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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Jan. 16, 2020)

This year will see the delivery of more new apartment units than any year since the 1980s, according to the Wall Street Journal. Coney Island shop owners are looking at rent increases of up to 400 percent, reports The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Aiming at Wealthy Renters, Developers Build More Luxury Apartments Than They Have in Decades “Builders are on track to finish more new apartments in 2020 than in any year since the 1980s, a new study shows, with developers across the U.S. chasing after the more affluent tenants. An additional 371,000 new rental units are expected to hit the U.S. market this year, which is a 50% increase over the number of new units completed in 2019, according to an analysis from real-estate analytics firm RealPage.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Is a 400% Rent Increase the Future of Coney Island? “Dianna Carlin should be finishing the book she is writing about the joys of owning the Lola Star boutique, a ‘really tiny, magical little shop’ on the Coney Island boardwalk, for the past 19 years. Instead, Ms. Carlin has been anxious and fearful since her landlord weeks ago offered her a new lease — with a 400 percent rent increase. ‘I’m wondering if I should start ordering ‘going out of business’ signs,’ she said.” (The New York Times)
  3. The Ghost of the Housing Bubble Still Haunts the Home Mortgage Market “The U.S. housing-market crash a dozen years ago is evidently ancient history for many mortgage lenders. Mortgage underwriting standards have eased considerably in the past couple of years; one of the largest U.S. mortgage originators now offers a jumbo mortgage of up to $1 million with only 10% down if you have a FICO score of at least 760.  Borrowers who can scrape up a down payment of between 30% and 40% might be able to receive up to $3 million.” (MarketWatch)
  4. Who’s the Most Powerful Person in Real Estate Right Now? “An annual listing of the most powerful people in real estate has been published. The Swanepoel Power 200 for 2020 puts Zillow co-founder and CEO Rich Barton at the top of the pile followed by Keller Williams Realty CEO Gary Keller, HomeServices of America CEO Ron Peltier, Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider, and Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman.” (Mortgage Professional America)
  5. 17 U.S. Cities Where Retirement Is Affordable, Taxes Are Reasonable, and Healthcare Costs Less “Some cities make it easier to stretch your retirement dollars than others. To update its list of the best places in the US to retire for 2019, personal finance site WalletHub calculated which cities were the most affordable by looking at the overall costs of living, tax rates, inheritance and estate taxes, and the costs of both in-home and day care for seniors.” (Business Insider)
  6. The New York-Based Real Estate Development Firm Witkoff Is Expanding to Miami “After three decades based exclusively in New York City, the real estate investment and development firm Witkoff is expanding beyond the Big Apple to the Magic City. ‘We believe in the growth of Miami,’ said the company’s executive vice president Alex Witkoff. The firm opened a 6,000-square-foot office just north of the Design District at 4400 Biscayne Blvd. in December. Witkoff said the office will employ 30 to 40 employees by 2022, some of them relocating from the New York headquarters.” (Miami Herald)
  7. Housing: California Is Moving in Right Direction, But Must Go Faster “Here’s my New Year’s prediction: The affordability crisis in California will continue unabated into 2020. The good news is that our elected officials are internalizing this fact. The bad news is that too many of them are grabbing onto whatever solution seems most politically convenient. Look no further than the 200-odd disconnected housing bills that were introduced last year by the California Legislature or President Trump’s recent calls for sweeping the homeless into detention centers.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
  8. Here’s Why Real Estate Finance Must Build in Sustainability “The real estate sector has a serious impact on climate change. Buildings account for around one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions and consume 40% of the world's energy. Furthermore, as a result of climate change we are experiencing more frequent extreme weather events, which in turn have a huge impact on real estate prices. In the US, homes exposed to rising sea levels sell for around 7% less than observably equivalent unexposed properties at a distance from the beach.” (World Economic Forum)
  9. Workforce Housing Gets Creative with Funding “Workforce housing development and investment will continue to be a focus through 2020, and with rising demand for this market segment, investors are getting increasingly creative and strategic about workforce housing financing. As a result, there will not only be an ongoing focus around this market segment, but also—hopefully—strides in the right direction.” (
  10. Why Circle Centre Mall Is Doing Better Than You Think “It’s a new year. That means there are going-out-of-business signs hanging at Circle Centre mall. The women’s clothing store New York & Co. kicked off mall-closing season with a sale that will last until its Jan. 27 demise. You can expect even more spaces in Circle Centre to go dark after that. The first quarter of the year presents an opportune exit for retailers that have hung around in malls through the high-traffic holiday shopping season yet can no longer justify the overhead costs of keeping the lights on for all the other months.” (IndyStar)
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