10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (October 19, 2017)

For the fifth time in six months, U.S. housing starts decreased in September, reports the Wall Street Journal. Downtown Los Angeles is not the metro area’s most expensive place to rent an apartment, according to Forbes. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Hurricanes Weighed on Housing Starts in September “U.S. housing starts decreased last month for the fifth time in six months, as builders felt the brunt of construction delays as well as labor and material shortages caused by hurricanes in Florida and Texas.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Where Downtown Isn’t the Most Expensive Place to Rent “Downtown Los Angeles is a sparkling example of urban Renaissance. A quarter-century ago, downtown had been relegated to a haven for low-income housing and parking lots after the freeway system helped develop alternative office, shopping and entertainment hubs. Since then, a focused redevelopment effort brought downtown back to the forefront with construction of LA Live, the Staples Center, Class A office space and a commuter rail hub. But one thing downtown is not is the most expensive place to rent an apartment in the metro area.” (Forbes)
  3. Fancy Being a Landlord? Here Are 10 Metros Offering Double-Digit Rental Returns “Stocks are pricey and bonds aren’t yielding much. But renting out homes can offer big bucks via a steady stream of double-digit returns. Real estate data provider Attom Data collected the top 25 zip codes for single-family rentals, all of which offer hefty yields.” (MarketWatch)
  4. Why Walmart’s Grocery Business Won’t Get Destroyed by Its New European Rivals “Will cut-rate German grocers Aldi and Lidl destroy Walmart Stores Inc. as they rapidly expand their U.S. presence? Probably not. Aldi said in June that it would add 400 new stores through 2018 to its current U.S. store count of 1,600, spending $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 of those locations. By 2022, Aldi's U.S. store base is expected to hit 2,500, with Aldi spending $3.4 billion to open the new locations, for a total U.S. investment of $5 billion.” (TheStreet)
  5. Wal-Mart Nears Web Deal with Lord & TaylorWal-Mart Stores has a solution for retailers doing battle with Inc. join forces to give shoppers an alternative. The world’s biggest retailer is near a deal with Lord & Taylor that would give the department store dedicated space on, according to a person familiar with the matter. Such an agreement would be the first step in creating an online mall that shoppers could access from Wal-Mart’s website, this person said.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  6. 20 Cities Where People Are Flipping the Most Homes “The art of house-flipping is on the rise thanks to the popularity of reality TV shows like HGTV’s “Flip or Flop.” If you’re handy with a toolbelt and don’t mind weeks of manual labor, you might be thinking, ‘I can do that.’ Before you blow your life savings on buying that fixer-upper, though, it might help to know where people are flipping—and, more important, buying—homes in 2017.” (MarketWatch)
  7. The ‘Amazon Experience’ Goes Live at Kohl’sKohl's is officially in business with Amazon. Starting Wednesday, 10 Kohl's stores in the Los Angeles and Chicago markets will both sell Amazon's smart home products and accept the online retailer's returns. The arrangement should help draw more shoppers to Kohl's stores, and make it easier for Amazon's customers to bring back unwanted items.” (CNBC)
  8. Justice Department Starts Initiative to Contest Sexual Harassment in Housing “In an effort to combat sexual harassment in housing, the Justice Department has announced a new initiative that specifically “seeks to increase the department’s efforts to protect women from harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security guards, and other employees and representatives of rental property owners.” (Multifamily Executive)
  9. An F1 Mogul and Qatari Cash: How the Supertall at 111 West 57th St. Became a Labyrinth of Offshore Wealth “In 2002, Andy Ruhan, a British real estate mogul and racecar driver, fell out of the sky. His helicopter crashed in the West Midlands, and Ruhan, who suffered more than 100 fractures and serious burns, crawled through the fields to get help. He recovered, went on to build an empire that encompassed data centers, a game reserve and hotels, and reportedly amassed a personal fortune of over $250 million. But if you go by what his lawyers said in court last week, he’s dead broke.” (The Real Deal)
  10. Harriman to Develop Four Common Co-Living Buildings Managed by Common in New York, LA “Co-living management firm Common is expanding to Los Angeles, with a new equity company providing capital and developing the buildings.” (Bisnow)
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