10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (December 8, 2016)

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (December 8, 2016)


  1. Russians Flock to U.S. Real Estate after Trump Victory “The number of Russians who have expressed interest in buying luxury properties in the U.S. has spiked by 35% over the previous year following the billionaire's win, according to global real estate consultancy Knight Frank. Knight Frank said Russians are interested in vacation homes as well as investment properties. Nearly all are looking to spend between $500,000 and $5 million on a residential property, while 10% are hoping to buy commercial real estate.” (CNN Money)
  2. Amazon: No, We’re Not Opening 2,000 Stores “Can't wait to shop at an Amazon supermarket? Well, you may have to wait a very, very long time. Two days after The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon plans to open "more than 2,000 brick-and-mortar grocery stores under its name," the company knocked down the idea as false. ‘It's absolutely not correct,’ Amazon spokeswoman Pia Arthur said in an emailed statement Wednesday. ‘We have no plans to open 2,000 of anything. Not even close. We are still learning.’ The online retailer also batted down the claim by the publication that Amazon envisions opening a 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot store that would resemble a discount grocery chain like Aldi.” (CNET)
  3. Sears Says It’s Likely to Close Many More Stores as Sales Slide Worsens “Sears finance chief, Jason Hollar, said the company had a lot of flexibility to keep closing more stores given that about 550 of its stores have leases that expire in just a few years. Sears ‘will continue to close unprofitable stores as their leases come due,’ he said, adding that the company would ‘end up with a smaller but meaningfully-sized store base.’ Sears’ promises to investors have stretched investor credulity. Indeed, shares have fallen by about 40% this year.” (Fortune)
  4. Mortgage Rates Soar to Fresh 2016 High, Freddie Mac Says “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.13% in the Dec. 8 week, up five basis points during the week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.36%, up from 3.34% in the prior week. Both are at 2016 highs. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.17%, up two basis points. Mortgage rates loosely track the benchmark 10-Year Treasury yield, but move more slowly and within a narrower range.” (MarketWatch)
  5. America’s First Real Estate Presidency “The White House has been home to lawyers, generals, professors and career politicians, but never a real estate sharpie like Donald Trump. For more than five decades, intellectuals like Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. have been warning us about the perils of the imperial presidency—the unrestrained expansion of presidential power beyond its proscribed constitutional limits. What they should have been bird-dogging was the advent of the real estate presidency.” (Politico)
  6. Houston’s Real Estate Sector Isn’t in Too Much Trouble—Yet “Office vacancy rates now stand at 17.1 percent, according to the most recent report from Colliers. Marcus & Millichap expects apartment vacancies to rise to 7 percent by the end of the year, up from 5.8 percent in the third quarter. Hotel revenues per available rooms have been declining, as new facilities come online, with fewer business travelers to fill them. But here's the bright side: All that new inventory hasn't been performing so badly that developers can't afford to pay back the money they used to build it.” (Houston Chronicle)
  7. House Flippers Flee ‘Flashy’ Cities as Prices Rise and Inventories Fall “Home flipping dipped in the third quarter as the chronically low inventory and higher prices plaguing the housing market made it more challenging to buy real estate cheaply enough to turn a nice profit. There were 45,718 single family homes and condos flipped during the quarter, according to Attom Data, down 7% compared with a year ago. In the second quarter, flipping — defined as a property that is sold in an arms-length sale for the second time within a 12-month period — had touched a nine-year high.” (MarketWatch)
  8. Vornado Secures $400M Loan for 350 Park Avenue “Vornado Realty Trust has secured $400 million in financing for 350 Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The ten-year loan has a fixed rate of 3.92 percent. According to Vornado, the deal generated net proceeds of $111 million after it paid back the property’s existing $284 million mortgage and closing costs. A report from Commercial Mortgage Alert identified Goldman Sachs as the lender in the deal. The building, known as the ‘wedding cake tower’ because of its tiered design, is located between 51st and 52nd Streets.” (Real Estate Weekly)
  9. RLJ Lodging Trust Trims Stake in NYC Hotels “RLJ Lodging Trust, of Bethesda, Md., has sold two hotels in New York City for $286 million or $494,500 per key, the REIT recently announced. The two properties are the 298-room Hilton Garden Inn New York/West 35th Street and the 280-room Hilton New York Fashion District in Manhattan. The price reportedly represents a cap rate of about 4.7 percent on the hotels’ projected 2016 net operating income, including planned capital expenditures. The sale cut the share of RLJ’s pro forma 2016 hotel EBITDA from the New York City market to less than 5 percent.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. Target Sponsors Home Décor Pop-Up in Manhattan “Target Corp. has teamed up with Domino, a trendy home decor magazine. The store, called Domino Holiday Dream, features products curated by Domino's editorial staff and inspired by the magazine’s winter issue, the report said. Target has provided a gift-wrapping station at the store, with wrapping options that are also available at Target stores and on its online store.” (Chain Store Age)
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