New Japanese investment in U.S. real estate, though continuing to slow, is expected to total $10 billion to $13 billion this year, a report showed this week.
But next year may see a marked drop in such investments, according to the report prepared by the national consulting firm of Kenneth Leventhal & Co.
"There is little truth to the notion that the Japanese are selling off a substantial portion of their U.S. real estate investments," said Jack Rodman, managing partner at Leventhal.
Still, the cooling U.S. real estate market has cut back on potential investment from Japan. The firm had predicted in March that new Japanese investments would reach $13 billion to $16 billion this year.
During 1989, these investments reached $14.8 billion, off from the record level of $16.5 billion achieved in 1988.
Analysts have said the decline in new investment is also due in part to Japanese sensitivity to the backlash from acquisitions they have made of highly visible U.S. landmarks, such as last year's purchase of Rockefeller Center in New York.
The Leventhal report also contains a sobering prediction of a sharp decline in Japan's new investments next year, ranging from $7 billion to $10 billion.
Sophisticated Japanese investors are pulling back because pressure at home from regulators and a soft U.S. real estate market, Rodman said. "More experienced Japanese investors have shifted to a wait-and-see attitude," he said.
Rodman said that "trophy" properties are being shunned by the Japanese, with the exception of Cosmo World's purchase of the famed Pebble Beach golf resort in Northern California earlier this year. Analysts have estimated the deal, which included four golf courses and two hotels, was worth $800 million to $1 billion.
Currently, much of the new investment is coming from first-time Japanese real estate investors, many of whom "are customers of regional banks in areas outside Tokyo," Rodman said. "This is a relatively untapped source of capital which is being mobilized toward U.S. real estate."
With a falloff expected to come in the fourth quarter, the Leventhal report estimated that Japanese investment had increased by $9.1 billion during the first eight months of this year, bringing total investment in this country to $66.7 billion.
That figure represents less than 2 percent of the total value of the American real estate market.
Of the 1990 investments, hotels and resorts are the most popular, with California and Hawaii the favorite markets. "Resorts and residential golf developments located within two hours of cities with a concentration of Japanese investment are at the top of their shopping list," Rodman said.
At the same time, investment in office properties has dropped sharply from 23 percent of all investments last year to just 13 percent this year.
"A continuing slowdown in U.S. office markets has made investors wary, particularly as many Japanese companies realize lower returns than expected from earlier office property investments," Rodman said.
The report also showed a slowdown in joint ventures between Japanese and American developers. More than 50 percent of all deals last year were joint ventures, but that figure has fallen to 28 percent this year.
"The Japanese clearly want to develop projects on their own with full control now that they are learning the ropes of working in this country," Rodman said.
H. Jane Lehman, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post's Real Estate section, won an honorable mention for best news story in the 1990 National Association of Realtors' Real Estate Journalism Achievement Competition. Lehman won for her entry, "It Takes Spirit to Sell a Haunted House," which appeared in the Oct. 28, 1989, edition of The Post.
IN THE BUSINESS ... Ricki Gerger, vice president of Prudential Preferred Properties in the District of Columbia, was named a regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) at the organization's annual convention this past week in New Orleans. Gerger has been a national director of the NAR since 1984 and has served on committees dealing with professional standards, urban affairs, education and resources and marketing. She was the 1990 president of the D.C. Association of Realtors.
Two Virginia real estate executives also were elected to new offices at the convention. Dorcas T. Helfant of Virginia Beach, president of Coldwell Banker Helfant Realty Inc., will become the NAR's president in 1992. Thomas Jefferson III, president of Jefferson-Jones Inc. in Richmond, was named the 1991 treasurer of the NAR.
Home sales in Prince George's County totaled 459 in October, down 26 percent from 622 in October 1989, the Prince George's County Association of Realtors reported. Year to date, sales are down 12 percent in the county, to 6,461 units; in the first 10 months of last year, 7,373 units sold. The average home price was $122,900 in October, up 6.4 percent from $115,400 a year ago.
Residential real estate sales continued to drop for the third straight month in the Baltimore area in October, the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors reported. Sales totaled 1,572 in October, down from 1,765 during October 1989. The average sale price was $119,826. Year to date, 15,583 units have sold in the Baltimore area, down from 17,208 units during the first 10 months of 1989.
London & Leeds Development Corp. completed construction of Ballston Station, an $80 million, 280,000-square-foot office and retail building in Arlington. The 30,000-square-foot retail arcade is 80 percent leased ... The Community Preservation and Development Corp. completed renovation of a garden apartment complex in Seat Pleasant for long-term use as affordable housing for low-income families in Prince George's County ... The Evening Star Building won a national award for best historical commercial rehabilitation from the National Commercial Builders Council of the National Association of Home Builders in its annual awards of excellence competition. ... The American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers named Patricia J. Marshall president-elect for the coming term.
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.'s McLean office is planning a sealed-bid offering on 33 homes ranging in price from $109,000 to $1,190,000. There is no guarantee that the seller will accept the best of the bids, which will be taken until Dec. 2 ... C. Daniel Clemente formed CDC Real Estate Consulting Group Inc., a Vienna-based consulting firm specializing in helping banks and thrifts rescue some of their troublesome real estate investments ... The George Hyman Construction Co. began construction on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on Judiciary Square, an $8 million project.
Ken Murphy & Associates, a Vienna-based real estate sales company, opened several new communities. They are Hampton Oaks in Stafford County, a development with 60 three-bedroom town homes priced from $99,900; Westview Ridge in Front Royal, which will have more than 200 single-family homes priced from $83,600; Havenwood in Fairfax Station, which will have four- and five-bedroom houses on five-acre lots priced from around $550,000; Camberly West in Fairfax County, which will have 17 four- and five-bedroom houses on one-acre lots priced from around $450,000; and Old Saybrook in Great Falls, which will have similar houses on two-acre lots priced from around $500,000.
The General Services Administration Design Award winners will be on display at the National Building Museum beginning Nov. 30. Among designs on display will be a U.S.-Mexico border station in Columbus, N.M.; and the Pension Building and the Old Post Office, both in the District ... Land Design Development Inc. of Columbia, Md., opened Wetherburn Community in Ellicott City, Md., a development with 76 lots for single-family homes, about a third of which are built and are priced from $200,000 ... The D.C. Building Industry Association gave David E. Furman of Furman Builders Inc. an award for community service for his work building a food bank at the East Chester Housing Cooperative.
PERSONNEL FILE ... Century Engineering Inc. of Baltimore appointed Frank E. Roscoe Jr. vice president of the land development division ... In a reorganization of senior executive responsibilities, the Rouse Co. of Columbia, Md., elected Anthony W. Deering senior vice president with administrative responsibilities and those of chief financial officer. Douglas A. McGregor was named senior vice president for real estate development activity.
-- Compiled from staff reports and news services