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By Larry R. Anweiler, ABD, Full-Time Faculty Published March 2016
may be the year to buy commercial real estate for your portfolio or a new home
for your family. Financing rates for both
commercial real estate and residential real estate continue to remain low,
despite the Federal Reserve’s move to increase interest rates by 25 basis
points in December. Although the Federal Reserve’s Chairman, Janet Yellen, has
indicated that she wants to continue to increase rates, this appears an
unlikely prospect with recent financial news within the United States, China’s
equity market meltdown, and recent developments within the Middle East.
The year 2016, started out on a
shaky note, with U.S. stock dropping to a three-month low and emerging-market
shares at their cheapest since 2009. Additionally, U.S oil fell below $34 a
barrel as supplies out of the Middle East were increased. China also added to the world’s weaker
economy, as their equity markets plunged in early January with the fear that
China would again devalue its currency.
However, as the Asian markets
decline, along with the European Markets, and as the Middle East turmoil grows
in its severity; the United States market may face both brighter prospects and
increased challenges over the next few years.
Investors fleeing declining world economies may reinvest their capital
in U.S companies with a more stable economic basis. This in turn will lower excess human capital
(in the form of higher employment rates) and could trigger the type of
hyperinflation not seen since the early 1980s.
Through its expanded borrowing and money
printing, which has more than doubled U.S. Government debt since 2008, the Federal
Reserve has saturated the market with additional cash in its attempt to fend
off the economic meltdown caused by the mortgage bond market. This money has essentially stayed in the
hands of big business that used the capital to expand and modernize
operations. However, as economic
recovery takes hold, and idle capital (in the form of unused labor) decreases,
consumer spending could increase to the point where hyperinflation may
occur. This may be the reason the
Federal Reserve is pushing so hard to increase interest rates in an attempt to
head off economic conditions that would set off spiraling inflation.
For investors, few asset holdings
maintain their values during times of hyperinflation. As a group, fixed assets
perform very well during inflationary periods.
Assets within this category include precious metals, such as gold and
silver, and real estate also falls within this category. For those who buy real estate early with
fixed financing, investors could see asset prices double within a very short
period of time. Evidence of this
phenomenon in fixed asset values can be found by looking at historical trends
within the fixed asset category during the early 1980s.
For individual investors looking for
a new home or institutional investors repositioning portfolio allocations, 2016
may be the time to increase real estate holdings. In the substantial number of
economic forecasts reviewed for this article, including forecasts by CBRE,
Bloomberg, The Urban Land Institute, Wall Street Journal, National Association
of Realtors, and Goldman Sachs, all predict real estate values increasing
during 2016 by modest amounts. However, if hyperinflation does take hold over
the next few years, those who buy real estate today could find substantial
wealth in their future
Larry R. Anweiler is a professor at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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