Author: Lew Sichelman
Articles by Lew Sichelman
- Index Finds U.S. Government-Backed Lending Increasingly Lax
Published on December 18, 2013 in Capital Markets
Nearly one out of every four loans guaranteed by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would likely end in default over the next five years if another recession were to occur, according to a new measure of loan safety.
- Is the Multifamily Boom Spreading to the Suburbs?
Published on November 13, 2013 in Fall Meeting
While multifamily development in the urban core has boomed, the prospects for suburban development are more mixed, said experts at ULI’s annual meeting in Chicago.
- What Would Steve Jobs Do? Innovation in Residential
Published on November 13, 2013 in Residential
At a panel at ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago, panelists and audience participatns were asked what innovations Apple Computer’s founder and CEO would have undertaken had he been a residential developer.
- The ‘New’ Industrial: E-commerce Fulfillment Centers
Published on November 11, 2013 in Industrial
E-commerce has been the fastest-growing segment of the retail market for the last four years and can be expected to be a large share of the market for the next 15 to 20 years. Fulfillment centers have become the new face of industrial warehouse development, according to panelists at the ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago.
- How Long Will Single-Family Rentals Stay Viable?
Published on November 06, 2013 in Market Trends
The growth in the single-family rental market has been labeled by some as a soon-to-be passing fancy -- a fad that will cease to exist once the housing market rights itself. But panelists at ULI’s Fall Meeting in Chicago say the niche business is here to stay.
- How to Drive Down the Costs of Developing Affordable Housing
Published on November 06, 2013 in Residential
The entire process of developing affordable rental housing could be streamlined to keep costs down, said panelists at the Urban Land Institute’s Fall Meeting in Chicago.
- ‘Micro Unit’ Developers See Big Future
Published on May 20, 2013 in Residential
While micro-units are coming soon to New York City, developers in Washington state and Texas are already betting on smaller units. These modern efficiencies appeal to those who value location and often don't own a car.
- Barbells of the Housing Market: Appealing to Gen Y and Boomers
Published on May 16, 2013 in Development
While the baby boomers and generation Y are a big piece of the puzzle, neither generation is monolithic, said panelists at the ULI Spring Meeting. Appealing to all generations may be the safest path for residential and retail developers.
- ULI Forecast Calls for Continued Economic Improvement
Published on April 10, 2013 in Market Trends
Significant improvement can be expected in both the commercial and residential real estate sectors this year and through 2015, according to ULI's semiannual forecast. Respondents expect transaction volume in commercial real estate to rise from $290 billion last year to $310 billion this year, $340 billion in 2014, and $360 billion in 2015.
- Affluence in America: What Gen Y Buys
Published on March 13, 2013 in Market Trends
While members of generation Y—Americans born between 1978 and 1994—have largely been set back by the economic downturn just as they entered the workforce, one report says a significant number are starting to spend big.
- Commission Calls for Winding Down Fannie and Freddie
Published on February 25, 2013 in Residential
A bipartisan housing commission is calling for the complete elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plus a more targeted Federal Housing Administration that returns to its roots. The panel further says it is time to recognize the country’s changing demographics by placing a stronger federal emphasis on rental housing.
- NAHB: Buyers Want Energy Efficiency, Storage Options
Published on January 28, 2013 in Market Trends
According to a newly released NAHB survey, buyers in 2013 are looking for bigger homes again, but also want energy-efficiency and plenty of storage.
- Housing Sector Expected to Climb Higher in 2013
Published on January 25, 2013 in Market Trends
Single-family housing starts are expected to rise 22 percent in 2013, according to a report from the NAHB's convention in Las Vegas. “Housing is finally doing its job in leading the economy out of recession,” said David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist.
- Future Lies in Flexibility for MPCs
Published on October 24, 2012 in Fall Meeting
Mobile dining and urban agriculture are two of the ways forward-thinking developers are welcoming vendors and gardeners through amenity packages. These edible community features were among a number of examples that can be incorporated into master planned communities that were advanced at the ULI Fall Meeting in Denver October 18.
- Coloradans Search for Balance in Growth of ‘Fracking’
Published on October 19, 2012 in Fall Meeting
The hydraulic fracturing of rocks is a way to extract natural gas from far below the ground. It has strong economic and land use implications, especially in the West, where the process is fairly new, but it is not without controversy.
- Finding the Right Chemistry for a Magic Elixir: A Sense of Place
Published on October 18, 2012 in Fall Meeting
Whether it’s a river or small trout stream, restaurants or open spaces, a farmers' market or a music venue, anything that gives a project a sense of place will encourage social interaction, will lead to the ultimate goal of creating value.
- What Does Generation Y Want?
Published on October 17, 2012 in Fall Meeting
The Gen Y generation is so large that it will “provide a steady flow” of apartment renters and home buyers for the next 10-15 years, a top real estate demographer said at the ULI Fall Meeting in Denver Oct. 17.
- ULI Economic Consensus Forecast Reins in Projections, Except for Housing
Published on September 27, 2012 in Market Trends
The outlook among the more than three dozen contributors to the semiannual ULI Consensus Forecast, released September 26, is that the commercial markets will not do as well in the coming three years as was thought in March, when the initial ULI forecast was published. For housing, however, forecasters are even more optimistic than they were six months ago.
- Multifamily Construction, Vacancies Show Strength in Second Quarter
Published on September 07, 2012 in Market Trends
While national statistics show gains, particularly for market-rate units, experts warn that in a few markets, there may be too much supply in the pipeline.
- ULI Down Under: Plans for Growth in Australia
Published on August 24, 2012 in Market Trends
Peter Holland, the director of international property economics at Urbis, has been tapped to organize ULI in Australia. Holland works with a wide range of clients in mature and emerging markets for Urbis, a professional consulting firm.
- Barangaroo Rising
Published on August 23, 2012 in Development
A massive project on reclaimed land in Darling Harbour has no small goal: redefining Sydney as a hub of Asia Pacific commerce.
- Rental real estate market has legs, experts say
Published on June 29, 2012 in Residential
New supply is still far short of demand, say panelists at a Denver conference. Even if developers wanted to overbuild, there’s not enough capital—or taste for risk—available to do it.
- Making Money in Residential Real Estate
Published on May 11, 2012 in Development
Panelists at ULI’s Spring Meeting agreed that strategies never considered before are worth considering now in this market in which renting seems to have more appeal than buying. However, George Casey, chief executive officer at Orleans Homebuilders, noted that Orleans is building fewer models and foot traffic is slower per community, but sales are greater.
- A Competitive Finance Debate
Published on May 10, 2012 in Capital Markets
ULI members Glenn Grimaldi, executive vice president of HSBC; David D. Clark, senior vice president, Real Estate, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.; and Kevin Pivnick, managing director, Deutsche Bank, all described a healthy mortgage market in which only the long shots are having trouble finding funding these days. In a session titled “Full Court Press on Commercial/Apartment Debt” at ULI's 2012 Spring Meeting, all three described how they each tend to look at potential deals a bit differently.
- Can America Eliminate Its Addiction to Fossil Fuels and Do So Without Congress?
Published on May 09, 2012 in Sustainability
Amory Lovins, cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, told an audience of ULI members at ULI's 2012 Spring Meeting, that there are numerous ways to reduce use of fossil fuels. Doing so, corporate America could earn a $5 trillion savings in net present value and boost the economy by 150 percent.
- Houses Getting Bigger, Not Smaller
Published on February 17, 2012 in Residential
As long as lenders keep a tight grip on their wallets, the much-anticipated trend toward smaller houses probably won’t materialize, according to data presented at the NAHB’s recent annual convention.
- Modest Recovery This Year for Housing, Says NAHB
Published on February 09, 2012 in Residential
After a year in which housing starts were the lowest since 1942 and new home sales were the lowest ever, David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), isn’t complaining and points toward a modest rebound in the new home market in 2012.
- MBA Sees “Robust” Commercial Sector, But Skeptics Raise Doubt
Published on February 08, 2012 in Capital Markets
At its annual commercial real estate/multifamily housing convention in Atlanta, the Mortgage Bankers Association projected a 17 percent increase in commercial real estate loan originations this year, while several observers weren't nearly as positive.
- Realtors Say End Is Near
Published on November 14, 2011 in Market Trends
Speaking across the street from Disneyland at the National Association of Realtors’ annual convention in Anaheim, California, earlier this month, chief economist Lawrence Yun said signs are developing that signal a “recovery occurring next year and continuing into 2014.” Read more to learn about what he said will be a moderate, respectable recovery—rather than a great, robust expansion.
- Planned Communities Are People, Too
Published on November 14, 2011 in Planning & Design
Real estate developers as anthropologists? Sponsored by the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit organization that brings together all real estate disciplines to promote responsible land use, an eight-month research effort found that the planned community is alive, if not well, and definitely not living in suburbia—at least not anymore. Read more to learn why the conversation about the future of planned communities is far from over.
- BofA Has Plan to Buy, Lease REO
Published on October 31, 2011 in Fall Meeting
The much-maligned Bank of America is working “hard” on a short sale-to-lease program for distressed borrowers who don’t qualify for government-backed refinance programs, says BofA executive Ron Sturzenegger to a session on capital markets at ULI’s 2011 Fall Meeting in Los Angeles. Read more to learn the details of how the bank expects to tackle today’s huge inventory of foreclosed properties.
- Slow, Long Climb Out, Says ULI’s Annual Emerging Trends Outlook
Published on October 26, 2011 in Fall Meeting
In the 33rd edition of Emerging Trends, one of the most highly regarded industry outlook reports published, the opinions of 950 investors, developers, lenders, consultants, and property company representatives point to a rather glum outlook for 2012: the climb out of the real estate depression will be a long and slow one for all but one market sector. Read more to learn why and to learn how cities have improved over a year ago.
- ULI’s “What’s Next?” Report: Real Estate in the New Economy
Published on October 26, 2011 in Fall Meeting
A new ULI report, “What’s Next? Real Estate in the New Economy,” highlights a number of trends poised to alter urban planning, design, and development through 2020. The report covers six major categories—Work, Live, Connect, Renew, Move, and Invest—and reflects the input, insight, and participation of ULI trustees, members, and staff.
- MBA: Regulatory Overkill Stifles Market
Published on October 17, 2011 in Capital Markets
At the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention in Chicago earlier this month, it was said that mortgage originations are expected to dip by over 25 percent next year, from an estimated $1.2 trillion in 2011 to just $900 million in 2012—which would be the lowest level of loan production since 1997. Read more to learn what those in attendance had to say about the trade group’s assessment.
- New Form to Help Appraisers “See” Green
Published on October 12, 2011 in Sustainability
Fannie Mae Form 1004—the appraisal form most widely used for home loan lending purposes—makes scant mention of energy-saving features. So even if a home is loaded with them, their value is rarely factored into the appraiser’s analysis. But a new form put into play late last month by the nation’s largest professional group of real estate appraisers is about to change that.
- Movie Haunts Live On in ‘Reel’ Life
Published on October 01, 2011 in Residential
If you have $19.9 million lying around, you can now purchase Bill Murray’s mansion, which was featured in Zombieland, a 2009 spoof of the horror genre. But, if this famous residence is up for sale, one wonders about other homes featured in classic films—their real locations, their physical attributes, their history—and how they’ve been ingrained in the American cultural psyche. Read more.
- Apartment Market Gold Rush
Published on August 19, 2011 in Residential
In recent years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have kept the apartment market afloat, but now private lenders also are warming to the task. At the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, experts voiced their concerns about lenders who know nothing about the sector flooding the market. Also, lenders’ ability to remain disciplined in the face of strong competition for borrowers was mentioned.
- Footing the Bill For Home Improvements
Published on August 04, 2011 in Residential
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, the home improvement business is poised for a decade of growth after being decimated by a double-digit decline in spending since 2007. Read how the FHA’s new PowerSaver loans will offer financing of up to $25,000 to homeowners to upgrade their residences—and how the FHA’s 203(k) rehabilitation mortgage will allow them to do even more.
- Going Beyond the Social Media “Clutter”
Published on July 29, 2011 in Market Trends
Although social media are one way to support branding and awareness, developers who rely solely on them to attract buyers might—in light of today’s economy—also reconsider old-fashioned marketing.
- Loan Limit Dip to Hit 5 Million Houses
Published on June 29, 2011 in Market Trends
The government has two sets of mortgage loan limits—one for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which help keep local lenders flush with cash by purchasing their loans and packaging them into securities for sale to investors worldwide, and another for the FHA, which insures mortgages against default. Read what will happen when the temporary federal mortgage ceilings revert to lower levels on October 1.
- The End of the 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage?
Published on June 22, 2011 in Market Trends
Are the GSEs—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—careening toward obsolescence, taking the traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with them? The Obama administration may gradually wind down Fannie and Freddie until they are mere figments of their former selves at the end of five to seven years, if they survive at all. Read what industry experts have to say about this divisive issue.
- New-Home Market Poised to Pop
Published on May 04, 2011 in Development
At the NAHB’s spring construction forecast conference late last month, economists agreed that the next 12 months are going to be difficult for homebuilders. After that, however, momentum is expected to begin to build in 2012 and, by the end of that year, homebuilders may be where they were at the beginning of 2007. Read the data on future single-family starts that industry experts shared.
- Wetlands Deal Is Major Conservation Easement
Published on April 05, 2011 in Public Spaces
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is about to secure permanent easements on five properties totaling more than 26,000 acres (10,526 ha) in the Northern Everglades Watershed in central Florida. Read how ULI member and land broker Dean Saunders pulled this deal together, and how granting conservation easements is often better than selling land outright for conservation.
- Home Sizes Inching Up Again
Published on February 08, 2011 in Residential
Lew Sichelman notes that, after two years of declines, the size of the average home is increasing once again after peaking at 2,520 square feet (234.3 sq m) in 2007. An analyst at the National Association of Home Builders, however, warns against believing that the trend toward downsizing is over. Learn where the size of the average home is increasing and how the components of new homes are changing to meet consumer demand.
- NAHB/Orlando: Single-Family Forecasts Less Than Rousing
Published on January 17, 2011 in Capital Markets
With hardly anywhere else to go but up, the NAHB’s chief economist, David Crowe, predicts a 21% increase in single-family housing starts this year, but warned that such a big percentage jump will not result in much of an improvement. Read what Crowe, his counterpart at Freddie Mac, and his counterpart at Portland Cement Association said at this year's NAHB's annual convention.
- NAHB/Orlando: Severe Apartment Shortage Looms
Published on January 13, 2011 in Capital Markets
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is projecting a 16 percent increase in multi-family housing starts this year and a 50 percent jump in 2012 . But the 336,000 units developers are expected to produce over the next 24 months still won’t be enough to meet demand. Read what NAHB chief economist David Crowe, and other industry experts, had to say at NAHB's annual convention in Orlando, Florida.
- NAHB/Orlando: Finance News for Home Builders
Published on January 12, 2011 in Capital Markets
News from NAHB's annual convention, which was last week in Orlando, Florida: The inability to obtain and hold on to financing to buy land, turn it into building lots and build houses is now the single most important issue facing the nation’s home builders. Read more about the perspectives on finance coming from the NAHB's annual convention.