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  1. Inflation Uptick, What You Need to Know and Should Expect

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    The recent pandemic has caused significant construction supply chain challenges. Material costs have increased drastically; lumber futures are up 280%, steel mill product costs are up 55.6%, and gypsum product costs (plaster, drywall) have increased 12.5%. On top of the cost increase, lead times for construction materials have doubled or tripled, in many cases.

    One example to offer…a BDR client recently called a contractor for a 6,000 square foot build-to-suit retail structure. Upon giving the bid, the contractor stated, “We will hold this pricing for two days.”  This is in stark contrast to the typical pricing hold of 30 days. The urgency on both sides is a result of supply chain challenges.

    Tensions like these extend beyond material cost increases. The Federal government recently injected an estimated $6 trillion dollars into our economy. Many businesses, communities, and families depended on this money to sustain their livelihood during the government shutdown. While the government took this step to rescue our economy in the short-term, the long-term impact should not be overlooked.

    Inflation is a reality we will face in the years to come. Dating back to 1914, the yearly inflation rate in the United States has averaged 3.23%. The highest single month of inflation was in June 1920 when it skyrocketed to 23.70%. Since 2009, inflation has averaged 1.5-2% per year. According to tradingeconomics.com, April 2021’s inflation (most recent data point) is 4.2%. Each month in 2021 has seen an upward inflation trend.

    There are several reasons inflation can uptick. Some of the causes include:

    • Injecting money into an economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government injected around $6 trillion in the economy, which has ballooned our national debt to an astonishing $25 trillion. Since February 2020, the monetary supply in the United States has increased 26%. This is the largest one-year jump since 1946. According to USA Today Money, “Creating too much money that chases too few goods leads to price inflation, decreasing the purchase power of the dollar.” To note, there is more US currency in circulation today than ever before.
    • Demand-pull effect in an economy. Staying at home has led many folks to save up money (fuel cost, eating out for lunch) while consistently living hours in a single space (home). The reality many have lived for the past 12+ months provides an abundance of opportunity to find things to upgrade within a home. This COVID-sparked phenomenon has led to a surge in demand for goods and services. Look at the current residential housing market. Virtually any residential real estate agent will emphatically tell you it is currently a seller’s market. This extends well beyond our home base in Morgantown, WV, to the entire country.
    • Cost-push effect in an economy. In addition to increased demand, suppliers have been unable to maintain pace due to labor and raw material shortages. For an extended period of time, factories were shut down or stalled due to the pandemic. The effect is large gaps in the supply chain across many sectors – from chicken wings to construction materials. Increased and/or consistent demand with a decrease in supply results in higher prices.

    These signs and more point to high rates of inflation. The volume of currency (USD) circulating in our system, pent-up demand for product and current supply chain issues are key indicators of increased inflation, which means tomorrow’s dollar will be worth less than today’s dollar.

    One way to invest smartly given this circumstance is an inflation hedge. An inflation hedge typically involves investing in an asset expected to maintain or increase its value over a specified period of time. The investment goal is to secure assets close to, at, or greater than the rate of inflation. Investors should weigh their options across all investment opportunities.

    Real estate is considered a strong hedge against inflation because property values and rents typically increase during times of inflation. Real estate has intrinsic value, is in limited supply, and is a yielding asset. People need to have shelter regardless of the value of their currency. Real estate investing also allows investors to utilize other people’s money, include the banks’, to make money.

    Interest rates are still hovering around all-time lows which makes real estate a particularly attractive option in the current investment environment. When the rate of inflation goes up, fixed-interest rate financing costs less than when the loan was taken out since the dollar has lost some of its value. The borrower is essentially paying the lender back money that’s worth less than when the borrower took out the loan. This allows investors/borrowers to pay back loans using cheaper dollars.

    A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.

    At Black Diamond Realty, we have seen an uptick in demand for multifamily assets and other investment properties, income producing assets, across all sectors. We anticipate this trend to continue due to many of the reasons highlighted in this article. West Virginia has received tremendous positive economic momentum. From the Hyperloop announcement to the Smith’s Ascend WV program, momentum is building in WV. North Central WV remains an economic shining star in the state.

    Call Black Diamond Realty today to explore your investment options. We have a team of professionals who understand complicated dynamics driving the various markets we serve. Let us underwrite your next investment project. Hedge against inflation wisely.

     

    Article by: Article by: David Lorenze, Caleb Wooldridge Edited by: Dr. Stephanie Lorenze

  2. Toyota West Virginia announces $210 million new investment and 100 new jobs

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    New investment to upgrade existing engine production line; new jobs to add third shift.

    Photo Credit: WVNews 

    To help meet customer demand, Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia (TMMWV) will invest $210 million to upgrade existing engine production and add 100 new jobs to increase assembly capacity of its four-cylinder engine line. Once complete, TMMWV’s total investment will be more than $1.8 billion and total employment will exceed 2,000.

    Today’s announcement represents Toyota’s continued commitment to our customers as well as our community,” TMMWV President Srini Matam said.

    We are thrilled to expand our Toyota family and continue our long-standing commitment to provide top-quality engines and transmissions for our customers.

    The $210 million investment will upgrade TMMWV’s current six-cylinder engine production line with new equipment and machinery, creating flexibility based on market demand for Toyota’s vehicle assembly plants in the U.S. and Canada.

    The 100 new jobs will create a third shift due to a significant increase in Rav4 engine production at the Buffalo site, increasing assembly of an additional 5,900 engines per month, or more than 70,000 engines per year.

    The upgrade project and hiring will be complete in the second half of 2022. Information regarding available positions at TMMWV can be found at www.tourtoyota.com.

    Toyota’s commitment to increase its investment in West Virginia and into our hard-working West Virginians prove they continue to be a wonderful business partner right here in the Mountain State,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said.

    This is such exciting news for West Virginia’s business community as well as our families that businesses are choosing to grow their organizations here. Toyota is a wonderful example of how a global company can be successful right here in West Virginia.

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, praised Toyota for their long-term commitment to the Mountain State.

    In 2005 as Governor, I had the opportunity to travel to Japan to meet with Dr. Toyoda and company officials and since then they have been a strong partner for West Virginia,” Manchin said.

    I’ve had the pleasure of working with Toyota as they continue to build on their investments in the state, which now total more than $1.8 billion and support 2,000 good-paying jobs,” Manchin said.

    Today’s announcement of 100 new jobs and its continued investment in the state is testament to the team in Buffalo and the West Virginia workforce. The partnership between Toyota and West Virginia is stronger than ever and I look forward to continuing to work with Toyota officials to foster more long-term investments in our economy, communities and people.

    Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Toyota’s success in West Virginia sends a clear message to other companies about West Virginians’ skills and work ethic.

    Since Toyota first came to West Virginia more than 25 years ago, they have expanded their operations multiple times in Buffalo and proven to the country that our state has the skilled and dedicated workforce necessary for any company to be successful here,” she said.

    I have seen this dedication and strong work ethic of the Toyota Team Members firsthand during facility visits, and I’m glad that today’s announcement will create new job opportunities for hardworking West Virginians to pursue,” Senator Capito said.

    I’m thrilled that the Buffalo engine plant is continuing to play a key role in producing the engines and motors that power U.S. vehicles as Toyota continues to develop and incorporate exciting new technologies into their fleet. West Virginia has a long and productive relationship with Toyota, and this announcement today further solidifies the company’s commitment to investing in our state and our workers.

    Toyota has created a tremendous value chain in the U.S., with more than $28.4 billion direct investment in the U.S., nine manufacturing facilities, 10 including our joint venture with Mazda, nearly 1,500 independently owned dealerships and approximately 180,000 people working across the U.S.

    TMMWV currently employs approximately 2,000 team members and has invested more than $1.8 billion into its nearly two million square-foot facility. TMMWV will commemorate its 25th anniversary this year. It annually produces nearly one million engines and transmissions for North American-assembled vehicles, including Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, Lexus ES, Lexus RX350, Rav4, Sienna, and Sienna Hybrid.

    Photo Credit: WVNews

    Article by The Dominion Post

  3. Investing Your Way to Financial Freedom

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    Quarter 4 marks a fun and exciting time for many. We are experiencing changing seasons, ratcheting up anticipation for forthcoming holidays and enjoying the excitement of football season. It is a time to be thankful, push hard to the finish and plan for the future.

    In the coming months, many will begin setting new yearly goals which may include traveling with family and friends, pursuing new business ventures, giving to charity or sculpting your body. Many things in life, goals included, require time and/or money. In our professional careers, each of us is consistently trading time for money. What if the opposite could be true?

    Money is an empowering tool that, if utilized properly, can enact positive change and help facilitate positive outcomes. Money is necessary to live your life and allow you to enjoy adventures, conquer goals and achieve dreams. Is there a way to trade money for time? How do you get out of the rat race while making enough money to live your life on your terms? There is no easy answer but diversifying your investments to include real estate could offer passive income. Passive income can help you achieve financial freedom (more money coming in each month than your expenses) and “buy” more time.

    According to The College Investor, “Over the last two centuries, about 90 percent of the world’s millionaires have been created by investing in real estate.” This is a staggering statistic:  9 out of every 10 millionaires created their wealth through real estate investing.  Real estate investing is not a “get rich quick” scheme. Real estate investing utilizes leverage, compounded over time, to an investors’ advantage resulting in long-term wealth. If purchased and managed correctly, an income producing asset should be working for you every second of every day.

    With the above in mind, it is imperative to fully understand there is risk associated with real estate investing. Commercial real estate investing is a complex process with many potential pitfalls. We recommend consulting with trusted advisors before solidifying your next investment. Black Diamond Realty’s tips are meant to guide your real estate investments toward positive cash flow, wealth creation and passive income. The tips below provide some general guidelines to consider as you expand your portfolio or kick things off in a successful real estate investment venture.

    1. Know the market. Macro-economic factors, such as interest rates, environmental policy and federal investment programs (1031, Opportunity Zones), and micro-economic factors, such as local employment trends, infrastructure and school districts, can positively or negatively impact your real estate investment. Unless you are actively involved in a real estate market, it is impossible for you to fully understand the intangibles and intricacies of any given market.
    2. Create a rainy-day fund. It is preferable to have it in place from the start but, at a minimum, build up via cash flow before taking a dime of distribution. A minimum of six months is recommended with a preferred 12 months of cash reserves in place. Cash reserves should cover “what if” scenarios and anticipated future capital improvements. Everyone loves to dream about and plan for the “rosy days.” That’s easy. Within your proforma and underwriting, it is also important to look at challenging circumstances that could negatively affect your investment position and overall return. Plan for the negative “what ifs” even if the chance of happening is relatively small. The good news: If you pursue bank financing, the credit department at ABC Bank will, at least in part, serve as a backstop to filter out some of the negative what ifs.
    3. Plan for capital improvements. They will happen: A hot water tank goes down. A roof goes bad. Flooring needs replaced. The parking lot needs paved. These examples only touch the surface. Capital improvements are not a matter of if, but when; so, plan on them. On your proforma, plan for 2-5% (of gross income) in capital improvement money. Very few individuals want to endear the title of “slumlord.” “Milking” a property is risky business and reflects negatively on the community you are serving.
    4. Maximize your strengths. Develop a strong team. All of us are gifted in certain areas and bring value to any given deal. For some, they are gifted communicators and can help a tenant feel comfortable moving forward. Others are gifted in real estate law, accounting, marketing, or construction. Many specializations are required to help ensure a successful real estate venture. You cannot climb to the top of the real estate mountain by yourself. Finding strategic, trusted relationships and vendors is critical. Build relationships. Focus on building people up within your team.
    5. Do not marry your property. You are only married to your husband/wife and your family. Do not hold your real estate investments on the same pedestal. Real estate investments are meant to make money while providing a service to the tenants it serves. Treat it that way. Run it like a business while maintaining a high level of integrity, honesty and diligence.

    Following the guidelines outlined in this article should help avoid investment pitfalls during ownership. Knowing when to buy, hold and divest is another critical element of real estate investing. We highly recommend consulting with a real estate professional, with strong expertise in the investment field of your choosing, before pulling the trigger. At Black Diamond Realty, we have sold tens of millions of dollars in real estate investments. Our firm is building a market niche in this space. Our Black Diamond Realty team invites the opportunity to meet with you and your partners to discuss your goals with the purpose of helping you achieve financial freedom.

    To view all of our available investment opportunities, Click Here.

     

    Article by David Lorenze. 

     

  4. 2017 Sectors In Demand

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    Our team is often asked, “How is the market?” Some brokers may respond with a generic, “good”. If you are interested in a general response, we are happy to report the market is currently “great.” Black Diamond Realty’s pipeline is the busiest it has been in its four-year history. That said, we suspect you are more interested in a sophisticated, detailed response. Look no further; we have your answers.

    What…. Sectors?

    At Black Diamond Realty, one of our competitive advantages is our thorough and detailed process. We track every single lead. This allows us to present you with accurate statistics that serve as a reflection of market demand across all sectors. Keep in mind our statistics are influenced by Black Diamond Realty’s current inventory of assets. The following statistics provide the number of sector leads since January 1, 2017:

    Industrial = 83        Office = 59         Retail/Restaurant = 58         Land = 32        Investment = 32

     

    Why… Macro vs Micro?

    Do you believe in the mantra that tells you to focus on what you can control? We do, too. However, we also believe it is not wise to bury your head in the sand. It is critical to think about how macroeconomic factors influence regional market demand. Two positive influencers are currently in play.

    Historically speaking, interest rates remain near all-time lows. This bodes well for investors looking to get into investment opportunities. Although cash is king, we are seeing a lot of companies and individuals levering up to take advantage of favorable bank rates. Refinances have flocked through banks’ doors. Sellers also like low interest rates because funds are cheaper to secure which results in higher valuations while still clearing bank debt-coverage ratios.

    The second macroeconomic factor relates to the reenergization (pun intended) of Marcellus Shale activity. Oil and gas pricing is fluid, literally and figuratively. Pricing has seen nominal rises over the past 12 months. However, recent industrial space demand leads us to believe many companies on the front lines sense prices moving north in the coming years. We suspect their goal is to get established in this area while industrial real estate values are still relatively inexpensive. This will heighten their ability to capture the market and capitalize on contracts as things ramp up. Many articles reference cracker plants and pipelines as the saving grace to lowering the current supply glut. These two variables are currently progressing in a very big way. The O&G industry has potential to replace job losses from coal. Time will tell if this is a long-term regional industrial revolution.

    Where?… Concentrated Areas of Development

    Jobs drive economic growth, and there are plenty of jobs coming to two booming exits along the I-79 corridor. University Town Center/West Ridge and White Oaks Business Parks are the two distinct front runners when considering development hubs in north central WV. University Town Center and WestRidge, both located at I-79, Exit 153, lead the charge as driving forces behind retail and office development in Monongalia County. Simply put, this new exit has created significant buzz in Monongalia County which is expected to remain in play for the next three to five years. A lot of announcements will happen in the coming months. 2018 is slated to be a heavy construction year for this development.

    Thirty miles south of Morgantown, White Oaks Business Park is leading the development charge for Harrison County. Numerous Class A office buildings, spanning a plethora of services, hotels, retail space and several restaurants round out the line-up for this state-of-the-art development. White Oaks is an upscale development, which includes sidewalks throughout and pristine landscaping, while serving as “the talk” of Harrison County as it capitalizes on close proximity to the interstate, UHC and FBI’s Campus. Growth and positive economic announcements are projected to continue in the coming years.

     

  5. June Newsletter

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    View our June Newsletter: Summer Fun Awaits! See Where…

    Click Here!