Despite peak borrowing rates and talk of a recession that might become a depression, appraiser Norbert F. Wall "still feels strongly about investment in real estate."
The Chicago-based consultant points to mobile home parks, farms, shopping centers, office buildings and warehouses as examples of opportunities for solid real estate investments in this market.
"A warehouse is often overlooked because it isn't regarded as exciting," he said during a recent interview here. "But you usually have one tenant on a long-term lease and very few headaches."
Wall, who wrote "Real Estate Investment by Objective" (McGraw-Hill, 416 pages, $17.50) with writer-investor Judith Creedy of New York, also said mortgage rates have been in a "chaotic condition" recently and the total real estate market sorely needs "12 to 18 months of mortgage rate stability."
As a former resident of Washington, when he was with Larry Smith & Co., a real estate consulting organization, and Real Estate Research Corp., Wall said he observed many positive signs in the recent in-city redevelopment and renewal. "The Washington market has always been good for investors. If this market ever tails off badly, the entire country will be in terrible trouble," he added.
However, Wall does see resale housing prices falling 10 to 15 percent across the nation in this current market. "I do not regard residences as basic real estate investments," he said. "Rather I consider one's house as a means of forced savings and as an amenity to be lived in an enjoyed."
In his book, Wall discusses objectives for investors in terms suited to the individual. "Consideration of your individual traits, capabilities and desires is the essential starting point for developing a successful real estate investment strategy," the book begins.
Wall and Creedy provide a self-analysis procedure for potential real estate investors. "After getting the invididual investor into focus, then the procedure goes on from there to discuss various methods of investment in real estate. They are basically: income, turnover, tax shelter and long-term gain."
It was pointed out that income ownership and tax shelter are totally different because the former is based on getting a regular return while the tax-shelter investor really needs a low yield and depreciation potential for land and improvements.
Wall described the turnover investor as being interested in doing something to improve a property and then selling it at a capital gain profit.He also said the long-term-gain investor probably has a comfortable income but needs tax shelter in younger years and prospects of a capital gain, possibly after retirement.
Wall also warns that "real estate investment goes in cycles which are caused by monetary or other economic and social changes.