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14 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Sept. 16, 2022)

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System invited comment on its proposed policy statement on prudent CRE loan workouts. The New York Times looks at the tentative railroad labor union deal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. What We Know About the Railroad Labor Deal “Rail freight is the centerpiece of the global supply chain, which has already been disrupted by the pandemic, with cargo ships, trains and trucks facing continued difficulties transporting goods. A strike would slow down the circulation of goods within the United States and with overseas trade allies. The rail system also brings some crude oil from Canada into the United States, and helps export American gasoline and diesel to Mexico. A disruption to those movements could send gas prices, which have steadily fallen since June, back up. Fuel prices are a major driver of overall inflation.” (The New York Times)
  2. Policy Statement on Prudent Commercial Real Estate Loan Accommodations and Workouts “The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) is inviting comment on a proposed policy statement for prudent commercial real estate loan accommodations and workouts (proposed statement), which would be relevant to all financial institutions supervised by the Board. The proposed statement was developed jointly by the Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in consultation with state bank and credit union regulators and is identical in content to the proposal issued by the OCC, FDIC, and NCUA on August 2, 2022.” (Federal Register)
  3. The Open Office Is Out, ‘Sealed Privacy” Is In as Cubicles Make a Comeback “Anyone who’s traded their pre-pandemic skinny jeans for looser, 1990s-style pants knows the joy of a little more room. Now workers craving extra space are spurring the revival of two more vintage staples: cubicles and private offices. With doors that shut! Lots of people always hated the “open” office layout designed to foster collaboration. There’s nowhere to hang your stuff, nowhere to have a sensitive conversation and nowhere to focus without overhearing colleagues’ blabbering. Plus, several studies indicate that the supposed benefits of togetherness and transparency are overrated.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  4. More Regulation, Less Revenue. What CRE Execs Worry About for 2023? “Commercial real estate professionals are known for their persistent optimism, a necessity on the bruising roller coaster the industry can often be, but with economic, climate and regulatory challenges bearing down, many finance executives from major property firms aren’t looking forward to 2023. These executives expect revenues to drop next year because of a slowdown in the economy, leading them to cut costs, plus there is growing uncertainty about the industry's response to climate change, especially how to deal with the evolving climate regulatory environment.” (Bisnow)
  5. Cooling Single-Family Housing Market ‘Detrimental’ to Apartment Industry “A cooling in the single-family home market could be detrimental to the health of the multifamily sector, according to the Integra Realty Resources (IRR) Mid-Year Commercial Real Estate Report issued this week. While IRR reports that multifamily assets traded at record highs as most U.S. residential markets rocketed through Q1, single-family home volume and values ‘will surely affect forward rental rate forecasts negatively,’ the firm said.” (
  6. Renter Activists Crashed a DC Landlord Conference to Protest ‘Corrupt Greed’ and Rising Rents “On Tuesday, more than 100 tenant activists ambushed a national gathering of corporate landlords to demand that ‘lawmakers stop opposing tenant protections at the behest of real estate groups and developers.’ Waving red signs, activists from four organizations — Renters Rising, the Center for Popular Democracy, PowerSwitch Action, and the Action Center for Race and the Economy—met at the Intercontinental Hotel at the Wharf to disrupt the National Multifamily Housing Council's annual fall conference.” (Insider)
  7. CoStar Group Included in S&P 500 Index “CoStar Group, a provider of information, analytics and marketing services to the commercial property industry, has been selected for inclusion in the S&P 500 Index. The S&P 500 Index is widely recognised as one of the premier benchmarks of the U.S. equities market, comprising 500 leading companies across important industries of the United States. The S&P Index Committee selects companies through criteria including market capitalisation, liquidity and consistent, positive earnings.” (The Business Magazine)
  8. 7 Questions About Rent, Answered “In these brutal times for renters, leases expire and landlords raise rents. But increases are not set in stone, and not all markets are equal. Here’s what you need to know from our team of Real Estate reporters.” (The New York Times)
  9. ‘Inherently Suspect’: Why Is Dual Agency Everywhere in U.S. CRE When it’s Banned in the U.K.? “Commercial real estate brokerage is a profession filled with traditions and legacy, passed through generations of new agents — and it is one that has long been resistant to reform. But a pair of lawsuits this year in the nation’s capital have cast a spotlight on one of the industry’s most controversial, longstanding practices: dual agency. In the U.S., the same entity often represents both sides of a lease or sale transaction — sometimes an individual broker, but quite often different brokers from the same firm. Known as dual agency or representation, this practice is the bedrock of many of the nation’s biggest deals.” (Bisnow)
  10. Fast-Fashion Giant Shein Plans U.S. Expansion as Sales Climb “Shein, the online retailer that has turbocharged the global fast-fashion industry, is planning to deepen its foothold in the U.S. as its sales to American shoppers continue to soar. The company is planning to build three large distribution centers in the U.S. that could eventually reduce shipping times for its customers by three to four days, George Chiao, president of Shein’s U.S. operations, said in an interview. It is also planning a hiring spree in the country over the next few years, he said. Shein, a privately held business known for extremely low-priced and trendy apparel and accessories, hasn’t disclosed its recent sales figures.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  11. Legal Pot Spawned a Web of Corruption, Threats and Secret Financial Deals for Politicians “Commercial cannabis resulted in corruption and questionable conduct that has rocked local governments across California, a Times investigation found.” (Los Angeles Times)
  12. RH Guesthouse Opens its First Hospitality Concept in the Heart of New York City “Located in the historic Meatpacking District and only steps from the massive RH New York Gallery in the heart of downtown at 55 Gansevoort, RH Guesthouse oozes luxury and exclusivity. It is as if you are entering a small New York residential building with a private entrance, no check-in desk, private rooftop and pool only for guests staying at the Guesthouse. There is a ‘no social media’ policy as well to ensure the privacy of all guests. RH Chairman & CEO Gary Friedman commented, ‘The RH Guesthouse has been designed through a lens of privacy and luxury.’” (Forbes)
  13. Carbon Title Launches Decarbonization Blockchain Technology for Real Estate “The commercial real estate industry is responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and on Thursday new proptech startup Carbon Title launched its online platform to provide carbon transparency to the real estate value chain and the public in its push for carbon neutrality. In stealth mode since its founding in 2021, the Portland, Ore.-based Carbon Title claims it has created the only decentralized, end-to-end platform that brings together the entire value chain — from architects and developers, to investors, building owners, and carbon credit providers — to accelerate and scale the decarbonization of the real estate industry.” (Commercial Observer)
  14. ‘The Economy Is Breaking Hard’ and CEO Confidence Is Miserable, Says Billionaire Investor Barry Sternlicht “The U.S. economy is teetering on the brink of a serious downturn if the Federal Reserve doesn’t pump the brakes on its rate hikes, billionaire CEO Barry Sternlicht said. The central bank has already raised interest rates four times this year and is widely expected to hike them by 75 basis points next week in an effort to tame inflation. Earlier this week, consumer prices rose 0.1% instead of the 0.1% decline economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting.” (CNBC)
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