Archive for the ‘Property Management’ Category

Home Builders Are Hiring 300 New Construction Workers a Day

The number of open, unfilled construction sector jobs continued to decline as the unseasonably cold winter ended.

According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), the number of open construction sector jobs declined on a seasonally adjusted basis from 127,000 in February to 104,000 in March. While still high relative to the post-recession period, the March level was the lowest since July of last year but the 11th consecutive month above 100,000. Winter conditions slowed the growth of home construction in recent months, and this factor could have slowed the number of jobs offered by builders and remodelers.

On a three-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector fell to 1.93% for the month of March, continuing a decline begun in December. While the open rate has declined somewhat in recent months, the rate of open jobs in construction remains above any rate witnessed after the recession and prior to 2013.

Jolts_March data_construction

Monthly gross hiring in construction declined somewhat, falling on a seasonally adjusted basis from 289,000 to 260,000 from February to March. Over the same period, the hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, was effectively unchanged at 4.67% for March.

Two trends in the construction sector are worth noting. First, the layoff rate for the sector (graphed above as a 12-month moving average) has continued to fall. Second, the sector hiring rate has fallen noticeably since the fall of 2013. The trend lines over the last two years – a falling hiring rate, an increasing opening rate trend, and a declining layoff rate – are consistent with some construction firms having trouble contracting with workers for specific projects. However, future employment reports will indicate whether recent hiring weakness is mostly due to weather effects or reflects new baselines for construction activity.

Monthly employment data for April 2014 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.257 million, broken down as 659,000 builders and 1.598 million residential specialty trade contractors.

Res construction employment_Apr

Over the last year the home building sector has added 108,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 273,600 positions have been added to the residential construction sector. As of March, over the last six months the home building and remodeling industry has added on average more than 11,000 jobs per month.

For the economy as a whole, the March JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was constant at 3.4% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The current overall job openings rate (2.8%) has been in the 2.7% to 2.9% range since the start of 2013.


Source:  Builder Online – May 14, 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

Selling in May…

You’ve probably heard the old Wall Street axiom: “Sell in May and go away.”


From an investment perspective, this is a warning of difficult times ahead. Summer can be a challenging period in the stock market because so many managers are off the desks, vacationing at the beach, or on the golf course. Statistically, individual investors are better off cashing out of their positions and coming back to the market once the summer is over


For the real estate market, the saying “Sell in May…” has an entirely different meaning. This is because the summer months are actually the most profitable months for real estate transactions!


A Window of Opportunity


From a logistical perspective, summer is the absolute best time to consider a move.


For families with children in school, the summer makes for a perfect time to relocate to a new district, and give the kids time to make new friends before the next school year.


Employees and small business owners typically have much more freedom to take a week off for a move during the summer – making it much easier to consider purchasing a house and moving across town (or across the country) before the workload picks back up again in the fall.


So for homeowners who have been considering putting their house on the market, the term “Sell in May…” is one of opportunity as real estate activity picks up.


This Year Is Different…


Over the past few months, I’ve spoken with a number of homeowners who feel “trapped” in a home because of lower prices, mortgage issues, or the lack of real-estate activity. Last summer, these challenges weighed on the market, keeping would-be home sellers from being able to sell attractive houses.


But this year, the environment is completely different! Real estate transactions have been picking up significantly, due in part to the fact that private equity companies have been buying up millions of dollars of properties in the Atlanta area.


If you missed the headlines, let me fill you in…


Companies like Blackstone Group have been investing in a few key cities like Atlanta, purchasing thousands of properties and putting the homes up for rent. There are two key consequences from this activity:


1) Home prices have been increasing dramatically. 


2) The number of available homes for sale has decreased.


It’s a natural result of the supply and demand curve. If there is significant demand (for example, the Blackstone purchases), prices will naturally rise. And of course as Blackstone takes houses off the market, a natural shortage of supply results.


This puts you as a seller in the driver’s seat – with much more control and negotiating power than you might have had last year.


Let Me Help You Get Top Dollar For Your Home


If you’re in the market to sell a home (your primary residence, or even an investment property), let me help you get the maximum value for your property.


This year, the “Sell in May” mantra could net you thousands of dollars more than you could have made during the winter months. And it’s my job to help you list and negotiate your sale so that you’re able to capture the largest profit possible for this transaction.


As you can tell, I’m excited about the opportunity in today’s market. We’ve got a defined window of time, and you owe it to yourself to make money in this healthy environment.


Please give my office a call this week. We’ll set up an appointment to chat, and figure out the best plan of attack for your real estate transaction.


Don’t let this summer go by without exploring the opportunity to lock in an attractive price on your home or investment property.


Wishing you every success,

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

[email protected]

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

[email protected]

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

[email protected]

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
[email protected]

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

[email protected]