Another video from Mike Timmerman of Meyers Research, a national real estate data firm, provided another positive insight to the real estate scene. “Pricing has leveled off than in prior years … moving forward in these markets, we expect to continue seeing solid, slow growth, which is what we really want to have,” he said.
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Jan. 10, 1:30 PM-2:30 PM
Location: OCCC – West Concourse, Level 3, Room W 314 A
Mother Nature turned the lives upside-down for residents of two of the most populous states. Texas is still dealing with the repercussions of Hurricane Harvey, and businesses are gradually getting back on track. Look for our follow up on this in an upcoming blog. Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma brought her destructive force to Florida over the weekend, placing a third of the population under mandatory evacuation. Schools, shops, and businesses closed down mid-week to allow residents to evacuate with enough time. Many builders in Florida displayed banners on their websites highlighting closures from Thursday into early this week. We send our thoughts to those affected by these disastrous storms, including our team in Florida. We are working around the clock to keep our clients informed about who and what will be most effected in the wake of the storm.
AN UNEXPECTED TURN
As of Monday morning, Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm, but that doesn’t change the damage she caused across the state and throughout the southeastern US. The hurricane threw a curve ball when it unexpectedly turned towards the west, requiring residents to act fast to prepare. The wind and torrential rain pummeled the entire state, causing roughly 7 million residents to lose power (about a third of the entire state’s population). There were even spin-off tornadoes in places like Orlando.
Source: The Weather Channel; Meyers Research
DAMAGE ALONG FLORIDA’S PENINSULA
Miami: Irma blew through Miami, and while damaging, the storm’s fury was not as intense as experts feared because of the westward shift. Even still, Miami faced severe flooding and falling cranes due to the extreme wind.
Fort Myers and Naples: Homes were impacted by the 142 mph wind gusts with accompanying debris, including fallen trees. The market is faced with some flooding and roof damage to homes. Mike Timmerman, our Senior Vice President of Advisory based in Naples noted, “The additional cost to continually strengthen the building codes over the years has paid off immensely. Most of the structures built since the early-2000s in Fort Myers and Naples fared well in the storm.”
Tampa: The western movement of Irma’s path threatened a market that hadn’t seen a storm since 1921. It also posed a surprising threat to those that sought refuge in Tampa from other parts of Florida. The fate is still uncertain for the Tampa market, that, luckily, didn’t appear too damaged as residents woke up Monday morning. The mayor was quoted saying “The first blush is that not only did we dodge a bullet, but we survived pretty well. Not a lot of flooding. Tree removal, debris—don’t want to say it’s negligible, but it’s manageable.”
Orlando: Orlando faced tough storms and tornadoes, and many residents lost power. Stores are slowly reopening, especially near downtown, but power remains spotty.
Jacksonville: Jacksonville had so much rain that the St. Johns River overflowed and residents are dealing with flooding. The Port of Jacksonville, a big source of economic activity in Florida, closed on Saturday and workers are advised to return to work on Wednesday (September 13).
Source: New York Times; Florida Division of Emergency Management; Meyers Research
WHAT’S NEXT? ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE
Prepared response: It’s hard to find a silver lining from Hurricane Harvey, but there’s one that helped Florida. The damage in southern Texas just weeks before Irma encouraged residents to take the storm seriously and prepare their homes accordingly.
Share of GDP: Florida’s GDP is 4% of the overall national figure (Houston makes up 2.3% of US GDP). GDP will take a hit due to the loss of economic activity from at least Wednesday (September 6th) through Monday (September 11th), but there are talks that power could be out for residents and businesses for weeks. This will impact the overall economic engine in the state of Florida as discretionary spending was put on hold. We anticipate some job losses in service sector jobs because of decreased consumer spending.
Slow to get back to normal: Many fleeing the storm will face traffic and other hurdles in getting back home. Power is still out across a lot of the state and cell service is spotty. We could see it taking longer for life to get back to normal in Florida compared to southern Texas because of the extent Irma impacted power lines.
WHAT’S NEXT? BUILDER PERSPECTIVE
Top builders: Lennar dominates in many top markets in Florida, capturing more than 20% of the market share for the Miami, Fort Myers, Naples, and Tampa CBSAs (see graph below). Looking at our most immediate example of Hurricane Harvey, both our meetings with clients and reports from earnings calls indicate that builders were able to get operations up and running within a week or two of the storm ( keep in mind they didn’t have as much disruption to the power grid). Even still, the builders below are at the biggest risk of delayed sales and/or damaged inventory.
Quick move-ins: Quick move-ins (or standing inventory) averaged between 3 and 5 units per community in the eastern CBSAs. These homes were vulnerable to damage, but the cost to the builders will be mixed. In many cases insurance will cover the repairs, but it takes some of their housing stock off the market in the short-run.
Increased costs and home prices: Homes across the state face damage from leaks, flying debris, falling trees, flooding, and more. These repairs will pull from an already tight construction labor market, making it harder for builders to deliver homes on time. Besides delivery schedules, the increased demand for construction labor and materials will likely drive up costs to the builder, ultimately making supplying attainable housing an even bigger challenge.
Delayed sales: It could take months to get back to a normal market environment. Systemic interruptions and buyer hesitancy may lengthen the sales pace in the short term. In addition, access to homesites and electricity make it challenging for builders to finish homes under construction. We anticipate normal market dynamics by the first quarter of next year.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau; Meyers Research
Note, the market share is based on YTD contract sales for roughly 1,200 actively selling projects tracked in Zonda.
We anticipate it will take at least 30 days for many of the markets in Florida to be up and running again. In particular, Naples has the highest share of people without electricity, hovering around 80%+. In both Tampa and Miami, where there are many actively selling communities, between 20-40% of residents are without power. We will continue to monitor the impact and advise our clients. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Mike, our Florida specialist mentioned above, or Ali, the author of this piece.
The results are in for the top selling new home counties across the country, and Texas and the Southwest dominate. The chart below shows where homes have been delivered to homebuyers in the first half of this year (the gray bars). Of the top 10 counties in the nation for closings, 50% are in Texas. When overlaying our survey of contract sales, we can forecast shifts in deliveries for builders. For example, Houston should see a resurgence in closings in the coming months based on the wide spread between contracts and closings (50% in Harris County)*. The counties with the highest YOY change in contract sales are Collin in Dallas (+28%), Hillsborough in Tampa (+26%), and Clark in Las Vegas (+16%). Our Manager of Housing Economics, Ali Wolf, connected with our regional experts to better understand the nuances driving the local housing markets.
HIGHER DENSITY COMMUNITIES ARE RETURNING TO LAS VEGAS
High-density attached communities are starting to resurface in the Valley after years of stagnation. Developers are acquiring and restarting well-located, infill parcels within Summerlin, a master planned community on the western side of the MSA. These acquisitions show enthusiasm and confidence in attached housing, albeit with some differences compared to the last cycle. Unlike the mid-2000s, developers are being more selective with sites and proceeding only in Las Vegas’ most desirable and established locations. “Available land in Summerlin’s core is getting gobbled up. We are seeing communities that were stalled in the mid-2000s resurface with updated concepts,” explained JT Schwartz, our Advisory specialist for Las Vegas. The comeback of urban, low maintenance housing is fueled by some big builders in the metro:
Toll Brothers recently bought 10 acres of mothballed land at Mira Villa and plans to start construction in the next six months
William Lyon has restarted four high-density products within Affinity selling from the mid-$200Ks (pictured below)
JT Schwartz continued, “these parcels are ‘holes in the donut’ in the community that offer a walkable proximity to many of Summerlin’s more desired retail and entertainment nodes. The aforementioned communities are in addition to the master plan’s urban hub, Downtown Summerlin, where there will be thousands of condominiums and apartments added over the next decade or two.”
Source: William Lyon
RELOCATIONS CHANGE THE HOUSING LANDSCAPE IN DALLAS
It’s no surprise North Texas has been a top relocation spot for years – job growth is tremendous (+3.3% YOY), the state is business friendly, there’s no income tax, and the cost of living is relatively affordable. “North Texas has got to the point that there are so many major employment announcements that some of them don’t even make front page news anymore,” explained our Texas Advisory lead, Scott Davis. More recently, companies looking to relocate or expand have been targeting the northeast portion of the metro, in places like Richardson, Frisco, and Plano.
Here are just a handful of recent big employment relocations or expansions in Plano, a city 20 miles north of downtown Dallas in Collin County.
JP Morgan Chase plans to house 6,000 employees upon completion of their consolidation in 2019
Toyota North America moved its headquarters from California to Plano, bringing 4,000 jobs to the city
Fannie Mae is opening a new regional headquarters of about 2,000 people
Liberty Mutual’s new office has space for 5,000 workers
USAA hopes to employ an additional 850 employees by completion of a new office in 2019
These relocations are changing the landscape of the local housing market. Between August 2015 and August 2017, the total number of active projects in Collin County grew 40%. In addition, the median single-family new home price grew 40% in Collin County since 2012 and prices are now 44% higher than the 2007 peak. For locals, these price levels are unheard of, but that’s not the case for some of those relocating. In the Toyota example, some of those employed at the new headquarters came from the former location in Torrance, California. In Torrance, the median single-family detached new home closing price is just below $700,000. The same number is $390,000 in Collin County. Besides the 44% price differential between the two locations, many of the California workers also came to Texas with equity to put towards their new home.
Scott Davis believes the growth will continue. “Even with affordability challenges Dallas hasn’t faced before, I’m still very bullish on the market and future growth. I’d put Dallas among the top three housing markets in the country right now.”
WATER STREET TAMPA HOPES TO TRANSFORM DOWNTOWN
To round out the top three markets with the biggest YOY change in contracts, here’s our quick take on Tampa:
As mentioned above, contract sales are up double-digits in Hillsborough County compared to last year. Our Florida expert, Mike Timmerman, has seen Tampa change over the years as new companies expand into the market, including several high tech firms. In addition, the downtown area is in the process of a resurgence as part of the Water Street Tampa plan, which is positively impacting the local housing market.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you grow sales in today’s competitive environment.
*Hurricane Harvey that swept through Texas will negatively impact new home closings and deliveries in the coming months as the market deals with the immediate aftermath of the storm. We are monitoring the situation and will report implications on the regional economy and housing market as the flood recedes and the damage can be more clearly assessed.
Good and Hot. Perhaps those are two words you didn’t think you’d hear when talking about the quintessential bubble markets, but that’s what we are finally seeing. Celebrating the 8th year of the economic expansion, our Manager of Housing Economics, Ali Wolf, studied where these markets currently stand.
RIVERSIDE IS HOT
Looking at the Riverside, CA market from the previous peak to where we are today, it looks like the market is far from recovered. Our local expert and Senior Vice President of Advisory, Michelle Weedon, believes this can be a bit misleading. “While the chart below looks like Riverside prices are still 16% lower than the previous peak, this is largely due to changing product. In the boom years, McMansions were the name of the game, supported by investors and loose lending. What we are seeing today is smaller, high density product,” she explains. “The Riverside market is hot.”
A large majority of the development in Riverside is happening along the 15-corridor. Unlike the focus of “drive to qualify” during the last boom, denser product in closer-in markets have recently been selling like hotcakes. We’ve seen particular strength in Corona, the Dairylands, and Temecula/Murrieta.
Buyer demand in Riverside is largely fueled by locals that include a combination of first-time buyers, blue collar employees, and warehouse workers. Helping with domestic demand, about 13 mega warehouse facilities with 1 million or more square feet were built in the Inland Empire from 2010 to 2016, according to CBRE.
A well-executed product and price points near FHA limits can drive absorption up to 8 sales per month.
MORE SEGMENTS ARE SELLING IN LAS VEGAS
The Las Vegas market had a better than expected spring selling season this year. Last year in May, the market was selling on average 3.0 sales per month for active projects. Fast forward to 2017, the market is averaging closer to 4.0 sales per month.
Our Las Vegas specialist, JT Schwartz, explained that the hockey stick effect can be attributed to builders expanding their product offerings and taking a chance on varying market segments. “After the housing crash, product targeted towards first-time buyers seemed to keep the market running. Recently we’ve seen this shift to include more buyer types: first-time, move-up, luxury, active adult, and even some vacation home communities are now offered. This is contributing to the higher sales volume and sales rates.”
Pulling the data in Zonda, we can easily see an example of JT’s analysis. In 2015, there was not a single actively selling active adult community in Las Vegas. By the end of 2016, that number had increased to seven actively selling product series with several more planned in 2017.
ECONOMIC GROWTH BEHIND ORLANDO’S SUCCESS
In a metro that is synonymous with tourism (much like Houston is with oil), it can be surprising to hear that Orlando’s diversity is a top reason for the market’s success. Local officials have worked to attract new and different industries through business incentives, and the efforts have paid off. Recently, both Lockheed Martin and Orlando Health announced expansion plans in the market.
Our Florida guru, Mike Timmerman, said, “We are seeing both the good and the bad that comes with local growth. With increased demand comes a strengthening new home market that is also met with rising costs (labor, land, and materials). These factors have pushed prices of newly built homes up quickly. Higher new home prices help the existing market, where more buyers are regaining equity in their homes and some are moving up. But even with the rising tide phenomenon, there’s definitely sticker shock for some locals.”
WE CAN FINALLY CALL PHOENIX’S HOUSING MARKET “GOOD”
2017 marked a shift in Phoenix’s housing market. Our Managing Director and authority on Phoenix, Steve LaTerra, explained, “The strength in Phoenix is no longer just the city center and infill. The sales pace in the periphery is also good. This is the change we’ve been waiting for.” Steve is encouraged by this trend, because now it makes sense for production builders to move further from the core. “We have had very few lots developed over the past 10 years in the periphery,” he continues. “While we recognize the peak was an exceptional time in Phoenix’s history, single-family permits are down 70% from that level.”
The dearth of new development in Phoenix has contributed to price appreciation (remember when you could buy a house in Phoenix for $150K?) and a mismatch between supply and demand. Phoenix is now at full employment and continues to add jobs at a 2.4% annual clip. The economy is strong enough to absorb additional supply.
Contact us to discuss how we can help define the best markets for your operation.
We are pleased to announce that Mike Timmerman is joining our team as a Senior Vice President in Meyers Research’s Advisory Practice. Mike is a long time industry veteran based in Naples that will focus on expanding the team’s expertise in Florida.
“We are excited that Mike will lead our Florida practice and help broaden our geographic reach to better serve our clients.”
Mike’s career spans 30 years and his knowledge of Florida real estate will provide our clients with market intelligence to measure and monitor changes in this critical housing market. Knowing how your customers interact with the economy allows you to make focused, strategic plans to achieve your objectives. Mike’s ability to evaluate and segment the housing supply by lifestyle helps quantify the specific housing demographic that each lifestyle caters to.
Prior to joining Meyers, Mike owned a consulting firm serving developers, private equity firms, and family funds. He had founded a market research firm, Feasinomics, that later was acquired by Hanley Wood. Mike is an Economics graduate from Northland College in Wisconsin and holds the CRE designation from the Counselors of Real Estate. A mapping and GIS expert, Mike is currently a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.