Showing posts with label real estate finance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label real estate finance. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The End of Summer

Stephon Martin

Waves, real estate, summer, commercial real estate, residential real estate
August is coming to a close and although Summer isn’t officially over until September 23rd, the end of August has an unofficial feel of transition. School will soon have begun for all children in the United States and the country will attempt to push forward out of the shadow of COVID-19. Some areas will forge ahead more successfully than others, but an attempt will be made by all. The beginning of September means that the holiday season is just around the corner. With the impending change of the season, how will the real estate market be affected?

Residential Prime Time

The first few months of the school year, be they August or September, typically trigger a time of reflection for homeowners. The start of the school year is one of the many ways that people mark the passage of time and the beginning of yet another academic year frequently prompts many homeowners to put their houses on the market. The current seller’s market should only serve to further motivate more homeowners to try to capitalize before prices drop. As Bob Vila.com points out, a few select markets have already begun the decline or, in some cases, never quite started the climb. September, October and November will be true indicators of how close to a new normal we really are, both socially and in the residential real estate market.

Commercial Watershed Moment

The current commercial real estate press is praising the bustling commercial real estate market, fueled primarily by multifamily acquisitions and refinances. This praise, however, is a bit shortsighted, as it fails to address the woes of the office market and the real issues of use and change in the retail market. With the economy so tenuous, any good news is great to hear, but commercial real estate has some real questions on the horizon. It seems that most participants in the commercial real estate market are taking a “wait and see” approach, while continuing to invest in the few small pockets where retail and office are making some headway.

Well, that is my quick take on today’s market. I couldn’t let August pass without giving a recap. Please feel free to put your comments below. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Foreclosures and the Moratorium


The Biden administration has extended the COVID-19 moratorium on foreclosures to July 31, 2021. Totally avoiding the policy and ideological discussions that could be had about such a decision, one thing is apparent—the additional month extension will increase the backlog of foreclosure and eviction cases that courts around the country will face once this moratorium has ended. Absent any legislative changes, the implementation of creative government programs mitigating distressed loans or both, foreclosure filings, executed foreclosure judgments and foreclosure-related evictions are all set to see an uptick over the next year.

An increase in residential foreclosures and evictions is certainly bad news for affected homeowners and tenants, who will have to find new living arrangements, undergo costly moves in short timeframes, uproot their lifestyles and, in some instances, face long term financial effects. Increasing foreclosures will also serve as a market correction in the real estate market, which is currently driven by inventory scarcity. Amidst the market change and its social implications, many real estate investors can be left wondering which strategy to employ. The answer is simple—any or all of them.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

ARMs: A Quick Look


Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are a viable financing option for both single, multifamily and owner-occupied commercial property owners. Ever since their formal establishment by Title VII of the Garn–St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982, ARMs have offered the opportunity to link mortgage payments to marketplace activity. Coupled with the rate collars, ceilings and floors, these financial instruments have the potential to lock in the conditions of a favorable interest rate market, at interest rates that are typically lower than a fixed-rate mortgage. In the world of retail real estate, lower rates can translate into increased purchasing power. For the real estate investor, however, rate fluctuations and potential for sustained above market-rates usually tends to also lead to an early refinance. With the January 3, 2022 deadline for ARMs to decouple from the LIBOR index imposed by Fannie and Freddie, now is an opportune time to take a look at ARMs and their role in the mortgage market.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Why Most People Don't Get Rich In Real Estate


Initially, I intended this post to be a continuation of my prior post on how to get rich in real estate. I was going to address the barriers to entry that most people confront when attempting to begin a career in real estate and offer some suggestions on how to get around them. I am still going to address some of those barriers, but upon further reflection, I think that there is a common theme amongst most of the reasons why most people do not succeed in real estate when they wish to do so—motivation.

This may seem harsh, but please let me qualify my statement by saying that it is not easy to maintain consistent motivation. Having sufficient motivation to push through real estate losses, market downturns, bankruptcies or even years of unfruitful prospecting takes inner strength. During down times and after particularly difficult lessons in real estate, it can often feel like the experience was a sign to quit or move in a different direction. It takes true motivation, self-confidence and some self-delusion to look at a negative real estate experience, learn from the experience and continue on. This motivation is intrinsic and it only comes from a goal-driven approach to make it in a real estate. Quitting can never be an option. To that end, I want to share the following link to “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale, in the hopes that it is helpful to someone.

The Strangest Secret: Earl Nightingale

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

How To Get Rich In Real Estate: The Proven Method


Welcome the first post of the New Year! A number of years ago I wanted to start a business purchasing residential mortgages in the secondary market. This was a significant time after the Great Recession of 2009 and although the smoked had cleared from that downturn, enthusiasm in the mortgage secondary market had not yet fully recovered. I knew that if I were to market my business idea, which I was positive was sound, I would have to not only formally document it in a presentation and a business plan, but would also have to show actual positive implementation results. I realized that I would have to raise a small amount of capital to implement this strategy on a small scale, so that I could present it to larger investors upon its successful completion.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The End of 2020: Now What?

2020 has been a life-changing year for everyone, literally everyone. From the global pandemic, to the fluctuating economy, not to mention the seismic shift in the perception of "going to work," it is safe to say that the world is different place than it was 12 months ago. Now what?

Every year Bloomberg Business Week puts out its "Bloomberg 50"--a list of 50 individuals that have made their mark during the prior year. Although this year's list contains a number of impressive men and women who were able to quickly mobilize and make moving, positive contributions during this tumultuous year, it is notable that not one member of this list was mentioned for contributions to the real estate market. In fact, there are many executives on the list that are touted for reducing the size and/or the footprint of their companies, which in many instances includes real estate divestment. Furthermore, Blackrock, a private equity that is well know for its real estate investments, has made the list, not for real estate, but for its renegotiation of national debts in South America.

Friday, July 27, 2018

How To Approach A Defaulting Second Mortgage


Default happens, hopefully not often, but it is a fact of lending. Upon default, however, a holder of a second mortgage must find an objective, value-driven manner in which to evaluate its options. Unfortunately, in many instances second position lienholders opt for one of two extreme approaches—accepting a nominal amount in exchange for the release of the lien or demanding an unreasonably high sum for satisfaction of the lien. Both approaches are harmful for different reasons. Despite such prevalent behavior, with proper management, a defaulting second mortgage can provide a lienholder with a number of options.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Real Estate Crowdfunding

Real estate crowdfunding has been a hot topic for the past few years and continues to gain notoriety. Praised for its flexibility and low barrier to entry, crowdfunding enables investors to directly invest in real estate properties without having to amass the funds necessary for a mortgage down-payment. For an amount as low as $500, in some instances, investors can contribute to a pool of investor capital that will enable a real estate entity to acquire a property. Open to both accredited investors and the public at large, crowdfunding offers access to the risks and rewards of direct real estate ownership in a passive manner with relatively little out-of-pocket costs.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My How Local Lending Has Changed!

Today's banks are unabashedly international businesses which thrive on providing services and taking advantage of opportunities throughout the world. Long gone are the days of the local Savings and Loan as the provider of the community's mortgage needs. Instead, behemoths of consolidations dominate today's lending scene, thriving off of large economies of scale that make any potentially smaller competitors shutter. This change in the role of banking in the community, although the largely the product of intentional moves by the banking industry and Congress, is not without its effects on the real estate industry, particularly the residential market.

In order to explain the effect of big banks on the residential real estate market, one must understand the role of local banks prior to the expansion and consolidation of banks that led to the current situation. Until the 1980's, US mortgage lending was dominated by small local banks and Savings and Loan Associations (S&L's), local banking entities that engaged in lending and offering savings deposit accounts. Initially, S&L's were heavily regulated and restricted from offering consumer loans and investing deposits in most of the investment vehicles available in the market. The Savings and Loan model relied on a favorable treatment by the Federal Reserve to allow for an increased spread between the rate charged on mortgage lending and the rate offered on deposit accounts. S&L's also frequently managed underwriting risk with local market knowledge.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Monte Carlo Mortgages

In his book Mortgage Wars, former CFO of Fannie Mae, Timothy Howard explains how Fannie's realization that mortgages behave like bonds with embedded call options revolutionized its ability to value its portfolio and manage risk. Prior to this change in thinking, Fannie Mae's methods for reserving capital were consistently shown to be inadequate. Today, the valuation of mortgages and mortgage-related securities as bonds with embedded calls is nothing new.

A call option is a type of derivative, which conveys the right (but not the obligation) to purchase another financial instrument (the underlying asset) for a specified price (the strike price) at a specified time (the expiration date). Purchasing a call option offers the right to purchase the underlying asset and selling a call options impose the obligation of delivering the underlying asset at the strike price on the execution date.

Mortgages are freely refinanceable at any point. In this way, they function as bonds in which the payments from the homeowner serve as the coupon payment and the ability to refinance serves as a call option sold to the homeowner by the mortgage holder. Typically the refinance rates increase as interest rates decrease. Although mortgage prepayment penalties are included in mortgages to discourage refinancing, a large enough drop in interest rates can make refinancing worthwhile to a property owner in spite of the prepayment penalty. For mortgage and MBS investors, prepayments are undesirable. Given that most mortgage investors look to invest anywhere between 5 and 30 years, an early decline in interest rates can leave many investors with cash from prepayments that must be invested in a market offering lower interests rates. This undesirable situation is the double-edged sword of prepayment risk for mortgages.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Second Mortgages: Why They Are Less Prevalent In Commercial Real Estate Than In Residential Real Estate

Early in my whole loan trading career, an investor once offered to fund a partnership that would purchase second position liens, also known as second mortgages, secured by commercial real estate. The investor promised to pledge a substantial amount of capital, if I was able to assemble a portfolio of target assets. Understanding the risk/reward profile of such an investment and desiring to deliver for what seemed to be a potential source of new business, I quickly began to work on finding commercial seconds to underwrite and select. After a few days on the phone with a number of commercial lenders, real estate debt funds and large financial institutions, I began to realize that commercial real estate second mortgages were not easy to find. Finally, after a few weeks of searching, I informed the investor that I was unable to find any asset worth purchasing that met his mandate.

Nearly ten years later, I now understand why the second mortgage, an established method of financing in the world of residential finance, is so infrequently used in commercial real estate. To state it plainly, the property-income focus of commercial real estate, makes commercial seconds more of a liability than an asset. It is this income focus that leads most commercial lenders to emphasize property performance over the qualifications of the borrower. As a result, most commercial financing is offered with no recourse to the buyer upon default, giving the lender as much control over a distressed asset as possible and incentivizing the owner of a distressed property to “walk away” when there are no more options. In order to maintain as much control over the property as possible, most commercial real estate lenders will insist that they be on the only creditor of the property and that the property be structured in such a way that it is remote from the bankruptcy of the borrower. These goals are typically accomplished by establishing a holding entity for the property to be financed, placing the borrower in the equity position of the entity and making the lender a creditor of the entity, secured by its largest asset.