Archives for January 2010

The U-Haul Indicator

My colleague, Simon Cawley, shared this with me. The U-Haul indicator is a simple test of migration patterns in the U.S.  Put simply, it costs more to rent a U-Haul moving truck when the destination city is more popular than the origination city.

So what does it cost to leave Las Vegas?

Try $1,880 if you want to rent a 26-foot U-Haul truck, fill it with your worldly goods, and drive it to San Antonio. (In these comparisons, Nov. 3 was selected as the moving date.) But if you wanted to leave San Antonio (August unemployment rate: 7%) and move to Las Vegas, it would cost you only $437 for the same equipment.

Want to move from Chicago (9.7% unemployment) to Houston (8.4% unemployment)? It will cost you $1,970.  But it will cost only $449 to make the trip from Houston to Chicago.

Los Angeles (11.8% unemployment) to Houston was $2,051, while Houston to Los Angeles was only $555.

Not surprisingly, there is a significant Texas premium. 🙂



Auction Planned For Downtown Austin Condo – Sabine On 5th

Auction Planned For Downtown Austin Condo – Sabine On 5th

*** UPDATE: Sabine auction results ***

A selection of the remaining units in downtown Austin’s Sabine On 5th building will be auctioned on February 28th.  A lawsuit filed by residents against CWS, the developer of the Sabine On 5th, and the building’s condominium association (which was under CWS’s control) has been withdrawn as the parties have reached a settlement agreement.  The lawsuit was filed last year as residents grew tired of lack of action by CWS regarding “persistent and major problems” relating to elevator repairs, amongst other problems.

The HOA has been turned over to the owners, which is unusual in buildings where less than 50% of the units are sold.  The specific terms of the settlement agreement have not been released.  Scott Dixon Smith, president of the Sabine On 5th HOA, indicated that “there will be major renovations to the building to alleviate the concerns of the lawsuit.”

Greg Miller, vice president of investments at CWS, has confirmed that steps are being taken to prepare the Sabine for the auction.  27 of the remaining 44 units will be available for bidding.

During the litigation no units were available for sale, and CWS’s loan had twice been posted for foreclosure by Compass Bank.  The first time in September, when Compass Bank granted CWS an extension to remedy issues.  Then in December, it was reposted for January’s courthouse auction.  CWS was able to restructure the debt and is expected to offer most of the remaining inventory for sale via an auction this February.

There were several condo auctions in 2009, and when the Sabine goes to auction, it will be the second major development in downtown Austin to do so.  The first, Brazos Place, was auctioned last year by Kennedy Wilson.  Brazos Place is frequently compared to the Sabine on 5th since both structures are located east of Congress Avenue and are adaptive re-use condo conversions

Originally built as an office building in 1981, and converted into condos in 2007, the Sabine is located along the west bank of Waller Creek, on Sabine St between 5th and 6th Streets.  With the success of developer discounts at 360 Condos and the Shore Condos, the Sabine is the last “attainably” priced building with new inventory left.

Email jude [@], or send me a note, to inquire about the Sabine auction and the status of Waller Creek.