Wednesday, May 14, 2008

HFF Closes Sale of and Financing for 181,601-SF Fort Worth Office Building

DALLAS, TX – The Dallas office of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) has closed the sale of Ridglea Bank Building,(above photo) an 181,601-square-foot office building in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Dallas office of HFF exclusively represented the seller, a partnership between Dallas-based Cawley Partners and New York-based Greenstreet Real Estate Partners, in the transaction. HFF also arranged acquisition financing for the purchaser, GNL Properties, through GE Real Estate.

The 12-story Ridglea Bank Building is currently 98% leased and has strong historical occupancy. Located at 6300 Ridglea Place in Fort Worth, the property is off Camp Bowie Boulevard adjacent to the Ridglea Country Club entrance and minutes from Interstate 30 and Loop 820. The property has 594 parking spaces and garden-like landscaping.

Cawley Partners has more than 20 years of multi-market experience in tenant representation, investment, development, acquisition and disposition. Based in Dallas, Texas, the company continues to invest in functional, well-located office, industrial and mixed-used assets below replacement cost with good appreciation potential in targeted metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

For more information about Cawley Partners, visit

HFF (NYSE: HF) operates out of 18 offices nationwide and is a leading provider of commercial real estate and capital markets services to the U.S. commercial real estate industry. HFF offers clients a fully integrated national capital markets platform including debt placement, investment sales, structured finance, private equity, note sales and note sale advisory services and commercial loan servicing.


Laurie Fish McDowell, HFF Associate Director, Marketing, One Post Office Square, Suite 3500 Boston, MA 02109, tel 617.338.0990, fax 617.338.2150
Andrew S. Levey, HFF Senior Managing Director, (214) 265-0880,

Foreclosure Activity Increases 4% in April, According to RealtyTrac(r) U.S. Foreclosure Market Report

Foreclosure Activity Up 65 Percent From April 2007

IRVINE, CA – May 14, 2008 – RealtyTrac® (, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its April 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 243,353 properties, a 4 percent increase from the previous month and a nearly 65 percent increase from April 2007.

(For a detailed city-by-city copy of RealtyTrac's news release, please contact Heather Pond, Atomic Public Relations, (415) 402-0230,

The report also shows one in every 519 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing during the month.

. "The total number of U.S. properties with foreclosure activity in April was the highest monthly total we've seen since we began issuing the report in January 2005," said James J. Saccacio, (top right photo) chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

"Although only about 2 percent of households nationwide are in foreclosure, these properties contribute to already bloated inventories of homes for sale, and put downward pressure on home values. Areas of California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona continue to be particularly hard-hit. Property tax bases are eroding, putting municipal budgets in peril.

"For example, the city council in Vallejo, (map at right) California - part of a metropolitan area with a foreclosure rate that ranked sixth highest in the nation in April - last week voted to have the city file for bankruptcy."

RealtyTrac publishes the largest and most comprehensive national database of foreclosure and bank-owned properties, with over 1.5 million properties from over 2,200 counties across the country, and is the foreclosure data provider to MSN Real Estate, Yahoo! Real Estate and The Wall Street Journal’s Real Estate Journal

HFF Closes Sale of 675 Bering Drive in Houston

HOUSTON, TX – The Houston office of HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.) announced today that it closed the sale of 675 Bering Drive, a 135,680-square-foot office building plus a six-level, 386-space parking garage in Houston, Texas.

(Simon Property Group's Galleria Mall, fourth largest in the U.S., is at right)

HFF senior managing director Dan Miller and associate director Marty Hogan led the investment sales team exclusively on behalf of the seller, Goddard Investment Group. Griffin Partners 675 Bering L.P. purchased the property for an undisclosed amount free and clear of debt.

675 Bering Drive is an eight-story office building that is 70.2% leased to tenants including First Investors, Foster & Associates and Café Express. Recent property upgrades have been made to the lobby, bathrooms and elevators, as well as the exterior landscaping.

Situated on two acres, 675 Bering Drive is located close to Interstate Highway 10, Loop 610, Woodway, Memorial Drive and Westheimer, which provide access to all areas of Houston.

“675 Bering Drive has significant upside potential through the lease up of 35,800 square feet of contiguous vacant space on the 4th and 5th floors that has spectacular views of the central business district and Galleria skylines, and the green space of the Tanglewood and Memorial neighborhoods,” said Miller. “This is currently one of the largest blocks of contiguous space in the submarket.”

Goddard Investment Group is an Atlanta-based real estate investor that has been investing in Houston office properties for a number of years.


Laurie Fish McDowell, HFF Associate Director, Marketing One Post Office Square, Suite 3500 Boston, MA 02109, tel 617.338.0990 fax 617.338.2150

H. Dan Miller, CCIM, SIOR, HFF Senior Managing Director, 713 852 3500,

Martin T. Hogan, HFF Associate Director, 713 852 3500,

FAR Says Florida's Existing Condo Sales Improve in 1Q 2008 Compared to 4Q 2007

ORLANDO, FL, PRNewswire/ -- Florida Realtors(R) reports positive signs in their local housing markets during first quarter 2008, noting a slower rate of expansion for inventory levels and an increase in pending home sales (based on contracts signed but not closed) in some areas.

In another positive note: Sales of existing condominiums improved from fourth quarter 2007 to first quarter 2008, according to the latest housing statistics from the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR).

A total of 8,581 existing condos sold statewide in 1Q 2008, an 8.3 percent increase over 4Q 2007 when 7,923 units sold.

"If we look at what is happening month-over-month for 2008, it appears that the bottom [of the housing slowdown] may be here," says 2008 FAR President Chuck Bonfiglio (top left photo). "We are now seeing more activity, more sales and even prices starting to rise in some markets. So I believe that there are some really good signs in many areas of our state."

Looking at the year-to-year quarterly comparison, a total of 25,443 single-family existing homes changed hands during the three-month period, a decrease of 26 percent compared to 34,298 homes sold during the same time a year earlier, according to FAR records.

The statewide existing-home median sales price was $202,300 in the first quarter; a year ago, it was $238,900 for a decrease of 15 percent.

In 2003, the first-quarter statewide median sales price was $145,600, which reflects an increase of 38.9 percent over the five- year period. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

To gain insight into current trends in Florida's real estate industry, the University of Florida's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies conducts a quarterly survey of industry executives, market research economists, real estate scholars and other experts. The first quarter 2008 survey, released in March, found the outlook for Florida remains stable because of the state's fundamentals of good climate and in-migration.

"It sounds like an old song re- sung, but our respondents are still keeping the faith in the real estate market," said Wayne Archer, (right middle photo) director of UF's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies.
In a year-to-year quarterly comparison for condo sales, 8,581 units sold statewide for the quarter compared to 11,116 in 1Q 2007 for a 23 percent decrease. The statewide existing-condo median sales price was $178,400 for the three-month period; in 1Q 2007, it was $216,100 for a 17 percent decrease.

Continuing low mortgage rates remain another positive influence on the housing sector. According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.88 percent in first quarter 2008; one year earlier, it averaged 6.22 percent.

The latest industry outlook from the National Association of Realtors(R) (NAR) predicts that home sales activity will remain flat for the next couple months before improving over the summer.

The extent of an expected recovery hinges on better access to affordable loans, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun (photo at right).

"Things are beginning to improve, but the availability of affordable mortgages is uneven around the country and sometimes within metropolitan areas," Yun said. "As anticipated, we continue to look for a soft first half of the year, for both housing and the economy, before notable improvements in the second half. Some time is needed for FHA and new conforming jumbo loans to become widely available."

(For a complete copy of FAR's news release, please contact
Marla Martin, Communications Manager, +1-407-438-1400, ext.2326, or Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications, +1-407-438-1400, ext.2314, both of Florida Association of Realtors(R)

Realtors(R) Increasing Professionalism, Survey Shows

WASHINGTON, DC, May 14, 2008/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Realtors(R) are raising their level of professionalism through training and experience to better serve consumers, and are demonstrating their versatility and breadth of expertise in a changing marketplace, according to 2008 National Association of Realtors(R) Member Profile.

(For a detailed copy of NAR's news release, please contact Walter Molony, 1 202 383 1177, NAR web site,

The survey results are representative of more than 1.2 million Realtors(R) - about 60 percent of the nearly 2 million active real estate licensees across the country.The number of members holding at least one professional designation increased by nearly 21,000 over the past year, reaching a total of more than 428,000 - more than one-third of NAR's entire membership.

The median expense for professional development for the typical member was $710 in 2007.NAR President Richard F. Gaylord, (top right photo) a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., said the association membership isn't limited to residential brokerage.

"While three-fourths of NAR members specialize in residential real estate, almost all of them have secondary specialties," he said. "For example, Realtors(R) are in areas as diverse as relocation, commercial brokerage, property management, land development, appraisal, counseling and other real estate specialties like international and auction."

Overall membership edged down 1.5 percent from a record in 2006, and is still historically high. The survey shows the typical member is 52 years old, works 40 hours per week and specializes in residential brokerage; 60 percent are women.

The median Realtor(R) income was $42,600 in 2007, down from $47,700 in 2006. In recent years, the typical member's income had been diluted by a large growth in membership, and income trended down since peaking in 2002.

Members licensed as brokers earned a median of $65,200 in 2007, while sales agents earned $31,000.

Paul Bishop, NAR's managing director of real estate research, said the typical member is increasing his or her professionalism over time through a variety of tools provided by NAR that help them better serve consumers.

"Our members build their business through repeat customers and referrals, and the longer they're in the business the higher their income, education and experience, meaning they are better prepared to serve consumers and handle market changes," he said.

Realtors(R) in the business for two years or less earned a median of $10,500, while those with three to five years of experience earned $34,600. For six to 15 years, the median was $52,000, while members in the business for 16 years or more earned $69,500. The typical NAR member has been in the business for eight years, up from seven years in 2006.