Once again, New Jersey and Illinois ranked as the two worst states in the country when it comes to property taxes, according to a new survey from personal finance website WalletHub. In order to identify the states with the highest and lowest property taxes, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia using U.S. Census Bureau data to determine real-estate property tax rates. While property taxes vary from county to county across the state, WalletHub divided the “median real-estate tax payment” by the “median home price” in each state to determine the property tax rate.
Smith Travel Research, Inc. (STR) released the U.S. hotel performance data for the month of April 2014, and the industry continues to post positive results in key performance metrics. Overall, the U.S. hotel industry’s occupancy was up 3.2 percent to 65.7 percent, its average daily rate (ADR) rose 4.0 percent to $114.67, and its revenue per available (RevPAR) room increased 7.4 percent to $75.30. April was a good month for hotels, as the industry saw the highest RevPAR growth (+7.4 percent) so far this year and the strongest in the last 12 months, according to STR. In April 2013, RevPAR growth was also 7.4 percent, so this year’s growth was impressive against this tough comparable. ADR grew 4.0 percent, and has been above 3.0 percent each month since January 2011. STR expects rate growth to continue unabated for the foreseeable future. Supply growth for the month increased 0.8 percent, same as during the last two months. However, because of the strong growth in the under construction pipeline, STR expects supply will grow at a faster pace in coming months. Despite the Easter and Passover calendar shift, demand still grew 4.0 percent, which means the industry sold 3.7 million more rooms this April compared to April 2013.
As hoteliers reflect on 2013, many are asking if they've left money on the table they'll never get back. According to Hotel News Now, the rapid and record rise of demand during the recent upturn has overshadowed a more sluggish surge in average daily rate. And as the metric continues to decelerate as 2013 comes to a close, many hoteliers fear it's too little too late. Post 9/11 the U.S. hotel industry saw occupancy and ADR decrease 6.7% and 4.5%, respectively, on a 12-month-moving average basis. Occupancy eventually recovered to a peak of 3.6% growth in February 2005, but ADR bounced back at a much faster clipping, hitting 7.5% growth for five consecutive months beginning in October 2006. In this most recent cycle, however, occupancy recovered much more quickly and significantly, topping out with growth of 6.1% during February 2011. ADR petered out at only 4.3% growth in January 2013.
It may be the dead of winter for the rest of the country, but Miami, Florida's hotel market is hotter than ever. There seems to be no end in sight to the city's rate growth, according to Miami hoteliers and owners who have been experiencing sky-rocketing rates and an investment climate similar to New York's. In fact, Hotel News Now and STR report that Miami's revenue per available room was at $135.39 through the first 10 months of the year, behind only New York ($213.86), Oahu Island, Hawaii ($176.13) and San Francisco ($160.10). Hotel owners have seen "remarkable" RevPAR growth year over year, and are optimistic that the trend will continue in 2014. Many believe that the market hasn't even come close to hitting its ceiling, and question if there is one at all.
Sequestration and its $85 billion in federal budget cuts planned for this year will bring significant challenges on the U.S. economy and the commercial real estate recovery. According to the National Real Estate Investor, the forced reductions that began March 1st will have real consequences for the U.S. economy, including eliminated and reduced government contracts, reduced private and public sector jobs and furloughed workers.
Honolulu, Hawaii saw its office vacancy rate rise to 14.6% during the first quarter of 2012. According to the Pacific Business News, the overall market lost 16,929 square feet of occupancy during the quarter. Downtown Honolulu specifically lost 43,091 square feet of occupancy in that time, but was saved somewhat by an existing tenant expanding their space by nearly 28,000 square feet. The central business district area of downtown showed a 16.1% vacancy in the first quarter.