Land Sales Continue to Nose Dive in 2008

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

Publication date: October 9, 2008

By Les Shaver

For months now, land owners, developers, and single-family and multifamily builders have talked about the severe drop-off in land sales. New numbers from Real Capital Analytics back those assertions-the New York-based real estate research firm says that sales have fallen off drastically, nearly 75 percent to date this year.

From January through August of 2008, land sales totaled $7.1 billion. During the same period last year, $27.2 billion in land was sold. In the first three quarters of 2006, that number was $16.4 billion.

“It’s not just sales, but it’s pricing as well,” says Jack McCabe, CEO of McCabe Research and Consulting, a real estate research and consulting firm based in Deerfield Beach, Fla. “The parcels that are being sold are incredibly below what they were a few years ago. We’re talking 20 [cents] to 40 cents on the dollar.”


DIRT DIVE: Annual land sales have plummeted in 2008, according to New York-based research firm Real Capital Analytics. Through August, sales were off nearly 75 percent, versus the same period in 2007.
Year Dollar Volume
2005 $20.94 billion
2006 $25.95 billion
2007 $37.07 billion
2008 (to date) $7.17 billion

California Governor Signs First Bill to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions via Development Incentives

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Published: October 08, 2008
By Erika Schnitzer, Associate Editor (Multi-Housing News)

Sacramento, Calif.–Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into legislation the nation’s first bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by curbing suburban sprawl.

“When it comes to reducing greenhouse gases, California is first in tackling car emissions, first to tackle low-carbon fuels, and now with this landmark legislation, we are the first in the nation to tackle land-use planning,” Schwarzenegger said of the legislation. “What this will mean is more environmentally friendly communities, more sustainable developments, less time people spend in their cars, more alternative transportation options and neighborhoods we can safely and proudly pass on to future generations.”

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Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog


Please be aware that the Graeme Baker Safety Act will be effective 12/20/08. This is a federal law that helps eliminate the possibility of pool, spa and wader main drain entrapment and or entanglement. This Federal law requires full compliance no later than December 20, 2008. Pool areas that do not comply with these regulations are required to be closed per the Federal Government. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is the primary enforcement agency for the Act.

Aqua Blue Co. has respected the request of the County to wait to release any information as far as repairs that will be needed according this mandate. Due to the number of inquiries we have received, we felt it necessary to inform the association of the most up-to-date information. Note: Orange County Environmental Health has yet to release final recommendations to the Virginia Graeme Baker Safety Act, but the surrounding counties have set guidelines that will most likely be adopted in Orange County.
Outlined below in two steps is the Federal information that mandates public swimming pools, spas and waders be retrofitted or modified to meet new anti-entrapment guidelines and meet specific ASME/ANSI A112.12.8-2007 performance standards.

Graeme Baker Safety Act Sections 1404 (a), 1404 (b), 1404 (c)(1)(A)(i & ii):

All pools, spas and waders must be equipped with anti-entrapment main drain covers that comply with ASME/ANSI A112.12.8-2007 performance standard. All existing suction/intake covers will be replaced prior to 12-20-08.

Flow rates must be checked and be in complete compliance with the ASME/ANSI and the Graeme/Baker Act. The new covers will have maximum flow rates printed on the cover. Flow rates will be determined upon inspection to be properly retro-fitted prior to installation of the new cover. It is necessary to assess the flow rates for proper calibration to eliminate the possibility of entanglement issues (such as hair, etc.). If flow rates are outside the recommended Gallon Per Minute (GPM), which is indicated on the cover, a solution will be proposed to the association in order to comply with regulations. (In Most cases flow rates will not be a concern).

Multifamily Execs Say Bailout is Vital to Occupancy Levels

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Publication date: October 3, 2008

By Les Shaver

The country may still be split on the economic bailout plan, but some apartment executives—always wary of unemployment numbers—hope to see the House pass the Bush administration’s $700 billion rescue package. The Senate passed it yesterday.

Though M|PF YieldStar reports that industry-wide rental occupancy rates still remain relatively stable at approximately 94.5 percent, there is an underlying fear among many owners and managers that the levels can’t last. If the bailout doesn’t happen soon, that drop could be steeper and happen sooner than the market could bear.

“Maybe with the bailout, it’s just a mild recession,” says David Schwartz, principal of Waterton Advisors, an apartment owner and operator based in Chicago. “If it becomes worse and we see substantial loss of jobs and an economic slowdown, that benefits no one. Let’s hope the bailout goes through, and there’s only a mild recession.”

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Pest-Proof Your Home For Winter

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Courtesy of Orkin

The arrival of cooler weather means pests may be targeting your house for a warm hideout. Pest-proofing your home now can prevent these unwanted guests from settling in for the winter.

Rodents and cockroaches, two pests that can pose serious health threats, are stealthy wintertime invaders seeking warmth, food and water inside your home. In fact, because cockroaches prefer secure, tight spaces, even the smallest crack or crevice in a wall can serve as a highway into your home. Additionally, Smoky brown cockroaches can sense a temperature decrease of only five degrees, and will use this change as a signal to head indoors. Once inside, cockroaches can contaminate food and make you sick, as well as trigger asthma attacks.

Rats, which can enter homes through quarter-sized openings, and mice, which can squeeze through dime-sized holes, are also known to contaminate food and transmit harmful diseases. In addition to seeking immediate shelter from cooler weather, several species of rodents may move indoors now and continue hiding and thriving in your home even after warmer spring weather arrives.

Reminder: Change Your Clock Change Your Battery

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(NAPS)—Surprising to many  Americans is the fact that 25 million homes are at needless risk due to worn or missing smoke detectors, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Though 96 percent of American homes have smoke alarms, 19 percent do not have at least one smoke alarm that works, mostly due to dead or missing batteries. This is just one reason why the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Energizer remind families to keep safe this fall by changing the batteries in their smoke alarms when they change their clocks back from daylight saving time.

In 2008, the day to set your clocks back and change the batteries in your smoke detectors is November 2.

The Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® message also reminds families to change the batteries in their carbon monoxide detectors and their emergency flashlights so they are prepared in case a severe winter storm causes a power outage in their home.

California Tax Punishes Energy Savers

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by Fred Foldvary

Californians who seek to avoid paying $4 per gallon for gasoline by switching to grease or vegetable oil are being subjected to a rude shock. The state’s taxes and regulations on fuel apply just as much to the do-it-yourself guy as a global corporation. A news story in the May 8, 2008, Los Angeles Times told how a mechanic who uses fuel made of fryer grease was hit with fines, paperwork, and taxes.

The mechanic was told that he needs a diesel fuel supplier’s license and has to pay the state’s 18-cent road tax on each gallon of grease. This fuel entrepreneur also needs a license from the state’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Branch to take kitchen grease from restaurants. The state has also forced him to carry $1 million in liability insurance, and he needs a permit from the state Air Resources Board to burn fat.

The state also restricts the “grey market” for cars—vehicles that Californians buy in Europe and then must be registered in California. The state requires the cars to be tested at licensed labs, but there are very few such labs. Foreign cars that run on diesel and that could also use clean and cheap vegetable oil are thus discouraged.

Property Management: Retaining Residents by Building a Sense of Community

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Published: September 29, 2008

By Daniel Babka, president, Rental Marketing Success

The top amenity desired by residents (according to recent studies by the National Multi-Housing Council and the National Apartment Association) isn’t a granite counter-top, six-panel doors and crown molding.  It’s a sense of community: a feeling of belonging that cuts across luxury, A, B and C-grade properties.

Yet once they sign that lease and plunk their money on the desk, most of those residents will fade into the woodwork and become background music.  The smile they saw when you first greeted them, has been replaced with a blank stare or a glance in their direction that suggests you see them now as more of an interruption to the paperwork, than a valued client or resident.

Sand and water will forever run through your hands, just like residents will.  And attrition happens. Great businesses lose good customers through no fault of their own. That’s why all your employees need to understand that “marketing is your business.” Shrinkage happens when you don’t market. According to the latest surveys by SatisFacts Research, 65% to 70% or more of your existing residents will move from your property each year, while the cost of replacing them continues to grow more expensive (averaging close to $3,000 a turnover, including maintenance and lost rent).

Research tells us that the cost of attracting a new customer/resident is roughly seven times what you’ll spend retaining an existing one.  Much of what happens on your property, from a budget and expense point-of-view, is beyond your control with utility costs, taxes, supplies and most vendor costs rising right along with the price of oil. At $145 a barrel, that affects plastic, the costs of carpeting, service calls, labor —you name it.  You can’t control the local economy and job market or the direction and desirability of the neighborhood.  So what can you control?


The Fine Points of New Housing Legislation

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Source: Albuquerque Journal
Publication date: August 25, 2008
By Your Taxes JAMES HAMILL For the Journal

The recently signed housing legislation, designed primarily to help with the troubled mortgage markets, includes several other provisions that may affect a broad range of homeowners.

First, a new tax credit will apply to “first-time homebuyers.” The credit is the lesser of $7,500 or 10 percent of the purchase price of a principal residence. The credit applies only to homes purchased between April 8, 2008 and June 30, 2009.

“Purchase” means an actual closing, not just a contract to buy.

If the home is purchased in the first 6 months of 2009, you may elect to treat it as purchased by Dec. 31, 2008, so the credit is available on your 2008 tax return.

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Motivated Management

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by Brian Gordon

Let’s face it; Property Management is not enthralling to all.  It was obvious prior to getting into the profession, but I cannot remember a time where I naively glamorized property management as sitting back and collecting rents each month.  I know of no children who dream of one day growing up to be on call 24 hours a day, trying to desperately collect rent each month, and the desire to have the frustration of daily building maintenance and cleanliness.  It just doesn’t happen.  Thus it is a basic fundamental in property management to ensure you are always motivated about management.

As your time becomes less and the daylight hours dwindle, it is important to always keep your composure.  Tenants will always be insistent and as a professional manager you must realize how to effectively handle situations.

Crisis situations will prove the professional demeanor and effective organization of your property manager.  Handle all complaints or concerns with self-control; never get frustrated and irrational.