- Prices are Falling — Prices for apartment buildings are steadily dropping. Many apartment building owners paid way too much for their properties over the past few years and now their properties are worth less than what they owe. Apartment buildings are starting to show up as foreclosures across the country and it is further pressuring prices to the downside.
- Forced Appreciation — You don’t have to wait for real estate prices to go back up to increase the value of your apartment building investment. You can increase the value of you apartment building by increasing the rents, cutting your expenses or by making physical improvements on the property.
- Less Competition — Many investors are under the false impression that owning an apartment building is more difficult than owning single family homes, therefore their is less competition for prime properties.
As real estate investors, we know that the value of commercial buildings is determined by dividing its Net Operating Income (NOI) by its Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate). By definition, Value = NOI / Cap Rate. In other words, the property’s value is greatly magnified by relatively small increases in Net Operating Income. To illustrate, for a given Cap Rate (say 6%), every extra dollar in NOI increases the property’s value by $16.67 (=$1.00/0.006). In low Cap Rate areas like San Diego, that means there’s a huge opportunity to increase your building’s value dramatically!
Factors Affecting NOI
There are a number of obvious things one may do to positively affect the NOI of a property: raise rents, cure vacancy, decrease expenses. Well, what do you do if your building is 100% occupied at above market rents, and the property is so efficiently managed that you can’t think of a way to decrease expenses? Should you accept the status quo and simply keep up the good work? You could, but where’s the fun in that? You would be overlooking the unlimited number of ways to optimize not only your property’s NOI, but your returns as well.