Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

Beyond The Pond

What famous (pink-colored) financial newspaper recently included in its weekend edition stories on gastronomic architecture, Sri Lankan real estate, a Greek monument inspiring dramatists in Sydney, the formative years of Vincent Van Gogh, a safari camp in Chad, premium wine rankings and a survey of restaurants in Cape Town?   Why, the Financial Times, of course. It’s not all just about dollars and cents … I have found the weekend edition a great way to keep up with life across “the pond” — and local affairs as well.

Store your money here

It’s no secret that we Americans love our stuff.  Nonetheless, it came as a surprise to many that this tendency resulted in a new top performer in Bloomberg’s August list of alternative investments: self storage units.  Once considered “the goofy real estate class,” it’s now, according to Extra Space CEO Spencer Kirk, the real estate class that outperformed all others during the recession.  It makes sense when you think about it: tough housing market = less people buying homes, and more needing space to store household goods while they await their chance to get back in the market.  Also, overhead on self-storage is very low compared to other types of real estate, so the profit margin is high.  However, as with most stellar performers on the stock market, if you haven’t already invested you’ve most likely missed your chance for fat returns, as the market is already slowing down.  But hey… at least you’ve still got your stuff!

Looking for investment data?  Try our Financial Market databases or sources for Analysts Reports.


Data. Lots of it.

Did you know that one easy way to get quick access to lots of free government data on many subjects is through the US Census Bureau homepage?  Just go to the Bureau’s page via our Database A-Z list (or go to their URL directly) and then click on ‘Index A to Z’ in the upper right. You’ll get a prodigious alphabetical list of topics for which statistics are available, ranging from Advance Monthly Retail Sales to Child Support to Health Insurance to Small Business Statistics. The Census site is not just about people — it can be a shortcut to finding data you need without trying to figure out what part of the Government provides it.

Free data? Free data!

Looking for websites on a business topic or industry?  Consider the Library’s Business Web Sites  —  nearly 140 different sites on a fantastic range of topics. Coverage includes accounting, baseball, biotech, commodities, housing, international statistics, marketing, mutual funds, patents, private equity, real estate, supermarkets, video games and much more. All of these sites should have free information but, since Stanford is not paying for access, at some point you might run up against some restricted material. Of course at that point you might choose to purchase the data, if it suits you. But there is so much free information on industries and financial topics that you may be satisfied with what is readily available. And as always, if you are not finding what you need, just ask a librarian for help.

Real Estate & the Facebook IPO: What does it mean for you?

Are you a homeowner who’s eager to sell? Or are you a renter – newly priced out of your neighborhood of choice?

With recent, massive IPOs such as Facebook (and Groupon prior to that), new tech millionaires are flooding the already sizzling Silicon Valley housing market. The tech boom’s effects on the Bay’s housing supply are plentiful; a recent New York Times article covers the fear of already high prices that are set to soar.

Buying vs renting has always been a local complication. Given high mortgages, layoff concern, lack of options/space, etc. often result in long-term renters who would otherwise be homeowners. This creates a negative trickle-down effect for all potential tenants. Families and other (former) potential buyers drive up competition for rental homes and larger apartments, which in turn churns competition down to the tiniest rental property. Even those willing to pay astronomical rental prices for tiny spaces aren’t guaranteed they’ll win the property. I’ve been on my fair share of apartment “appointments” only to realize I’ve been duped into the dreaded open house where potential tenants awkwardly battle to show their interest and suitability.

On the flip side, many Silicon Valley homeowners are giddy to sell and the payout makes moving a non-issue. Sellers have the upper hand to capitalize on new millionaires’ desire for a quick commute and hot neighborhood. Not only are sellers likely to get their asking price, but bidding wars could ensue given the sheer number of new millionaires (a thousand!).

Let us know how you’ve been affected – has the IPO activity worked for you or against you?

Check out Rand California for local housing stats vs national reports for more info.

House Oh House

The Joint Center for Housing Studies has just released their annual report entitled The State of the Nation’s Housing 2008 giving a good overview on what the housing market is doing. Of especial concern has been the drop which the home building market is going through. Some of the largest home builders met this week at the annual Bank of America Home Builders Conference in New York. A presentation followed by Q&A given by Larry A. Mizel of M.D.C. Holdings, Incorporated one of the larger building companies during the conference gives an idea of what the housing industry is up against. Additionally Robert Toll, of Toll Brothers, was interviewed at the same conference with some interesting comments on new home sales statistics put out by the US Commerce Department. When he asked statisticians about sales cancellations those were not taken into account, which he thinks could explain how the numbers could be so off. Cancelations this year have risen from a yearly average of about 7% to an unheard of 33%.


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