While anal-ytic 'debate' about whether Chinese real estate prices have reached nose-bleed territory continues in merry-go-round circle-jerk fashion, there is only one (very simple) question to ask:
is this the kickoff to a new bull market in Chinese RE or a terminal throw-over (cause there ain't anything in between) ?
We have so far avoided discussing this weekend's most tragicomic news, which undoubtedly is the Mortgage Bankers' Association selling their headquarters for a huge loss in less than two years. The building which was acquired for $76 million was sold to CoStar for $41.25 million. How the MBA is in any way supposed to provide insight on sentiment and market perspectives after a slap in the face such as this is beyond us. At best, they should start a $2.95 newsletter titled "How to top tick the market and never look back while waiting for the Dow 36k." The other implications of this transaction are self-explanatory. Yet courtesy of diligent readers, we have received some other very amusing information, which however focuses on the buyer in this transaction, specifically CoStar, which on its website brands itself as the "#1 Commercial Real Estate Information Company." Apparently the validity of this branding is only as good as the (un)solicited hot tips CoStar receives every day. A letter sent out earlier by an editor of CoStar's Watch List Group seeks to expand on the groupthink permeating the permabullish CRE investor landscape (we hope they approached Cohen and Steers with their query for an objective and unbiased perspective), with a set of questions that makes one question the validity of CoStar's self-branded imprimatur.
Kanjorski Admits There Is A "Growing Bubble In Commercial Real Estate" As S&P Observes Recognition Of CRE Losses Could Wipe Out Banking SystemSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/01/2010 17:49 -0400
Even as ever more Congressmen express concern about the implications of the ongoing CRE "bubble" (yes, this is a quote), S&P comes out with a report noting that should the banking system be forced to take all appropriate CRE-associated writedowns, it likely would not survive. And all this is occurring as REITs probe new 52 week highs. Welcome to the new economy.
Harry Reid Hopes To Proceed With Bernanke Vote Late In Week, Succeeds At Keeping His Commercial Real Estate Holdings' Values HighSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/26/2010 12:38 -0400
Harry Reid hopes to have enough votes to proceed with Bernanke's reconfirmation by Friday. More relevantly, Harry Reid hopes to have secured the value of his Commercial Real Estate holdings likely valued at over $3 million from collapsing should the Chairman not be reappointed, and have the opportunity to sell, sell, sell. But all Senators who have acquiesced to Reid's prodding for a Bernanke vote knew all this already. Right? After all, this is in no way a conflict of interest.
CRE is still the biggest wildcard: "Commercial real estate was still weak in nearly all Districts with rising vacancy rates and falling rents. Since the last report, loan demand continued to decline or remained weak in most Districts, while credit quality continued to deteriorate." - Beige Book
While some China Bears are busy publicizing prediciton of an utter Dubai or Enron-like collapse in China, Beijing is actually in the process of rebalancing its economy and an overheated real estate market. And gold is poised to benefit the most from this shift.
excerpted from The Stamford Review, 2009: Volume Two, "Mortgages, Finance Markets, and the Imperative of Growth" by Hugh Kelly
How high can home prices go with a ten year inventory overhang? Baby boomers are about to suck the life out of this market. No “rosebud” for me. The first in a series of seven on The Mad Hedge Fund Trader’s Annual Asset Allocation review.
China Between Rock And Hard [Place/Case] After Public Anger Mounts Over House Unaffordability, Real Estate BubbleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2010 23:10 -0400
Even as China proves to the world it has perfected Greenspan's repertoire for blowing asset bubbles in any and every asset class, the fact that China is still a communist country and thus has to carefully respond to public pressure (ironically, more carefully than "capitalist" America) could put a damper in its plans to overtake the US in flooding the market with masses of excess liquidity. The reason: increasing social anger at the affordability of houses. Because unlike the US, where Mozillo's hellspawn and other subprime henchmen were all too willing to subsidize every deadbeat with a 150% LTV on a FICO of 101, China's credit mechanism is not that "advanced" meaning billions of people have become cut off from the home market for the simple reason of lack of affordability (yes, the concepts of equity and savings are still appreciated in certain non-US dominated parts of the world).
As was pointed out yesterday, Morgan Stanley's massive Real Estate empire is starting to unravel building by building. With a building here, five buildings there, the shareholder pain, and the writedowns start accumulating. But it was not always makeshift tears and walking away from buidings when your equity is underwater. In those long ago days of 2005 it was hope and bubblemania. Which is why we dug up various Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund documents and materials, exposing the firm's delirium just as the peak in the real estate bubble was about to set in.
At least a few MDs at Morgan Stanley DO read my blog, but it is obvious that the guys in the real estate division don't. Early in 2008 I named Morgan Stanley the "The Riskiest Bank on the Street". The following is one of the reasons why.
Continuing our series of impending Commercial Real Estate debacles, today we focus on CMBX 3 (H1 2007 transactions). As Fitch disclosed on Friday, the November delinquency rate across CMBS increased by 43 bps to 4.29%, while more than double, 9.16% of the entire Fitch universe, was in special servicing. Of this CMBX 3 (together with 4) hold the brunt of the collapse in CRE. Of the 25 deals in CMBX 3, those performing the worst as of the latest remittance report were:
- COMM 06-C8, with 18.3% of all deals delinquent or in special servicing ($680.4 million of $3.7 billion total)
- CSMC 07-C1, with 16.5% of all deals delinquent or in special servicing ($552.3 million of $3.3 billion total)
- LBUBS 07-C1, with 15.6% of all deals delinquent or in special servicing(576.4 million of $3.7 billion total)
And highlighted below are the properties most indicative of the CRE collapse within CMBX 3, and in CRE in general. Once again, this is merely a sample with many other properties already in foreclosure and/or delinquency.
Remember the deal which to much fanfare, lots of subsequent Merrill upgrades, and endless boasting by SL Green CEO Marc Holliday was supposed to usher in the second golden age for New York Commercial Real Estate? The deal that was the alleged steal of 485 Lex by a bunch of shady investors which we wrote about first 4 months ago. The deal that SL Green CEO, Marc Holliday said "is a first, but significant step
towards the sale of interests in 485 Lexington Avenue. If ultimately
approved, the transaction would demonstrate that the Midtown Manhattan
office market continues to stand as one of the world's top locations
and that investor interest is once again on the rise." Remember now? Ok. That deal just died. And with it died any hope that the "Midtown Manhattan office market continues to stand as one of the world's top locations," that REITs fairly priced, and that Bill Ackman's recent REIT book talking tour is anything but.
Everyone is now well aware of the plight of Stuy Town, which has become a set fixture on the front page of the daily press, and is expected to default on its underlying borrowings within a few months at the most. What will happen to the controlling equity, and the tenants at the multiapartment complex, is unknown. It is no surprise that this will be yet another epic failure for the existing owner, Tishman Speyer, which after gobbling up property after property at the peak of the housing market, is all too aware that it is only a matter of time before control is wrested from it not only in the case of Stuy Town but many of its other properties.
And even though everyone "knows" the state of commercial real estate is in free fall, few have been able to pin it down to specific buildings, as property-level data is still very expensive and more often than not, proprietary. In order to bring the full degree of CRE collapse closer to home, and to provide some leads to our MSM-originating readers, we present a detailed analysis of some of the most impacted CRE properties that have yet to make headline news. For that purpose we combed through BarCap's CMBS remittance data for CMBX 4 (2007 vintage), which is broadly considered the peak year for commercial real estate deals and also the very peak of the housing bubble. We expected to find some of the juiciest CRE failures to be in this loan set. We were not disappointed.
I don't know if it has been officially declared here or not, so I will say it explicitly. Since Wall Street DOES NOT charge for their research, it is essentially a loss leader for sales. We all know this, yet we pretend that it does not happen. Well, it does. It's pervasive. It's explicit. It's now! The goal of Wall Street research is not to enrich the retail or institutional brokerage client, but to pave the way for the underwriting, sales and trading departments. Go ahead. Prove me wrong. I dare 'ya.