Is the real estate price right?

In the heady days when Olint, the forex trading company was around, and many clients of that entity were reaping 10 percent per month, persons were paying almost as much for used residential units as new ones.

Apartment complex at East Oakridge in Kingston 8

The question arises how to know when the value of a property is right or not. Some persons rely on the valuation of a real estate valuator. The problem with this approach is that they use the prices paid for similar units, although other approaches are used. In times when buyers are paying over the top, the valuation is likely to be highly influenced by recent sales. Currently, there appear to be no excesses in the Jamaican market.
How can an investor get a good idea if the price is about right? Be like a valuator, do comparison pricing. A good place to start getting information on selling price per square foot are ads selling properties, especially new ones. Houses are of different sizes and make up, but by and large they have one thing in common, that is square footage. If the square footage is known, the value per square foot should be computed for all units, then prices can compared, because there is a common measuring rod. Without reducing values to a common measure, it becomes difficult to determine if one property is appropriately priced or not.

Interior of Model unit at East Oakridge apartment complex

Some advertisements and a news item in the newspapers, provide some useful information as to where values are in the local market currently. Location of course is an important element of pricing, this is not factored in here. The information gleaned have values per square foot, ranging form a low of $10,000 for lower income units to a high of $25,000 per square foot for a Montego Bay waterfront property. The typical upper income units seem to be price around $22,000 per square foot for units of 600-700 square feet to $16,000 to $20,000 on the upper end for larger units. Older units would normally be valued based on be discount from the current selling prices of new units for their age, at around 2 percent per annum.
According to a Sunday Gleaner publication on July 20, 2014 Real-estate developer Matalon Homes is investing in a residential project called Welwyn. Construction of the luxury townhouses and apartments at Millsborough in St Andrew is to last a year. The units are priced at US$210,000 for the apartments of 1,100 square feet and US$420,000 for the townhouses comprising 2,100 square feet or approximately $23.6 million and $47.3 million respectively. The selling price works at $21,570 and $22,250 per square foot respectively.

Apartment unit at Montego Freeport, priced at $25,000 per sq. Ft.

In East Oakridge, Kingston 8 area, there are 1 and 2 bedroom apartments of 986 and 1,486 square foot, priced at $19 to 24 million or $19,250 and $16,150 per square foot respectively.Over in Montego Bay, The Landings at the Spring Gardens, have studios of 872 square foot going for US$131,000 to US$137,000 or J$17,000 per square foot and 2 bedrooms of 1,575 square foot, going at US$219,000 t0 $229,000 or $15,700 per square foot. There is the requirement for 35 percent deposit in two tranches. Over at Montego Freeport, there are also units selling at $25,000 per square foot. While, properties in the main cities are going at the above prices for new units, out in rural Jamaica, smaller units of 800 square feet are priced around $10,000 per square foot. Many of these tend to be built on cheaper lands than say in Kingston, they are also benefit from the fact that the developers are building hundreds of them in one community thus enjoying economies of scale.

Why NCB deserves a look now

NCB hqtrNational Commercial Bank (NCB)shares may not be trading in droves recently with the price tending to trade around $17 since early May but investors may be missing a great buying opportunity with a stock that is seriously undervalued.
In Trinidad the stock closed as low as TT$1.04 recently but has moved up to $1.10 on Friday and seems poised to go higher. The bid in Trinidad on Friday close was $1.10 (J$19.20) to buy 22,933 units with an offer of 26,000 units at $1.14. On Wednesday the stock traded 69,456 units at $1.08 and gained 2 cents in the process. On Friday 21,322 traded in Jamaica at $18.01 each and 1,396,013 on Thursday between $17 and $18.03. Wednesday saw 21,595 units being traded between $17.30 and $19. One important factor is that the stock is not in great supply.
NCB oder book 27-6-14But it’s the order book on the Jamaica Stock exchange that is sending a strong message to buy coupled with is a year when the results should help stimulate the stock price higher. There are only 280,000 shares on offer in the market but the buying interest is not particularly strong. With the pickup in trading in Trinidad, the price in Jamaica could get a lift and with third quarter results to June which are due in the last week in July, that could strengthen investor’s appetite for the stock and give it a badly need push.
IC Insider forecast earnings of $5 per share for the current year, so far NCB reported earnings of $2.38. For the first 6 months of the fiscal year.

FIFA incredible ranking system left wanting

World cup tropheyThe world cup finals are making a mockery out of FIFA ranking system for its members. For years FIFA has been using a system of moving nations up and down the ranking ladder based on results of games played. Unless there are regular interchange of teams globally so that there is a good comparison that can be done internationally, the ranking system is likely to be flawed which is exactly what the June rankings and the world cup outcomes indicate. Commentators have been caught out as well as they have in many cases limited information to compare one team with another. The results many have been confounded by the results of world cup 2014.
FIFA number 1 team Spain won just one match but only after they were eliminated from this year’s world cup finals, the number 10 team England never even won a match, their no 9 ranked team managed just one win and bowed out of the tournament at the end of the preliminary round. The number 4th ranked team Portugal is in with a chance of staying in the top 16 but may well not make it.
The 28th team Costa Rica won all their matches against the 7th, 9th and 10th ranked teams, the team that was ranked at 44 is in the top 16. Korea Republic that was ranked at 57 did better than many ranked above them and so is the case with Iran that was ranked at 43, Ghana was ranked at 37 and is close to being in the top 16.
Something must be terrible wrong with a system that gets the ranking so wrong. FIFA needs to revisit this system if it to have credibility as the present system has little. But this is not the only thing that FIFA a body of mostly well aged men control. Cricket has moved to let technology help in determining the accuracy of developments during a cricket match, tennis has done so for years but FIFA has refused to move into the modern era except belated for goal post technology. The present series and past ones have had so many bad calls that the time has long gone for football to move fully into the modern world and let technology assists the referees on the field.

Inflation jumps 1% in May

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UpIncreasegraphInflation jumps 1 percent in May, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) stated in a release today, compared to the index for April. An increase of 0.7 percent in ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ and 3.6 percent increase in the index for the division ’Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and other Fuels’ were the major reasons for the sharp climb. The movement in the index for May 2014 resulted in a calendar year-to-date inflation rate of 2.4 percent. Inflation declined in April by 0.7 percent compared to March this year.
According to Statin, the division ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ was impacted by increases of 1.9 percent and 1.6 percent in ‘Bread and Cereals’ and ‘Milk, Cheese and Eggs’ respectively. There were declines of 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent for the classes ‘Fruit’ and ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’ respectively. Within the division ‘Housing Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ the advance in the index for ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ of 7.3 percent was moderated by the fall of 3.4 percent in the index for ‘Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to Dwelling’
The other divisions that recorded increases in the All Jamaica ‘All Divisions’ index were: ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ 0.5 percent, ‘Clothing and Footwear’ 0.2 percent, ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance’ 0.5 percent, ‘Health’ 0.2 percent, ‘Transport’ 0.4 percent, ‘Recreation and Culture’ 0.1 percent, ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ 0.5 percent, and ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ 0.5 percent.

Holland demolishes Spain 5-1

world cup 2014 ballThe Spanish team came in as favourites for their world cup match up with the Dutchmen, but the Dutch have demolished the last world cup winner in a second half display that few people saw. With 10 minutes of the second haft left to be played, Holland has torn up the scrip and surged ahead 5 goals to 1 and now seem very unlikely to lose this match.

Jamaica’s inflation falls

bOJ building #4

A fall in the price of electricity lead to a 0.3 percent drop in the inflation rate for April this year, according to data released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, on the Consumer Price Index. Statin says “this was the lowest inflation rate recorded since July 2012, when the rate fell by 0.3 percent”.

This decrease was as a result of a decline in electricity rate, represented by a fall of 7.5 percent in the index for the group ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ but was moderated by the 4.0 percent increase in the index for the group ‘Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to the Dwelling’ as a result of a the rise in water and sewage rates for the period. The division, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ recorded an increase of 0.3 percent.

The calendar year-to-date inflation rate for April 2014 was 1.4 percent, the point-to-point 7.6 percent.  The other divisions that recorded increases in the All Jamaica ‘All Divisions’ index were: ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ 0.2 percent, ‘Clothing and Footwear’ 0.1 percent, ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance’ 0.3 percent, ‘Health’ 0.5 percent, ‘Transport’ 0.4 percent, ‘Recreation and Culture’ 0.3 percent, ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ 0.4 percent, and ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ 0.2 percent.

GOJ revenues up in April

Image courtesy of cooldesign/

Image courtesy of cooldesign/

 The GOJ enjoyed slightly higher revenues in the first month of the fiscal year with total inflows of $24.7 billion versus $24.4 billion budgeted.
The increase came from non-tax revenues. Expenditure was slightly less than planned and came in at $33.9 billion only $31 million less than budget, resulting in an reduced fiscal deficit than originally projected coming in at $9.16 billion compared to $9.53 billion budgeted.
The government however, borrowed $1.4 billion less that they projected to borrow in the month.

Remittance growth continues

FX_USPoundNet remittances rose US$11 million or 7.8 percent in February this year over the similar period in 2013, ending at US$152 million. The growth in net remittance inflows reflected an increase in inflows and a contraction of outflows.
Gross inflows for the month amounted to US$168 million, an increase of US$8 million or 5.1 percent versus the corresponding month of 2013. The rise in total remittance inflows emanated from an increase of US$11 million in inflows through Remittance Companies. The increase in these flows was partly offset by a reduction of US$2.4 million in inflows from Other Remittances.
Net remittances for the two months to February this year was US$290 million, an increase of US$19 million or 7.0 per cent relative to 2013 and emanates from an increase in gross remittance inflows and a contraction in outflows.
For the review period, total remittance inflows amounted to US$327 million, an increase of US$12 million or 3.9 percent.

BOJ intervention squeezes buying

bOJ building #4Trading on the forex market did not match or come close to the levels of funds traded in the market on Thursday last week, the last day of the holiday shortened week. For Monday, dealers bought the equivalent of US$25,375,062 compared to US$72,581,952 on Thursday and sold the equivalent of only US$22,862,624 versus US$71,142,957 last week Thursday. In spite of the lower purchases all the spot rates fell against the local currency except for a one cent rise in the selling rate for the Canadian dollar.  “Bank of Jamaica intervened in the market last week Thursday selling dealers all the forex funds they needed” IC Insider source indicated as to the reason for the big increase in trading on that day. The big amount bought on Thursday may be the reason why buying on Monday after the holiday was so low. The purchase on Monday was in contrast to nearly US$45 million bought on the previous Monday as well as the week before.

Dealers bought US$20,649,053 compared to US$68,621,498 bought on Thursday as the buying rate for the US dollar declined by 76 cents to $110.15 and sold US$19,573,771 versus US$67,344,895 on Thursday with the rate closing 2 cents lower to $111.17. The Canadian dollar buying rate fell 2 cents to end at $100.40 with dealers buying C$1,928,329 and selling C$1,600,232 with the rate rising by a cent to end at $101.97. The Pound closed at $184.25 for the purchase of £1,651,343 with the rate declining by 91 cents while £908,165 was sold with the rate declining by 87 cents to $186.96. Other currencies bought amounted to the equivalent of US$206,180 while selling accounted for the equivalent of $293,819.

Highs & Lows| The highest and the lowest buying rates for the US dollar and the highest selling rate remained unchanged at $111.70, $90.18 and $115.56 respectively but the lowest selling rate fell by $2.14 to $90.18.

The highest buying rate for the Canadian dollar lost 30 cents to $102.30, the lowest buying rate was unchanged at $80.43. The highest selling rate rose by 50 cents to $104.29 and the lowest selling rate fell $2.10 to $96.90.

The highest buying rate for the Pound fell 10 cents to $187.40 while the lowest buying rate rose by 29 cents to $149.44. The highest selling rate declined by 27 cents to $192.65 while the lowest selling rate fell $3.20 to $180.05.

Dolphin Cove added to Buy Rated list

Dolphin Cove is now added to the Buy rated list hiving produced a healthy 26 percent jump in earnings for the March quarter with indications that earnings could hit $1.20 for this year at just over $8 the price could jump in the months ahead.
Trinidad’s National Flour is added to the watch list and AMG Packing was moved earlier from Buy Rated to the Watch list. Access Financial which had been put back into the Buy Rated list when the price fell back to $8 has risen in price but remains on the Watch list until the directors’ dispute is resolved.
Caribbean Cement remains in the buy list but the price could pull back some more with the unimpressive March quarter results. Investors should await the pull back to buy. One Caribbean Media has climbed in price and is losing some of its attractiveness as such, investors should be careful with this one unless their objective is for a longer term investment.
Some of the Junior market listings have not had a great first quarter in reporting profits but prices have pulled back and have helped to make them attractive buys with the hope that profit will improve going forward. The reality is that in the March quarter government operated at a surplus and this would have pulled funds out of the system and squeezed purchasing power from consumers thus affecting the smaller companies.
A number of the main market companies in Jamaica reported strong first quarter growth in profits that points to the possibility of overall growth in 2014 profits for them. Outstanding results were reported by Hardware and Lumber with IC Insider 2014 forecasted earnings put at $5.40 which means strong increase can be expected in the stock price. Grace reported 21 percent increase in March quarter results but some of this comes from losses incurred in 2013 from the debt exchange and restructuring of the general insurance arm with no such losses in 2014 rather than from totally ongoing improvement in its operations. Pan Jam also reported strong increases in profit both from continuing improvement in operations as well as recovery form one off losses in 2013.