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13 Must Reads for Real Estate Investors (Nov. 20, 2023)

The sale of Signature Bank’s apartment loans could be announced as early as today, reports The Wall Street Journal. Private credit is rising in popularity, but established asset managers are winning more than half of new deals, according to Bloomberg. These are among the must reads from the real estate investment world to kick off the holiday week.

  1. Signature Bank’s Apartment Loans Selling at a Steep Discount “The venture’s leading bid of less than 70 cents of the loan’s face value shows how much the value of New York’s rent-regulated apartment sector has deteriorated in recent years. A formal winner could be awarded as early as Monday, according to a person familiar with the auction of real-estate assets once owned by the failed bank.”  (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Private Credit Titans Are Grabbing More Than Half of New Deals “The top dogs in direct lending such as Ares Management Corp. and Blackstone Inc. are deploying over half of the market’s capital, according to a new report by the Alternative Credit Council, an industry body for private credit funds that’s affiliated with the Alternative Investment Management Association. That’s troubling news for the legions of newcomers vying for a piece of the action of Wall Street’s hottest market.” (Bloomberg)
  3. Investment funds stocking up on US farmland in safe-haven bet “Though their acreage is a small slice of the nearly 900 million acres of U.S. farmland, the pace of acquisitions by investment firms like Manulife Investment Management and Nuveen has quickened since the 2008 global financial crisis drove firms to seek new investment vehicles, according to Reuters interviews with fund managers and an analysis of data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF).” (Reuters)
  4. Imminent Office Maturities Signal Rising Distress “As of October, the amount of debt in U.S. office markets reached $920 billion, according to the CommercialEdge review of more than 80,000 properties. Manhattan registered by far the largest volume at $174.5 billion, almost triple that of Los Angeles which took second place with $60 billion.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  5. More Remote-Only Workers Shift to Hybrid in Some Major US Cities “The hybrid work model is increasingly more common as formerly remote workers head back to offices for at least part of the week, a shift that's causing fewer headaches for landlords, according to researchers at Oxford Economics.” (CoStar)
  6. The Distress Record: Valley Bank moves to foreclose, RXR looks to restructure $670M loan “The light at the end of the tunnel seems to be nowhere in sight for commercial real estate, as news of distress continues to gain momentum across the country.” (The Real Deal)
  7. Meet Bob Knakal: The G.O.A.T of NYC Commercial Real Estate “Many regard Bob Knakal as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) in NYC commercial real estate and renowned nationwide. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just look at his LinkedIn and Twitter pages.” (One Page Case Studies)
  8. Empty Warehouses Suggest Troubling Trend “Mehtab Randhawa, senior director, Americas industrial research at JLL, said the current scenario is a result of the industry cramming three to five years of warehouse demand into a span of 24 months during the Covid-19 pandemic—leading to ‘all-time’ vacancy lows. But supply has since far outstripped demand.” (Solving Journal)
  9. Converting Office to Life Sciences Offers Lucrative Alternative to Residential Reuse Projects “Due to the difficulties of office-to-residential conversions, owners have looked to other alternative uses, including life sciences uses. However, finding a suitable office building and successfully converting it to life sciences use while staying under budget is not without challenges.”  (RE Business Online)
  10. The Popularity of Private Credit Is Kicking off a Buying Spree “To tap into those ‘higher octane’ businesses, managers, including BlackRock, PGIM, and Nuveen, have all acquired boutique private credit firms in recent years. And just last week, Manulife Investment Management acquired CQS’s credit platform and First Sentier Investors finalized its majority stake in European alternative credit manager AlbaCore Capital Group.” (Institutional Investor)
  11. The N.Y.C. Neighborhood Where Families Are Filling Up Empty Offices “The financial district name has become something of a misnomer as the neighborhood, once derided as a desert after the bankers commute home, becomes a vibrant residential enclave at Manhattan’s southernmost tip.” (The New York Times)
  12. New Climate Rules Are an Opportunity, Not a Threat, to Commercial Real Estate “Commercial property developers, owners, and managers in these forward-looking jurisdictions have an understandable inclination toward anxiety, even frustration, over compliance achievement, let alone going beyond compliance to achieve the more ambitious climate-positive outcomes that we so desperately need.” (Propmodo)
  13. Commercial Real Estate Finds Its Role Limited in NYC Migrant Crisis “New York City has been grappling with an influx of asylum seekers for the past 18 months, but city leaders are still approaching the crisis as if it were an emergency. It’s an emergency that the commercial real estate industry is largely sidelined for, awaiting direction from public officials.” (Commercial Observer)
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