Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hotels: Part of Asset builder boom

Rising asset prices over last few years triggered demand for more hotels. Calculated Risk links to article Hotels: A "Perfect Storm" in San Francisco indicating how the house of cards falls.

Actually this is a perfect storm everywhere for hotels. Too much supply - and more coming online every day. Too much debt. And too few guests.
Where is the demand?
Like most other assets, the fundamental demand for hotel turns out to be far lesser than the supply. The demand is coming from investors. There is huge appetite for investing in hotels, housing or any asset that can be converted into paper and gambled away. This is hurting the industry employee base.

Product prices do not indicate fundamental demand
Just because prices are rising does not mean there if fundamental long term demand in place. Reading the macro factors is just as important for the firm. But, what if you can quickly build out a hotel and sell it to REIT (or other RE fund) at ridiculous cap rates? Partly, this asset price increases actually triggered the boom as I discussed in Feb 08. I cannot see the last buyer still emerging. So till then its going to be painful and hotels will be a case study.

I own Indian Hotels since two years now due to fundamental short supply scenario in India. I am just about marginally positive on the position. I do not intend to close it for few years. Hotel investors looking at India might want to look at Indian Hotels.