Soaring rents have hit the wall of reality.
This is how it is happening in Miami: A heroic building boom in Greater Downtown has created a phenomenal condo glut just when federal regulators decided earlier this year to track down money laundering in the real estate sector. It coincided with Brazil and Venezuela – Miami’s largest feeder markets – falling into political turmoil and economic chaos respectively. The “strong” dollar doesn’t help. And buyers from abroad have become scarce.
No one was prepared for this. The slowdown started a year ago when the resale inventory began to balloon. According to a new report by Integra Realty Resources for the Miami Downtown Development Authority, in May listings soared 58% from two years ago, to about 3,000 units, while monthly sales plunged 43%.
And new supply keeps on coming: In the second quarter, nearly 7,500 condos were under construction, with another 1,550 being marketed for sale.
So resale prices for condos built after 2001 have fallen for the first time in five years, down 4% over the first six months of the year, according to the report. Older buildings experienced steeper haircuts.
Many of these condos were bought by investors who’re trying to rent them out, thus pushing them into the rental market.
Alas, an additional 5,500 rental units are under construction in Greater Downtown. To top it off, with condos in trouble, larger projects are now switching to a “rental format” that will add even more supply to the rental market. Now everyone is praying for a throng of buy-phobic Millennials with big paychecks to come along and rent these units.
The impact of this glut ois already visible. After surging 10% a year ago, rents have “leveled off,” according to the report, still rising a smidgen for efficiencies and one-bedrooms, but stable or falling for other unit types. And this is just the beginning.
“The current direction of rents suggests that the rental market is going to favor the tenant for the balance of 2017,” the report said, while trying to keep an optimistic tone.
A similar scenario is playing out in other “primary markets,” such as New Your City, San Francisco, San Jose, and Houston, but all with different dynamics, according to AXIOMetrics’ new report on rents. In fact, rent declines in those key markets “drove down” the national averages.
In July, the national annual effective rent rose “only” 3.1% from a year ago, which is still a big increase for stagnant wages. But it was the lowest increase since February 2014. And down from a 5.2% year-over-year increase in July 2015. Rent growth has now fallen for nine of the last 10 months (chart via AXIOMetrics):
A separation is beginning to take place among large markets that are experiencing weak performance and smaller markets still showing robust strength. Some 20 markets among Axiometrics’ top 50 metros, based on number of units, recorded rent growth of 4.0% or higher in July. The issue is that none of them are what are commonly referred to as “primary markets,” such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Markets referred to as “tertiary,” such as Sacramento, Riverside, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Nashville, make up the bulk of the top-markets list.
Meanwhile, some primary markets went negative, as the combined effects of slowing job growth and increased supply took their toll.
And among the primary markets with dropping annual effective rents, the report singled out these:
- Houston: -2.2%, “the fourth straight month the metro was below zero.”
- New York City: -0.2%, “the first time it was in negative territory since January 2014.”
- San Francisco: -0.7%, “the first time the market was negative since April 2010.”
In San Francisco, where exorbitant rents have combined into a syndrome called “the Housing Crisis,” the apartment glut is taking on peculiar flavors.
On Zillow, there are 1,149 apartments listed as available for rent. Note the dots that say “9+.” They represent bigger buildings, some of them with dozens of vacant rental units. Zillow just shows 500 homes in that image. If all 1,149 were shown, some areas would be a solid purple color:
The listings on Craigslist maxed out its gauge at 2,500 apartments for rent. Trulia lists 1,750 apartments for rent.
Apartments.com lists 3,094 apartments for rent. That’s up 34% from the 2,302 apartments that it listed in June. The densest clusters of units in both charts are in areas where the high-rise construction boom is most obvious when you walk down the street:
Real estate is local, and every market has its own unique set of dynamics. Houston is getting ravaged by the oil bust. New York and San Francisco have seen historic building booms of both condos and apartments, like Miami’s building boom, and now the growth in employment is sagging, and foreign investors are staying away, and many units sit empty.
Big move-in incentives have appeared, even in San Francisco, where there hadn’t been any for years. In some buildings, it’s one month free rent. In other buildings, it’s something else. For example, at the SoMa Square Apartments, which has all kinds of vacancies up and down the building, the move-in incentive is a “$1,500 gift card special”:
This real estate cycle took years to get to this extravagant level, supported by central bank policies around the globe that flooded the lands with nearly free money and repressed yields. But it has now run into reality: people don’t have to live in stocks and bonds, and there is no theoretical limit to the silliness; but people do live in dwellings, and when not enough people can afford these dwellings, just when a flood of these dwellings show up on the market, well then, the boom is going to unwind, perhaps messily, but it will take years, and this is just a feeble beginning.
Manhattan and Miami are already get mauled by it. Now it’s expanding to San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Southern California, and Texas even! Read… US Government Mucks up Money-Laundering in Real Estate, Puts Luxury Housing Bubbles at Risk
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But Real Estate ALWAYS doubles every 10 years! right?
i remember when someone once replied “everyone does it [borrows against their house]”
i managed to internalise my shock to that response, as that line of thinking, i feel, is a symptom of “it [house prices] can only go up”
just imo tho
LOL. Inflation has cut the value of our money in 1/2 every ten years.
I wish all of you real estate types good luck and all, but watch what happens next. Houston is experiencing a perfect storm of money laundering, speculation, slave labor influx, and collusion between lending institutions, construction conglomerates and real estate hedge funds to elevate prices into the stratosphere.
The long game will be realized when all of our assets as the “middle class” are diluted, shell gamed and pillaged. Beans, bullets and band-aids people.
Well said! As my wise, financially conservative and successful father once responded, (after, in the late 80’s, I stated that the “houses are worth a lot more now,”) with the comment “the houses aren’t worth more, the money is worth less”.
Uh oh sounds like the rental prices are peaking in SF bay area? Noticed lot of new flats going up in SillyCON valley when I drove thru Montague Expressway from Milpitas to Santa Clara. Also new flats going up in Foster City.
That said noticed pretty competitive rental market for SFH in East Bay suburb with good schools with lot of Chinese landlords having just moved into a rental month ago.
I think get the essence of your “real estate is local, and every market has its own unique set of dynamics” comment, but is there a general rule of thumb for the %age of new units required to destabilize a stable market? (…and i can’t even define stable or destabilize).
This series of articles uses some big numbers (eg: 5,500 new condos in Miami) and I’m trying to put them in context.
One way of looking at this is in terms of people. For example, in SF the average housing unit is occupied by about 2.1 people. So if a total of 10,000 new apartments and condos come on the market in one year, you would need to bring into the city about 20,000 new people with big incomes.
That has happened in past years. But now it has stopped. So you’re creating room for 20,000 people with big incomes, but the population remains the same. And next year, the same thing happens. And then, as in the past, people leave because they can’t find a job, and it’s too expensive here.
Throughout, landlords want to put bodies into their units, and start offering incentives to compete with each other, and then cut asking rents… It’s competition and time. The longer this goes on, the more rents will drop until enough people have moved into SF to take off the pressure.
This has ramifications in the derivative market as CMBS come under the same sort of pressure as the landlords. Is there any idea as to the size of the CMBS sector that covers condo/rental buildings? And is there any financial data as to dollar value at risk?
Commercial property prices cratered pretty badly during the financial crisis, but they just papered over everything pro-forma and cheap credit. Which is why the new commercial property bubble, complete with generally higher vacancy rates, is much more dangerous. The starting point is dreadful comparatively. You cant lower rates much more. And fundamentals outside of rents suck. And of course, the tech sector is a leading indicator of the sublease space that will show you what will happen to rents once space rationalization gets going in earnest.
I am not so sanguine that we can implode that bubble and get away with it as easily as we did last time. And remember, this peak is far higher than the pre-crisis peak, with no ammunition to fight it on the monetary side. You really have to wonder what they are thinking. I mean, sure there is always the greater fool, but even if you do some selling, you’ve still got a portfolio, and some fool is holding the most overbid properties. The bagholders this time around are likely going to get eviscerated. And of course, the deep pockets will loot the carcass and come out further ahead. Sigh…
I don’t know off the top of my head how big the CMBS market is (maybe a reader in the know could chime in!). But Fitch warned about it last September….
I’m sure we’ll all find out the “dollar value at risk” when we get handed the bill (again!).
The CMBS sector is large…especially on higher levered properties…however, I believe Agency loans, life companies and bank lending still account for approximately 50% of market..especially newer properties coming off construction.
They’d have to drop a ton before anyone starts thinking of moving back in there. I left in 2011 and the place I rented in 2010 for $3800 is now $7000. Similar increases have taken place in every other nice part of the city.
But as you mentioned in a related article, SF employment has flattened, IPO market is mostly shut, venture money is getting pickier, and valuations are falling. SF used to be slightly less immune to this when I first moved there in 1999, because more tech and startup activity was in SV. But now, it is much more sensitive to venture $.
So, basically, both the demand and supply sides are turning, and moving in the wrong direction for price increases. You’ll have fewer people (less inmigration) making less money (fewer start up $, IPO cashouts, bonuses, etc.) while the supply of space rises because of all the condo construction. The next phase is when job losses start, and when people realize they cant afford the home they thought was their birthright. And after that, it takes some time, but the speculative momentum turns, when people realize that home prices are going down, and the smart ones try to get out early. Then existing home inventory starts to rise. At that point, well, you know…
Im not sure where exactly we are in the overall business cycle, but if you look at the global economy (deflation prone, slowing, despite central bank intervention non-stop and widespread), US suffering form energy bust, poor quality of jobs, weak income growth (which has been shown to be even weaker with the recent NIPA revision) and some signs of deteriorating credit quality (rising subprime auto default rates, credit card delinquency inching up, student loan debt in major default), job growth slowing for over a year and a half, stock prices detached from fundamentals (falling corporate earnings) and bond yields cratering (easy to invert yield curve), and of course, about to face Fed rate hikes, well, it sure seems to me as it has for quite some time, that 2017 will be an interesting year.
Poor Hillary, doomed to have a nasty recession on her watch. Couldnt happen to a more deserving person. Be careful what you wish for…
I’d ask for your perspective on this….letter of resignation from one of the Planning and Transportation Board members of Palo Alto…
Given her letter….it seems there are ALOT more variables than just the job creation market…..as the basic jobs needed to maintain the community are threatened by lack of affordability as well. Note: she is a lawyer and her husband is a software engineer…two professional-level incomes….and they still can’t cut it (as evidenced by their sharing a place with another couple).
Thanks! This letter really hit the nail on the head. There are a lot of similar complaints … professionals with good incomes can no longer live in some of the cities in the Bay Area. Palo Alto, being near or at the top.
This is precisely what’s called the “Housing Crisis” in SF.
It will solve itself when people leave while new housing supply comes on the market, and job creation sags … a housing crash, if allowed to play out, would be a very effective medicine for the whole area.
But everyone will try to prop up housing so that values and rents won’t crash. And instead (very ironically), they will try to build taxpayer funded, or developer funded (which they will add to the cost of new housing) “affordable housing” that will make life STILL more expensive for everyone else.
We, are in another state and looking at greener pastures this very moment. We are tax CPA and tax attorney couple. We make reasonably decent earnings and treat our neighbors with respect. We are leaving San Francisco primarily because it has gotten very unsafe and extremely unpleasant. But also, there is no future there. Tax burdens are warped, schools crumbling for lack of basic funds – due to warped tax policies, infrastructure is rotten, crime is rampant but statistics are rigged.
Someone posted earlier, and I paraphrase, “you can afford to live in a slum if you max out your budget and pay $800,000 – $1,200,000 for the janitor’s house – so why are you whinning?” People are not “whinning” at their own broken futures if they remain in that seriously corrupted economy. No Sir, people are leaving. Even with a serious -70% market correction in housing, the state is FUBAR for hundreds of reasons with a big root in our dirty little secret called Prop. 13.
What hit me about her letter was the suggestion of adding apartments to the Sanford Shopping Center. Since malls have been declining for years, couldn’t that space be used for housing? It seems like the logical next step.
this could be housing 7.0…..it’s only a matter of when, not if.
It is also happening in perth Australia rents have been dropping for awhile and are still falling
Any part of Australia tied to China will get hit hardest. The elite will likely keep selling their high end best Res RE properties to each other at inflated prices, but everything for most ordinary Australians has the potential to be devastated US style, given the debt load that has piled up with the credit bubble there. Speculative doesnt even begin to explain that country’s crazy property mania.
A hint of relief for those who need it most. If only this would accelerate and make rational, the irrational real estate market in the US. One more hike via the FED plus this news should do it. Maybe not in concrete terms, but I think the housing price upward pressure would level off.
Home ownership has hit a 30 year low in the US, falling rents are a great thing. Smart Landlords will consolidate, especially at a time of historically low interest rates. This is the RE cycle, not the end of the world.
Yes, in and of themselves, they are, but sadly, they are a precursor to things that will negate any benefit of the drop in rents. Renters typically tend to be on the lower end of the income distribution, which not coincidentally coincides with the lower end of the educational attainment spectrum. You need only look back at the employment by education data from 2007 to present to see how disproportionately renters will be hammered in terms of job loss in the next recession. Especially so this time around given the already poor productivity numbers. Employers will once again decimate those with less education. Unfortunatley, it looks like our situation will get slightly better, then far worse, before we can hope for any lasting progress.
Sorry Nicko I beg to differ This time truly WILL be different as the dollar is dethroned as reserve currency Get out while you still can everybody Get some gold and silver and get down in your bunker with the one inch checkered plate door The Hildebeast is blowing into town on her broom
“dollar is dethroned as reserve currency”
Just some data here: The dollar still reigns supreme as reserve currency, with a share of around 63% of official foreign exchange reserves. That’s down from 2001 (about 70%) but up from 2010 (around 62%).
Nothing else comes even close. The next currency in line is the euro with a share of around 22%. The next two currencies in line are the yen and the UK pound, both with less than 4%.
Agree with you – and, given that I live in the Silicon Valley, I am looking forward to real estate pricing to drop so that I can upgrade. Many of my friends are waiting in the sidelines.
Dropped RE prices aren’t bad for those who want to get in the market or struggle to pay their current rents!
I think the new flats/houses are lagging indicators of what is to come in the hot housing market about to cool down thanks to the increase in supplies as it takes some time or years to do all the studies to get building permits (and grease the politicians’ wheels) and start building.
Anyway talk about perfect combination of new supplies coming into the market as the IPO and start-up frenzy wanes.
$7k/mo rental on an apartment. I guess I’d have to make up the difference somewhere…. but where, I doubt I could unless taxpayers have found a way of picking up my housing tab…
Very low interest rates are supposed to increase productive investment.
Instead they seem to have encouraged asset inflation in stocks and real estate inflation.Until confidence in the Central Bank silliness is lost and “lower for longer” is no longer the prevailing mantra,any correction in real estate prices will be short lived.
The condo glut in Miami has been in the works since before 2008. During the financial crisis they doubled down with all the free money. All the counties of south FL are contributing to it. They keep building knowing that there is a huge shadow inventory of condos already full of renters. Most condo boards have been buying foreclosed units and renting them to keep prices in their buildings from falling. Developers have been renting unsold units as well. If the market prices were not being manipulated, new building might not have looked as attractive.
Corporate renters like Colony Starwood borrowed heavily in the bond market to buy foreclosed homes for rental. If the rents have finally topped out in FL you can expect trouble down the line for these bonds. I believe these rental companies project rents to rise at least 5% every year. Now that that has hit a brick wall they may have to start selling houses into a declining market.
Balancing on the edge of a razor.
Many of these bond issues form the major part of bond mutual fund portfolios. As they also form a large part of the CLO (collateralized loan obligations) derivatives.
When factoring in the cross-ownership of these same bond issues, any stress in different parts of the system becomes critical and contagion spreads.
Especially when you consider the outlandish loan-to-value (LTV) ratio sitting at +110%
Just when all three exchanges hit record highs together yesterday!
Over exuberance? Blow off top?
My corporate landlord in FL valued the house I rented at $330K. The same house across the street sold for $275K at the top of the market. If they sell my rental, they will be expecting $330K and will be lucky to get $275K. Their investors are already out at least 20% and the market is just starting to go down. The CDS sellers are already in trouble. No wonder Warren Buffet got out of his derivatives positions.
Not only Buffet, but “heavy hitter’s” Jeffery Gundlach, Carl Icahn, Bill Gross, and others of lessor stature, all have “left the bond building”! They “know” something is coming that the common plebe’s do not see.
It must be remembered that the size of the bond market, makes the stock markets look like a child’s wading pool next to a lake!
All it will take, considering the inter-connectedness, is one issue to go sour and the entire house of cards goes up in smoke.
What most market watchers fail to take into account when they look at the U.S. equity markets is that the VAST reservoir of money exiting the MUCH LARGER global bond markets HAS TO GO SOMEWHERE….
People keep pointing to how overvalued the stock market is….but it is still better valued than most other asset classes….and is being pushed up as (smart) bond investors exit various GOV’T (local, state, federal, muni) bonds and look for a ‘safer’ place to park their funds.
There aren’t enough quality short-term bonds to hide in….so other asset classes have been the beneficiary. The U.S. equity market looks peticularly attractive to the rest of the world due to the expectation of a strong dollar versus local currencies….as the debt issue for most U.S. bonds is a longer-term issue than those of other international markets.
Thus…while volatility might result in large short-term drops in U.S. equities…that same volatility is likely to propel equities to a new series of highs over the next two years.
Lay off increasing
This is old news link…
Intel, NetApp, Cisco, yahoo, IBM and more announces layoff in April.
But that’s not even making a dent really.
there won’t be a significant drop in rents and houses without significant layoffs…if the layoffs come in waves a lot people won’t care about low rent or lower housing they’d leave the area anyway… who wants to buy if you might be next at the AXE..
We didn’t leave Florida because of a layoff, we left because we couldn’t afford the rent, and as a result the utilities, the groceries, the gas, …. and I don’t miss it.
Making an income in the top 2% percentile of all workers in America and being homeless, as is common in SF, is ridiculous. Most of these people could live well on half the money in most other places.
‘Escape of S.F’. ……… Coming to a bloated Metropolis near you ….
These are recent series, not a lot of data. But tightening is happening.
Here in Dallas the upper end has stalled. Supply has expanded to over a year’s worth of homes.
However, median price homes are still on fire with often 10+ offers for houses in good condition and good areas.
Pre-existing STARTER homes have increased 20% – 30%+ in price over the last year as nobody is building anything even close in terms of size and price that the vast majority of people here can afford.
Note that here in Dallas prexisting starter homes are generally only $100-$200k, median homes are $289k, and builders aren’t building anything new for less than $300-400k.
I hope this happens in Seattle soon.
“Inflate or die.” The Fed can either devalue the dollar or let the massive debt hanging over this country to default, which most people believe would be instant death. So we face slow death with every increasing cost of living. Are there any positive alternatives?
Brash Trump Disciple Shakes Up Miami’s Luxury Real-Estate Market:
Interview: “banking on the Brazilians are here to stay”
flashback to the glory days of 2013…
The Houston market is definitely rolling over, but of course the pundits don’t want to discuss such uncomfortable truths. Local and state officials are afraid of decline in property tax receipts, and local appraisal districts have assessed an alarming percentage of homes way above their actual market value this year. They have been able to do it and get away with it because Texas has one of the most operationally corrupt property tax systems in the country, a two-tiered system that is now burying many middle class homeowners alive. Not surprising that some buyers would have second thoughts about buying a $300,000 home that comes with an $11,000 annual property tax bill.
unfortunately rents in the Netherlands (outside the huge subsidized social housing sector) are still surging just like home prices, thanks to politicians doing everything they can to drive rents even higher (by importing huge number of migrants entitled to free homes, limiting supply as much as possible and making buying a home almost free).
In many areas the rents are so ridiculous that it is impossible to pay the rent from a normal job (rents are often 50-70% of income, while homeowner costs are now in the 10-20% range). With such price level one can only expect renters who plan to use the property as a weed plantation or a time-shared home for foreign workers. Or maybe those who plan to move in and not pay rent at all (in Netherlands, it can take years to evict a renter who doesn’t pay thanks to renter protection laws).
Wake me up when rents start falling … a sure sign will be that the crooks at Eurostat or our own Ministry of Truth announce that from now on rents will be included in the calculations for the inflation percentage ;-(
BTW, it’s interesting that property owners in SF and other cities are trying to fill their empty apartments with renters. That suggests there is still some kind of functioning market. In my country many owners don’t bother renting out empty properties – why would you if renting out yields just 2-3% gross ROI at most (and is a potential PIA …) while yearly appreciation is in the 5-10% range or even higher (+20% in cities like Amsterdam). Just like in the stock market it’s all about Central Bank enabled equity gains, not about dividends or rents….
As a renter in SF looking to move I can’t say i’m seeing this unwind! Supply may be increasing but rents are hardly moving.
If this scenario does play out with falling condo prices do you see this carrying over to the family home market too out of interest?
Rents would have to move a whole lot on average before this makes any real difference in the data. So it will take years to play out – and might exceed the time frame of your move.
But if you find a landlord with enough vacant units to deal with, and with debt payments piling up, you might be able to make a deal. Ask for it and see what happens.
No offense Wolf but you’ve been writing about the bubble in SF, Vancouver and NYC real estate for years and have been dead wrong. You can’t crow about a 0.2 percent drop in NYC rents and say this is just the beginning. These markets are at or close to all time highs just like the stock market. And there will always be people willing to move to NYC. Vancouver has an artificial barrier to new supply because of zoning so building will eventually slow and prices may moderate. But don’t expect a 25 percent drop in prices. More like 5 to 10 percent because we all know interest rates ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Yes I’ve been writing about the bubble for years, but a bubble is when prices GO UP.
And for years, I have been analyzing how prices went up, and to what crazy levels they rose. I’ve called it Housing Bubble 2 in 2013! At the time, I said nothing about prices going down.
In a bubble prices GO UP; after the peak, prices GO DOWN. In between, there’s a turning point. In real estate, in places like SF, first signs of a turning point started appearing in late 2015. And that’s when I started writing about the housing bubble hitting problems and beginning to deflate.
That’s a HUGE difference. You should understand this difference. If you don’t understand this difference, you’re not reading my articles.
In what universe is there a ‘building boom’ in SF? NOTHING is being built in SF.
I guess you haven’t been here in years.
I have just discovered your articles and responses and enjoy them and feel as if I am learning at a time when I need to make a decision regarding keeping or selling my apt. bldg. in LA, Ca. “GRM’s seem to be really climbing as they did “around” ’98 and 2008 before imploding. At the time, I was left with the feeling that the faster the prices went up, the faster they came down. This leaves me with a bit of fear in my decision making. An agent is encouraging me to move into a more expensive and much larger multi unit (C) property in the Dallas -Fort Worth area with a non recourse loan. The idea being to re-fi in 18 months and pulling my capital out as an additional financial precaution. I am also looking at buying houses to rent out, not so much for appreciation as for income. I also wonder about the other option mentioned in your posts, that of holding onto funds, paying a bit of capital gains and eventually buying back in when prices have “dropped”. As you can tell, I have a tendency to speak in generalities and lack pertinent information. I have recently seen an interesting film called “Boom Bust Boom” which points out historically (and hysterically!) how this never stops happening no matter what century you are looking at.
YouTube of homeless in Palo Alto living in cars and vans parked on curbs because they can not afford rent. Some still work but priced out.Shows free mobile shower and laundry facility .What a wonderful idea for homeless!
Rents on the north side of Chicago are up big time this year. I wonder why it is different from other large cities.
Its wonderful as your other blog posts : D, regards for putting up. “Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.'” by Kahlil Gibran.