Cousins Properties, Inc., an Atlanta, Ga.-based real estate company, acquired Post Oak Central, a Class A office complex in the Galleria submarket of Houston, Texas, for $232.6 million from institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The company also formed a joint venture with institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management to purchase both Terminus 100 and Terminus 200, neighboring Class AA office towers in Atlanta’s Buckhead submarket, and acquired the remaining 80 percent interest in Terminus 200 from a fund managed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes slipped in August due to a shortage of lower priced inventory in most of the country, an industry group said on Thursday.
The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in August, fell 2.6 percent to 99.2, but was 10.7 percent higher than last year.
July’s reading was revised up to 101.9, the highest level since April 2010, when buyers were racing to use the home-buyer tax credit before the deadline, the group said.
“The performance in month-to-month contract signings has been uneven with ongoing shortages of lower priced inventory in much of the country,” the association’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Neil Stempleman)
By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian
Taxpayers bailed out Freddie Mac and its sister mortgage giant Fannie Mae to the tune of about $185 billion, so naturally a January report suggesting Freddie may have conspired against homeowners seeking to refinance raised hackles. But a government watchdog reported Wednesday the problematic investments it cited were simply a prudent hedge.
Investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica and NPR alleged in a joint report Freddie was investing in a derivative that would pay off more if mortgageholders kept paying high rates. At the same time, it was making it more difficult for borrowers to refinance into lower rates.
On Wednesday, the watchdog said there was no evidence of collusion. Some reports suggested Freddie had been cleared of all charges, but the report does admits the investments may have created an incentive for Freddie to keep borrowers in their current loans. From The Wall Street Journal developments blog:
The report explained that Freddie had retained the inverse floater positions because there was stronger demand for other securities. …
While Freddie Mac’s trading unit could, in theory, misuse internal data and interfere with refinancing, the inspector general found “no evidence of collusion” between those sides of Freddie Mac’s operations. [more]
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Submitted by Wall St. Daily as part of our Contributors Program
A smart investor recognizes that the market is a forward-looking beast. He also knows that the market regularly scales “walls of worry,” and that prices rise before everyone realizes a recovery is imminent.
The average investor? Well, he sits on the sidelines and, in turn, misses out on significant profits.
Don’t believe me? Look no further than the real estate sector for proof…
Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful
Back in February , when I predicted the real estate market hit rock bottom, my inbox overflowed with venom for making such a preposterous claim. Hundreds of readers unsubscribed, too.
Of course, homebuilding stocks were already telegraphing a recovery. But nobody wanted to believe it because home prices were still falling across the country. They let the “wall of worry” blind them from the opportunity.
As I wrote at the time, though, “prices are going to be the last thing to bottom out.” Well, they just officially did.
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This is great news and should not be surprising. New construction is exploding all over the country, especially here in Atlanta. Commercial and residential developments continue to pop all over the city, especially high end custom homes.
Builders started on new homes at an annual rate of 750,000 in August, up 29.1% compared to a year ago. If sales keep growing, it may help end the economic doldrums.
By Les Christie @CNNMoney
The U.S. housing industry — crucial to any jobs recovery — showed more signs of strength, according to two reports issued Wednesday.
The Census Bureau said housing starts and permits rose substantially in August. Separately, sales of previously occupied homes climbed 7.8% from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Builders started on new homes at an annual rate of 750,000, up 29.1% compared with a year earlier. They applied to build another 803,000 new homes on an annual basis, a 24.5% jump compared with August 2011.
Home builders have become increasingly bullish — a confidence index from the National Association of Home Builders reached its highest level since June 2006.
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by David Markiewicz
Metro Atlanta’s economy continued to rebound in the second quarter, but its rate of recovery, like that of the nation as a whole, slowed, a new study shows.
The area ranked 46th overall among 100 metro areas measured in the Brookings MetroMonitor index of economic recovery.
Brookings analyzed four areas: percent employment change; percentage point change in unemployment rate; percent change in gross metropolitan product; and percent change in house prices.
Metro Atlanta mostly went backwards in those measurements in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter.
— Employment grew 0.2 percent in the second quarter, down from 0.7 percent growth in the first quarter.
— Output grew 0.7 percent, the same as in the first quarter.
— The unemployment rate increased slightly after declining in the first three months.
— Housing prices continued to fall in the second quarter, but by 3.7 percent, compared to 4.1 percent in the first quarter.
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