Winter Storm Pushes Texas Hotel Occupancy Gains

Texans displaced by freezing temperatures and outages pushed the state’s occupancy to a 50-week high, according to an analysis by STR. During the week of 14-20 February, Texas hotel occupancy reached 56.3%. That 50-week high in the metric contributed 0.9 percentage points of the 3-point gain in overall U.S. occupancy (48.1%) for the week. Texas’ occupancy level grew 9.4 percentage points over the previous week, which is the largest week-over-week occupancy increase for the state in the last year. Average daily rate (ADR) rose 5.8% week over week, which was Texas’ largest gain in the metric since the week of New Year’s. “Texas hotels are no stranger to housing displaced guests during a pandemic,” said Isaac Collazo, STR’s VP of analytics. “Similar to what we saw with Hurricane Laura, there was increased hotel demand for most markets because there wasn’t a great deal of business to lose ahead of the storm. We would have likely seen higher hotel performance across the state had hotels not experienced similar power and water loss as homes, in addition to the limited number of rooms available in some hotels due to reduced staffing as a result of the pandemic.” Click to read more at www.hotelnewsresource.com.

“Dallas is a Powerhouse”: Multifamily Experts on Texas’ Hottest Markets

The thing about Texas is people want to live here. Proof is in the numbers. For the past several years, the state has been at or near the top of U-Haul’s annual migration report, a breakdown of the states on the receiving end of the most one-way moves. When they get here, those folks have to find a place to call home, a certainty that has helped the multifamily industry flourish. “Texas is a right-to-work state. It has a lower cost of living compared to states such as California or New York. There’s no state income tax. Someone can have a very high quality of life here at a bargain compared to some other markets,” said Jon Krebbs, managing partner of The Multifamily Group, a commercial real estate brokerage firm based in Dallas. “As long as there are jobs being created, you’re going to see a lot of activity from apartment developers and a lot of demand from apartment buyers.” That demand pushed sales volume for The Multifamily Group to record levels in 2019, the firm’s highest-grossing year ever. Things were looking up in early 2020 as well.

“The uncertainty that hit in March killed several of our deals that were either under contract or under letters of intent,” Krebbs said. “Everybody hit the brakes for a couple months.” Mark Allen, executive managing director, Greystone Investment Sales Group, attributes that pause to investor concern about rent collection. “After rent collections were proven stable, the challenge shifted to buyers finding deals as the demand far outpaced the supply on the market,” Allen said. While sales slowed, they never stopped completely. The new environment created a number of obstacles, but firms like Greystone, The Multifamily Group and Avid Realty Partners pressed forward. “On the operational side, we’ve seen fewer tenants leaving, fewer tenants moving in and less turnover,” said Craig Berger, Avid Realty Partners’ founder and CEO. “We also observed that, due to financial hardships, folks moved back in with family or brought roommates, so the number of people renting consolidated a bit.” The response by many properties, he said, was to offer concessions—such as reduced rent or a rent-free month—to drive occupancy and stay full. Meantime, multifamily pricing went up due to lower interest rates ramping up purchase power. “You’re discounting cash flows at a lower interest rate, so that makes asset prices go up,” Berger said. “We were doing virtual tours while trying to educate our owners about prospects. Buyers still had to go in every unit, and we had to make sure everyone was outfitted with personal protective equipment when they did. It was a logistical challenge to get the due diligence done,” said Krebbs, who added that his firm would consider 2020 a successful year based on its completed transactions in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. “Like all multifamily brokerages, we had to get as creative as possible to help buyers and sellers close out transactions during the stay-in-place orders,” Allen said. “Multifamily owners had to adapt from an operational perspective. Whether they were communicating with residents differently, altering their marketing strategy to fill vacancies or shifting their maintenance work order operating procedures, 2020 wasn’t without its challenges.” Challenges or not, Greystone made the best of the situation. Allen said his team’s sales volume and number of transactions increased from 2019. “I’d likely attribute that to continuing to work hard through stay-in-place orders and continued maturity of our team,” he said. The lessons learned in 2021 are now being carried into 2021 as the market gets closer to normal. “Folks are sort of getting off the sidelines and buying and selling again, which is great,” said Berger. Though Texas as a whole is a promising market for multifamily investors, two cities stand out as offering exceptional opportunities. “In Dallas, we had an influx of new and existing residents from states with much more government control and restrictions, and less affordability,” Allen said. “Texas is a very business-friendly state relative to many others across the country; you can get twice the size of house in Texas for a fraction of the cost, and pay no state income taxes. Also, we have a very diverse economy and very low unemployment metrics relative to other Texas and U.S. cities.” “Dallas is a Fortune 500 and Fortune 5,000 powerhouse,” said Berger. “Because so many companies and people are moving to cities like Dallas or Austin, those are the places where I want to invest my money. I know there will be future growth.” Prices certainly reflect the increased interest in those in-demand markets, but Krebbs and the Multifamily Group have their eye on the San Antonio area. “In Houston, Austin or DFW, you’re looking at $90,000 to $100,000 a unit for a Class-C property,” he said. “But in San Antonio, the rents just aren’t as high, so you can still get a property for about $65,000 a unit.” Krebbs notes that, like other Texas cities, San Antonio is a steadily growing market, drafting off the winds of Austin and its location in the middle of the state. “At The Multifamily Group, we don’t see any headwinds to multifamily investing in Texas,” he said. “There’s just too much job growth.” That’s just one of the fundamentals that remains strong, setting up 2021 as an incredible time to buy multifamily in DFW. Allen also points to the spread between treasuries and cap rates being the widest since the “Great Recession.” “Investors sitting on the sidelines the last three to four years because prices are too high have missed out on an incredible opportunity of growth,” he said. “There was $4 trillion on the sidelines last year, so there’s plenty of pent-up demand still. With the discussions on further fiscal and monetary stimulus, a declining U.S. dollar, and inflation in the short term, I only see the market going one way in 2021 … up!” The issue of inflation is an important one that helps distinguish multifamily from other CRE investments. “In multifamily, you can keep pace with inflation. If the market is hot, it’s a free market. Your leases are typically a year, so you can go out and rent apartments at market rates that could be well in excess of 1.5 percent to 2 percent growth that you’re seeing in net lease properties,” Berger said. “So as inflation heats up, multifamily apartments tend to be a tremendous hedge against that inflation.” Everything is bigger in Texas, including the opportunity for multifamily investment as more and more people make the move to call the Lone Star State home.

RESOLUT RE Closes Retail Deals Across Texas

RESOLUT RE recently closed five retail transactions in Texas. The deals included leases and sales in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, El Paso and San Antonio markets. QuikTrip has purchased 1.47 acres at Webberville Commons (NWC of FM 969 (MLK) & Tollway 130) in Austin. Andrew Perkel of RESOLUT RE represented the seller. Brad Campbell of McAllister & Associates represented the buyer. North Texas Pharmacy has leased 1,330 square feet at Virginia Commons Plaza (2741 Virginia Pkwy, McKinney, Texas). Chris Flesner and Mai Nguyen of RESOLUT RE represented the landlord. CBD Pros has leased 1,019 square feet at 2601 N. Zaragoza Road in El Paso, Texas. Chris Duncan and Jeff Lewin of RESOLUT RE represented the tenant. Sergio Tinajero of KW Commercial represented the landlord. Fonz Salon has leased 1,050 square feet at Grandview Shopping Center (8005 Callaghan Road, San Antonio). Carolyn Bustamante and Aisha Chapa of RESOLUT RE represented the landlord. Juan Mata of Texas Premier Realty represented the tenant. West Hills Dermatology has leased 823 square feet at Plaza I-35 (12702 Toepperwein Road, San Antonio). Aisha Chapa and Carolyn Bustamante of RESOLUT RE represented the landlord. Parker LaBarge of CBRE represented the tenant.

Maverick Commercial Mortgage Closed A $4,500,000 First Mortgage on Oak Haven Estates Manufactured Housing Community Located in Arlington, Texas

Benjamin L. Kadish of Maverick Commercial Mortgage is proud to announce the closing of the first mortgage for Oak Haven Estates Manufactured Housing Community. Oak Haven Estates is located at 415 North East Street in Arlington, Texas. The subject property is located on the east side of North East Street, and the west side of Truman Street just southeast of Cowboys Stadium. The mobile home park is situated on 9.05 acres. The site is improved with 98 mobile home pads. The site features driveways and full utility hook-ups for each unit and is within close proximity to schools and shopping. The property features asphalt roads, street lights, city water and sewer, concrete parking and many mature trees. The 10-year fixed-rate first mortgage was limited to 71% loan to value. The loan was non-recourse and amortized over a 30- year period. Proceeds from the first mortgage paid off the existing lender, returned equity to the borrowing entity, and paid for closing costs. The loan was funded by a national lender.

About Maverick Commercial Mortgage, Inc.

Maverick Commercial Mortgage, Inc., arranges a wide variety of commercial real estate loans ranging from $2,000,000 to $50,000,000 for its middle market real estate developer and investor clients. Please contact Benjamin L. Kadish at 312-268-6000, 312-953-4344, or at ben.kadish@mavcm.com.

Industrial Investors Remain Bullish on DFW

Don’t look now, but some sectors in some markets aren’t just weathering COVID-19, they’re settling in for years of growth. Consider the DFW market where, during the first half of 2020, more than 8.2 million square feet of industrial space was absorbed. This data, which was culled from recent CBRE research, held close to the year-over-year absorption of 8.7 million square feet that the area experienced in 2019. While the pandemic is causing disruptions in sectors and markets throughout the country, the DFW industrial market appears to be quite healthy. CBRE tracked 71 transactions of 100,000 square feet or larger that closed during the first two quarters. Half of these, comprising 12.6 million square feet, were new leases, with 5 million square feet of that going under contract during Q2 as the pandemic was well underway. Steve Trese, senior vice president with CBRE in Dallas, believes that supply and demand are still fairly in balance across the metro. This holds true both for industrial product in general and for large logistical warehouses. “Smaller, front-park, rear-load product is flying off the shelf in infill areas. Partly because of the lack of quality sites, developers are capitalizing on challenging small land, and getting higher rents than ever before,” Trese said. “Big box is equally successful, but is venturing out farther than our more traditionally tracked submarkets, seeking quality labor, less congested infrastructure and slightly more affordable land basis.” Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

North Texas’ industrial building market seems immune to the pandemic

The spread of coronavirus and millions of job losses have put the real estate market on shaky ground. But one property sector shows no sign of a slowdown, even in the face of the pandemic. If anything, the North Texas industrial building market seems to be gaining ground as demand for consumer products and e-commerce soars in the area. “I believe the industrial market is going to be more insulated from the effects of the pandemic than the other property types,” said Jeff Thornton, regional senior vice president of Duke Realty. “There is clearly evidence that the industrial market continues to move forward. “At Duke alone, we have had more than a half-million square feet of leases during the pandemic,” said Thornton, whose firm owns multiple Dallas-Fort Worth area industrial properties. Duke Realty just did a major expansion with tech firm Samsung in one of its Coppell warehouse buildings. Big warehouse and distribution deals have recently been announced all over the area for companies including Ocean Spray, Mars Inc., U.S. Auto Parts Network, ICU Medical, and FedEx. The pandemic has increased demand for distribution space for e-commerce companies that deliver products directly to consumers, said Tom Pearson, executive vice president of Colliers International. “Just a 5% increase in e-commerce sales would equate to millions of square feet of new industrial space requirements around the country,” Pearson said. Click to read more at www.dallasnews.com.