How 2s for Investment Today

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Posted by Donald Teel – Arizona Commercial

Everyone, everywhere, is talking about the real estate market. Even people who do not know anything about the real estate market are talking about the real estate market.

Understandably, much of the discussion remains negative. After all, some estimates tells us that the net value of all commercial real estate in the United States has plummeted by as much as 30% since 2006. I would like to address the shiny side of this very ugly coin.

As we come to the end of 2009, how can we successfully invest in commercial real estate?

Many small to intermediate investors have been discovering that buying was the easy side of commercial real estate investment coin…the shiny side! Managing and turning properties in the volatile environment of 2009 has proved to be the tarnished side of our coin.

With respect to the fundamentals of investment, nothing has really changed. Yet, we all know much has changed and continues to change, especially with respect to the acquisition and cost of capital and sustained values. For the purpose of this article, I would like to place a market spin on what I think are the 10 most important principles for small commercial real estate investors to follow in 2010 and beyond.

Property Type. Who could have predicted that the multi-family sector would be where it is today based upon our assumptions ten years ago. We must remind ourselves that our assumptions are merely momentary conclusion based upon ever-evolving data and that the moving data is almost always something over which we have most likely, no control.

Type-casting isn’t just a Hollywood phenomenon, it’s imperative with every real estate transaction these days and in the case of multiple tenant revenues each lease will need to be sifted and ground down in order to determine its viability and value going forward. There are “leases” and there are “Leases” and there are “LEASES.” Nothing works well if the tenants don’t!

Inventory, absorption rates and occupancy rates and CAP rates are imperative to the investment equation. There is no negotiating these issues and they are deal breakers.

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Still, it’s Location. It appears that the newest and perhaps safest strategy for small to medium investors is to get big by investing small all over. Just as mix of property types is essential to a sound investment strategy, so also is the principle of multiple locations based upon regional economic dissimilarities. Atlanta’s medical office values and projected demands will be different than those of Seattle and it would be ridiculous to compare Phoenix multi-family to say Manhattan multi-family.
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CAP – Coming Under Assault

Future of CAP Rates

Future of CAP Rates

Posted by Donald Teel, Arizona Commercial

Commercial investors and real estate brokers/agents toss around the term “cap rate” as if it were some sort of tell-all with respect to commercial property value or the measurement of the strength of a commercial property investment.

Hold your horses!

Can a CAP rate determine a property value? Are CAPS an accurate measure of an investment? Can CAP rates be trusted as a true litmus test for investment?

Answer: No, no and no. In fact, CAP rate determinations are now coming under assault.

Brokers often convey value and pricing by dividing net operating income by a purchase amount, such as 125,000 (noi) divided by $1,125,000 (price) equals a cap rate of 11.1%.

CAP rates are simply the measurement of a property value for a given 12-month period “IF” the property were purchased “cash.” CAP rates are impacted when investors utilize financing and the terms of financing, such as interest rate, points, call date, etc., impact “true cap rate.”

Real World CAP Problems. What happens in a market where the actual or contemplated lease rates fall below levels suitable for so-called “adequate” cap rate?

Savvy investors know how important cash flow is and more importantly, how important predictable and sustainable cash flow is in a down market. Real world cap rate problems occur when the strength of rent rates is compromised by a struggling economy or by tenants who vacate properties due to their business failing to perform.

Example: If the prevailing and sustainable (emphasis on “sustainable”) market rents are anticipated to trend downward for more than 12 consequtive months due to a faltering national economy, cap rates may be a less than optimal way to determine purchase price value.

Welcome to today’s real world problem with cap rate valuation! I have a theory that the accelleration of tenant default has now become the single most powerful force in declining commercial property values. There goes sustainable NOI.

The Assault on CAP Rates. Shopping cap rates is usually a faulty initial premise in today’s market since most investors are unwilling or unable to park cash into 100% of the purchase price of a leased property.

Today, long term tenant performance is becoming less stable and the market competition for “exceptional” tenants is heating up. Vacancies are driving down NOI, lenders know this and are now adjusting their cap calculations to include historical property performance perdictions.

Cap rates as a tell-all financial apparatus are under assault and weighted calculations for financing and property segment performance MUST be taken into account by investors more than it has in the past.

A trustworthy cap rate will always be adjusted by the cost of money and the cost of alternative investments measured against real estate investment returns.

The strength of lease agreements, tenant performance, type of business and the cost of money over time (typically 3-5 years) are now more significant than ever.

Want more information about cap rates and the central and northern Arizona commercial markets? Email me or, if you prefer, call me toll free at 877-777-9100.