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Is It Time to Buy Hotels?
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By Jim Butler 
22 May 2009

This slide shows that 2009 and 2010 will be the maximum opportunity to buy hotel investments.



 

"Now is the time to buy debt. We have close to $2 billion of capital to put out, but we are challenged because even at historically low interest rates, the assets are not covering debt. Borrowers are saying, "what are we going to do now?" There are also confusing messages from the federal government on down as to what is going to happen. We are looking to buy debt at a discount. We are seeing a capital stack that has been over-levered and it needs to be de-levered." / Jonathan Roth Principal Canyon Capital Realty Advisors
"The challenge is finding a mezzanine debt opportunity or acquisition that is a better return than buying back our own stock. We think that buying back our stock is pretty good." / Deric Eubanks Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc.
"Over all, there is a complete reappraisal of values. We have been an investor across a spectrum of property types. The real issue is cash flow from the investment. We think this is going away from opportunistic investment. There will be some opportunities, but it is all about cash flow -- buying assets at a discount. Buying cash flow." / Chad Christensen Vice President Washington Real Estate Holdings, LLC
"The next 24-36 months will be the greatest buying opportunity for a generation. But only those with capital will be able to play. We are looking to partner with people to help them out." "This is the best buying opportunity in 20 years, if you have capital. We operate in the boutique space where demand is 3 times that of the average demand. We have capital and we are actively looking." / Michael Depatie President and CEO Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, LLC
"This is a great opportunity. We think it has started already. We are attracting more capital now. Investors sense the opportunity and want to participate. " / Bruce G. Wiles Managing Director & Principal Thayer Lodging Group
"The greatest hotel buying opportunity of our lifetime will be the next 12-18 months. The key is having all equity to close without mortgage financing." / Michael Cahill, CRE, MAI, FRICS, CHA CEO and Founder HREC - Hospitality Real Estate Counselors
"I have never seen this much negative RevPAR and it keeps going on. We have had double digit negative RevPAR for many months and I don't see what turns it around. Nobody knows when it goes positive. Once there is some clarity, there will be great opportunity." / Thomas Corcoran Chairman of the Board Felcor Lodging Trust Incorporated
"We want to see 3-4 months of flattened RevPAR to indicate stabilization before we invest." / Russ Urban Senior Vice President, Development HEI Hotels & Resorts LLC
"Where are we? Still early, unfortunately. Most of the stuff coming on the market is in tertiary markets or is junk. I am afraid that we are 6-9 months away from our ability to invest money. That gives time to look at opportunities and raise equity. I think rates will keep falling through the end of the year." / Paul Novak President Bedrock Partners
"This is a good time to buy, if you can. Here is the secret sauce: if you take the economy quarter by quarter, over time, it correlates with lodging demand exactly, with a few notable exceptions, like 9-11. Right now, the economy is down 2 percent, but lodging demand is down 9 percent. I believe that whenever the country believes the recession is over, demand will go right back up to where the economy is. We are in artificial down. We are looking at 20 percent drop in RevPAR when the economy is only down 2 percent! Five star properties have been hurt the worse. When the recession is over, people will relax and take that vacation, companies will send more people to conferences. Buy. Buy now!" / Jack vanHartesvelt Executive Vice President - Partner Kennedy Associates Real Estate
"We are looking to invest. We have raised $3.5 billion in capital and have invested only 5% of equity in the last 12 months, due to the economy. But, we have a patient view. We are waiting for the deleveraging of the industry." / Barry Olson Managing Director Archorn Group, LP
"Many pension funds are clearly experiencing the downdraft in real estate portfolios. The more savvy of funds will want to invest now, as they will underperform in the next few years if they don't." Bernard N. Siegel Principal KSL Capital Partners, LLC
"We are not seeing the deal flow, yet. What is being shown to us is off market or plain junk. I wouldn't take the stuff for free because there is no profitability. For the assets worth acquiring, the bid-ask spread is still too wide." / Scott Brown CEO/Co-Founder ABA Development, LLC
"There are already opportunities for buy positions - but they are going to get cheaper." Stephen Krooth President Krooth Advisory Services LLC
"Lots of properties were listed with receivers this year, and they will select brokers soon. You might see transactions involving smaller assets available this year. The bigger ones still have band aids on them." / Patrick O'Neal
Vice President Midland Loan Services, Inc.
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When is it time to buy hotels? The time is now -- or as soon as prices and values are right. 

Billions of dollars are ready to buy debt or properties. But the question is value, pricing and strategy. It requires massive de-levering.


Jim Butler is a founding partner of JMBM and Chairman of its Global Hospitality Group®. Jim is one of the top hospitality attorneys in the world. GOOGLE "hotel lawyer" and you will see why. JMBM's troubled asset team has handled more than 1,000 receiverships and many complex insolvency issues. But Jim and his team are more than "just" great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. For example, they have developed some unique proprietary approaches to unlock value in underwater hotels that can benefit lenders, borrowers and investors. (GOOGLE "JMBM's SAVE program".) Whether it is a troubled investment or new transaction, JMBM's Global Hospitality Group® creates legal and business solutions for hotel owners and lenders. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them. 

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Jim Butler
Chairman, Global Hospitality Group
Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP
1900 Avenue of the Stars, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067-4308
(310) 201-3526 direct
jbutler@jmbm.com
www.HotelLawBlog.com
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Also See: Is Leverage Dead or Just Deadly -- a Controversial New Investment Reality Nay be Taking Hold / Jim Butler / May 2009
When Does the Hotel Industry Recover? / Jim Butler / May 2009
New Hotel Data and Revised Predictions for 2009; Increased Hotel Loan Stress, Falling NOI and Slumping values / It's Going to Get Worse Before it Gets Better / Jim Butler / March 2009
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