As a followup to“Doesn't Morgan Stanley Read My Blog?”, I would like to focus on the private investment fund structures of the big banks and the incentives that they have to do deals that may lose money. Institutional real estate investors, many of whom have been severely
burned over the last couple of years, can rightfully point a chiding
finger at the so-called "big league managers" who not only failed to
foresee the commercial real estate (CRE) collapse as professional and
experienced money advisors, but also benefitted from positive cash
flows by putting investors' money at stake. CRE investors have, through
institutional funds, basically given these money managers a cost free
"call option" on the real estate market by funding the vast majority of
equity in acquisitions and allowing fund managers to benefit from
upfront acquisition and management fees as well as a share of
investment gains contingent upon success. The fee structure
incentivizes management in certain circumstances, to raise as many
funds and do as many deals as possible, in lieu of focusing on being as
profitable as possible. This is one of possible explanations for the
flurry of fund raising and deals executed between 2004 and 2007, when
the CRE market reached the crescendo of a bubble peak.

Published in BoomBustBlog
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 00:00

The next step in the GGP saga

Hovde has issued a reply to Ackman's second GGP presentation. These hedge funds put out more analysis than the bank analysts that follow GGP, SERIOUSLY! For those that need a recap: My responses to Ackman's presenations are CRE 2010 Overview and It was bound to happen. Reggie Middleton vs Ackman vs Hovde on GGP!

Here are the Ackman reports: Ackman's CRE presentation and pdf ackman_ggp122209_0 29/12/2009,14:58 1.18 Mb

This is the most recent one by Hovde: General Growth Properties - 2.pdf.

I also noted that Hovde is short Macerich. See my opinion on that company: A Granular Look Into a $6 Billion REIT: Is This the Next GGP?

Published in BoomBustBlog

I am here to weigh in on the increasingly popular marketing battle over GGP's (General Growth Properties) value in, and out of bankruptcy. The players in question are large buyside institutions who own opposing positions on the stock. Ackman/Pershing square, who are long the company's stock, and Hovde Capital Advisors, who are short the stock, and Reggie Middleton, the original player!

For those who follow me regularly and are familiar with my dealings with GGP, skip down to the bottom of this post to download my latest GGP analysis. For those who are not familiar with me and the BoomBustBlog, I am (to the extent of my knowledge) the first investor/media concern to go public with a short thesis on General Growth Properties (GGP) with a warning on commercial property in general, and a specific short on GGP in the 4th quarter of 2007 (see "GGP and the type of investigative analysis you will not get from your brokerage house", BoomBustBlog professional subscribers can download the entire GGP composite history in .pdf format). I am a private investor that generates his own proprietary research. It is solid, independent, unbiased, and of extreme quality when compared to the highly conflicted sell side marketing fluff proffered as research, and apparently now stands out among the buy side as well. With all due respect to the successful investors referred to herein, there is a hint of "talking one's book" within the presentations. I have absolutely no problem with self promotion, but when it appears the promotion comes to odds with the validity of the analysis, it does tend to raise my brow, and apparently the brow of several institutions that have come to me for my opinion.

So, let's take an unbiased, empirical look at GGP from the guy who first pointed out the insolvency of this company in the first place. As for the self promotion aspect, I am now offering consulting services to those who desire independent, objective analysis. I will soon be releasing a very interesting study on real estate funds and residential mortgage related products from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, which will assuredly cause their clients to fall in love with them. More on that later, though.

Published in BoomBustBlog
I am here to weigh in on the increasingly popular marketing battle over GGP's (General Growth Properties) value in, and out of bankruptcy. The players in question are large buyside institutions who own opposing positions on the stock. Ackman/Pershing square, who are long the company's stock, and Hovde Capital Advisors, who are short the stock, and Reggie Middleton, the original player!

For those who follow me regularly and are familiar with my dealings with GGP, skip down to the bottom of this post to download my latest GGP analysis. For those who are not familiar with me and the BoomBustBlog, I am (to the extent of my knowledge) the first investor/media concern to go public with a short thesis on General Growth Properties (GGP) with a warning on commercial property in general, and a specific short on GGP in the 4th quarter of 2007 (see "GGP and the type of investigative analysis you will not get from your brokerage house", BoomBustBlog professional subscribers can download the entire GGP composite history in .pdf format). I am a private investor that generates his own proprietary research. It is solid, independent, unbiased, and of extreme quality when compared to the highly conflicted sell side marketing fluff proffered as research, and apparently now stands out among the buy side as well. With all due respect to the successful investors referred to herein, there is a hint of "talking one's book" within the presentations. I have absolutely no problem with self promotion, but when it appears the promotion comes to odds with the validity of the analysis, it does tend to raise my brow, and apparently the brow of several institutions that have come to me for my opinion.

So, let's take an unbiased, empirical look at GGP from the guy who first pointed out the insolvency of this company in the first place. As for the self promotion aspect, I am now offering consulting services to those who desire independent, objective analysis. I will soon be releasing a very interesting study on real estate funds and residential mortgage related products from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, which will assuredly cause their clients to fall in love with them. More on that later, though.

I am here to weigh in on the increasingly popular marketing battle over GGP's (General Growth Properties) value in, and out of bankruptcy. The players in question are large buyside institutions who own opposing positions on the stock. Ackman/Pershing square, who are long the company's stock, and Hovde Capital Advisors, who are short the stock, and Reggie Middleton, the original player!

For those who follow me regularly and are familiar with my dealings with GGP, skip down to the bottom of this post to download my latest GGP analysis. For those who are not familiar with me and the BoomBustBlog, I am (to the extent of my knowledge) the first investor/media concern to go public with a short thesis on General Growth Properties (GGP) with a warning on commercial property in general, and a specific short on GGP in the 4th quarter of 2007 (see "GGP and the type of investigative analysis you will not get from your brokerage house", BoomBustBlog professional subscribers can download the entire GGP composite history in .pdf format). I am a private investor that generates his own proprietary research. It is solid, independent, unbiased, and of extreme quality when compared to the highly conflicted sell side marketing fluff proffered as research, and apparently now stands out among the buy side as well. With all due respect to the successful investors referred to herein, there is a hint of "talking one's book" within the presentations. I have absolutely no problem with self promotion, but when it appears the promotion comes to odds with the validity of the analysis, it does tend to raise my brow, and apparently the brow of several institutions that have come to me for my opinion.

So, let's take an unbiased, empirical look at GGP from the guy who first pointed out the insolvency of this company in the first place. As for the self promotion aspect, I am now offering consulting services to those who desire independent, objective analysis. I will soon be releasing a very interesting study on real estate funds and residential mortgage related products from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, which will assuredly cause their clients to fall in love with them. More on that later, though.

Thursday, 17 December 2009 00:00

Doesn't Morgan Stanley Read My Blog?

At least a few MDs at Morgan Stanley DO read my blog, but it is obvious that the guys in the real estate division don't. Early in 2008 I named Morgan Stanley the "The Riskiest Bank on the Street". The following is one of the reasons why. From Bloomberg: Morgan Stanley Surrenders Five San Francisco Office Towers Bought at Peak [In reading this, notice the extreme irony in one of the country's largest investment banks walking away from a property deal, and contrast it to a homeowner in the same position. Hey, if MS can do it, why can't I?]

Morgan Stanley, the securities firm that spent more than $8 billion on commercial property in 2007, plans to relinquish five San Francisco office buildings to its lender two years after purchasing them from Blackstone Group LP near the top of the market.

The bank has been negotiating an “orderly transfer” of the towers since earlier this year, Alyson Barnes, a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman, said yesterday in a telephone interview. AREA Property Partners will take over the buildings, which have been held by the bank’s MSREF V fund. Barnes declined to say when the transfer will occur.

“It’s not surprising this deal ran into trouble,” Michael Knott, senior analyst at Green Street Advisors in Newport Beach, California, said in an interview. “It was eye-opening among a group of eye-opening deals. There was almost no price too high in 2007 for office space in top gateway markets.”

The San Francisco transfer would mark the second real estate deal to unravel this year for Morgan Stanley, which bet on the property markets as prices were rising. The firm last month agreed to surrender 17 million square feet of office buildings to Barclays Capital after acquiring them for $6.5 billion in 2007 from Crescent Real Estate Equities. U.S. commercial real estate prices have dropped 43 percent from October 2007’s peak, Moody’s Investors Service said last month.

Lost Value

The Morgan Stanley buildings may have lost as much as 50
percent of their value since the purchase, Knott estimated.

“This isn’t a default or foreclosure situation,” Barnes
said. “It is a negotiated transfer to our lenders.”

Morgan Stanley bought 10 San Francisco buildings in the
city’s financial district as part of a $2.5 billion purchase
from Blackstone Group
in May 2007. The buildings were formerly
owned by billionaire investor Sam Zell’s Equity Office
Properties and acquired by Blackstone in its $39 billion buyout
of the real estate firm earlier that year.

The buildings Morgan Stanley is giving up are One Post, 201
California St., Foundry Square I, 60 Spear St. and 188
Embarcadero. The towers have a combined 1.3 million square feet,
according to Colliers International.

The bank will continue to own the other office buildings it
acquired in the Blackstone deal, Barnes said.

Morgan Stanley, based in New York, was the biggest property
investor among Wall Street firms at the time of the purchase.
The transaction made the company one of the largest office
landlords in San Francisco, adding 3.9 million square feet of
office space there.

Defaults Rise

Commercial mortgage defaults more than doubled in the third
quarter from a year earlier as occupancies fell, according to
Real Estate Econometrics LLC. Office vacancies will reach a
near-record 19 percent in the first quarter of 2011, broker CB
Richard Ellis
Group Inc. estimated.

Property sales financed with commercial mortgage-backed
securities plunged 95 percent from a record $237 billion in
2007, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. A lack of securitized
debt is driving down values, which may fall 55 percent from
their peak, Moody’s said.

San Francisco prime office rents fell 37 percent in the
third quarter from a year earlier, the biggest decline since
2001, as companies cut jobs, Colliers said. The vacancy rate
rose to 14 percent, the highest since 2005. Almost 1.4 million
square feet of space was returned to the market in the first
nine months of the year.

In September of 2007, in the very first post on my blog, I announced that the CRE market would crash. I made the announcement again in December of that year and even created a schedule of who would be crashing with their CRE sales. See "Will the commercial real estate market fall? Of course it will" 09 December 2007.

Published in BoomBustBlog

I recently received a link to Ackman's (from Pershing Square) presentation basically pushing retail CRE malls (Ackman's CRE presentation). Several of my subscribers have commented on his success with GGP as well as the upward climb of REITs in general. I decided to go out of my way to create a comprehensive overview of the US commercial real estate market in order to illustrate exactly where my (more bearish than the consensus) views stem from. The following document started out as a reply to the Ackman presentation, but ended up as a full blown white paper. It is free to download here:
pdf CRE 2010 Overview 2009-12-15 02:39:04 2.72 Mb.

I invite all to read both documents thoroughly. It may take some time, but I feel it is definitely worthwhile for anyone with an economic interest in this space to review both the bull and the bear arguments from entities that actually invest in the markets. I welcome any and all "constructive" comments and feedback.

Here are a few choice graphs from the presentation...

gdp_components.jpg

Not to be a killjoy, but the bulk of the GDP boost came directly from government stimulus, which is apparently fading very quickly.

rre_cre.jpg

The fall in single family home values pales in comparison to the fall in CRE values...

image041.jpg

The US and UK single family home price bubble have outsripped - by far - that of Japan. If real asset pricing bubbles contributed to the lost decade, one can only imagine what we are in for stateside!

image035.gif

image036.gif

For those who are interested, my first exposure to Mr. Ackman was after reading a similar Powerpoint presentation on the monolines. I was stunned at the assertions and the alleged misvaluations. After I and my team went over it, I too jumped on the bandwagon. The man had a very valid point and the stocks were trading in the stratosphere in relation to the risk they carried. That was in 2007 at roughly $80, and they are trading for pennies now. Ackman held his bearish stance for 5 years through some apparently nasty drawdowns, to ultimately have been proven right. Kudos to the man. See my work on the monolines that I shorted in 2007-8:

Published in BoomBustBlog

Since 42 pages is a lot to digest, let me post an excerpt from the pdf CRE 2010 Overview 2009-12-15 02:39:04 2.72 Mb to illustrate a point.

REITs have ascended too far from their fundamentals -DJ US Real Estate Index has outpaced S&P 500 index by more than 50% during a time when their macro and fundamental outlook pale compared to that of the broad market. There is no "deal" to be had here! What you are witnessing is momentum trading, not fundamental value.

S&P 500 increased 62.0% between March 9, 2009 and December 9, 2009, while the DJ US Real estate index increased by 96.2% over the same period. With many tribulations still plaguing the US REIT sector, the valuations appear quite stretched.

image029.gif

The ascending REIT index is again creating the potential for another upheaval similar to that witnessed after the Lehman debacle. The DJ US Real estate index which was at 228.91 on September 15, 2008 has reached at 171.6 as of December 9, 2009.

image030.gif

Published in BoomBustBlog

I recently received a link to Ackman's (from Pershing Square) presentation basically pushing retail CRE malls (Ackman's CRE presentation). Several of my subscribers have commented on his success with GGP as well as the upward climb of REITs in general. I decided to go out of my way to create a comprehensive overview of the US commercial real estate market in order to illustrate exactly where my (more bearish than the consensus) views stem from. The following document started out as a reply to the Ackman presentation, but ended up as a full blown white paper. It is free to download here: pdf  CRE 2010 Overview 2009-12-15 02:39:04 2.72 Mb.

I invite all to read both documents thoroughly. It may take some time, but I feel it is definitely worthwhile for anyone with an economic interest in this space to review both the bull and the bear arguments from entities that actually invest in the markets. I welcome any and all "constructive" comments and feedback.

Here are a few choice graphs from the presentation...

gdp_components.jpg

Not to be a killjoy, but the bulk of the GDP boost came directly from government stimulus, which is apparently fading very quickly.

rre_cre.jpg

The fall in single family home values pales in comparison to the fall in CRE values... 

image041.jpg

The US and UK single family home price bubble have outsripped - by far - that of Japan. If real asset pricing bubbles contributed to the lost decade, one can only imagine what we are in for stateside!

image035.gif

image036.gif

For those who are interested, my first exposure to Mr. Ackman was after reading a similar Powerpoint presentation on the monolines. I was stunned at the assertions and the alleged misvaluations. After I and my team went over it, I too jumped on the bandwagon. The man had a very valid point and the stocks were trading in the stratosphere in relation to the risk they carried. That was in 2007 at roughly $80, and they are trading for pennies now. Ackman held his bearish stance for 5 years through some apparently nasty drawdowns, to ultimately have been proven right. Kudos to the man. See my work on the monolines that I shorted in 2007-8:

Since 42 pages is a lot to digest, let me post an excerpt from the pdf  CRE 2010 Overview 2009-12-15 02:39:04 2.72 Mb to illustrate a point.

REITs have ascended too far from their fundamentals -DJ US Real Estate Index has outpaced S&P 500 index by more than 50% during a time when their macro and fundamental outlook pale compared to that of the broad market. There is no "deal" to be had here! What you are witnessing is momentum trading, not fundamental value.

 S&P 500 increased 62.0% between March 9, 2009 and December 9, 2009, while the DJ US Real estate index increased by 96.2% over the same period. With many tribulations still plaguing the US REIT sector, the valuations appear quite stretched.

image029.gif

The ascending REIT index is again creating the potential for another upheaval similar to that witnessed after the Lehman debacle. The DJ US Real estate index which was at 228.91 on September 15, 2008 has reached at 171.6 as of December 9, 2009.

image030.gif