Since we are in some sort of rent versus buy gray zone right now, I thought I’d create a “gray” matrix showing the market share differences in location and apartment size based on the buy and rental market in Manhattan. This is not a rent versus buy analysis but rather a comparison between two distinctly different markets…
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Monday, April 16, 2012, 6:00 AM Comments Off
[click to expand]
One of the big issues in following the rental market over the past couple of years has been the disparity between the rental rate of the lease and the actual rent paid by the tenant. Here’s the difference:
Face Rent the formal or gross rent amount on the lease before any concessions offered by the landlord (i.e. free rent, paid commissions, etc.)
Net Effective Rent the face rent less the concessions offered by the landlord (i.e. free rent, paid commissions, etc.)
In periods with high rates of landlord concessions, the face rent trends much higher than what tenants are actually paying (net effective rent). This was clearly the case in 2009 and 2010.
The disparity really bothered me so I figured out a way to track this information and Douglas Elliman’s rental division helped me capture it on a very large sample size of the market. To date we’re the only source of this metric, but to the consumer’s benefit, it now doesn’t matter a whole lot anymore (sigh).
Back in 2009, 2010, landlords were routinely paying concessions of 2-3 months of free rent in 2/3 of all leases. Now it’s about 1 month of free rent in about 1 out of 10 leases. In other words, it’s a nominal phenomenon (good name for a rock band). The chart above shows that the two trends have come together.
But when the rental market weakens (in a few years when credit eases), the lines will begin to diverge again and we’ll still be tracking it.
4Q 2006: Manhattan Rental Market sets a 20-year (the length of my data series) record high. Credit standards were essentially non-existent by that time in the housing boom causing prices to rise so rapidly that the lack affordability ultimately pushed buyers into the rental market.
1Q 2012: Current credit standards for mortgage lending are so tight that many potential buyers are forced to rent, competing with the existing rental pool and forcing rents to rise – they are currently just 5% short of the 4Q 2006 record.
Rents continue to rise, but rather than being a leading indicator of an improving economy and sales market they are a reflection of an irrationally tight mortgage lending environment. Drivers of tight credit, namely low rates, rising foreclosures, more regulations and sliding housing prices are keeping underwriting standards above historical norms and as a result, driving more volume into the rental market driving rents higher. This is a national phenomenon, not just a Manhattan situation.
Here’s an excerpt from the report:
Year-over-year prices continued to
show strong gains as landlord concessions
declined. Median net effective rent was
$3,064 for the first quarter, 9.1% higher
than $2,808 in the prior year quarter.
Use of concessions fell to 11.1% winthin
all new rentals from 36.8% in the same
period last year. Rental price per square
foot increased to $52.57 in the first quarter,
reaching its highest level since the third
quarter of 2008, just as the credit crunch
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Thursday, February 23, 2012, 5:49 PM 1 Comment
In one of the greatest column names ever devised during the illustrious history of the New York Times known as “The Appraisal” [wink], Elizabeth Harris, pens “Amid a Subway Project’s Dust and Noise, No Complaints About the Rent” about the war zone that is Second Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I was on vacation when this was published earlier this week and I was forbidden to bring my laptop.
I was approached to try to take a stab at measuring the impact of the Second Avenue subway construction on the local housing market. Listen to the blasting.
Sales transactions move too slowly to capture the neighborhood impact since this is a relatively recent event of the past few years. So I looked at rents since they are smaller and more nimble.
I divided a portion of the Upper East Side neighborhood into three zones (East 64th Street to East 96th Street) as follows:
The blocks to the east and west of Second Avenue (Third Avenue to First Avenue)
The blocks to the west of Third Avenue (to Fifth Avenue)
The blocks to the east of First Avenue (to East River)
I analyzed all the properties collected during our production of the The Elliman Report: Manhattan Rentals that actually rented in 2010 and 2011 and compared them. In a rental housing market that is seeing sharp gains in rents in the past year, I thought it would be interesting to see if there was a material difference in direction between the subway “zone” and everywhere else. I was only looking at “face” rents (the rent paid before deducting concessions) because I have more of that data.
And there was a difference.
In fact, the subway zone showed a 1.7% decline in median rent year-over-year, a 3.2% increase to the west and a 2% increase to the east. And the number of rentals in the subway zone increased 9% while the areas to the west and east fell 5.1% and increased 2% respectively over the same period suggesting that increased affordability may be attracting tenants.
Construction was supposed to be completed by 2016, but now it looks like 2018 or longer.
A gigundo transfer station…
…and trucks carrying explosives [Turn your head to left when viewing photo]…
While I was on vacation, I was contacted by Eyewitness News to discuss my numbers on camera but that wasn’t possible – although the online story includes no mention of the source of the results, the video did provide proper credit.
As time moves closer to completion some buyers may benefit from upside given how unpleasant some blocks are right now. The construction will likely provide downward pressure on housing prices in the near term but those along the zone will likely catch-up and perhaps even benefit from the transportation upgrade.
As a general rule, neighborhood property values tend to be higher in the west and lower in the east. It’s also possible that the price midpoint may shift further to the east than it is now once construction is completed.
Location specifics aside, additional subway access to and from the neighborhood should prove to be a tremendous asset to property owners in that area over the long run.
I assume this wiki entry was the result of an energetic social media consultant hired by the company that produces the report to help get the word out. I could even take it as a dig toward our work by suggesting that a quarterly report is something less than a monthly (hint: the devil is very much in the details). I also assume all concerned over there are nice people and are good at what they do.
It is currently the only report that compares fluctuations in Manhattan rents on a monthly basis.
Of course another firm, a competitor in the quarterly rental market report arena has been producing monthly rental reports almost as long and still does – but also produced other reports at least 5 years earlier – so the claim is inaccurate, but yet it’s out there as a talking point.
Why should I care that the wiki entry is inaccurate when Wikipedia is full of this stuff – politicians are notorious for puffing up entries while wrecking opponents entries? Admittedly I don’t have an axe to grind here other than that I do find it a annoying when free public resources get gummed up with excessive marketing promo material.
[Idea!!] I’ll make a wiki entry called Manhattan Rental Market Report [Quarterly]. And since I’ve been producing market reports for PDE since 1994 and because I found market reports that go back to 1927 (I swear I didn’t author them), I could provide some fodder for a wiki entry with some super hot SEO content.
Oh wait, I don’t care about that stuff. Nevermind.
The rental market tends to lead the purchase market because rentals are generally more immediately responsive to improvement in the economy. However since the economy’s growth is tepid the key driver has more to due with the tightness of credit.
Affordability may be at an all time high but many need an arm and a leg to get financing.
Here’s an excerpt from the report:
The median net effective rent (face rent less landlord concessions) jumped 9.5% to $3,121 from $2,950 in the same period last year. The year-over-year-gains were consistent across all rental price indicators as no apparent shift in apartment mix was responsible for the increases.
The data tables will be updated shortly, if not by the time you read this. The chart section on the new site remains a work in progress.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Monday, January 9, 2012, 6:00 AM 1 Comment
Ok, so I thought my son shooting a basket would be better than a boring graphic of the Fed – indulge me. I’ll say “the Fed took the ball drove and took a well executed shot.” Ok, back to the Fed’s sort of full court press…
From the FT: Finally, a regulatory body offers tangible realistic advice on housing to Washington policy makers:
Among the ideas is forming a national strategy to facilitate the conversion of foreclosed properties into rentals; allowing banks to rent their repossessed homes rather than forcing lenders to sell them; changing the compensation structure for mortgage servicers, companies that collect payments from borrowers and pursue foreclosures in the event of a default; creating a national online registry of liens to track ownership interests; and altering existing Obama administration policies to allow for more refinancings and mortgage restructurings.
The insight was provided to the Financial Services committees (who brought us Dodd-Frank) and while much of this has already been considered or is in the works, it’s presentation by the Fed all in one message helps bring clarity.
I like these ideas since they are foreclosure-centric and US housing doesn’t recover until we clear the market of excess foreclosure volume.
Here’s the Fed’s white paper - what jumped out at me came in the beginning with the fed identifying housing as a key economic problem:
a persistent excess supply of vacant homes on the market, many of which stem from foreclosures
a marked and potentially long-term downshift in the supply of mortgage credit
the costs that an often unwieldy and inefficient foreclosure process imposes on homeowners, lenders, and communities.
I really like the rental idea for REO houses stuck in lender inventory. In many cases, lenders are forced to sell so they don’t fall below their capitalization requirements by the regulators. Now they would be able to rent the property out to get the cash flow going plus having an occupant helps protect the asset.
Here’s a crazy and too simplistic but-it-sounds-like-a-reasonable-foreclosure-failure-spiral:
Home sales are weak because credit is so tight
The rental market is strong because credit is tight – rents are rising.
Consumers have less disposable income to help the economy because rents are high.
As more rental supply becomes available from Fed recommendation, renting becomes more affordable.
More affordable rents delay increase of home sales.
Had a fun interview with Tom and Sara this morning on the always MUST watch/listen Bloomberg Surveillance. We talked housing, rentals, vacancy and inventory. An added bonus was the addition of Adam Davidson – co-founder and co-host of Planet Money... Read More