Clues in the News – Robots, Housing, and High Rises

In our latest episode, we take you to lively Las Vegas, where we’re at the National Association of Broadcasters Show.

Visiting this city brings back a lot of memories.

You see, we witnessed firsthand the glut of real estate in Las Vegas pre-recession and the freefalling prices that followed when the market crashed in 2008.

In this podcast, we’ll delve into Clues in the News to analyze what’s going on in today’s market. We’ll discuss how headlines today parallel the past … and why emerging market trends should make a difference to YOU.

In this fast-paced episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show (we have a lot of ground to cover!) you’ll hear from:

  • Your super-sleuth host, Robert Helms
  • His clue-cracking co-host, Russell Gray

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Rising home sales

We found clear evidence home sales are rising in many markets. An article in Business Insider, New home sales unexpectedly jump in March, states sales of new single-family homes went up by 5.8% in March, according to the Department of Commerce.

This is a departure from what economists had predicted … the big shots imagined that new home sales would fall by 4% this month.

Notice we’re talking about new homes … this is a subset of the entire housing market.

The article also pointed out the confidence rating of the National Association of Home Builders is at a nearly 11-year high. It hasn’t been on fire like this since around 2005.

The news clearly points to rising confidence in the market … which means more free-flowing money. Catching any similarities between today’s market and the past?

We want to remind you we don’t have a crystal ball (although if you can procure one for us, we’ll happily take it!). The best we can do to predict the future is use our knowledge about the past to gauge where we think things are heading in the present.

Today’s market reminds us of what happens when money starts to flow freely. Too much free flowing money means money is mal-invested and people get sloppy.

Investments that make sense at zero cost often don’t make sense at a higher interest rate. In a market that’s beginning to be flooded with money, real estate investors have to be careful about the ways they consume debt.

New homes aren’t the only market subset currently thriving. In this MarketWatch article we learned the average number of days a house is on the market is 34 days.

That’s a tight market with sturdy demand! And with high demand comes high prices … until there’s a change.

If you’re in the building business, high demand and low supply might seem great … until you’re one of the hundreds of contractors who decided to take advantage of that high demand, inadvertently creating a glut of products.

At first look, rising demand might look good if you’re on the selling or building side of things. That’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to put all the info you get in the blender … and figure out what kind of soup you’ll really be getting.

The MarketWatch article stated the national median sales price for existing homes is up 6.8% … on average.

The word average is key. Prices were up by almost 10% in the Northeast … and down by 1.8% in the West. All real estate is local.

We thought it was interesting to pair what we know about rising home sales with our knowledge that home ownership is at a 100-year low. So WHO is buying all these houses?

Clearly, real estate investing is trending up. But what’s the big picture?

Skyrocketing home prices

There are a ton of indicators that the market might be heading for another crash. Rising home sales to investors and speculators is one.

Our friend Dr. Doug Duncan, former chief economist for Fannie Mae, told us during the Summit that this has been the longest recovery in U.S. history … and the weakest.

People who’ve been recovering from the crash of 2008 are finally dipping their toes in the market, thinking it’s normal. But if you’re a professional investor, you know most people end up buying high and selling low (to you, we hope!).

If you’ve been waiting for things to go on sale, the current market might be getting ready to serve up a lot of sunshine for you! If you’re prepared, a big pullback from the market could be one of the greatest possible gifts.

We noticed another interesting MarketWatch article. It says that U.S. home prices grew at fastest rate in nearly three years.

That’s more evidence we might be nearing the top of the market. But it’s not time to be scared. It’s time to be smart.

You have to be careful about how and where you’re investing. And you absolutely must have a Plan B.

If the market crashes, you may have to sit on your properties for ten years … and you have to be willing to do so.

Ask yourself: If interest rates go up, will my deals stay stable? If prices go down, will I be in a position to buy?

It’s very dangerous to put your fingers in your ears and ignore what’s happening in the news. After all, the Titanic sunk because nobody thought it could.

The big question is how YOU will respond to what you’re hearing. Take a look at the past … analyze the present … and prepare for the future.

Plunging sales, soaring inventory in one market

Our next article, Condo Flippers in Miami-Dade Left Twisting in the Wind, featured on Wolf Street, could have been published 10 years ago.

If you go to Miami, you’ll see new high rises going up across the city. Yet sales fell 10% year over year.

If you’re a regular subscriber to our events and podcasts, you might remember that we were doing Miami field trips at one time.

It wasn’t that we weren’t plugged in. We examined the data and asked for details. And we let ourselves be persuaded the rapid growth in the Miami market could continue … because it seemed great.

But sure enough, the unthinkable happened.

Although there were people who had a plan and are holding on now, Miami is not a market you want to be in right now. Based on current construction, there’s a 432-year supply of new high-rise condos.

Miami demonstrates what can happen when there’s a temporary spike in demand. Now, we’re not saying temporary spikes in demand are always bad. In fact, they can be a good thing!

But you HAVE to be prepared for the worst to happen.

Are robots taking over the world?

Our last article discusses a very different phenomenon. We were fascinated when we read an article in Nikkei Asian Review. They share robots can handle a high percentage of our work tasks.

What do robots have to do with you? Well, that’s EXACTLY the question we want you to be asking!

The study the article cites found that 75% of 77 sample tasks could be handled by machines. So think … how does this affect the fast-food worker? The factor employee? The Lyft driver?

And what if those people are your tenants?

As landlords, we have to think about how every change will affect us, good and bad.

There are so many factors that affect the real estate “ecosystem” … blowing winds, undercurrents, waves, and sudden storms.

It’s essential to keep a sharp lookout as you navigate your portfolio through both sunshine and swells. As the saying goes, “A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.”

Successfully navigating through rough seas can only make you a better sailor. As veteran real estate investors, we’ve learned to be grateful for devastating events like 2008 … because they forced us to become sharper students. Now we see downturns as opportunities!

We urge you to watch what’s going on the market and evaluate how each new factor makes an impact on you. The best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. Now is the time to be proactive … before you have a leak in your dining room.

Like the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared!”


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

4/3/10: Wholesale Opportunities – Using OPM to Heal Hurting Markets

Easy money caused hot markets to go super-nova. And when the music stopped these formerly high flying markets came crashing down in unprecedented fashion.  Now, there’s a BIG MESS to clean up – and that’s bad, right?

It depends on who you are and how you look at it.

Without re-hashing several of our past (and very excellent) broadcasts, suffice it to say that if you’re a seller in a down market, you’re not a happy camper.  But if you’re a BUYER, you’re a kid in a candy store – especially because prices have swung so far the other way, you might actually have equity on the day you buy.  Yes, Virginia, equity still happens.  But that’s a whole other topic.

Of course, who wants to be a penniless kid in a penny candy store (don’t even get us started on whatever happened to penny candy)?  If you lost your cash, credit and income in the recession, but can see the great real estate deals available all around you, there’s still hope for you!

We’ve been talking a lot about syndication (raising money from others and forming a business to invest in real estate), but there’s another, less complicated, way to profit in a market like this.  It’s called “wholesaling”.

You can wholesale anywhere, but it works best in markets that have been hit REALLY hard, the average price is pretty low, and whatever made the market attractive when things were hot still remains.  Hmmmmm…. can you think of any markets like that?

We thought of one and flew there to check it out.  We met a guy who is not only an active wholesaler, but he trains investors how to do it.  We thought you’d enjoy hearing from him, so we invited him to call in and share his insights.

Contributing to the conversation in this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show:

  • Your wholesale host, Robert Helms
  • Your discount co-host, Russell Gray
  • Special guest, investor, entrepreneur and trainer, Lex Levinrad

Listen in and find our what’s happening in the South Florida real estate market and how enterprising entrepreneurs are helping heal a hurting market place.

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podcast provides education, information, training and resources to help investors make money with their real estate investing.

12/12/10: International Real Estate for Resort, Investment or Safe Haven – Pros and Cons of a Changing Landscape

Whew!  That’s a big title.  But it’s fitting for a big topic – one that reminds us that the world is not only getting smaller, but is changing rapidly.

Money, jobs and people are moving around the world like never before. And while fewer people may feel rich coming out of this recession, there are other good reasons many are still looking at international real estate – both as an investment strategy and a safe haven hedge against inflation.

While we were at the International Property Congress in Miami Beach, in addition to talking big picture economics with National Association of Realtor’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun and Federal Reserve Bank VP Thomas Cunningham (see our 11/21/10 show), we sat down and talked about who’s buying international real estate, where and why.

Behind our well-traveled microphones for an international chat-fest:

  • Your host, the internationally renowned Robert Helms
  • Your co-host and internationally obscure Russell Gray
  • The man who has seen more changing landscapes than a migrant farm worker, the eternally international Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms
  • Special Guest #1: International Property Journal reporter, Kevin Brass
  • Special Guest #2: Representative from SECOVI, a Brazilian real estate trade association, Flavio Amary

It’s no secret that every country in the world has it’s own unique strengths and weaknesses.  As the dominant economy in the world, Americans have long enjoyed a uniquely stable and high quality of life.  It wasn’t necessary or commonplace to travel abroad.  Even today, the  majority of Americans do not have passports.

However, the world is changing.  The US dollar, while still the dominant currency, is facing serious challenges.  Job losses, deficit spending, an aging populace and huge unfunded entitlements are all piling up on Uncle Sam.  Meanwhile, other countries are emerging as powerful economies in their own right – most notably China.

But this isn’t an episode about the woes facing the US.  These aren’t the first challenges and they won’t be the last.  Every country has its ups and downs.

This episode is about discovering how and why the dynamics of the world’s economies are changing the way people are approaching real estate.

While we’re more traveled than the average American, we took the opportunity while in Miami to connect with Kevin Brass.  Kevin has been covering the international real estate industry for over 20 years and his articles and analyses have been regular features in the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times.  Today, Kevin writes for the International Property Journal.  His work takes him all around the globe and keeps him connected with many industry leaders worldwide.  In this episode, Kevin shares his perspectives on the changing landscape of international real estate.

We also discuss some recent changes to the once vaunted tax and privacy advantages of Panama, who recently entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States.  Tax and privacy advantages are often a prime motivator for people to acquire real estate and move to a particular country.  Is what happened in Panama a portend of things to come?

Of course, what would an episode on international real estate be without an interview with someone with one of those really intriguing accents?  We were privileged to find someone who not only sounds really cool, but has some very useful things to share with us about the robust economy of Brazil.  If you haven’t been paying attention to Brazil, you may be surprised to hear about what’s happening there.  Hint: not everyone’s in a recession.

Buone Feste, Boas Festas, Felices Fiestas, Frohe Festtage, Wesołych Świąt, Bonnes vacances, Sarbatori Fericite and Happy Holidays!

The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show podcast provides education, information and training to help investors make money with their real estate investments.

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11/21/10: Real Estate Economics – Interviews with the Federal Reserve and National Association of Realtors

As we’re guiding our real estate sailing ship through the choppy economic seas of the past few years, we’ve learned the wisdom of having a lookout watching the horizon for threats and opportunities.

We also like to compare notes with other sailors – especially those whose lookout platforms are higher up than ours.  They can see more and farther than we can.  That’s very helpful when trying to catch a wave or avoid a storm.

So we dove at the chance to interview some high profile people – to find out what they can sea, sea, sea from their higher vantage point.

In beautiful Miami, sitting on the dock of our radio bay, watching the tide roll away:

  • Show host and captain of the good ship Equity, Robert Helms
  • The cut rate first mate, co-host Russell Gray
  • Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors®, Dr. Lawrence Yun
  • Vice President and Associate Director of Research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Thomas Cunningham, Ph.D
  • President Elect of the National Association of Realtors®, Moe Veissi

Wow!  What an all star line-up!  After watching each of their presentations to the Congress, we decided to chase them down for a quick conversation that we could share with our listeners.  Though they’re all busy men, each was gracious enough to sit down for some one on one with Robert.

Dr. Yun kicks off the show with some comments on the US housing market.  He’s the first economist on earth to see and analyze the housing data gathered by the National Association of Realtors®.  He’s also able to combine the statistical data with lots of relevant anecdotal data – since he interacts regularly Realtors® around the country.  He points out some of the reasons he believes the worst of the storm is past.

Next, we talk to Thomas Cunningham of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.  Unless you’ve been in a coma the last two years, you know that the Fed has been very active in trying to stimulate the economy with lower interest rates, expanded credit facilities to banks and that mysterious “quantitative easing”.  What does it all mean?  Our mission is to find out!

While economics and monetary policy is interesting, it’s pretty high in the clouds.  So we wrap the show up with a lively conversation with the energetic President-elect of the National Association of Realtors®, Moe Veissi.  Moe shares his thoughts as he transitions from local real estate practitioner to the helm of the world’s largest trade association.

It’s all good stuff, so listen in – and be sure to tell a friend!

The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show podcast provides education, information and training to help investors make money with their real estate investments.

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9/26/10: Tracking International Trends – CEO Insights from the Nation’s Largest Local Association

Every day, jobs, money, people and business are going global. Some come to the U.S. and some leave.  Some go both ways.  Maybe you’ve fantasized about cross-border transactions, in which case you may need to seek professional help.

Because we’re us, we get to meet all kinds of bright, experienced and interesting people. It counter balances us.   The latest smart person we’ve met (wait until you see how many letters come after her name!) is our guest for this episode.

Revealing their deepest thoughts on this subtle topic:

  • Your head therapist, host Robert Helms
  • Your head case, co-host Russell Gray
  • Special call-in expert, CEO of MIAMI, Teresa Kinney CAE, CIPS, GRI, RCE, TRC

Teresa Kinney, CEO MIAMI

To avoid confusion, even though she wears the title of CEO of MIAMI, Teresa isn’t an official from the city of Miami.  She’s CEO of MIAMI (notice the ALL CAPS) which is comprised of several organizations: the Residential Association, the Realtors® Commercial Alliance, the Broward County Board of Governors, and the International Council.  You can learn more at www.miamire.com.

What impresses us most is that MIAMI is a top gateway for international real estate both coming into and going out of the United States.  So if you’re interested in international real estate, MIAMI and Miami are great places to get connected.  In fact, there’s a big international real estate event coming up October 30-31 featuring National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, and The Real Estate Guys™!

Now some people think tracking markets and trends is a drag, but we like it! Astute investors watch for economic and demographic trends in order to effectively pick markets and properties poised to perform best over the next 10-30 years.

Located in the #1 hub for global real estate, CEO Teresa Kinney oversees the largest local association of Realtors® in the nation.  With access to all the statistics, plus gobs of anecdotal data from over 23,000 agents, Teresa has more insight into international real estate activity than just about anyone else! Of course, we couldn’t wait to ask her a zillion questions.  Tune in and find out what she has to say!

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