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Eight Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (April 23, 2021)

The Biden administration is looking more closely at ways to update the Opportunity Zone program, reports The New York Times. Chief Investment Officer delves into where the best real estate investment opportunities currently are. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. SmartRent to Merge with Fifth Wall SPAC in $2.2 Billion Deal “ Inc., which sells smart home-technology systems to apartment-building owners and developers, intends to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company that values the property-tech startup at $2.2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. SmartRent, whose technology is in use in about 185,000 apartments in the U.S. and Canada, plans to announce as early as Thursday that it will merge with Fifth Wall Acquisition Corp., which raised about $345 million in an initial public offering earlier this year, the people said.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Biden Administration Debating How to Overhaul a Trump-Era Tax Break “The Biden administration is weighing how to overhaul a Trump-era tax incentive that was pitched as a way to drive investment to economically depressed swaths of the country but which early evidence suggests has primarily fueled real estate development in areas like Brooklyn neighborhoods that were already becoming richer and whiter.” (The New York Times)
  3. Tax Changes Fears Spur Record M&A Dealmaking in Q1 “Wealth management adviser and brokerage industry merger and acquisition (M&A) dealmaking set a record during the first quarter of this year, spurred by the expectation that the Biden administration could introduce higher capital gains taxes that would go into effect in 2022, according to Echelon Partners’ Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) M&A Deal Report.” (Chief Investment Officer)
  4. Where to Invest in Real Estate Right Now, and Where Not To, Say 2 CIOs “Data centers and infrastructure are promising. Offices aren’t, but the situation there may not be as dire as many fear. Maybe urban centers won’t go down the chute, after all. Some retail will be OK. Forget about farmland. These are among the insightful observations from CIO’s latest episode in our ‘2021 Asset Allocator Series.’ With institutional investors looking for opportunities not correlated to equities, yet offering better returns than fixed income amid low interest rates, the session, which focused on real estate and real assets, was a bonanza of useful information.” (Chief Investment Officer)
  5. Here's Where the Multifamily Market Frayed in 2020 “Boston, Santa Monica, and Tallahassee lead a growing list of cities whose multifamily markets are beginning to crack, with the percentage of loans with occupancy under 80% increasing substantially over the last year. A new report from Trepp notes that signs of “fraying” are beginning to appear in the apartment segment across some major US markets. Boston leads the way with 28% of properties with multifamily loans with less than 80% occupancy, followed by Santa Monica.” (
  6. U.S. Existing Home Prices Climb on Tight Supply “The relentless climb in U.S. home prices and tightening supply threaten to cool the hottest housing market in 15 years, sending frustrated home buyers to the sidelines. The median price for existing home sales rose to $329,100 in March, a new high according to the National Association of Realtors. Prices soared 17.2% last month from a year earlier, marking the biggest price increase in NAR data going back to 1999.” (Wall Street Journal)
  7. Vornado, Empire State Realty Trust Pledge Total Carbon Neutrality by 2035 “Empire State Realty Trust and Vornado Realty Trust have committed to reaching carbon neutrality across their entire New York state real estate portfolios by 2035. The firms, which together account for more than 16 million square feet of real estate in New York, are two of 10 major landlords that entered a new public-private partnership with the state, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced Wednesday.” (The Real Deal)
  8. Chipotle to Open 200 New Locations in 2021 “Chipotle Mexican Grill smashed first-quarter earnings expectations amid a 17.2% rise in same-store sales. The fast-casual chain anticipates opening 200 new restaurants in 2021, assuming minimal construction and permit delays related to COVID-19, the company said.” (Chain Store Age)
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