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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Nov. 29, 2022)

The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into whether RealPage’s software helped apartment owners coordinate rental rates, reports Multifamily Dive. CNBC looks into how Atlanta’s recent population and economic growth has negatively affected low-income renters and homebuilders. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. DOJ Reportedly Opens Investigation into RealPage’s Algorithm “The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division has launched an investigation to determine if RealPage’s software helped apartment operators coordinate rent prices, according to a report from ProPublica. The investigation comes after three senators — Subcommittee Chair on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) — sent a letter asking the Antitrust Division to investigate ‘recent allegations of anticompetitive collusion leading to significant increases in rents for apartments.’” (Multifamily Dive)
  2. More Yield Curve Bad News and Questions “Too often when it comes to economics and finance, previous trends—correlations, to be specific, like that between yield curve inversions and eventually recessions—come to be treated as inviolate natural law. That can lead to significant risk and strategic mistakes. When there’s a yield curve inversion, with interest rates on shorter-term bonds being higher than on longer-term, frequently, although always, there’s eventually a recession within a year or so. The explanation is that collectively investors as the ‘market’ perceive that the economy will slow over the longer run, with the Fed lowering short-term rates to prevent a recession.” (
  3. Colliers Downgrades Real Estate Forecasts for 2022 “A pricing correction in the commercial real estate sector will be short and sharp, with greater stability expected towards the middle of 2023, despite the UK heading into recession, according to Colliers’ latest Real Estate Investment Forecasts (REIF).” (CoStar News)
  4. Financial Fraud Legislation Seeks to Combat Real Estate Money Laundering “In the last five years, an estimated $2 billion dollars of illicit funds have been laundered through the U.S. real estate market. A criminal enterprise this pervasive requires enhanced regulation and accountability to dismantle it. To detect, disrupt and deter money laundering through real estate, Congress should pass the ENABLERS Act. The ENABLERS Act will require beneficial ownership disclosure and proof of funds for large real estate purchases. It aims to close the real estate money laundering loophole and rid the U.S. real estate market of illicit funds.” (Security Magazine)
  5. How Atlanta’s Growing Economy Burned Low-Income Renters and Homebuyers “Financial and tech firms continue to flock toward metro Atlanta. This builds on the city’s strong logistics, entertainment and film, and health services industries. Demand for quality housing in the region has become fierce, particularly in the city center. ‘Atlanta is becoming a wider city,’ said Nathaniel Smith, founder and chief equity officer at the Partnership for Southern Equity. ‘Now, whether we’ll be able to kind of balance that out and ensure that, you know, black folks don’t get pushed out ... I’m not sure.’” (CNBC)
  6. Elite Private Clubs Seen as Way to Lure Workers Back to Office “The dark woods, sumptuous furnishings and rarified air of private social clubs have long remained the exclusive preserve of the moneyed few. The clubs serve as a retreat from the public, a place where the well-heeled can relax among their own, ensconced safely behind walls separating them from the of banal existence of the workaday world. All of which adds to the irony of one of real estate’s recent trends: Developers are incorporating private clubs into New York City Class A commercial space to entice workers back to the workaday world they fled to work remotely in March of 2020.” (Forbes)
  7. Disney’s Theme Parks Are Sore Spot for Investors, Too “The parks have taken on more strategic importance recently. Over the past year, the division that includes them has accounted for about two-thirds of Disney’s total operating income, with the rest coming from Disney’s media businesses. In the two years leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, before the Disney+ streaming service was launched, the parks division generated between 38% and 45% of the company’s profit. Earlier this month, Disney’s fourth-quarter earnings report, which delivered weaker-than-expected revenue and profit, showed widening losses in streaming and unexpected warning signs from the parks.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  8. Logistics Companies Are Diversifying Hiring, But Challenges Persist “The face of the supply-chain industry is changing. More women and people of color are choosing logistics as a career, studies show, although some of them say there is a long way to go before the industry reaches parity. Women made up about 39% of supply-chain employees, from distribution center workers to C-suite executives, as of May this year, down slightly from 41% last year but up from 37% in 2018, according to research firm Gartner Inc. That share declined higher up the corporate ladder, with 19% of top executive roles held by women.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  9. A Shuttered Pizza Restaurant Demonstrates Downtown San Francisco’s New Normal “Zero Zero seemed poised to survive the pandemic, but slow recovery and remote work meant the doors had to shut.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
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