H. Pike Oliver compiles this weekly update of real estate and community development news focused primarily on the USA. The inclusion of an article does not imply endorsement. And please note that some links may lead to items that are behind a paywall.
Global property consultant JLL reports that worldwide commercial real estate investment volumes increased by 10% in the fourth quarter of 2019, to $245 billion. This brought full-year activity to $800 billion.
Retail sales in the U.S. rose modestly in January as Americans spent more money eating out and furnishing their homes, but spending was relatively soft at the start of the new year. About half of the January increase, however, was generated by home centers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s that sell lots of building supplies to small businesses. Sales were soft in most other segments of the retail industry that largely cater to households.
Total housing starts posted a 3.6 percent decline in January (1.57 million units) compared to an upwardly revised December estimate of 1.63 million units according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. Relative to January 2019 (during the housing soft patch), total starts are 21.4 percent above the annual pace of 1.29 million units.
Single-family starts posted a monthly decline of 5.9 percent to a still strong seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,010,000. The December annualized pace for single-family starts was revised up to 1,073,000. The three-month moving average for single-family in January is an annual rate of 1,008,000 units, which is the highest pace since the Great recession.
Single-family permits, a useful indicator of future construction activity, was 6.4 percent higher at 987,000 annual pace in January compared to December and have registered a 20.2 percent gain compared to a year ago. This is in line with the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which held builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes at a solid level of 74 in February.
Three new luxury apartment complexes plan to open next year in metro Phoenix’s growing western suburbs. Metro Phoenix is known for its age restricted master-planned communities from Sun City to Sun Lakes, but this concept gives seniors a chance to try it out on a rental basis.
The three projects are planned as active-adult apartment complexes for residents looking to downsize but keep the amenities of a master-planned community. They will have pools, dog parks, gyms and free events such as wine tastings and cooking classes.
The 201-unit, five-building UW Studio Portfolio is located in an evolving neighborhood a short walk from the University of Washington. The units average 180 sq. ft. in size. The portfolio is priced at $31 million.