Cursory Glance At Multifamily Shows I’m Still Right

I’ve been right about multifamily since 2011. A certain cadre of analysts I love to hate on have been wrong for the same timeframe.

I’m not going to get into a detailed breakdown of the argument or the recent numbers that came out. But I will give you a very brief, very definitive explanation for why I am and will remain in a winning position, invested in the likes of AEC and MAA, and that will do.

Multifamily occupancy is at 95%+. Multifamily occupancy has remained at 95%+ for years. Multifamily occupancy will continue to remain at 95%+ for years yet to come.

Very much to the contrary of what certain professional analysts would like you to believe, this was not “obvious, mainstream knowledge” which “everyone totally saw coming”. Moreover, it certainly is not “irrelevant” or “priced in”.

Apartment occupancy through the 80′s was averaging in the mid 80% range. In the 90′s (interestingly enough) it expanded to the low 90% range. It was not until the boom (and subsequent bust years) of the 2000 bubble era that this present level of 95% was even challenged. Perhaps companies were caught underbuilding inventory. Perhaps they just got good and filling space. I don’t know.

As the housing market took off in those early 2000 years, that occupancy level began to subside and many analysts began calling for a return to the 80′s (in occupancy terms, by way of a deathspiral in demand for apartments). In tow with this expectation, multifamily CEO’s began repositioning their businesses for less renters, less lease space. Apartment demand was dead, we were told.

Except that it wasn’t. In an effort to absorb the shock from fewer renters year over year, multifamily new development was virtually nonexistent for half a decade. Yet, as you all know, the actual result was very much the opposite. A colossal failure of housing ensued, and demand for multifamily apartments has risen dramatically.

Every new building that gets brought online is hitting 95% occupancy virtually overnight. The demand is so hot, companies like AEC and MAA can’t build fast enough.

I want you to take a minute to look at AEC’s acquisition and development budget. Look at MAA’s next.

This is, as one might say, “kind of a big deal.”

These companies are cheap; they don’t have much premium baked in. You can pick them up and pocket 5% dividends for years, while you wait for their stock price to go on a nice little 30-40% run, no problem. Look back, find you’ve averaged 10% annually, call it a decade.

Sure, eventually the cycle will run it’s course and the stocks will take a hit on overdevelopment. But how much money do I stand to make in the meantime?

Down Over 2% Today

Well, the hubris post did it, and pointing out that when I crossed 20% YTD gains timed the top with almost cruel exactness. Just as we all knew it would.

BAS is taking the session the hardest for me, down almost 7%. They started a correction after earnings, and it looks to be picking up speed. My guess is a retest of the 200 day, putting them just over $20 a share, at which time I will be a buyer.

MAA is second worst, down over 5% on a disappointing…Core FFO number? FFO is very important in the real estate market, because it prices out depreciation of construction (which so long as your structure is sound is irrelevant). But they also just doubled their operation by acquiring my old position CLP, and seem to be continuing the spirit of development and expansion. They have sound debt levels making the process easier, with plenty of room to add leverage. And a strong wind at their backs in the form of a rising rent environment. I’m holding here because a 4% dividend and steady growth make MAA a sound enough investment once this passes.

Following next is a roughly four way tie between BTU, NRP, HCLP, and ETP. There seems to be a theme today of energy names being punished a little worse than the indices. Then again, people have hated coal for years and half the energy sector has huge gains unrealized with ample volume to round about escape losses elsewhere, so maybe this makes perfect sense.

CCJ had a good earnings report, continuing to kick the uranium market doldrums by personally doing just fine. Their long term contracts persist in rewarding them with a price well above the dismal spot market, and sales volumes have increased. So the market has rewarded them by only selling off 1.5%.

(Actually, I need to be honest. I am concerned that CCJ has managed to perform this well in this environment. Particularly because despite the better sales and earnings, they continued to lose cash – the only thing that really matters – and in light of the recent revelations of overseas corporations acting to enable financial games with their taxes. I’m going to be sniffing around very closely here, because I will not become prey to some corporate Enron nonsense)

AEC and silver are my “best” positions, each down “only” less than 1%.

Okay, so the market is getting clubbed. What do we do about it?

Well, if you’re in my position – and if you’ve been following me, that is quite possible – up still over 15% for the year, then the answer is pretty clear. You do nothing.

I can afford to do nothing here, to see if this hard drop doesn’t stabilize quickly and lead us higher through August. We should hit a bottom pretty quick. I don’t yet see a good catalyst for a major drop, outside of the regular bank failings and global “World War” heckling that usually bogs us down. For the moment, that’s no excuse to panic.

China, Europe, and most the rest of the world haven’t exactly been doing awesome before now. This isn’t news.

So there’s no rush here. 13% YTD gains is my floor. When I hit that point, I go to cash fast, because my year will be at least +13%. 13% because I was stuck between 10% and 15%, so let’s take the black prime number in the middle (scientific, right?).

Pushing Up 1% Into The Last Hour

So far I’m seeing gains of just under 1% today, clearly led by HCLP. UEC is staging a recovery (I hope), but CCJ has turned lower.

The multifamily REITs AEC and MAA are digesting some of the latest move higher.

But I’m happy enough with this – we had a good day yesterday and every minute we aren’t collapsing is another minute the bears can tremor, thinking about the last five years and what their short selling addiction has gotten them thus far.

I’m not ruling out more volatility just yet – the NASDAQ has dispensed some horrendous fortunes – but I am constructively optimistic about my own.

BAS Just Saved My Day

If not for Basic Energy Services turning on a dime and sprinting away from the rest of the trash that comprises this trading session, I would be having a pretty bad day.

UEC is down over 50% since I bought it. Mind you, as I have stated repeatedly, it is a small position. At its peak, it was under 5% of my account. So I’m not panicked here. But damn it, that was my 5%.

Give me my money back.

The trouble with the uranium miners (and the reason I’ve been very adamant up until now to just keep it simple and avoid the smaller businesses) is pretty forwardly summed up in UEC’s latest filing. They sold $0.00 in revenue in the first three months of 2014.

That’s $0.00.

The 2014 YEAR OF URANIUM BLISS (or whatever the hell I called it) …has been cancelled. Uranium spot just nosedived this week and, even though I suspect this flash crash is nearer the end of the turmoil, that kind of godless price action can only portend one thing.

Somebody is about to get liquidated.

I just pray it isn’t UEC.

CCJ is treading water daily. It’s all she can do to hold the line, but one false move and it’s a quick list to the side and down she goes.

The rest of my positions are holding up fairly well, actually. The multifamily theme remains tantalizing, particularly now that the primary argument against them – a resurgence in homeownership rates and a drop in occupancy for rentals – is such obvious bunk. AEC and MAA should continue to perform.

NRP has held up decent enough, following the 25% washout it took this year. That’s probably been my worst idea so far in 2014. But they are getting things under control, I have a hunch coal may be a terrific investment here, and I get to collect 8% annually while I wait.

I’m definitely not +10% for the year anymore, but there’s another 8 months to make something happen yet. My fear isn’t my positions, it’s what consequence an entire index of investors getting their combined comeuppance will have on me.

The NASDAQ traders got stupid. Real stupid. Will that spill over to me? It’s looking likely.

Like it or not, the stock market tends to take on a real flare of the vineyard effect. You pop up five vineyards next to each other, they all do well. Plenty of room to visit each, for the patrons. In fact, it draws in more business.

But if one of those bastards let’s an infestation go unattended; suddenly you have nothing but tears and reek wine.

Tesla earnings are out after the bell. Let’s see what happens there.

The Market Sure Looks Terrible

We open our week where once beloved technology companies continue their unfolding tragedy, sinking otherwise well to do enterprises and frustrating the market at large.

I shouldn’t even have to deal with this crap, do to a longstanding decision to shun big multiples tech firms and keep that trash out of my portfolio. Sadly, thanks to a wanting of such self restraint on the part of co-shareholders in the positions that I do have, I get to participate in the selling right alongside the rest of you; as if I owned a start up tech IPO that was knee-capped to the tune of 50% out the gate, anyway.

BAS was given a relief rally of about 4% today, which of course cratered into lunch. That led TheStreet to confidently assert that BAS is merely “dead cat bouncing”. Of course, TheStreet has been equally confident that BAS was dead money from $14, so my personal opinion of their articles related to BAS should be easy enough to guess.

The only positions I own that aren’t dragging me lower seem to be the multifamily themes – AEC and MAA (and technically speaking my hedging…but only because the losses on my PGJ and TSLA puts have already been had).

In summary, the 9th floor is smarting today and I find myself fearing a bloodbath, derived solely from a selloff in positions I would never own anyway.

Huzzah…

First The Good News, Then The Bad

Most of my portfolio is now solidly shrugging off Yellen’s slip of the tongue. Our good bankster friends over at JPMorgan said it best – Yellen is fresh and inexperienced, and she still needs to learn how to speak without actually saying anything.

It will come. It will come.

Despite my state of shock at watching Yellen crack the market like an egg yesterday, I didn’t react. I want to watch a few more days before I make a move, even if they should lose me money. With a +14% year going, I have buffer room.

Now, the good word here is that CCJ and BAS are both moving higher. I suspect HCLP will join in soon as well (that position can be rewarded a little breather, it’s come a long way). The energy themes are solid and intact.

The bad side of the coin is that fear/reality of higher interest rates is going to just ravish the REIT and associated housing space. Check out VNQ over a five day period, and you can almost sink the cracking point up with Yellen’s comments. My current position AEC is breaking down again this morning, and an old position MAA is following.

This has to be treaded carefully. If you’re juggling garbage like NLY, I’d say you’re one four day panic away from another round of 30% losses.

I’ve said well before today, back when I never imagined Yellen would spook interest rates higher, that I was interested in rebuying MAA. This is sort of a blessing in that regards. I’d venture a guess that long term damage to multifamily REITs from higher interest rates will hover somewhere between “negligible” and “not damaging, actually positive”.

But well before that point, there will probably be a lot of indiscriminate selling from emotionally driven fund managers. The climax of that, if it should materialize, is the buying opportunity.

Between then and now, it’s important to keep a wary eye on reform efforts to Fannie and Freddie. There’s been some “bipartisan chatter”. Mortgage origination is >70% dominated by the government backed mortgage giants, and the entire housing market is totally dependent on them. A poorly thought out reform effort could rain chaos. But there’s no sense even having a discussion about that just yet. First things first, interest rates.

Cursory Glance At Multifamily Shows I’m Still Right

I’ve been right about multifamily since 2011. A certain cadre of analysts I love to hate on have been wrong for the same timeframe.

I’m not going to get into a detailed breakdown of the argument or the recent numbers that came out. But I will give you a very brief, very definitive explanation for why I am and will remain in a winning position, invested in the likes of AEC and MAA, and that will do.

Multifamily occupancy is at 95%+. Multifamily occupancy has remained at 95%+ for years. Multifamily occupancy will continue to remain at 95%+ for years yet to come.

Very much to the contrary of what certain professional analysts would like you to believe, this was not “obvious, mainstream knowledge” which “everyone totally saw coming”. Moreover, it certainly is not “irrelevant” or “priced in”.

Apartment occupancy through the 80′s was averaging in the mid 80% range. In the 90′s (interestingly enough) it expanded to the low 90% range. It was not until the boom (and subsequent bust years) of the 2000 bubble era that this present level of 95% was even challenged. Perhaps companies were caught underbuilding inventory. Perhaps they just got good and filling space. I don’t know.

As the housing market took off in those early 2000 years, that occupancy level began to subside and many analysts began calling for a return to the 80′s (in occupancy terms, by way of a deathspiral in demand for apartments). In tow with this expectation, multifamily CEO’s began repositioning their businesses for less renters, less lease space. Apartment demand was dead, we were told.

Except that it wasn’t. In an effort to absorb the shock from fewer renters year over year, multifamily new development was virtually nonexistent for half a decade. Yet, as you all know, the actual result was very much the opposite. A colossal failure of housing ensued, and demand for multifamily apartments has risen dramatically.

Every new building that gets brought online is hitting 95% occupancy virtually overnight. The demand is so hot, companies like AEC and MAA can’t build fast enough.

I want you to take a minute to look at AEC’s acquisition and development budget. Look at MAA’s next.

This is, as one might say, “kind of a big deal.”

These companies are cheap; they don’t have much premium baked in. You can pick them up and pocket 5% dividends for years, while you wait for their stock price to go on a nice little 30-40% run, no problem. Look back, find you’ve averaged 10% annually, call it a decade.

Sure, eventually the cycle will run it’s course and the stocks will take a hit on overdevelopment. But how much money do I stand to make in the meantime?

Down Over 2% Today

Well, the hubris post did it, and pointing out that when I crossed 20% YTD gains timed the top with almost cruel exactness. Just as we all knew it would.

BAS is taking the session the hardest for me, down almost 7%. They started a correction after earnings, and it looks to be picking up speed. My guess is a retest of the 200 day, putting them just over $20 a share, at which time I will be a buyer.

MAA is second worst, down over 5% on a disappointing…Core FFO number? FFO is very important in the real estate market, because it prices out depreciation of construction (which so long as your structure is sound is irrelevant). But they also just doubled their operation by acquiring my old position CLP, and seem to be continuing the spirit of development and expansion. They have sound debt levels making the process easier, with plenty of room to add leverage. And a strong wind at their backs in the form of a rising rent environment. I’m holding here because a 4% dividend and steady growth make MAA a sound enough investment once this passes.

Following next is a roughly four way tie between BTU, NRP, HCLP, and ETP. There seems to be a theme today of energy names being punished a little worse than the indices. Then again, people have hated coal for years and half the energy sector has huge gains unrealized with ample volume to round about escape losses elsewhere, so maybe this makes perfect sense.

CCJ had a good earnings report, continuing to kick the uranium market doldrums by personally doing just fine. Their long term contracts persist in rewarding them with a price well above the dismal spot market, and sales volumes have increased. So the market has rewarded them by only selling off 1.5%.

(Actually, I need to be honest. I am concerned that CCJ has managed to perform this well in this environment. Particularly because despite the better sales and earnings, they continued to lose cash – the only thing that really matters – and in light of the recent revelations of overseas corporations acting to enable financial games with their taxes. I’m going to be sniffing around very closely here, because I will not become prey to some corporate Enron nonsense)

AEC and silver are my “best” positions, each down “only” less than 1%.

Okay, so the market is getting clubbed. What do we do about it?

Well, if you’re in my position – and if you’ve been following me, that is quite possible – up still over 15% for the year, then the answer is pretty clear. You do nothing.

I can afford to do nothing here, to see if this hard drop doesn’t stabilize quickly and lead us higher through August. We should hit a bottom pretty quick. I don’t yet see a good catalyst for a major drop, outside of the regular bank failings and global “World War” heckling that usually bogs us down. For the moment, that’s no excuse to panic.

China, Europe, and most the rest of the world haven’t exactly been doing awesome before now. This isn’t news.

So there’s no rush here. 13% YTD gains is my floor. When I hit that point, I go to cash fast, because my year will be at least +13%. 13% because I was stuck between 10% and 15%, so let’s take the black prime number in the middle (scientific, right?).

Pushing Up 1% Into The Last Hour

So far I’m seeing gains of just under 1% today, clearly led by HCLP. UEC is staging a recovery (I hope), but CCJ has turned lower.

The multifamily REITs AEC and MAA are digesting some of the latest move higher.

But I’m happy enough with this – we had a good day yesterday and every minute we aren’t collapsing is another minute the bears can tremor, thinking about the last five years and what their short selling addiction has gotten them thus far.

I’m not ruling out more volatility just yet – the NASDAQ has dispensed some horrendous fortunes – but I am constructively optimistic about my own.

BAS Just Saved My Day

If not for Basic Energy Services turning on a dime and sprinting away from the rest of the trash that comprises this trading session, I would be having a pretty bad day.

UEC is down over 50% since I bought it. Mind you, as I have stated repeatedly, it is a small position. At its peak, it was under 5% of my account. So I’m not panicked here. But damn it, that was my 5%.

Give me my money back.

The trouble with the uranium miners (and the reason I’ve been very adamant up until now to just keep it simple and avoid the smaller businesses) is pretty forwardly summed up in UEC’s latest filing. They sold $0.00 in revenue in the first three months of 2014.

That’s $0.00.

The 2014 YEAR OF URANIUM BLISS (or whatever the hell I called it) …has been cancelled. Uranium spot just nosedived this week and, even though I suspect this flash crash is nearer the end of the turmoil, that kind of godless price action can only portend one thing.

Somebody is about to get liquidated.

I just pray it isn’t UEC.

CCJ is treading water daily. It’s all she can do to hold the line, but one false move and it’s a quick list to the side and down she goes.

The rest of my positions are holding up fairly well, actually. The multifamily theme remains tantalizing, particularly now that the primary argument against them – a resurgence in homeownership rates and a drop in occupancy for rentals – is such obvious bunk. AEC and MAA should continue to perform.

NRP has held up decent enough, following the 25% washout it took this year. That’s probably been my worst idea so far in 2014. But they are getting things under control, I have a hunch coal may be a terrific investment here, and I get to collect 8% annually while I wait.

I’m definitely not +10% for the year anymore, but there’s another 8 months to make something happen yet. My fear isn’t my positions, it’s what consequence an entire index of investors getting their combined comeuppance will have on me.

The NASDAQ traders got stupid. Real stupid. Will that spill over to me? It’s looking likely.

Like it or not, the stock market tends to take on a real flare of the vineyard effect. You pop up five vineyards next to each other, they all do well. Plenty of room to visit each, for the patrons. In fact, it draws in more business.

But if one of those bastards let’s an infestation go unattended; suddenly you have nothing but tears and reek wine.

Tesla earnings are out after the bell. Let’s see what happens there.

The Market Sure Looks Terrible

We open our week where once beloved technology companies continue their unfolding tragedy, sinking otherwise well to do enterprises and frustrating the market at large.

I shouldn’t even have to deal with this crap, do to a longstanding decision to shun big multiples tech firms and keep that trash out of my portfolio. Sadly, thanks to a wanting of such self restraint on the part of co-shareholders in the positions that I do have, I get to participate in the selling right alongside the rest of you; as if I owned a start up tech IPO that was knee-capped to the tune of 50% out the gate, anyway.

BAS was given a relief rally of about 4% today, which of course cratered into lunch. That led TheStreet to confidently assert that BAS is merely “dead cat bouncing”. Of course, TheStreet has been equally confident that BAS was dead money from $14, so my personal opinion of their articles related to BAS should be easy enough to guess.

The only positions I own that aren’t dragging me lower seem to be the multifamily themes – AEC and MAA (and technically speaking my hedging…but only because the losses on my PGJ and TSLA puts have already been had).

In summary, the 9th floor is smarting today and I find myself fearing a bloodbath, derived solely from a selloff in positions I would never own anyway.

Huzzah…

First The Good News, Then The Bad

Most of my portfolio is now solidly shrugging off Yellen’s slip of the tongue. Our good bankster friends over at JPMorgan said it best – Yellen is fresh and inexperienced, and she still needs to learn how to speak without actually saying anything.

It will come. It will come.

Despite my state of shock at watching Yellen crack the market like an egg yesterday, I didn’t react. I want to watch a few more days before I make a move, even if they should lose me money. With a +14% year going, I have buffer room.

Now, the good word here is that CCJ and BAS are both moving higher. I suspect HCLP will join in soon as well (that position can be rewarded a little breather, it’s come a long way). The energy themes are solid and intact.

The bad side of the coin is that fear/reality of higher interest rates is going to just ravish the REIT and associated housing space. Check out VNQ over a five day period, and you can almost sink the cracking point up with Yellen’s comments. My current position AEC is breaking down again this morning, and an old position MAA is following.

This has to be treaded carefully. If you’re juggling garbage like NLY, I’d say you’re one four day panic away from another round of 30% losses.

I’ve said well before today, back when I never imagined Yellen would spook interest rates higher, that I was interested in rebuying MAA. This is sort of a blessing in that regards. I’d venture a guess that long term damage to multifamily REITs from higher interest rates will hover somewhere between “negligible” and “not damaging, actually positive”.

But well before that point, there will probably be a lot of indiscriminate selling from emotionally driven fund managers. The climax of that, if it should materialize, is the buying opportunity.

Between then and now, it’s important to keep a wary eye on reform efforts to Fannie and Freddie. There’s been some “bipartisan chatter”. Mortgage origination is >70% dominated by the government backed mortgage giants, and the entire housing market is totally dependent on them. A poorly thought out reform effort could rain chaos. But there’s no sense even having a discussion about that just yet. First things first, interest rates.

Previous Posts by Mr. Cain Thaler