Turmoil and the Coming Changes With Bruce and Aaron Norris #673


This week’s radio show guests are The Norris Group’s very own Bruce and Aaron Norris.  Today, they will be discussing their upcoming event Turmoil. They’re about to send out a mailer this week after having switched gears this week following a conversation. It has been a lot of research, and they are excited about where it is going. 

Episode Highlights

  • What are some of the main topics that will be covered at their upcoming event Turmoil: The Coming Storm of Changes?
  • What attracts them to Florida real estate, and how does it differ from California?
  • How are Quadrants 1 and 4 used to describe the real estate market?
  • What recent ADU bill was recaptured and pushed through the Planning Department, and what is the current status?
  • What could 2020 look like in terms of rent control and Prop 13?
  • What opportunities could 2020 present on the lobbying front, especially with vacation rentals and RHNA?
  • Are iBuyers increasing or decreasing?
  • What does Florida do right when it comes to migration?

Episode Notes

There are a lot of things coming up that will be changing. One of the things they will cover is the real estate stats in California and looking forward. They also have access to a lot of stats for Florida that they have never had prior. They will be able to take a look at Florida’s trends and see if they can make the same type of conclusions that they have been able to do in California. This includes their history, where they are, and where they’re likely to go.

They found over the last year that it’s a lot more difficult to get long term data in Florida, partly because their version of the California Association of Realtors stopped collecting some data and pushed it down to the counties, and it’s very inconsistent. They haven’t found a good version of their real estate research council out there. But, John Burns has sent a lot of information, which will be really interesting to see. This is all broken down by now by the MSAs, so that’s very specific.

Among other things they have is historical land price, which is very illuminating when you look at the lot costs and the amount of lots that were sold. One of the things that’s comforting about being in Florida is it generally isn’t California. It doesn’t go boom and bust and boom and bust. It had the one like every place did with the nonsense that went on in 2002 to 2006. But prior to that, it had not, and it was really a mimic of the national chart. It is back on core space and not even at national price. What is really comforting about Florida’s median price is the FHA loan limit. Florida is about 20 percent higher than the median price, which is very unusual.

Aaron was looking at that because they updated those numbers, and he went back and looked at all California. They create a chart whenever they do that to look at the different cities and what that will buy you. Comparing it to Florida, the most expensive thing they’re building out there as far as a single-family is $250 retail. They’re FHA limit up there is upwards of over $3,000. So it’s nice to have that that room. Construction is so different there, and that’s why they are excited to participate in transferring some of what they’ve owned to there. When you put the pieces together in California, you’re gonna approach $50 grand with the building lot and permit. Here, you’re talking about probably $25 grand with a permit and the lot. It’s a totally different ballgame.

Aaron said they are about 35 percent done with the research and putting the report together. Then, they realized the big portion of it is this Wild Card chapter that they’re really blowing up for the first time. It’s going to incorporate a lot of politics and a lot of the how-to side because for those staying in California, it’s definitely going to become more of a challenge. He doesn’t think they will be talking a lot in 2020 about finding deals as much as creating deals. He sees 2020 as being on the cusp of quadrant four, which Aaron went on to describe for those who haven’t heard.

Quadrant four is where your price progresses and it gets right to the brink of where it’s probably going to stop, and then it goes into quadrant 1. So Quadrant 4 is you’re pretty aggressive. You’re buying things. Everything you hold has gone up for the last five years or more. You get to a point where it doesn’t make sense to buy a new rental because it doesn’t cash flow. It wouldn’t make any sense. You then start thinking that maybe it will change directions. For example Bruce owned a property in Moreno Valley that bought for $64 grand and sold for $280. It was an older house that wasn’t even safe. It was a 40-year-old house in a bad area. So should you go through that journey of it coming back down again? For Bruce, the answer was no. That’s where the idea of the new houses in Florida came in.

Quadrant one is a pause before you get to Quadrant 2, which could have decline. That will just depend on how aggressive foreclosures or legislation gets. What’s neat about what they’re doing is they are taking a look at this, and we really need to pay more attention outside of real estate this time. Rules could change, and they are bringing in a panel of experts to discuss this. There are things Bruce didn’t know could be done without the vote of the people, like last year. the year before, we voted again rent control, and then we have it. Bruce wants to know what else could be touched that we do not think is touchable.

In the last two shows, they spoke with John Arendsen to dissect the 18 bills that apply to ADUs, and there was a total of five because we went back and recaptured one from August. This was the HOA one where the state reached all the way and passed the Planning Department and also through the HOAs and CCNRs and said they have to allow them. That’s amazing. There’s no case law. Aaron has heard rumors that cities are going to end up suing the state. They’re not happy about it. They’re not hiring more people in the Planning Department, but they have 60 days to get these things through the pipeline or it’s considered approved. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. They covered that quite a bit the last couple of weeks. In California, with just the legal process and how our government works out here, we’re extremely left leaning. In the panel that they’re putting together, they are creating two new segments. It’s the profits and politics and the profits and progress.

For the profits and politics, they are getting close to finalizing the panel. This includes the Builders Association, the Association of Realtors, and the Apartment Association, all there to talk about the 18 bills that passed. What does that look like? Why did something sneak through on rent control when we just as a state voted it out? Over 60 percent of the population said no to rent control, so how did it end up passing in October? How watered down were the bills that went into effect in June? Most go into effect in January. Aaron said he really wants to hear from them how they helped water down because he knows these are the people that are doing it for mom and pop real estate investors. We have to be slightly dangerous in a lot of things, but it doesn’t mean that we’re absolutely tied in to the lobbying process. You have an elected who has two to four-year cycles to get reelected, and they don’t necessarily have a long term view. They don’t really care, and unfortunately, that’s just the nature of how things work.

We’re in an affordable housing crisis, so we happen to have gotten some cool goodies out of this one. 2020 is going to be a very contentious election cycle and will probably be a record turnout. With that will come a lot of people who might not be homeowners and who really don’t care because affordable housing is on the ticket. One of the things that they have talked about is the concept of us having rent control now, and some more is going to come back in 2020 to talk about things like no-cause evictions to where you can never get out of rent control. Even if somebody moves out, you can’t raise the market rent. It’s always going to be stuck in that cycle. If you have a property over 15 years old, you’re going to want to know that. As an apartment owner, if they start messing with Prop 13, you’ve got rent control and you get the double whammy of them starting to increase taxes on you.

Bruce said it’s not just starting an increase that’s going to get reevaluated to today’s value. One building was bought intentionally when it was on sale at $319, and at one time it had been worth $950. The tax bill at one time was three times what it is right now, and Prop 13 could change that drastically. There are ramifications for that because almost all triple net leases inherently say that if I get a surprise tax bill, I pass it on to the renter. That may or may not be bearable. You could end up with big vacancy factors, especially if this is timed with a recession. There’s just a lot of moving parts next year, and you will have a lot of need for knowing where to find extra dough. You’re going to have really low yields. If we have a recession, you’re going to have a lot of people whose retirements are going to start not coming through with what they thought. Those will be changed, and that’s going to grow in momentum. Part of the turmoil was that people thought this was a promise. Looking at the numbers, it’s several trillion dollars of money at stake.

It was the same promise as Social Security. If somehow you can break the promise of a CalPERS to buy a state or buy a city, that’s the same legal process as saying Social Security could change. Aaron knew people in the CalPERS system, and they didn’t pay into Social Security. They were promised CalPERS. The fact that they can renege on that is terrible. On one side, you have those wanting to help people that are not here legally and letting a certain age range have insurance. That’s just going to start being perceived as really unfair, and it could be very contentious. Next year is gonna be quite the year for election.

Aaron said depending on the kind of activity you’re doing, you need to belong to one of those organizations because they are on the forefront of making sure that the electeds understand. They have to know a little bit about everything, and they’re making decisions that sound really good, but they may not understand the ramifications of what it is. About a month ago, The Norris Group had Nema with Grassi Law Firm on to talk about Florida and how he was part of the crew that went down to Florida. There was one particular congressional member down there who was fighting for any loans captured under consumer law. Business purpose loans, real estate investors, and hard money were going to require basically an audit making it very unattainable if you were a smaller private lender and you weren’t doing consumer loans. We’re under some of those guidelines now in the reporting, and the expense is just a lot. If you’re a small firm, forget about it. One person knowing what they’re talking about and being able to communicate the impacts that has from the very data-driven perspective is really important.

On the lobbying front, there’s going to be some opportunities specifically in 2020 because a lot of vacation rentals are probably going to be outlawed in a lot of California cities. One of the things that will be covered is RHNA. Those are the affordable housing goals for California. For the laws that went into effect for ADUs, the state said if you allow these ADUs to go through, they would give permission to count them towards your RHNA goals. There are only about 6 cities that are compliant with their affordable housing goals for the entire state. So this is gonna be really important and could take off. What real estate investors need to understand is the process of getting down at the local level and meeting with the planning department, the council members, the planning commissions and telling them the state in one bill suggested you allow one to split up their apartment units by 25 percent, and you can incorporate some affordable housing in this because they turning a three-bedroom unit into three single units and can charge less for that for a micro-unit. At Turmoil, they want to cover those things because he doesn’t think the real estate investors know what the process is or how important the next year is going to be.

No one else is talking about this space either. When you say it’s hard to find a deal, you might own a deal. You might own something where you could get three more units out of what you own. In combination with opportunity zones, for real estate investors who are just diehard Californians and want to stay here, there’s money to be made in any market. It might get more difficult, but we also have iBuyers. So that’s going to be part of the conversation and the reality of 2020. You have at least four big tech companies and more real estate firms throwing their hat in the ring. There was just an article in Inman about how they made up about 5 percent of the market in Phoenix and one other city, so they’re increasing. This is a new pathway to speed, flexibility, privacy, everything that a real estate investor offers. They’re going after the easy ones right now. Aaron said these are off their tables; and starting in 2020, we just need to be thinking a lot more about creating the deals instead of necessarily finding them.

One other thing Florida does right is it attracts a lot of migration and a lot of great migration with money. The price is still very stable. The Norris Group has this relationship with the builder that they have been growing and refining. Aaron has been very involved in that to where they have a lot of units in process, and they expect that to grow in 2020. So that’s exciting because that’s a that’s a chance to 1031 exchange into something at a wholesale number that makes a lot of sense. Aaron has learned more about estate planning than he ever thought he would in the last 24 months. It’s been a lot of fun and really cool to help clients. It’s not easy getting through build exchanges and 180 days and making sure that happens. It’s been very rewarding to be part of this, and he loves building and has always been fascinated with the building side.

The California stats is something they look at and have formulas for where we are. Yet they have never had this set of charts with this result. When you go year over year with the charts that we’ve had, that’s never happened. It’s going to be interesting to see what occurs after 2020. If you start incorporating any more negative stuff, you could have people with some serious money asking about raising the apartment tax and it tripling. Bruce wanted to know if you can vote against Prop 13 and it gets approved by the governor six months later whether that is even possible. Would he need to declare emergency for it to happen?

The profits and progress is taking a look at things that we might not be thinking as far as real estate investors to monitor. This is where they’re going to include a report Aaron did in 2017 on technology. They talk about everything from nanotechnology to 5G to blockchain, where those technologies are going to land, and how it can speed up progress and markets that have things like 5G, and how quickly it can and will change things. We’re being made more aware of it now because of the conversations in China and some of the political turmoil out there with the social recognition and face scanning. In China, if you jaywalk, your picture appears on a screen, you get points dinged, and you don’t get on the train that day. With the point system, depending on your social credit score, this dictates whether or not you get specific jobs, you get the travel, or you get to take the train. It’s crazy for you tech nerds out there.

There’s a really good book Aaron just finished called The Big Nine, and it talks about Bat versus the G Mafia and the U.S. vs. China’s development of technology and how U.S. is already behind, which is really frightening. They can’t go too in-depth, but they will have the technology conversation when it comes to progress and looking at things like transportation. The panel they’re putting together will discuss how mom and pop real estate investors can identify opportunity since we are seeing commercial development or specific stores come into play, and where to find little hints that development is coming.

Turmoil sounds like a really dangerous word. However, every time there’s turmoil, there’s always great opportunity for people that are understanding where those opportunities land.

The biggest change is that The Norris Group is doing their first hybrid event and decided to completely change the structure. This isn’t going to be just a timing event because so much of that wildcard information is really important to this conversation. For those who are subscribers, Aaron sent an email, and you will be really happy with the number. For people who have never attended any of their timing events, this is their opportunity. For a single person, it’s basically $447 if they sign up before January 10th, and that includes all year the subscription to our portal and the live event. What’s cool about that is just because you’re a subscriber to the portal doesn’t mean they’re going to give you access to all this market timing information. There is going to be a special live attendee section of the portal just for this content. For those who are subscribers, they get an early and first discount kind of concept. For those who are coming on for the first time, they also get access for the entire year to all of the how-to information and the quarterly newsletters. This means the thing that worries Aaron the most is they will go way over time on some of these panels because it’ll be interesting and they’ll take a lot of questions. They might not have time to cover some of the chapters, but having the ability and the technology now in-house to do the live webinar and the quarterly newsletter and have people participate live is so fun and cool.

Bruce said what is exciting about the day is some of it will write itself. Itself, yeah. They won’t be sure what the answers are on some of the questions. They don’t even know what the answers are, and that’s why they want to ask them. Having the experts there who are at the forefront of making things possible is cool. I’m just really thrilled. There is a lot to do for that day, and it’s definitely a lot more data. Aaron has been working on his part for a year now. Starting last January, Aaron attended the Consumer Electronics Show, specifically studying technology. His favorite moment at CS last year was a robotics session. He went through the healthcare track and the robotics track. He stood up and asked the questions of roboticists, “Hey, I’m a real estate developer and I write for these different outlets. Do I need to worry about anything building homes to make them more robot friendly?” They all laughed like this was the first time someone asked this.

Aaron asked if tile will be ok, and they said yes but the multi-level steps are going to be a problem for your Roomba for now. Going to the International Builders Show and seeing the technology trends and what you think is going to stick was interesting. They even had a talking toilet.

A lot of these associations also collect such a huge amount of really great data. If you’re doing rehabs or you’re building new houses and understanding what the consumers are wanting by demographic, it’s just such good content. They will be bringing a lot of that for the first time to this event, too.

Usually, the wild card is a pretty futuristic look. This time it feels like it’s not. This time, the wild cards feel a little close and causing the hair on Bruce’s neck to go up. He is looking at that and thinking those could actually become some game-changers inside a two or three-year span.

In 50 percent of the conversations where Aaron talks to people about going with them to Florida, their main concern is they are worried about a recession. They have had a great ride, and they’re on to their last phase of the owning physical real estate aspect of their career. The other half is just politics. They’re out of California. They’re so tired of it, they don’t know what’s coming, and they’re getting out what is getting good. It definitely feels like the political angle is causing a lot of duress. It’s a good, safe, defensive move.

They launched a new talk at SDCIA: 6 Things to Succeed in 2020. His favorite question was when the next recession will happen and if it will be as bad as the next downturn. Bruce said what’s interesting is this is the same thing they’re going to cover. If you look at the real estate charts, the answer is no. However, if you look at the other nonsense, the answer could be a definite yes and faster than you want it to happen. There’s some really bright people. Bruce came up with the title Turmoil after hearing it out of the mouth of two very, very intelligent people he paid attention to the previous night watching watching YouTube for about two or three hours. He listened to them talk about the ETFs and the corporate bond world and how dangerous that is. They both used the word Turmoil, which Bruce thought was a strong word.

Aaron said the last loan he got on a unwarrantable condo in California made him say he didn’t even want that much leverage. They made him go through the process, and he still definitely had to qualify for a long term loan. There must be people rolling their eyes and asking him if he is a hard money lender. he is trying to lock up as much, long, and low on some of the things he plans on holding as long-term as possible right now. He doesn’t feel like it has gotten crazy, but it’s definitely gotten looser.

Bruce said there’s a lot of very smart people trying to figure out what’s going on with the repo lending. Aaron said every time he tunes into the news, he can’t keep up. They’ll bring up another $90 billion, and Aaron wondered if that was from yesterday or a week ago.

Another really smart guy said within two weeks that could be five hundred billion dollars a week. This is talking about a new Fed pile. It’s QE 4, but they don’t want to call it that. It is hard to understand what is happening. Bruce has at least 200 pages on his desk to read about that before he comments on it. That’s not going to be a chapter, but it will be part of what they talk about in the Wild Card.

They are covering some new ground and will probably have a webinar a little bit closer to the event, likely in January before the 10th. It will likely be after he gets back from Vegas hopefully for the Consumer Electronics Show. They plan to go through and have a live webinar so people can ask questions. They typically make one of the newsletters free, and they will see if they can do that. Go through the table of contents of what to expect, because for the timing fans, they will still be covering a lot of the real estate data. You’re going to get the same charts that you’re used to getting, but updated. They are just adding a lot of the how-to site on the back end, and then they will be with you all year with the newsletter. Sometimes topics they don’t get to cover in depth can be covered a little bit later in the year. You can see the information on the event at www.thenorrisgroup.com/turmoil. There’s a big banner on the front of the Web site. If you have questions, just call to the office and talk to Joey, and he can answer questions. We hope to see you February 1st in Riverside at the Riverside Convention Center. It will be an all-day event.

The Norris Group originates and services loans in California and Florida under California DRE License 01219911, Florida Mortgage Lender License 1577, and NMLS License 1623669.  For more information on hard money lending, go www.thenorrisgroup.com and click the Hard Money tab.

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