Bureau table here.