Skip navigation

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (February 19, 2019)

Some experts worry that cheap multifamily loans offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac help push up property values, reports the Wall Street Journal. Retail Wire looks at what went wrong for Payless ShoeSource as the retailer gets ready to close shop. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Fannie and Freddie Can Make Rental Housing Less Affordable, Critics Say “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed companies best known for their 30-year home loans, have emerged as the dominant source for rental apartment mortgages, too. Their comparatively cheap loans are intended to promote affordable rental housing, but critics argue that in a number of cases Fannie and Freddie’s support has had the opposite effect of enriching landlords at the expense of tenants. The agencies’ cheap loans help push up property values and attract investors to buildings in gentrifying urban neighborhoods.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. When Your Hotel Is Overbooked, You Might Be ‘Walked’ to Another “The term in the travel industry is ‘walked.’ That’s when a hotel tells a traveler with a confirmed reservation that it does not, in fact, have an available room and instead books a room for the guest at another hotel. ‘Walking’ is not new. According to hotel industry experts, however, it has been on the rise as the strong economy drives up hotel occupancy rates. At the same time, hotels have been under pressure to maximize their revenues, experts say.” (The New York Times)
  3. One Court Square Scrambling to Find Tenants After Amazon Backs Out of Queens “Amazon’s Queens kiss-off left the owners of Long Island City’s towering icon, One Court Square, under a looming, little-noted deadline in its quest to find new tenants. A city tax credit for companies that move employees to the outer boroughs — which could have saved Amazon $900 million over 12 years had it delivered its entire, 25,000-job campus — dies on June 30.” (New York Post)
  4. What Real Estate Investors Need to Know About Tax Law Changes—Including the Potential Downsides “For qualifying assets placed in service in tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA greatly increased the maximum Section 179 deduction to $1 million (up from only $510,000 for 2017), with annual inflation adjustments. The inflation-adjusted number for 2019 is $1.02 million. You can write off your allowable Section 179 deduction in Year One, subject to limitations explained below. The TCJA also increased the threshold for the Section 179 deduction phase-out rule to $2.5 million (up from $2.03 million for 2017), with annual inflation adjustments.” (MarketWatch)
  5. CBRE Launches New Co-Working Business, Taking on WeWork “CBRE Group Inc. and other big brokers are trying to muscle their way into the increasingly crowded but lucrative co-working business, aiming to help landlords create their own flex-space companies that cut out middlemen like WeWork Cos. Large companies have embraced co-working and flex space because it allows them to expand and contract their space quickly. They have been rapidly shunning the 10- and 15-year leases that have been a mainstay of the office space industry for decades.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  6. Home-Builder Confidence Jumps in February to Four-Month High “The numbers: The National Association of Home Builders’ monthly confidence index jumped 4 points to a seasonally adjusted reading of 62 in February, the trade group said Tuesday. What happened: The February gain was the second in a row and put the sentiment index, which some economists view as an early read on the pace of residential construction, back to its mid-autumn level. It easily beat the Econoday consensus forecast of a one-point increase.” (MarketWatch)
  7. Where Did Payless Go Wrong? “Payless apparently began losing its differentiation as its nearest budget competitors, including Walmart and Target, kept expanding and elevating their in-house shoe offerings. Off-price shoe sellers, such as Famous Footwear, DSW and Shoe Carnival as well as Kohl’s and TJX Cos., rapidly expanded to bring branded shoe labels within reach of Payless’s value customer.” (Retail Wire)
  8. Air Force to Push Congress for Military Housing Tenant Bill of Rights “Aiming to grant military families far greater say to challenge hazardous housing, the U.S. Air Force told Reuters Monday it will push Congress to enact a tenant bill of rights allowing families the power to withhold rent or break leases to escape unsafe conditions. The proposed measure, outlined in an interview at the Pentagon by Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff David L. Goldfein, follows complaints from military families who say they are often powerless to challenge private industry landlords when they encounter dangerous mold, lead paint and vermin infestations.” (Reuters)
  9. Walmart Shares Surge as Holiday Sales Crush Estimates, Boosted by E-Commerce Growth “Walmart on Tuesday reported earnings and revenue for the holiday quarter that topped analysts' expectations, as its e-commerce sales surged 43 percent thanks to more shoppers using its online grocery delivery service and spending more per trip. CEO Doug McMillon said "a favorable economic environment" has been helping Walmart grow sales and take market share from rivals, including in food and toys.” (CNBC)
  10. Suspect Hunters Point Shipyard Contractor Did Similar Work at Treasure Island “Corporate managers accused of directing an extensive fraud in the cleanup of San Francisco’s toxic shipyard led similar projects at nearby Treasure Island — work that apparently has never been rechecked since fraud at the shipyard was discovered, even as a $5 billion real estate development on the island speeds ahead. Tetra Tech EC, a subsidiary of the government contracting giant Tetra Tech Inc., is being sued for fraud by whistle-blowers and the Department of Justice.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.