Archive for the ‘Commercial Sales’ Category

Firms of the Builder 100 Primed for Growth

The firms of the Builder 100 and Next 100 rise above the challenges of 2013




NAHB chief economist David Crowe notes in his “Small Vs. Large” analysis that the average NAHB single-family builder “has 10 employees, builds 27 single-family homes in a year, and has an average annual volume of $4 million.”

And—just as society has its 2 percent—so, too, does home building. Welcome to one of our crown-jewel annual projects, the Builder 100 and Next 100, compliments of the teams at organizations who produce, market, and settle on more than half of the nation’s new homes every year—a number that is growing, and, we expect, will keep growing.

The list itself and what it quantifies belie the work, the cleverness and creativity, the skills, the boldness, and the sheer force of will and resilience among the teams of people behind the titles of the 200 companies in our survey universe. We’ve profiled a few of the fastest growers on the next seven pages and provided related market data from Metrostudy, Hanley Wood’s research arm.

Last year’s primary driving mechanism was investors’ need for yield opportunity, which poured liquidity into absorbing distressed inventory in huge gulps, giving home builders two long-awaited and critical bases to work off. One was stabilized and upwardly mobile house pricing, a strong signal to discretionary buyers that the moment had come to move off the sidelines and into the pursuit of that dream home. The second was a sense of urgency, which had been absent since about the time Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc in the Gulf in 2005. In 2013, bidding wars over properties actually broke out like hockey skirmishes that pitted potential owner-occupiers against one another and against investor buyers, and the scarcity of inventory took care of the rest.

People wanted what there wasn’t a lot of, and that played into the hands of the big, and not so much the little, home builder. Why? Money. Big builders’ one material advantage over the broader market in the past year was capital muscle. If you had lots and a reserve of cash to invest to build on them, you did well. If, as in “normal” housing cycles, you needed to access financing to acquire lots and structure project loans, you didn’t do well.

This year’s Builder 100 and Next 100 builders, roughly the equivalent of American society’s 2 percent, accounted for more than one out of every two new homes sold (53.1 percent) in 2013. The “200” consolidated gains coming out of the downturn into the early stretches of recovery. While the broader new residential construction community accounted for a year-on-year jump of about 13 percent, to a total of 430,000 new-homes sold, our community of home building’s 200 biggest players rocked a 24 percent increase on an absolute jump of 43,968 homes.

For 2013, the minimum barrier to entry into the vaunted top 100 ranking was 406 homes. That’s a 27 percent hurdle to have cleared versus the minimum number of 2012 units, and eight companies made that leap with aplomb: Eastwood Homes, American West Development, AV Homes, TRI Pointe Homes, The New Home Co., The Providence Group of Georgia, Dunhill Homes, and Robson Communities. We salute them and welcome them to the show.

And don’t say there weren’t challenges in 2013. Let’s name a few. How about credit, both for builders and buyers who need financing to go through with their purchase? Arguably, the pendulum of risk-aversion had swung to an unheard of extreme, which made extracting acquisition, development, and construction lending and a 30-year fixed-rate loan for someone with a normal credit rating a have-fun-trying experience. What about labor? What about entitled, approved, and developed lots? What about the Fed taper, introduced with such finesse by former chairman Ben Bernanke mid-year? And how about that little interruption in all government activities that occurred during the first two weeks of October?

That’s not to mention chronic issues like flat-lining household incomes, lumpy geographical recoveries, and a growing mismatch between job openings and individuals with the required skills.

If builders could do what they did despite the challenges, shocks, and impediments of 2013, they’re apt to be able to do themselves one better this year. They’re looking beyond the external forces at their internal mechanics, people, process, and programs. They’re improving as they go, which is what home building’s 2 percent is all about right now.


By  with Builder on May 9, 2014

Twice as Many Consumers Prefer New Homes to Existing

Larger closets, open floor plans, and roomy kitchen islands seen as big draws of new homes.


While twice as many American consumers prefer a newly built home compared to an existing dwelling, many are reluctant to pay extra for new, according to the results of a new survey from Trulia.

Forty-one percent of respondents said they prefer to buy a new home over a previously lived in one, compared to 21 percent who said they would prefer an existing home at the same price. But of those buyers interested in new homes, only 46% were willing to pay the 20% premium that new homes typically require. In fact, only 17% of respondents said they would pay at least 20% more for a new home.

Trulia compared median prices for a new home adjusted for property features and location and found that new homes are typically priced 20% higher than older homes with similar attributes such as square footage and number of bedrooms in the same zip code.

The survey explored consumer preferences for each type of home. The top reasons respondents prefer a new home are for modern features such as bigger closets, a kitchen island, open floor plan, walls pre-wired for flat screen TVs, radiant floor heating, to be able to customize the home before construction is completed, and to spend less on maintenance and repairs.

Fans of existing homes have their reasons, too. The most compelling reason to buy an existing home is to pay less. However, among respondents who strongly prefer an existing home, the top reasons to buy an existing home are for one-of-a-kind finishes such as original wood floors, woodwork, ornate details, or stained/leaded glass windows, and to live in a more established neighborhood.

Interestingly, respondents are much more likely to mention the neighborhood as a reason to prefer an existing home than as a reason to prefer a new home. This suggests that for many Americans, the ideal home might be a new home in an established neighborhood, the survey concludes.

By  – Builder Online – May 5, 2014

Spring Comes to the Atlanta Real Estate Market

Spring Comes to the Atlanta Real Estate Market




As we approach spring in the Atlanta area, real estate activity is picking up (even if the outside temperature is not).

On the Ashford Capital side of the business – where we own a number of developed parcels of land – we have seen a dramatic increase in traffic. The premier homebuilders in Atlanta know that our company is the go-to asset holder for high-quality neighborhood opportunities.

Demand for new homes is on the rise, and builders are finally in a spot where inventories are relatively low and they need to be putting up new structures to meet demand.  So as we approach the second quarter, Ashford Capital Partners is in an excellent position to negotiate with these builders.

This year we expect to sign contacts to liquidate a number of these properties at attractive prices, netting a gain for our investors who helped us purchase these properties at distressed prices during and after the financial crisis.


Ashford Advisors Expanding Services Offered



On the advisory side of our business – where we help facilitate real estate transactions – we have also seen a significant pickup in activity.

A number of our clients have commercial real estate holdings that are for lease or for sale. We have been able to assist in the process of leasing these properties, helping the client generate a reliable stream of income. In other instances, we have helped facilitate an actual sale of the client’s property, capping off a profitable investment transaction.

On a more personal level, we have been active in helping a number of clients with mortgage issues. Today, there are a number of programs available to homeowners and business owners to help lower both the level of monthly payments as well as the principal value of the overall loan.

Taking advantage of the options available today can allow some owners to remain in homes that they might otherwise not be able to afford. And in other cases, a mortgage adjustment can free up capital to cover other areas of need.

Depending on your situation, Ashford Advisors may be able to help modify your loan, lease your property, or facilitate a sale that frees up needed capital. If you would like to sit down and discuss what options are available to you as a homeowner, I would be happy to set up a meeting and be your advocate – whatever the need.


Mortgage Activity Casts an Encouraging Light on Real Estate




There is one other area of interest that I want to bring up…

For the month of January (the latest month data is available), mortgage activity increased 38% over the level from last year. This is important because it shows that economic activity around residential real estate is picking up.

This is particularly encouraging as we head into the spring season which is historically an active time for home purchases. Young families typically pick the spring season to make a move, allowing their children to adjust to a new location at the end of a school year.

So with real estate activity already beginning to increase, this spring is shaping up to be a great period for selling a home or for leasing rental property. If you have been considering a move, or if you have a house, condo, or business that needs to be leased, please give me a call and find out how Ashford Advisors can assist you in achieving your financial goals.

Wishing you every success,


Matthew J. Riedemann
Founder, President, & Managing Director
Ashford Capital Partners, Ashford Advisors


Interest Rates, Stimulus Dollars and Real Estate Activity

Last week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) held the most anticipated meeting of the year. Investors and economists had high expectations for Bernanke & Co. to launch a new round of quantitative easing.

Under this type of program, the Fed injects more cash into the economy by purchasing bonds in the open market. This in turn pushes interest rates lower and helps to stimulate economic activity.

Thursday, the Fed announced that they would initiate a new program under which they are committed to buy $40 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) each month for the foreseeable future. This is in addition to the current program in which the Fed is buying $40 billion worth of Treasury bonds per month.

The Fed also reaffirmed their commitment to keep interest rates essentially at zero – and they are extending the time period for these rates through mid 2015.

Even though traders and economists had positive expectations heading into the meeting, the magnitude of the additional stimulus caught investors by surprise. Stocks rallied sharply after the announcement – reflecting expectations that the broad economy should respond positively to the additional liquidity and low interest rates.

How Does the Fed’s Plan Affect Real Estate?

There are two key ways that the Fed’s new round of quantitative easing will affect the real estate market.

First, the commitment to keep interest rates at historical lows through 2015 dramatically increases the risk of inflation. We have already seen the US dollar trade lower (leading up to the Fed’s announcement, and falling even more after the news release).

As the value of the US dollar declines, the purchasing power of dollar-denominated savings and investments will drop. Many economists refer to this as a “hidden tax” on savers because a fixed amount of dollars can no longer purchase the same amount of goods & services.

The way to guard against this erosion of value is to invest in non-dollar denominated assets – typically tangible assets such as precious metals or real estate. The great thing about an investment in real estate is that you can actually enjoy your investment while it appreciates in value.

If you would like to know more about opportunities to protect the purchasing power of your savings by investing in real estate, we should definitely have a conversation. There are a number of different options including purchasing vacation property, rental property, or investing in one of Ashford Capital’s residential development projects.

This is a great time to be protecting your hard-earned dollars and I would be happy to help you evaluate which options work best for your particular situation.

The second result of the Fed’s recent decision will be an increase in real estate activity. You see, with the Fed buying mortgage-backed securities, rates will continue to be very low – making it easier for individuals to purchase new or existing homes.

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about “residential mobility,” or the ability for homeowners to now sell their homes in order to upgrade to a new home or pursue new job opportunities.

As real estate transactions continue to increase, that mobility will become even better and there is simply no reason a current homeowner should be stuck in a home that he or she doesn’t want to be in.

Whether your home value is above or below your current mortgage balance, my team can help you explore options for selling or leasing your current residence, and we can also help you locate and purchase a new home that better meets your needs.

Let’s set up a time to get together and discuss how your real estate decisions can position you to take advantage of today’s economic environment. Don’t let inflation or a bearish perception of the housing market hold you back from capitalizing on today’s opportunities!

Wishing you every success,


Matthew J. Riedemann
Founder, President, & Managing Director
Ashford Capital Partners, Ashford Advisors


Atlanta Journal Constitution Post – 9/10/2012: Companies go Home Shopping around Metro Area By: Christopher Quinn

Atlanta Journal Constitution Post – 9/10/2012:
Companies go Home Shopping around Metro Area
By: Christopher Quinn

Metro Atlanta’s depressed home prices are drawing the interest of a new type of buyer – companies that buy houses in volume.

Such companies have snapped up foreclosures and short sales in the last few months from Gwinnett to Clayton counties, as well homes listed conventionally by realtors. And they say they plan to spend hundreds of millions on homes in the next two years.

Most are renting the homes – sometimes to the former owners. Others are buying and waiting for prices to increase before re-selling the houses.

It’s a new twist on house-flipping, which usually involves a single entrepreneur. The company purchases have helped push up metro Atlanta’s battered home prices, sopped up foreclosures that depress prices and sales, and created jobs at companies that buy, renovate, maintain and manage the houses.

The downsides are an uptick in prices and competition for home buyers, along with concern that large-scale absentee owners will not take good care of homes.

“Some are acquiring houses from foreclosure and leaving them vacant for a purely speculative investment,” said John O’Callahan, the president of Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership.

The nonprofit organization works in community stabilization and helps people of low to moderate income buy homes.

“It’s not a smart business model and is horrible for the community,” O’Callahan said.

But he praised companies like Sylvan Road and Waypoint Homes, which are buying metro Atlanta properties with plans to improve them and move families in as renters.

Sylvan Road, headquartered here, plans to buy $300 million of houses here in the next two years. That will bring an industrial scale to the $3 trillion single-family U.S. home rental business, about 80 percent of which has been owned by small local investors.

America is moving toward a “rentership society,” said Sylvan Road co-founder Oliver Chang, and single family homes represent “one of the most compelling investment opportunities across all asset classes.”

“We want to put $1 billion to work buying and renovating homes across the country,” said Chang, a former head of Morgan Stanley’s U.S. housing strategy.

Chang said Sylvan Road specializes in foreclosures and it spends an average of $40,000 per house in repairs and improvements.
Waypoint Homes, of California, has an Atlanta office and similar strategy. Its managers plan to buy $1 billion worth of U.S. homes for long-term rental.

“We will buy 12 homes [in metro Atlanta] this month and and 17 next month and will continue to ramp up…We hope to get to a place where we are buying 100 a month,” company director Doug Brien said.

Other investor-buyers active in metro Atlanta include Landsmith-Precise of California and Michigan, which wants to buy $20 million worth of houses; Atlanta-based Ashford Capital Partners with another $20 million in planned purchases and California’s Colony Capital, which wants to buy more than $1 billion in homes nationally. Colony had 10 workers among the 80 or so people bidding for foreclosures last Tuesday on Gwinnett County’s courthouse steps.

Investors backing the companies range from hedge funds to real estate investment trusts and wealthy individuals.

The competition is helping boost prices, which have been rebounding with a more stable market since late winter. The average foreclosure sale price in metro Atlanta rose between January and June by more than 9 percent from a median of $91,657 to $100,220, according to real-estate and data firm RealtyTrac.

The median sale price for all homes in the region was $145,000 in August, up more than 16 percent from $124,500 in August 2011, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Local observers say most homes bought by investors cost less than $200,000.

The effect of investors stepping in the last few months has been noticed by shoppers and real-estate agents, who have seen prices rise with interest from multiple bidders.

Verna Jones of Atlanta has been trying to buy a house since January without luck.

“I have been looking and been bidding. For example, I found house last month. I bid and it went into multiple offers,” Jones said. She lost the bid, not the first time that happened.

“It’s just more competition for the homeowner,” she said.

For homeowners looking to sell, however, the companies broaden the market.

Home ownership levels, which peaked over 69 percent in 2004, have dropped to about 64 percent. That would put an estimated 3 million former owners in the rental market.

Also, about 5.5 million owners are 90 days or more delinquent on mortgages or in foreclosure, according to Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, the international financial services company. If just half of those lose a home, it would put millions more in the rental market.

In metro Atlanta, 6,426 foreclosure notices were mailed out in August alone, according to Kennesaw real-estate services firm Equity Depot.

Providing rental homes is a necessity in this environment when so many have lost homes to foreclosure, Brien of Waypoint Homes said.

“Investors have to come in and buy homes and provide homes for people who are locked out of ownership,” he said. “They have families, kids, pets. Moving into an apartment is not an option for them.”

How Long Will the Housing Recovery Last?

With the Labor Day holiday now in the rear view mirror, it’s time to hang up the beach towels, put the kids in school, and get back to business.

If you’ve been paying attention to the economic trends this summer, you already know that the environment has been improving. Consumer confidence is growing, the latest round of retail sales showed acceleration, and the stock market is within striking distance of 52 week highs.

On the housing front, the bullish trend is picking up momentum. Home prices climbed throughout the summer as inventory levels of homes for sale have finally dropped to reasonable levels.

With home prices improving, we’re starting to see more commentary on the real estate industry. The big question right now is how long prices will continue to rise, and whether the strength will continue to support both the affluent side of the market as well as the lower end of the price spectrum.

One thing to consider when analyzing this recovery, is the magnitude of the previous drop in housing prices. We’re exiting a period where prices have dropped far from their peak values, and have been under pressure for a period of not months, but years.

So when we experience a few months of improvement, it’s natural for homeowners and investors to be skeptical of the advance. But the reality is, that we can expect the recovery to last much longer (with significant price advances still to come), before coming anywhere close to reaching an “extended” or “over-valued” environment.

This brings up two very important discussions:

Investment Opportunities

I recently had a prospective investor ask me if he thought it was too late to get involved in the real estate market.

After seeing home prices advance in the Atlanta area, he was worried that he may have missed the boat. He was frustrated, thinking that he had been waiting for the market to bottom for years, only to miss his opportunity by a few months.

My advice to him was to look at the recent advances within the context of the last 10 years of price action. The rebound from the last few months is material enough to signal that the advance is legitimate, but not anywhere close to putting the market into overbought or extended-valuation territory.

We have some exciting investment opportunities that we are currently tracking in our investment arm (Ashford Capital Partners). If you are interested in putting some of your investment capital to work in the vibrant Atlanta real estate market, give me a call and I can show you some of the tremendous deals that we are currently working on.

Homeowner Mobility

The second issue carries a much more personal note…

I know of a number of families in my neighborhood who have been waiting for the market to pick up so that they can make a housing transition.

There are several people who are looking to upgrade to a larger house, a few empty nest parents who now have too much space, and a number of families that have job opportunities in other parts of the country that require a move.

Given the improving state of the real estate market, these families now have the ability to pursue opportunities that simply weren’t available to them a year ago. Houses are being put on the market – and actually SOLD in a reasonable period of time. I can’t tell you how refreshing this is for families who have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to make an important transition.

If your family fits into this category, and you would like to explore the possibility of selling your house, buying a new home, or even renting out your property to generate income, we should have a conversation.
I would be happy to sit down with you at your home – or we could grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks – and discuss your situation. I think you’ll be impressed with the options available to you, along with the quality of service that we offer through our retail division – Ashford Advisors.

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and I look forward to speaking with you in the next few weeks.

Wishing you every success,


Matthew J. Riedemann
Founder, President, & Managing Director
Ashford Capital Partners, Ashford Advisors

Ashford is Expanding!!

Introducing Ashford Advisory Services

Investors and Colleagues,

Today, I am excited to tell you about a new suite of services we are offering at Ashford Capital Partners!

As the overall real estate market heats up, our existing real estate investment programs are performing very well. We’re seeing demand from builders, home prices stabilizing, and new construction projects rolling out.

While our existing investment programs are still great opportunities for a certain class of investors, I’ve been talking with a number of clients who want a more personal approach to real estate investing.

You spoke, and we listened…

A number of you are already taking the bull by the horns and pursuing your OWN real estate investment opportunities. Based on dozens of conversations, I’ve realized that the Ashford community has exposure to a very wide (and deep) assortment of real estate investments.

The range of involvement spans from commercial to residential… from raw land to complete structures (and every level of development in between)… from investors scouting out properties for purchase, to existing owners looking for buyers.

Considering the rebound that we are seeing in the Atlanta real estate market, you don’t need to have a master’s degree in real estate to participate. Many investors simply need a small amount of advice, an introduction, or an answer to a technical question, in order to generate their own positive investment returns.

And that is the inspiration behind the new suite of advisory services that we are rolling out. Our goal is to help investors take advantage of the rebounding real estate market – in whatever capacity they are comfortable with – offering our expertise to ensure the highest probability of success.

A Few Featured Services…

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sending you more detail on some of the premier services that we are offering under our advisory arm. But today, I want to outline a few of the important areas we can now cover…

Property Evaluation – If you’re in the market to purchase a property (or group of properties), our evaluation will cover the area demographics, cash-flow and ROI considerations, zoning issues and more…

1031 Exchange Transactions – Real estate investors can take profits in one property, while rolling the proceeds into a new investment – without paying taxes on the gains! We can help you structure a 1031 exchange to meet regulatory requirements – and walk you through the process step by step…

Rental Property Management – Have a rental property (or several)? Our new advisory arm can help you locate and evaluate potential renters, manage the property (including maintenance, collection, and other ancillary tasks) – allowing you to enjoy the profits with less of a time and energy investment…

Residential or Commercial Sales – We can list your property, seek out qualified buyers, assist in setting up the details of the transaction, and effectively manage the entire process for you.

All of our services are offered on an A la carte basis, allowing you to pick and chose which services you really need. And many times, the cost of the advisory services can be rolled into a particular transaction (such as the purchase or sale price of a property) – resulting in no “out-of-pocket” expense for our customers.

Ashford Capital Advisory Services are equally applicable to both individual AND professional investors. We are able to work with registered investment advisers, broker / dealers, and individual investors to meet the needs of the end client.

Do you have a real estate question – or an issue we can help you with? I’d love to arrange a meeting to discuss your real estate investment questions, and determine how we can help. Please give me a call this week so we can set up a time to meet.

Wishing you every success,


Matthew J. Riedemann
Founder, President, & Managing Director
Ashford Capital Partners