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Five Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (August 22, 2019)

The Trump administration plans to release its Fannie/Freddie plan next month, reports MarketWatch. The AIA’s billing index is showing signs of weakness, according to CNBC. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Trump Plan for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Likely to be Released Next Month “The Trump administration is preparing to release as early as the first part of September its long-awaited plan to return Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private-shareholder ownership, according to people familiar with the matter. The proposal comes more than a decade after the government seized the mortgage-finance firms to save them from collapse. It would likely seek to put the companies on a sounder financial footing and then release them from government control if Congress doesn’t enact a more fundamental overhaul in the meantime, these people said.” (MarketWatch)
  2. Cost of Spherical Las Vegas Venue Put at $1.2 Billion-Plus “Company and project officials are estimating the costs of a spherical entertainment venue under construction on the Las Vegas Strip at between $1.2 billion and $1.7 billion. Madison Square Garden Co. President Andrew Lustgarten disclosed cost projections Tuesday along with quarterly company earnings. The 18,000-seat arena, called MSG Sphere, is a partnership between MSG and Las Vegas Sands, the owner of the adjacent Venetian and Palazzo resorts.” (Associated Press)
  3. Is Real Estate Crowdfunding a Good Investment? “Ask a rich person how they got rich, and there’s a good chance they’ll say they invested in real estate. In fact, real estate is generally accepted as one of the most solid ways to build wealth. That’s why there’s no shortage of people who long to buy a home and watch its value rise over time. There are the landlords willing to manage years of tenants in exchange for an eventual return on their purchase. And then there are the folks you see on TV who buy houses to flip seeking a seemingly near-instant profit.” (Lifehacker)
  4. MGM Getting into Boutique Hotel Business with New Acquisition “MGM Resorts International acquired a 50% stake in the lodging company that operates the boutique NoMad hotels and five other brands, as it seeks to diversify and attract a younger crowd. A spokesman for the Las Vegas-based company said the acquisition of the Sydell Group ‘is part of the next evolution of our growth opportunities.’ MGM declined to declined to disclose the price or other terms of the deal. But people familiar with the matter said it was buying half the equity in the New York-based hotel operating company, which has 16 hotels open or under construction in New York, Los Angeles, London and other cities.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  5. New Architects’ Report Shows How the Trade War Is Hitting Commercial Real Estate “A key indicator for the commercial real estate market is showing signs of weakness, and uncertainty in the economy over the trade war, markets and interest rates may be to blame. The American Institute of Architects’ architecture billings improved slightly, though barely in positive territory, as demand for design services in July rose slightly. Design contracts, however, fell into negative territory for the first time in almost a year. Architecture billings also softened in all regions except the West and in all specializations except multifamily.” (CNBC)
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