Property Grunt

Thursday, December 31, 2009

All Over The World

I know I should be do some type of retrospective of the past year's events, but I don't really feel like it. I would like to instead talk about 2010.

Gawker had an interesting piece on how housing arrangements are changing in this economy.

One particular article that got my interest was a report of what was going on in Tokoy.

Sayonara to the Rabbit Hutch: Living With Roommates in Japan

Kumi Tahara, 27, and Kana Arai, 32, stepped into the void, founding a real-estate agency named "Tokyo Girls' Real Estate." They persuaded some landlords to let them slice up four-bedroom apartments into as many as 10 smaller rooms, which they then started renting out to young Japanese women. "After the Lehman shock, a lot of gaijin [foreigners] left, and there are some places that have been vacant for more than half a year," says Ms. Arai, who wears a pink sequined bow on her head and favors miniskirts and knee-high boots. "The landlords pay the redesign fees and we're able to increase the rent."

Last weekend, I met a person who was visiting from London, he informed me that because of financial meltdown, foreigner workers from Australia, New Zealand and other countries were laid off and had to leave which left a ton of vacancies in the residential rental market. And of course this person took advantage of the situation.

It is not just Tokyo or London but also Manhattan, Las Vegas and other areas that experienced insane amounts of growth and were hiring like mad. It was this surplus of people that was one of the reasons why the rental markets of these cities were on fire.

Recently I had the opportunity to invest in a rental property that honestly was a steal. It was in a great location and teh seller was very motivated because there were several deals on the property that had fallen apart. However, I decided to abstain from the purchase. And it ended up getting snatched up by another buyer. I am not kicking myself over not buying because from my own personal research and from the stories I just presented, I am unsure of the health of the rental market. There is no ROI if it can't be rented. Market conditions indicate there will be more opportunities, so I will wait.

Economy Stems the Flow of Tourists to New York

But the recession has interrupted the mayor’s vision, as businesses large and small have felt the effects of the tourism decline this year.

At Souvenirs on 5th, a gift shop on West 34th Street, Carlos Flores had time to rearrange merchandise just 12 hours before the crystal ball was to begin its descent toward the throng in Times Square. The store was fully stocked with all manner of T-shirts, key chains and other keepsakes expressing a global fondness for the city and, especially, its police force and firefighters. But few were selling — for the posted $15 or even at a haggler’s discount.

“My boss is really suffering,” lamented Mr. Flores, who said he lived in Astoria, Queens, and had been selling souvenirs in the city for 10 years. “We used to work here, like, 10 guys, now it’s just 3 people. This time of year, we used to work 24/7. Now there’s no people. They’re not spending money.”

Mr. Flores said a rise in the number of American customers had offset some of the decline in European shoppers, but not nearly enough.

I think a lot of people are going to be investing in staycations in the coming year.

And if you are not concerned about next year. Well these two articles might give you a moment to pause.

Is It All Just A Ponzi Scheme?

Brace For Impact: In 2010, Demand For US Fixed Income Has To Increase Elevenfold... Or Else

Happy New Year!