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11 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Sept. 13, 2021)

In Germany, Berlin residents will vote later this month on whether to expropriate big landlords, reports The Wall Street Journal. Apartment rents rose in every major U.S. city in August—the first time that’s happened since the start of the pandemic. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Berlin’s Renters Want to Show Landlords the Door “Berlin’s tenants are trying to evict large landlords. It is an extreme situation, but investors buying up homes in the U.S. should still keep a close eye on what happens. On Sept. 26, voters in Germany’s capital will decide whether to expropriate any landlord that owns more than 3,000 properties in the city. A clause in the German constitution allows for the move, but it hasn’t been tested before.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Rents rise in all big US cities, a pandemic first “While rent climbed across the country from last year, the increases varied widely. The biggest came in Phoenix, where rent was up 22.0 percent from a year ago. Tampa had the second largest rise at 20.2 percent, followed by Las Vegas at 19.2 percent. Miami also saw explosive growth as apartment rents shot up 17.5 percent over the 12 months.” (The Real Deal)
  3. A leaked tax plan draft shows how Democrats want to raise $2.9 trillion “America's highest earners and biggest companies would bear the brunt of the tax hikes, which amount to a rollback of many provisions approved by President Donald Trump four years ago. Still, many of the increases are not as aggressive as what President Joe Biden originally laid out earlier this year in his push towards a fairer tax system.” (Insider)
  4. Seattle CRE appraiser's startup aims to put a dent in the homeless crisis “Hives of the modules could be built in vacant warehouses and other commercial buildings in areas where NIMBYism is less of a threat, the company CEO says.” (Puget Sound Business Journal)
  5. The Clash Over a Tax Break for Investors Is Intensifying. Business Owners Should Take Notice “On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business advocacy organization, released a study arguing one of Biden's proposed changes to the tax would force affected industries such as real estate investment and private equity to downsize, cutting 4.9 million jobs, hurting pension returns, and unfairly sanctioning industries that invest in sectors including sustainability and healthcare.” (Inc.)
  6. Landlord Group Takes New York’s Eviction Ban to Court, Again “The state legislature recently reworked the pandemic eviction ban in the wake of a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a significant part of New York’s prior anti-eviction legislation. Under the old policy, tenants who were facing eviction cases could submit a filing to their landlords that attested they could not pay their rent because of income loss related to the pandemic. That allowed them, in most cases, to avoid a housing court hearing.” (Commercial Observer)
  7. California’s Plan To Fill The Middle-Income Gap Starts With Market-Rate Housing “The CSCDA is the largest joint powers authority in the state and is very active in Southern California, but two other JPAs have created moderate-income housing programs that similarly fund this type of project. One, California Community Housing Agency, started in 2019. In total, the three have purchased 6,000 units across 20 buildings, the Los Angeles Times reported.” (Bisnow)
  8. Blackstone Drops $3 Billion Property Deal With Chinese Power Couple “Blackstone’s offer was conditional upon approval by China’s antitrust regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation. But the U.S. private-equity giant and Soho China said Friday that they hadn’t been able to make sufficient progress on meeting the conditions for the deal within their agreed time frame.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  9. Can a Green-Economy Boom Town Be Built to Last? “As it prepares to deliver its first electric pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles this year, Rivian has spent around $1.5 billion renovating and expanding a factory once owned by Mitsubishi. On a typical day the 3.3-million-square-foot plant hosts several hundred construction workers alongside more than 2,500 workers employed by the company, which expects to eventually double its local head count.” (The New York Times)
  10. Sustainable real estate investment faces infrastructure and regulatory hurdles “Because many complexes are submetered it’s difficult to implement solar. Without a property having a master meter system, it’s difficult to pass along the savings from solar panels to individual tenants.” (Dallas Business Journal)
  11. Mom & Pop CRE Investors Reclaim Seat at the Table “The ability to take on debt at ultra-low rates has enabled first-time and mom-and-pop investors to get involved in ways they couldn’t a few years ago, and they are largely focusing their efforts on the ’burbs.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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