All in.. on the U.S. Housing Recovery

Any reporting on “Housing Recovery” this week needs somehow to acknowledge realities of devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines over the weekend. It lends new perspective to discussions on ‘housing recovery’ in North America. When early reports suggest the scope of the storm is comparable to a doubling of both Katrina and Sandy, we can appreciate what the final tally on this natural calamity might look like. The stories of resultant individual family hardships will surface soon enough, just as they did following storms on this continent. Early reports from my aunt’s family in Kalibo on the Aklan Peninsula indicate they have found safety in shelter at the same time as their homes have been wiped out. So it is that we submit weekend readings that report going “Full Hog on U.S. Housing Recovery” with tempered exuberance over the economic potential seen in ‘recovery’ after the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

A piece in this month’s Financial Post Magazine entitled “Southern Comfort – Tricon Capital Group Goes ‘Full Hog’ on a U.S. Housing Recovery” appears to be available in hard copy only. In the report, we’re told that the Toronto-based company has reportedly invested all but $20 million of its $610 million balance sheet into distressed land for residential development and single-family rental properties in the U.S. Strategically targeting the hardest hit “smile” states which offer the best economic growth prospects (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina), Tricon claims to have acquired roughly 3,000 distressed properties since 2008. Their stated goal is to reach 4,000 homes before 2014, when they anticipate the window of opportunity to buy will close. “I would call this the big long for Tricon,” says president Gary Berman. “We’ve become one of the very few companies in Canada that have successfully penetrated the U.S.” It’s reported the company is one of “10 major players” now institutionalizing the U.S. single-family rental industry. The report closes with some interesting facts and figures:

  • US$175,000 – National median sales price of a home in the U.S. in August, up 6% from a year earlier
  • US$116,000 – The median price of a distressed residential property (in foreclosure or bank-owned) in August
  • 17 – The number of months in a row that housing prices have increased in the U.S.
  • 23 – Percentage increase of U.S. home prices from their bottom in March 2012
  • 26 – Percentage that prices are below the pre-housing bubble high in August 2006.

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