Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Now this is interesting. Investors looking at real estate should be aware of two main things at the moment. Those two things relate to what is really driving this centrally planned, manufactured rebound in U.S. real estate. It’s really a tale of two distinct trends. In formerly hurting markets such as Arizona, Nevada and Florida, private equity investors have flooded into what is a now gigantically crowded to “buy-to-rent” trade. Meanwhile, in the prime markets such as New York City and San Francisco, we have seen the “money laundering trade,” where rich oligarchs move their often ill-gotten gains into trophy real estate assets abroad.
We have seen many signs all year that the first key pillar to the manufactured rise in housing was becoming strained, as rents continued to rise while incomes continued to fall. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this can only last so long, and many of the early investors in “buy-to-rent” have already gotten out or are trying to.
As far as the second pillar, well at some point the oligarchs will have purchased enough homes in London and Manhattan and then what? Interestingly, the seemingly unstoppable rental market in Manhattan is showing signs of cracking. What this ultimately means is unknown, but it’s an interesting data point nonetheless.
Manhattan apartment rents fell for a third month in November and the vacancy rate reached the highest in at least seven years, signs the market is weakening amid a spike in homebuying and the lure of leasing in Brooklyn.
The median monthly rent in Manhattan dropped 3 percent from a year earlier to $3,100, according to a report today by appraiserMiller Samuel Inc. and brokerageDouglas Elliman Real Estate. The vacancy rate climbed to 2.8 percent, the highest since the firms began tracking the data in August 2006.
“With the scare about rising mortgage rates, it poached a lot of demand from the rental market,”Jonathan Miller, president of New York-based Miller Samuel, said in an interview. “On top of that, what else is poaching demand from the Manhattan rental market is Brooklyn.”
Manhattan landlords agreed to offer concessions, such as a month’s free rent, on 7.2 percent of all new leases in November, up from 4.2 percent a year earlier.
The number of new agreements dropped 34 percent, the biggest decline since September 2011, suggesting that landlords opted to forgo large rent increases to entice existing tenants to stay put, Miller said.
Leasing costs for luxury apartments, the top 10 percent of the market by price, climbed 1.2 percent to a median of $8,500.
Well, at least the oligarchs are still flush.