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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (December 11, 2019)

Fannie and Freddie are cutting back on some riskier loans, reports the Wall Street Journal. TIAA is buying a 500-room Hilton hotel in Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Curb Some Loans as Regulators Reins in Risk “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are pulling back on some mortgages meant to make homeownership more affordable, their latest effort to rein in risk at the behest of their regulator. The two companies are cutting back on the proportion of loans they back to borrowers with small down payments, for example, and mortgages to deeply indebted borrowers. The regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, says it wants Fannie and Freddie to be prepared for a possible economic downturn.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Oakland Collects Fees for Affordable Housing, But Funds Go Untracked “Oakland passed an impact fee on new residential developments three years ago to jump-start the city’s construction of affordable housing. But little has happened since then. The city has collected just under $9 million in fees and distributed $4.8 million to help fund about 160 new affordable units — none of which are yet under construction. Oakland has not approved any new projects that have applied for funds from the fees since 2017.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  3. Trade Between U.S. and Latin American Countries Is Boosting Industrial Real Estate “Trade between Latin American countries and the United States is shaping South Florida’s industrial market. The amount of exports and imports traded increased by 9.1% year-over-year in 2018 up to 2.4 million tons, according the 2019 South Florida Industrial Market Outlook report by Houston-based commercial real estate firm Transwestern. South Florida seaports — including PortMiami, Port Everglades and Port of Palm Beach — saw an increase by 15.2% year-over-year in 2018 up to 18.9 million tons.’ (Miami Herald)
  4. North Dallas Hotel Tower Sells to Major Property Investor TIAA “One of North Dallas’ biggest hotels has quietly changed hands. A unit of retirement and investment fund manager TIAA bought the 500-room Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre Hotel at LBJ Freeway and the Dallas North Tollway. Built in 1981, the high-rise hotel is part of the four-building Lincoln Centre office and mixed-use project. Since last year, the hotel has been in the hands of lenders after the previous owner defaulted on a $75 million loan on the property.” (Dallas Morning News)
  5. Toys “R” Us Is Back—Now with More Surveillance! “After filing for bankruptcy and closing more than 800 stores last year, Toys ‘R’ Us is back. The iconic retailer has opened two new mall outposts, one in Texas and another in New Jersey, just in time for the holidays. The stores are packed with some of the most kid-coveted products of the year, but have been garnering attention for another reason: the surveillance technology they’re using.” (Wired)
  6. To Solve the Problem of Unaffordable Entry-Level Housing, Abolish Single-Family Zoning “There is a developing consensus that adding to supply is fundamental to addressing the challenges facing both would-be home buyers and renters in many areas of the country. A lack of adequate new supply has driven up prices and rents above sustainable levels. The problem may only continue to worsen as demand pressures from population growth and preferences for medium- and large-size metro areas continue to build.” (MarketWatch)
  7. New York’s Retail Property Slump Claims Big Times Square Building “Manhattan’s three-year downturn in retail real estate may have claimed its biggest victim yet. A group of international lenders filed on Monday to foreclose on the company controlling 20 Times Square, a 42-story hotel and retail tower once valued at $2.4 billion. The group, led by a unit of France’s Natixis SA bank, said that 90% of the property’s retail space has been sitting vacant, according to the filing.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  8. The 22 American Cities with the Most Million-Dollar Homes “To pinpoint exactly where the most million-dollar homes are located across the US, LendingTree ranked the 50 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas, according to the US Census Bureau's 2018 American Community Survey, by percentage of owner-occupied homes valued at $1 million or more. LendingTree calculated the concentration of million-dollar homes in each city by dividing the number of homes valued at $1 million or higher by the total number of homes in the statistical area, according to the report.” (Business Insider)
  9. IHOP Is Opening a New Type of Fast Casual Restaurant “As more and more fast food chains try to elbow in on the breakfast market, IHOP is planning a new sort of fast-casual chain. Flip’d will launch next April, with the first location popping up in Atlanta. The company hopes to have stores in New York City, Washington D.C., Denver and San Francisco by the end of 2020. The new brand will focus on freshly-made breakfast foods and beverages with to-go orders in mind.” (Fortune)
  10. Sprawling LA Mall Up for Sale with $100M+ Price Tag “The Eagle Rock Plaza in northern Los Angeles is hitting the market for sale, with the 1970s-era shopping center positioned as a redevelopment play at a sales price that may reach north of $100 million, Commercial Observer has learned. Newmark Knight Frank’s Thomas Dobrowski has the listing. The brokerage plans to launch marketing efforts early next month on the 462,823-square-foot property anchored by Macy’s and Target, said Dobrowski, a New York-based vice chairman at the brokerage.” (Commercial Observer)
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