10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 6, 2016)

10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (June 6, 2016)


  1. Eyes on Yellen for rate-hike signals after payroll data shocks “Investors will be looking for signals from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen this week about the U.S. central bank's next rate move after shockingly weak payroll data all but killed off chances for a hike this month. But the focus will also not stray far from developments in Britain as voters there prepare to vote in a referendum on June 23 on whether to stay in the European Union. Expectations for the next Fed rate hike were knocked back to at least July or later after U.S. non-farm payroll data on Friday showed U.S. employers added only 38,000 jobs in May, far below expectations of 164,000.” (CNBC)
  2. The Coming Commercial Real Estate Bust “Yet, retail vacancy rates remain nearly 3% above their pre-crisis levels. The paradigm shift away from brick-and-mortar stores and towards online shopping is undoubtedly having an impact. Office vacancy rates remain elevated, too. Again, technology may be the prime culprit considering that companies need fewer employees to produce the same output. Also, over-building may be a contributing factor. Whatever the causes, there’s a glut of commercial real estate (CRE) space, and one of the longest economic expansions in history has failed to alleviate it. You wouldn’t know it from looking at CRE prices, though.” (Wall Street Daily)
  3. Reits Lean On Term Loans For Capital “With capital issuance down in the face of still-turbulent bond market conditions, REITs have continued to rely heavily on term loans, Fitch Ratings said Friday. The headwinds from the capital markets belie the fact that commercial real estate fundamentals remain healthy, according to Fitch. Year to date through May 24, US equity REITs had issued $31.4 billion of capital, including $7.7 billion of common equity, $900 million of preferred equity, $14.5 billion of unsecured bonds and $8.3 billion of unsecured term loans. That tally is down 11.6% from the year-ago period, but the term loan component is ‘on schedule to top the record set by the sector just last year,’ Fitch says. The YTD total for term-loan issuance is already more than half the $15 billion raised via this method last year. In fact, were it not for the uptick in term loan issuance, REITs’ capital raising would be down more sharply than it is already YTD. Fitch reports that the combined capital from common equity and unsecured bond issuance lags 2015 YTD by 26.1%.” (Globe St.)
  4. The 10 Best Cities for Successful Aging “The new Milken Institute’s has selected its Top 10 for people 65 and older. The winners are selected from the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas that score best on 84 data indicators in eight categories, ranging from financial to health care to community engagement. This year’s No. 1: Madison, Wisc.” (Forbes)
  5. Sports Authority's liquidation could mean opportunity for some, empty big boxes for others “When Sports Authority rings up its final sale this summer, more than 600,000 square feet of mostly big-box retail space could flood the metro Denver market. What becomes of the bankrupt retailer's real estate portfolio — including leases at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Highlands Ranch Town Center North, Southlands and Colorado Mills, and the new Village at the Peaks in Longmont — once the stores go dark will depend largely on the individual location, local and national retail experts said. ‘They're got some really good real estate,’ said Carolyn Martinez, an associate director and retail specialist with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in Denver. ‘It's going to make some sense for groups who came in after and want to relocate some of their stores or perhaps this creates a hole in the market.’ Nationwide, 320 Sports Authority retail leases — including 27 in Colorado — will be auctioned off June 29 as part of the Englewood-based retailer‘s liquidation proceedings.” (Daily Camera)
  6. Your office’s air could be making you sickAfter construction costs, leasing and design, air quality was never even on the radar of most developers. But that has changed in recent years, following evidence that buildings suffer from a buildup of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. In recent decades, buildings have been constructed to be more airtight, because it makes them more energy efficient. However, builders have often failed to add sufficient ventilation to highly efficient buildings, which leads to a closed system where harmful pollutants build up in the air and are breathed day in and out by workers. It’s know as ‘sick building syndrome,’ according to Newsweek. Today, some developers and architects are focused on fixing the problem. Architectural firm CookFox designed One Bryant Park, better known as the Bank of America Tower, with special filters that suck out more than 95 percent of the bad air.” (The Real Deal)
  7. Menlo Equities Completes Initial Formation of Office Fund “Menlo Equities has completed a $215 million initial formation of Menlo Equities Absolute Return Fund, which focuses on acquiring and operating core and core-plus office properties leased to investment-grade-rated and credit worthy tenants. Later this month, MEARF expects to acquire and add a fully leased office property located in Austin, Texas, which will bring the Fund’s total asset value to about $465 million. ‘It is an open-end, evergreen fund that we intend to grow over time,’ Henry Bullock, Menlo Equities’ chairman, told Commercial Property Executive. ‘The current target is an additional $750 million (in increments of $1-50 million) on top of the existing AUM of approximately $350 million, but the asset base could grow to $2 billion-plus over time.’” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Security Properties and Pacific Make $118M Seattle Purchase “Security Properties and Pacific Life Insurance Company have acquired Overlook at Lakemont. The 400-unit, Class B multifamily property in Bellevue, Wash., was purchased for $118 million in Security Properties’ first joint venture with Pacific Life. The property will be managed by Security Properties affiliate Madrona Ridge Residential. Overlook is located in the prestigious Lakemont community, where within the three-mile radius encircling the property, average income is $130,000 and average home price is almost $900,000. The Issaquah School District of which Lakemont is part is continually among the top-ranked districts in Washington State. The area delivers a suburban, low-density ambiance but offers “walkable retail” that includes a high-end supermarket and a Starbucks.” (MultiHousing News)
  9. Vornado Sells Stake in $560M NYC Office Tower “Sixteen years after acquiring Manhattan’s 7 W. 34th St., Vornado Realty Trust has sold a 47 percent interest in the office and retail tower. The REIT’s new co-owner is sovereign wealth fund Korea Post, which made the acquisition through CBRE Global Investors’ U.S. Managed Accounts Group in a deal valuing the Midtown South property at approximately $561 million. The transaction comes on the heels of Vornado’s completion of a $300 million recourse financing of the asset in the form of a 10-year, interest-only loan. The REIT, which will continue to hold the majority stake in the building, had been the sole owner of 7 W. 34th since grabbing the 12-story property for roughly $128 million in 2000.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. South Florida condo boards rip off consumers with high application fees “Condo associations across South Florida are ripping off consumers with high application fees in violation of state law, a Miami Herald investigation has found. Associations are allowed to charge people applying to buy or rent a unit a maximum of $100 per person. The nonrefundable fees cover the costs of interviews, background and credit checks. But many buildings gouge tenants and buyers with fees anywhere between $125 and $625, according to lease and purchase applications reviewed by the Herald. Some associations also tack on moving-in and other charges that run into the hundreds of dollars. At a few condos that allow pets, even residents’ furry friends have to cough up fees of $100 or more. In Miami-Dade County, nearly half of condo listings show application fees exceeding $100, from fancy high-rises in Miami Beach to run-of-the-mill units in Kendall, according to a Herald analysis of a database used by Realtors.” (Miami Herald)
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