Housing Bubble and Real Estate Market Tracker

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 |  Includes: BPO, BXP, C, CFC, CTX, DB, GM, HRB, JPM, KRG, LEN, LEND, MHO, NFI, PHM, SLG, VNO, WCIM
by: Judy Weil

Here's our summary of articles and data points on the housing market. It's part of Seeking Alpha's coverage of the real estate market and homebuilder stocks. Like all other topics and stock coverage from Seeking Alpha, you can have this sent to your Blackberry or desktop email by signing up for our no-spam free email subscription service.

Quote of the Day- "From the House's Mouth"

"We have experienced a much higher rate of cancellations than at any time in our 21 year history as a public company.'' - Robert I. Toll, CEO, luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers. (Bloomberg, Aug. 22nd)

Real Estate Sales and House Prices

  • Home Prices Fall For 15th Month (Boston Globe, Aug. 22nd): "Home prices in Massachusetts fell for the 15th straight month in July… The median price for a single-family home has dropped 4.6%, to $323,000, since July 2006, Warren Group, a Boston real estate and publishing firm, said Tuesday. July's sales volume increased 1.5% from a year ago, but analysts said it was a short-term rise brought on by a surge of parents buying homes prior to the new school year in September. The median price for a condominium rose less than 1%, to $280,000."
  • Missing From All the Credit Crisis Coverage: A Realistic Assessment of Where Home Prices Are Headed (Matt Hougan in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 21st): "[Using] the Case-Shiller Real Estate Indexes, compar[ing] the performance of home prices during the 1990s and the 2000s (to date)… Home Prices ChartThe table shows cumulative performance through May 2007… People are panicking… because prices have fallen 2-5% this year. What if we lop 30% off home prices? Ridiculous? [That] would only take the market in Washington, DC, back to where it was in December 2003. How about 40%, which would take Los Angeles back to July 2003? Or 50%, which would take Miami back to August 2002. Fifty percent may be a stretch, but 10%, 20% or even 30% strikes me as entirely probable."
  • $20M Townhouses Keep Selling (The Real Deal, Aug. 20th) New York City: "More $20 million-or-more townhouses have sold in the first six months than in every other year combined, according to a report published by Stribling Private Brokerage. So far there have been 56 townhouses sold for at least $5m, more than in any other year since 2001. The same period also brought a record 69 co-op sales of at least $5m."
  • Trump Parc Stamford Sells (The Real Deal, Aug. 20th): "Sales are underway at Trump Parc Stamford, a luxury high-rise condo being developed by a partnership between Donald Trump, Thomas Rich and Louis Cappelli. The 34-story glass and steel tower will have 170 units and is expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2009. Since sales began for the homes in early June, more than 20% have sold. About one fifth of the buyers were Manhattan residents."

Affordability Impact

  • Those Pretty Golden Handcuffs (NY Magazine, Aug. 27th): "Lots of homeowners are just as badly stuck as those who just can’t seem to get a foot in the door… Appraiser Jonathan Miller: “They’re unable to trade up…” The owner of a classic six may be able to sell for $2 million, but a classic seven will cost anywhere from $3m-$3.5m, says Bellmarc Realty president Neil Binder… And virtually nobody’s pay has kept pace. Between 2002-2005, when average sale prices rose 34.7% (adjusted for inflation by Miller), average annual salaries inched up by just under 3%, according to the city’s Office of the Comptroller."

Real Estate Investing and Sentiment

  • Getting the Real Estate Crisis Right (Jim Wiandt in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 21st): "Real estate is [unlike] most other investments… When someone really wants a house, they're more likely to outbid the offer, and when they've got to sell, they're very reluctant to take a loss… Essentially the price of a house comes out to just about what people can pay, monthly. The NY Times did a great story 3 or 4 years ago that showed that real estate prices corresponded almost exactly to median income per month, with housing prices moving up as interest rates moved down to set that monthly payment for a house, which is what people can afford and then buy."

Mortgates and Real Estate Lending

  • Mortgages: Smaller Banks Smell Blood (BusinessWeek, Aug. 22nd): "Amid all the pain... in credit markets, the plain-vanilla banks see big opportunities… While the big brokers and banks often lent to home buyers with lousy credit histories, the more conservative, traditional banks wouldn't touch subprime borrowers… In recent years… with [mortgage lenders] offering low interest rates, mortgages were more like a commodity, and banks couldn't make enough profit on them. Now with the secondary market frozen and many mortgage lenders falling by the wayside, interest rates are changing and mortgages are becoming more profitable. Customers are also seeing local banks as a more reliable lender."
  • Accredited Home Halts Loan Applications, Cuts Staff by 1,600 (Bloomberg, Aug. 22nd): "Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. (LEND), the subprime lender whose sale to Lone Star Funds collapsed, will close almost all of its retail lending business, shut half of the 10 divisions serving brokers and halt U.S. mortgage applications. About 1,600 people are losing their jobs, the San Diego- based company said Wednesday."
  • Buffett May Take Stake in Countrywide – WSJ (Susan Lerner in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 21st): "Wall Street Journal: Billionaire investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett… who has built his reputation on value investing and bargain hunting who is sitting on $50B in cash, may buy parts of Countrywide Financial Corp., one of the lenders hardest hit by subprime worries. Investors, the report said, believe Countrywide’s strong brand name and high-quality mortgage assets may be attractive to Buffett, as Berkshire’s insurance unit already doubled its investment in mortgage-backed securities rated “AA” or higher during Q2."
  • Cerberus Taps 'Heavy Hitter' For GMAC (Detroit News, Aug. 21st): "Former Bank of America finance chief Alvaro de Molina will become COO of GMAC (NYSE:GM), the lending company part-owned by General Motors Corp. De Molina, recently joined Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity giant that bought a majority stake in GMAC last year, to help oversee the finance company… A drop in auto sales and higher subprime mortgage finance costs at GMAC subsidiary Residential Capital LLC are among the challenges facing de Molina… In December, de Molina said he quit the post of CFO at BOA because he liked taking risks and the tougher regulatory environment had made his duties "a little less fun."
  • Housing Woes Hit High End (CNN Money, Aug. 20th): "For years jumbo rates were only 0.25 of a percentage point above those of "conforming" loans -- those below the cutoff (now $417,000). In recent weeks that spread has exploded to 0.75 of a percentage point or more. BankRate.com: The average… jumbo loan [rate] soared to 7.35% nationally in August, and [some] exceed 8%. Increased rates on big home loans translate to a substantial decline in buying power. Two years ago a $6,000 monthly payment would support a $1 million, 30-year mortgage at 6%. Today that same $6,000 payment covers only an $870,000 mortgage at 7.35%... Higher rates have trimmed the buying power of luxury-home buyers by 10%-15%. Throw in the fact that some buyers can't get a mortgage at any rate right now, and you've got all the makings for a national price correction for luxury homes."

Subprime Fallout

  • Troubled Assets At Thrifts Soared 50 Percent In Last Quarter (St. Louis Today, Aug. 22nd): "Office of Thrift Supervision: Mortgage troubles slammed the savings and loan industry last quarter... Troubled assets — loans that are 90 or more days past due — jumped to $14.2 billion last quarter, up 50% from $9.5b in Q2'06. That's the highest level of troubled loans at federal regulator OTS since 1993, with most of the problems in house mortgages… Thrifts should be able to weather the downturn, [OTS said.] The numbers are particularly attention-getting considering that thrifts, which take in savings deposits and make mortgage loans, are not big players in the subprime mortgage sector."
  • H&R Block Taps Credit Line, Cites 'Unstable' Markets (Bloomberg, Aug. 22nd): "H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRB), the biggest U.S. tax preparer, said its Block Financial Corp. unit tapped lines of credit because market turmoil has curbed access to commercial paper. Block Financial, based in Kansas City, Missouri, drew down $200 million on Aug. 16, the company said today. It repaid that loan on Aug. 20, when it borrowed $850 million, the company said."
  • Capital One Shutters Its Greenpoint Mortgage Unit (San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 21st): "Capital One Financial Corp. said it will shut Novato's GreenPoint Mortgage… eliminate most jobs by the end of year, close 31 GreenPoint locations in 19 states and "cease residential mortgage origination" effective immediately... GreenPoint is the nation's eighth-largest Alt-A mortgage company… The decision to close GreenPoint will hit Capital One with an $860 million charge, or $2.15/share, the vast majority of which will come in 2007. The company lowered its 2007 earnings guidance by 14% to $5/share… [In other news] San Francisco's Luminent Mortgage Capital Inc. agreed to sell a majority stake for pennies on the dollar in a bid to survive."
  • Capital One Financial: The Latest Casualty of the Mortgage Crisis (Markham Lee in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 21st): "Before investors go rushing to Capital One’s shares expecting that the worse is over now that they’ve shuttered their subprime mortgage unit: Capital One offers ARMs, HELOCs and low documentation loans which could begin hurting earnings at any minute. After all, ARMs are hurting prime and subprime lenders, Alt-A lenders are dropping like flies and Countrywide reported problems with its prime HELOCs nearly a month before its current troubles surfaced… Capital One is also a subprime credit card lender, and whilst they saw strong results from their credit card business last quarter, delinquencies are increasing… Capital One has exposure to the subprime auto loan business and in its last quarterly report, noted a significant decrease in the profitability of its auto lending business as a whole (prime and subprime)."
  • No Bids In Corporate Bond Market (Michael Shedlock in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 21st): "There are clear signs that [subprime] pain is spreading from hedge funds to banks. The total amount of rescue financing has placed tens of billions of dollars at risk for many of the biggest banks. Most charge nominal fees for the guarantee of liquidity and some banks did not properly reserve for the risk since the prospect of default seemed remote. Bank of America Securities report: Citigroup (NYSE:C) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), for example, have guaranteed more than $90 billion of liquidity, or about 5-6% of their total assets… State Street, a custody bank, guaranteed about $29b, or 23% of its total assets… Some suggest [this] caused the Fed to take action Friday."
  • Fed Expects Markets Will Take Days to Digest Discount-Rate Cut (Bloomberg, Aug. 21st): "Yields on three-month Treasury bills yesterday fell the most since the 1987 stock-market crash as money market funds dumped asset-backed commercial paper in favor of the shortest- maturity government debt. Fed officials, who said they would accept everything from home-equity finance to municipal bonds as collateral for loans, expect some disruptions because banks are more cautious about what collateral they themselves accept."
  • Countrywide's Credit Default Swaps Tighten 63 Bps (Reuters.UK, Aug. 21st): "The cost to insure the debt of Countrywide Financial Corp. (CFC) unit Countrywide Home Loans fell on Tuesday after The WSJ reported that some investors are speculating billionaire investor Warren Buffett may buy parts of Countrywide. CMA Data Vision: Credit default swap spreads on Countrywide Home Loans narrowed to about 397 basis points, down from about 460 basis points on Monday."
  • Countrywide Financial Takes Out The Axe (Forbes, Aug. 20th): "Countrywide Financial (CFC) has started to lay off employees in its loan origination unit, Full Spectrum… While it is unclear how many people were laid off, the lending unit consisted of 6,785 employee in 228 branches, according to a June SEC filing... For comparison, the entire loan origination unit employs 18,091people.The Full Spectrum unit originates Alt-A loans, mortgages that are better than subprime but not considered prime."
  • Housing Woes Hit High End (CNN Money, Aug. 20th): "Not only has the [subprime] collapse driven up rates on many kinds of mortgages, but fear of a stock crash… has for now prompted many high-end homebuyers to either trim their offers or stop shopping altogether… Diane Saatchi, a real estate agent who specializes in multimillion-dollar vacation homes [in] the East Hampton, N.Y., office of the Corcoran Group… says it's no coincidence that several of her sellers agreed to lop hundreds of thousands of dollars off their asking prices the same week that jumbo rates pushed past 7%."
  • Random Thoughts (Minyanville, Aug. 20th): "FT reports Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) has borrowed from the Fed’s 5.75% discount window… Sources say it was taken to show support for the Fed’s move to combat the credit squeeze. Traditionally the discount window has been seen as a source of emergency funds… Why would they tap the discount window? To show support for the Fed? Really? The smarter folks I speak with say that banks would only tap this window as a last resort… It's 'prolly' nothing but it would certainly explain a lot, including the coordinated global capital infusion a few weeks ago, the FOMC shocker on Friday and the continued diligence by global central banks."
  • Lender NovaStar Financial Cuts 37 Percent of Work Force (News Tribune, Aug. 19th): "Mortgage lender NovaStar Financial Inc. (NFI) said Friday it is cutting 500 jobs, or 37% of its work force, as it stops selling home loans through brokers… Most of the cuts will come as NovaStar closes its wholesale operation centers in California and Ohio… Pre-tax charges for the layoffs will range between $17m-$21 million… Wholesale loans are mortgages issued through a broker, as opposed to directly to a home buyer. NovaStar said it is still lending directly and said it has honored all commitments to fund loans that were already approved. [Last week] NovaStar temporarily suspended selling wholesale loans."

Foreclosure Impact

  • U.S. Foreclosures Surge (Roy Mehta in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 21st): "The number of U.S. homes in foreclosure jumped 9% from June-July, having climbed almost 93% since the same time last year. RealtyTrac: Americans were filing one foreclosure for every 693 households last month. A total of 43 states had an increase in foreclosures since July 2006, but nearly half of them came from just California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Georgia. Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate, filing one per every 199 household. Detroit, filing a foreclosure for every 99 homes, topped the list of metropolitan areas… About 2 million foreclosures are going to be filed this year as variable-rate mortgages reset higher."
  • After Foreclosure, a Big Tax Bill From the I.R.S. (NY Times, Aug. 20th): "Debt canceled by [lenders] upon foreclosure [is] subject to income taxes, as well as penalties and late fees… Foreclosure is one way that beleaguered homeowners can fall into this tax trap. The other is when homeowners are forced to sell their homes for less than the value of the mortgage ["short sales"]. If the lender forgives that difference, they are liable for income taxes on that amount. The 1099 shortfall, as it is called, stems from an Internal Revenue Service policy that treats forgiven debt of all types as income even if the taxpayer has nothing tangible to show for it, unless the debt is canceled through bankruptcy."
  • Buyers Are Looking for a Bargain (Housing Bubble Blog, Aug. 20th): "George Roddy, of Foreclosure Listing Service: In North Texas, foreclosure postings have tripled since 2001… North Texas has been near the default rate of the 80’s since spring 2005, yet the builders were going crazy with starts and loans. Roddy: [Local newspaper] Avalanche-Journal found two weeks ago [that]… new single-family home permit activity had fallen by 20%. Now a new Lubbock Land Co. survey shows the market is starting to make a turn. At midyear 2006 there were 445 new homes either under construction or sitting idle in inventory. Worst off were new homes priced from $250,000-$300,000, where there is now an 8.64 month supply up from 6.29."
  • Subprime Mortgage Mess: Hard Times For Homeowners (Record Online, Aug. 19th) Hudson Valley, NY: "RealtyTrac: In H1'07, the mid-Hudson ranked 88th out of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country in the number of foreclosures per household... Our region had one foreclosure filing for every 428 households… In Ulster County… foreclosure filings rose sharply during H1'07, with filings outpacing both halves of last year combined. The 87 total properties with filings in H1'07 amounts to a 222% rise from the 27 in H2'06 and 190% from the 30 properties in the first half."

Global Impact and Alternatives To The Housing Slump

  • Bank CEO Warns Of German Crisis (MarketWatch, Aug. 21st): "The chief executive of one of Germany's largest state-backed banks warned that foreigners were increasingly loath to extend credit to financial institutions in Europe's largest economy, which could spark a crisis… WestLB CEO Alexander Stuhlmann: "We sense reluctance on the part of foreign partners to extend credit to German banks." His comments come days after a German lender, SachsenLB, said it required a credit line of 17.3 billion euros ($23.2 billion) because of the investments it had made in securities affected by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. IKB Deutsche Industriebank required a similar bailout.

Macro Impact, And Will The Housing Slump Cause A Recession?

  • Housing Market Comes Crashing Down On Realty Agents (The Morning Call, Aug. 22nd): "The National Association of Realtors expects membership rolls to decline this year for the first time in a decade. The group ended 2006 with nearly 1.4 million members -- almost double the roughly 716,000 it had in 1997 -- but expects 2007 to close with 1.3 million, a drop of more than 4%… Trade groups in two of the hardest-hit states -- California and Florida -- also forecast membership drops. The California Association of Realtors is expecting its first decline since 1997, forecasting a year-end tally of 185,000 members compared with more than 199,000 last year."
  • Lacker Says Market Impact on Economy Will Guide Fed (Bloomberg, Aug. 21st): "Recent data on actual housing market activity have dampened my optimism'' about a bottoming-out in the industry, [Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey] Lacker said. Tighter credit conditions "could further dampen residential investment.'' Consumer spending and business investment should offset real-estate markets, Lacker said. He also noted that labor markets are "tight'' and prospects for income growth are "pretty good."
  • Lowe's Companies Q2 2007 Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha, Aug. 20th): "Robert Niblock, Chairman and CEO: "We are cycling the headwind of significant lumber and plywood deflation. In Q3'06, we experienced deflation in wholesale prices of over 25% in lumber and over 45% in plywood. But last week's wholesale prices… indicated lumber was up 1% versus last year and plywood was up nearly 20%. As a result of these easing pricing pressures, comp sales in our lumber category have shown gradual improvement, increasing from negative 9% comps on a year-to-date basis to negative 3% in Q2 and actually positive 1% in the last week of the quarter. Based on current wholesale pricing and the resulting retail market, we expect [deflation] to ease significantly in Q3."
  • More Fed Rate Cuts? Be Careful What You Wish For (Jim Kingsland in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 21st): "The sudden shift to rate cuts will mean that the Fed -- which had until 2 weeks ago eschewed the idea of rate cuts because it recognized the inflation, rate differential and moral hazard problems -- will again be bowing to crisis in the banking system which led it to do a policy-180 last week… If the bulls get their inter-meeting fed funds cut (meaning Fed action before the next official FOMC meeting on 9/18), it will have come at the price of more market turmoil going into the cut… Given the Fed's recent behaviour and statements… we would most definitely be in the calamity zone should an inter-meeting fed funds rate cut appear."
  • O.C. Real Estate/Finance Jobs Take Biggest Hits Since '93 (OC Register RE Blog, Aug. 20th): "O.C. real-estate and lending job counts are off 5,200 in the year ended in July... That is the biggest y/y drop in these property-related businesses since June '93. And the state's count does not track the self-employed or the off-the-books workers, which have been hard hit, too. It's worth noting that one year ago, real estate/lending was adding workers at a 7,500-jobs-per-year pace. Local finance jobs, largely mortgage work, have been hard hit -- down 3,800 positions, or 7%, in a year. Payrolls in these industries are down 14% from their peak and to a level last seen in December 1993."
  • Are We Seeing First Signs Of A Bottom In Housing? (Business Week, Aug. 20th): "From the Calculated Risk blog: "It appears the homeowner vacancy rate (from the Census Bureau) might have peaked. The rental vacancy rate has been trending down for almost 3 years... This was due to a decline in the total number of rental units in 2004, and more recently due to more households choosing renting over owning. These vacancy rates are very high, but it does appear the rates have stopped climbing and - at least for rental vacancies - has started to decline. As starts decline… inventory should stabilize and then decline, and the vacancy rates should slowly decline. More baby steps toward the eventual bottom."

Homebuilders And Housing Stocks

  • Toll Brothers Q3 Net Drops 85%, But Beats Estimates; To Cut Production (Steven Towns in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 22nd): "Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) reported an 85% drop in Q3 net income to $26.5 million, or $0.16/share, on a 21% decline in revenues to $1.21B. Analysts were expecting -$0.02/share on sales of $1.15B, on average. Toll wrote down $147.3M for land, developments and options. Excluding the writedowns, Toll earned $0.70/share. Toll said signed contracts totaled $727M, a 31% y/y decline. Cancellations increased 4.9% y/y to 23.8%... The company is curtailing building to 305 communities by the end of Q2 (vs. 325 in May)."
  • S&P Lowers Homebuilder Credit Ratings (Forbes, Aug. 21st): "S&P cut the corporate credit and senior unsecured ratings on Pulte Homes (NYSE:PHM). to "BBB-" from "BBB" with a negative outlook… S&P also lowered its corporate credit, senior unsecured debt and preferred stock ratings on M/I Homes Inc (NYSE:MHO)… The outlook is negative… The short-term credit rating on Centex Corp. (CTX) also dropped to "A-3" from "A-2". The new rating means adverse economic conditions are likely to weaken the company's ability to meet its obligations. S&P affirmed Centex's "BBB", or investment grade, corporate credit and senior unsecured ratings… The ratings service also lowered its short-term corporate credit rating on Lennar Corp. (NYSE:LEN) from "A-3" to "A-2."
  • Icahn Designating Three Directors to WCI Board (Builder Online, Aug. 20th): "WCI Communities (WCI) and affiliates of Carl Icahn are announcing Monday that they have agreed to a new composition for the WCI Board of Directors which will be submitted to shareholders for approval at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders on August 30. As part of the agreement, The Icahn Group will withdraw its slate of nominees for the board, effectively ending its proxy contest. Icahn offered to buy WCI for $22/share earlier this year, but the builder turned the deal down."
  • Lowe's: Maybe It's Not The Shoppers, But Where They Shop (Todd Sullivan in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 20th): "Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) Q2 earnings rose 9% to $1.02 billion, or $0.67/share, in Q2, up from $935 million, or $0.60/share last year. Analysts had expected $0.61/share... Sales also rose 5.8% to $14.2 billion due to the opening of 26 new stores. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 2.6%, in line with the company's expectations of a drop of as much as three percent. This is in contrast to the 15% decline in earnings at Home Depot… Lowe's called the current environment "challenging" as the U.S. housing market depressed results in some areas, but said it had gained market share in 15 of 20 product categories (they did the same last quarter also)."

Commercial Real Estate and REITs

  • Inland Named JV Partner for $1.4B Investment (Globe St., Aug. 21st): "Inland American Real Estate Trust, through Inland Institutional Capital Partners Corp., has signed an agreement for a joint venture with Lexington Realty Trust to purchase and manage net-leased properties. The venture, Net Lease Strategic Assets Fund LP, will include 53 properties contributed by Lexington, about 8.4 million sf and valued at $940 million. Inland spokesman: "These properties are more specialized than downtown office buildings, and don’t trade at low cap rates, i.e. high prices, but offer higher returns and come with a little more risk. The portfolio includes all property types, in many geographic areas, with very little rollover."
  • Commercial Real Estate Outlook Improving (Forbes, Aug. 22nd): "An index of future commercial real estate activity posted its ninth consecutive quarter of improvement… The National Association of Realtors' Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity rose to 120.7 in Q2, up from 119.7 in Q2'06 and 120.1 in Q1'07… Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist: The reading suggests industrial and office sectors likely will expand use of commercial office space [in] the next six to nine months… The index tracks 13 variables to gauge future commercial real estate activity, including REIT prices, industrial production and employment in several sectors."
  • So Many Deals, So Much Debt (NY Times, Aug. 22nd): "NY developer Harry Macklowe's 2003 purchase of the General Motors Building… for $1.4 billion [and $7 billion purchase of former Equity Office properties in February]… enhanced [his] reputation as a visionary tycoon. But [with the subprime-induced] tightening of credit, there is widespread talk in the industry that Mr. Macklowe is in deep trouble [and] could lose control not only of the newly acquired portfolio but also of the G.M. Building and other properties that were used as collateral for short-term debt that must be repaid six months from now… Some real estate specialists say that the February acquisition of the seven Manhattan buildings — a deal consummated in just 10 business days —will be remembered… as a watershed that ended two years of frenzy in the commercial real estate market."
  • ProLogis Forms Four Funds; $14B Capacity (Globe St., Aug. 21st): "ProLogis has four new property funds with a combined capacity of $14 billion. Each fund will own assets in one of four different geographic regions--Europe, the US, Mexico and South Korea--and will serve as the exclusive investment vehicle for properties from ProLogis’ development pipeline in that region. The funds also will have the ability to make third-party acquisitions in their respective regions... Jeffrey Schwartz, ProLogis chairman and CEO, says the new funds take to $33 billion the company’s capacity for assets under management."
  • Sector Snap: REITs (Forbes, Aug. 21st): "David Harris (NYSE:HRS) recommends investors try to weather the storm by sticking with REITs that have solid balance sheets, strong management teams and quality assets. Harris views Brookfield Properties Corp. (NYSE:BPO), Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE:BXP) and SL Green Realty Corp. (NYSE:SLG) among the safest bets… Harris lowered his price target on Kite Realty Group Trust (NYSE:KRG) by $1 to $18. He is a bit cautious on the company's large development pipeline, but said it appears to be properly funded… Harris cut his price target on Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) by $5 to $120. [Though] worried about the company's increased exposure to the financial services sector, Harris said Vornado is still one of his top picks due to its solid balance sheet and assets."
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