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Seven Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 19, 2021)

A start-up owned by Warren Buffett is betting on modular construction, reports The Wall Street Journal. CBRE research shows that the commercial real estate lending market remained resilient in the first quarter of the year. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Investors Bet on Commercial Real Estate, Undeterred by Empty Offices and Hotel Rooms “More than a year into the pandemic, high-rise office buildings are largely empty. About one of every two hotel rooms is unoccupied. Malls are struggling to attract shoppers. And yet by most measures, the U.S. commercial real-estate market is in remarkably solid shape. Prices fell far less than after the 2008 financial crisis and are already rising again. The number of foreclosures barely increased. Pension funds and private-equity firms are once again spending record sums on buildings.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. High-Earning Americans Drove 2020’s Migration Boom, and It Shows How Wealth Is Splitting the Millennial Generation “Americans stopped moving around the 1980s, but that changed last year with remote work. A new Apartment List report that surveyed 5,000 Americans and analyzed US Census data has confirmed the migration narrative of 2020: Remote work ignited a residential migration rebound as the number of movers increased by 14% to 16% from 2019 to 2020 — it was the first US migration increase in over a decade.” (Insider)
  3. Warren Buffet to Offer a New Spin on Modular Construction “A startup owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. aims to shake up the construction industry by making it more like car manufacturing. MiTek Inc., a Missouri-based construction-technology company, is launching a new modular building venture with New York City-based architect Danny Forster & Architecture. The company plans to build entire rooms for hotels and apartment buildings in factories, and then send them to a construction site to be stacked on top of each other.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  4. Commercial Real Estate Lending Markets Show Resilience in Q1 2021 “The CBRE Lending Momentum Index, which tracks the pace of CBRE-originated commercial loan closings in the U.S., continued to recover and finished Q1 2021 at a value of 258 (up 16.7% from the December 2020 reading) after rising to a cycle high of 342 in January. With the recovery of commercial mortgage capital markets beginning last summer, the index is now just 6% below its year-ago level. Lending activity hit its most recent low in September 2020, when the index value was 160.” (CBRE)
  5. Marijuana REIT Announced $200 Million Private Placement “Innovative Industrial Properties, a marijuana real estate investment trust (REIT), said it plans to raise $200 million through a private placement of senior notes for continued cannabis-related property investments. The San Diego-based company said the placement, under its IIP Operating Partnership, will grant initial purchasers of the notes a 30-day option to buy an additional $30 million of debt.” (MJBizDaily)
  6. Art Gensler Dies at 85; Built a Global Architecture Firm “Art Gensler, an architect and entrepreneur who turned a small San Francisco architecture firm into one of the largest in the world, with projects spanning the globe, died on May 10 at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He was 85. His death was confirmed by Kimberly M. Beals, a spokeswoman. Mr. Gensler’s most prominent works include the terminals at the San Francisco International Airport and Shanghai Tower.” (The New York Times)
  7. JPMorgan’s and WeWork’s CEOs Say Remote Work Doesn’t Work for Young, Ambitious and Engaged Staff, and Research Shows There Are Perks to Returning to the Office for Young Workers “Dimon and Mathrani ruffled some feathers, but research suggests they might have a point. Three recent surveys found younger or early-career workers are feeling less productive at home. And experts told Insider they think being in the office has benefits for young workers that they might only get by coming into the office.” (Insider)
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