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Eight Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Dec. 21, 2021)

Affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate will buy Bluerock Residential Growth REIT in a deal valued at $3.6 billion, reports Reuters. Home flipping is getting less profitable, according to CNBC. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Brookfield Closes $4B CRE Debt Fund “Brookfield has closed its latest real estate debt fund, Brookfield Real Estate Finance Fund VI, with capital commitments totaling more than $4 billion, exceeding an initial target of $3 billion. A diverse group of nearly 50 limited partners committed to BREF VI, including public and private pension plans, labor organizations, endowments and foundations, financial institutions and insurance companies.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  2. Blackstone Affiliates to Buy Bluerock REIT in $3.6 Bln Deal “Bluerock Residential Growth REIT said on Monday affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate have offered a cash buyout deal valued at $3.6 billion, sending its shares soaring 77%. Real estate companies have gained from record-low interest rates since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The uptick in demand for homes due to low borrowing costs have pushed prices higher, boosting supplier's profits.” (Reuters)
  3. NYC Hotel Occupancy Hits Pandemic Record Amid Virus Surge “New York City’s hotel occupancy rate led all U.S. markets during the week ending on December 11, per data and analytics firm STR.” (The Real Deal)
  4. How Inflation Has Changed Prices at One Small Business—and the Menu—at One Small Business “Judy Henry’s restaurant has been known for its housemade rosemary focaccia, served warm with extra-virgin olive oil to each table. In November, after nearly 20 years of the bread being complimentary, she began charging guests $1.50 per loaf. Using bread to help balance the books is one way the chef-owner is managing rising costs of everything from workers to crab meat at her restaurant, Judy’s on Cherry, in Reading, Pa. Beef and pork trimmings previously used in soup are now ground up and used in a meatball appetizer, creating a new source of revenue. Ms. Henry last month raised the price of nonalcoholic beverages by 30 cents and stopped offering free refills.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  5. What the Pandemic Has—and Hasn’t—Changed for This Co-Working Business “’We didn't do that much before,’ Roland Medrano said. ‘It's forced us to customize based on people's needs because of Covid.’” (Columbus Business First)
  6. Home Flipping Is Getting More Competitive—And Less Profitable “Fast-growing prices in the housing market, as well as low interest rates, are enticing more investors to buy homes, renovate them quickly and sell them for a profit. But while home flips are rising and investors are expecting growing returns, the profits are falling. Close to 95,000 homes were flipped in the third quarter of this year, which was an increase for the second quarter in a row after flipping dropped dramatically in the first year of the pandemic.” (CNBC)
  7. Shopping in Stores on the Final Saturday Before Christmas Down 26% from Pre-Pandemic Levels “A lack of foreign tourists opening up their wallets and another wave of coronavirus cases in some major U.S. cities weighed on shopper turnout on the final Saturday before Christmas, preventing it from bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. Visits to retail stores dropped 26.3% on Saturday compared with the Saturday before Christmas in 2019, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions, a division of Johnson Controls.” (CNBC)
  8. DC Declares State of Emergency, Prompting Indoor Mask, Booster Mandates “The mayor of Washington, DC, declared a state of emergency Monday amid a record number of new local COVID infections — triggering booster-shot and renewed mask mandates. All government workers in DC will need to have a booster shot, losing the option to test out of the mandate under the emergency step, said Mayor Muriel Bowser.” (New York Post)
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