Pappas Realty Co... "Commercial Real Estate...Exclusively" in Northeast Ohio since 1957

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sales of existing homes fall for a sixth straight month

33 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Sales of existing homes fell for a sixth straight month in September and the median sales price dropped on an annual basis by the largest amount on record, further documenting a lukewarm housing market.

For full story click above headline.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Countrywide laying off more than 2,500 employees

By Jonathan Stempel Tue Oct 24, 2:37 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Countrywide Financial Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, on Tuesday said it expects to cut staff by more than 2,500 employees to help save more than $500 million as demand for home loans slumps.

The cuts affect about 4 percent of Calabasas, California-based Countrywide's (NYSE:CFC - news) workforce.
They follow thousands of job cuts announced this year by other large mortgage lenders, including Washington Mutual Inc. (NYSE:WM - news) and subprime lender Ameriquest Mortgage Co.
On a conference call, Chief Operating Officer David Sambol said Countrywide expects to realize "a big portion" of its overall expense savings in the fourth quarter.

The company had already reduced staffing by 847 people from July to September, ending the quarter with 55,564 employees.

"Gross layoffs will exceed 2,500 employees," Sambol said.

The company in July announced the planned expense reductions, but didn't specify the number of job losses.
Countrywide on Tuesday also said third-quarter profit rose 2 percent to $647.6 million from $633.9 million last year.

Profit was $1.03 per share in both periods. Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates on average forecast $1.08.

Better results at Countrywide Bank and in capital markets and insurance cushioned a 22 percent drop in mortgage lending.
In afternoon trading, Countrywide shares rose $1.62, or 4.6 percent, to $36.83 on the
New York Stock exchange.

Demand for mortgages has softened after 17 Federal Reserve interest-rate increases, and after home prices soared in many markets.
On October 12, the Fed reported "widespread cooling" in housing, including lower prices, softening sales and rising inventories of unsold homes.

"The current environment gives us slower growth opportunities in mortgage banking," Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said on the conference call.
He said he expects the interest-rate and competitive environment to continue to drive out weaker lenders in 2007.

"This cleansing that takes place as the markets pull back is always healthy in the long run, for both Countrywide and the industry," he said.
Last week, Washington Mutual, the No. 3 mortgage lender and largest savings and loan, said it has cut 9,742 jobs, or 16 percent, this year.

In May the parent of Ameriquest, which lends to people with weaker credit, set plans to lay off 3,800 employees, or one-third of its workforce.

Monday, October 23, 2006

DDR plans to acquire 307 centers in $6B deal

By STAN BULLARD11:35 am, October 23, 2006

Developers Diversified Realty Corp. (NYSE: DDR) plans to hike the size of its shopping center portfolio 37% with the proposed acquisition of Inland Retail Real Estate Trust Inc. of Oak Brook, Ill., in a $6.2 billion transaction.

Beachwood-based Developers Diversified intends to buy all of Inland’s shares for $14 each in the transaction and to assume $2.3 billion in debt, which it expects to repay as it closes the deal.
Acquiring Inland Retail (OTC: ZZILR.PK) would add 307 community shopping centers, neighborhood shopping centers and single-retailer properties to Developers Diversified’s portolio of owned or managed properties.

The deal also would bring 43.6 million square feet of selling space to Developers Diversified’s portfolio of owned and managed properties, which at present totals 118 million square feet.
Developers Diversified will not be going solo in this big deal. The company said in its announcement that a “major U.S. institutional investor” has agreed to acquire 67 of Inland Retail’s 116 community shopping centers for $3 billion. Developers Diversified did not identify the investor. However, the REIT said it will contribute 15% of the equity in the deal and will earn fees by continuing to manage and lease the properties.

Today’s announcement follows Developers Diversified’s announcement after the market closed last Friday that it would acquire a 50% stake in a portfolio of shopping centers in Brazil, its farthest move so far outside the United States.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

MetLife sells Stuyvesant Town for $5.4B

By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 27 minutes ago

NEW YORK - MetLife said Tuesday it sold Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town for $5.4 billion, ending a high-stakes bidding war that included protests from residents who wanted to stop the middle-class apartment complex in Manhattan from falling into the hands of developers.

MetLife Inc., one of the nation's top insurers, sold the complex to Tishman Speyer in a joint venture with BlackRock Realty, the real estate arm of BlackRock, Inc. The sale is expected to close later this year.
The properties together make up the largest apartment complex in Manhattan, totaling over 11,000 units, spread over 80 acres.

The complex was built in the late 1940s as housing for returning World War II veterans, and the vast majority of the units are rent-stabilized, meaning the tenants pay below market value. Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town has been called the last bastion of middle-class housing in the super-charged real estate market of Manhattan.

"As a business with deep roots in New York City, we have a sincere appreciation for these cherished neighborhoods, and we are honored to become stewards of the property," said Tishman Speyer president and CEO Jerry I. Speyer. "We are committed to working closely with residents, elected officials and community leaders to help ensure a dynamic and vibrant future for this New York community."

Speyer said the residents of rent-stabilized apartments are completely protected by the existing system.
"No one should be concerned about a sudden or dramatic shift in this neighborhood's make-up, character or charm," he said.

City Councilman Daniel Garodnick, who lives in the complex, led the tenant-backed bid of $4.5 billion for the properties. He said the thousands of tenants will work to ensure that its homes remain middle-class, and fight attempts to convert rent-stabilized apartments into luxury, market-rate ones.
"We want to know precisely how they intend to preserve the long-term affordability of the community," Garodnick said.

Tishman Speyer is one of the largest real estate companies in New York City, and its signature properties include Manhattan's Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.
MetLife said it expects an after-tax gain of approximately $3 billion from the deal.

The insurance company announced in July it was evaluating whether it wanted to sell the property, whose units extend from 14th Street to 23rd Street from First Avenue to Avenue C and the FDR Drive.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fed finds cooling in housing market - click here for full story

1 hour, 9 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The economy continued to grow in the early fall despite a "widespread cooling" in the once-hot housing market, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.

The Fed's latest survey of business conditions around the country found the economy expanding with growth being described as "moderate or mixed."
However, the report found there was a distinct slowdown in housing with the majority of the Fed's 12 regions reporting lower asking prices for homes, a softening in sales and rising inventories of unsold homes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Giant Eagle buys local Tops stores

Created: 10/10/2006 3:01:34 PM
Updated:10/10/2006 5:16:35 PM

CLEVELAND -- Tops Supermarkets will sell 18 Cleveland-area stores to Giant Eagle.
According to a news release, the chain will sell stores in Cuyahoga, Summit, Lorain, Medina and Huron counties, completing the sale before the end of 2006.Tops has 46 stores in the area which they hope to sell by the end of the year.The Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle released the following timeline on what stores would be changed:Transition Timeline

It is anticipated after Tops store inventory liquidation sales are completed in early December, the stores will be closed temporarily for restocking and remerchandising. During this temporary closure, the in-store pharmacies will remain open, allowing customers to continue to order and pick up prescriptions. Giant Eagle will then reopen the former Tops locations in a phased approach, beginning in mid-December, with a second round of stores opening in January of 2007, and culminating in late summer of 2007 with three stores which will replace existing Giant Eagle supermarkets. Importantly, the transaction will bring Giant Eagle locations to new areas of northeast Ohio in Medina and Norwalk.

Store Opening TimelineGiant Eagle Locations Opening Mid-December, 2006
14100 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, 44107 (will replace existing Giant Eagle location)
Giant Eagle Locations Opening in January, 2007
870 North Court Street, Medina, 44256
80 Whittlesey Avenue, Norwalk, 44857 (new GetGo location)
21593 Lorain Road, Fairview Park, 44126
821 Cleveland Street, Elyria, 44035
24601 Chagrin Boulevard, Cleveland, 44122
230 Howe Avenue, Cuyahoga Falls, 44221
10950 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, 44111
3628 Mayfield Road, Cleveland Heights, 44118
6259 Mayfield Road, Mayfield Heights, 44124
3750 West Market Street, Fairlawn, 44333
Giant Eagle Supermarkets Replacing Existing Giant Eagle Locations in Late Summer, 2007
1825 Snow Road, Parma, 44134 (independently owned location)
7919 Day Drive, Parma, 44129
22777 Rockside Road, Bedford, 44146
New Dave's Supermarket Locations with Giant Eagle Pharmacies
22501 Shore Center Drive, Euclid, 44123
4948 Turney Road, Garfield Heights, 44125
11501 Buckeye Road, Cleveland, 44104
16820 Harvard Avenue and Lee, Cleveland 44128

Giant Eagle has agreed to acquire the pharmacy records for the Tops pharmacies. Congressman Dennis J Kucinich issued the following statement on news that an agreement on Tops Grocery stores has been reached:"I will very closerly study the labor and antitrust implications of the sale of 18 Tops stores to Giant Eagle.

In the hours and days to come, I will be meeting with all parties to discuss the community impact and the effect on jobs in our community. My first and foremost concern has always been, and remains, to ensure that these vital jobs remain in Northeast Ohio."
© 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Real Estate Taxes - Steps to Reduce - Click here for full story

Money on By Gerri Willis

Home prices may be slowing, but property taxes are heading nowhere but up. Don't get mad - get relief. Homeowners across the country are angry about their property taxes, and it's no wonder. Skyrocketing home values and sticky-fingered politicians combined to push property tax collections up 35% from 2002 to 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That's double the rate of personal income growth, and the consumer backlash has intensified. Tax-cut proposals are being considered in at least 15 states, the National Taxpayers Union reports. In Arizona an effort to roll back property assessments to 2003 levels recently failed. But in May the governor of Texas signed legislation that replaces property taxes earmarked for schools with a 1% tax on businesses.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Housing bubble floats by Ohio - click here for full article

Census report shows increase in home values trails 44 other states
By Katie Byard and David Knox
Beacon Journal staff writers

Housing boom? What housing boom?
Ohioans get to ask that question because the median value of a home here is up less than 14 percent in the past five years -- well under half of the national average, according to the latest Census report.

California saw the most dramatic spike, with the median value of a home more than doubling to $447,700 between 2000 and 2005.
Ten other states, including seven on the East Coast, posted increases of more than 50 percent, the Census reported today.

Ohio's relatively modest change in home value -- from $113,924 in 2000 to $129,600 last year -- ranked 45th among the 50 states.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Home-price comparison, state by state

What it costs to buy a typical four-bedroom home in 342 cities.
By Les Christie, staff writer
September 27 2006: 9:16 AM EDT

NEW YORK ( -- Hint for house hunters: Learn to love wide open spaces. The most expensive cities in Coldwell Banker's Home Price Comparison Index cluster on the coasts, while the least expensive cities hug the heartland.

The index provides apples-to-apples comparisons of 342 U.S. markets, looking at the cost of a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, 2,200 square foot house with a two-car garage in a nice, middle-class neighborhood.

The data in the table below is based on average sales prices of listings for that kind of home sold in the 12 months ended July 31, 2006. Click on state initials to get key stats on more cities