Editors’ Weekly News Roundup January 8 – January 12

$3.1 trillion of CRE assets globally will have maturing debt by the end of 2025. JLL

The quarterly appearance of Linneman Associates founder Peter Linneman on the Walker Webcast is always well attended and Connect CRE’s coverage of the discussion between economist Linneman and Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker is avidly read. This was certainly the case this past week, with Walker Webcast: Economist Peter Linneman on the Fed, Debt, CRE and his 2024 Outlookeasily ranking first in a week that saw an especially high number of widely viewed stories. 

As 2024 gets underway, there is plenty for a commercial real estate economist to consider, and Linneman covered a wide range of subject matter, ranging from the ongoing housing shortage to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy in the coming year. At present, he noted, “you have about 20% of the economy being damped by interest rate increases.” 

Another ongoing issue for CRE is office sector fundamentals. The second most-read Connect CRE story for the week ending Jan. 13 suggested that the sector has an uphill climb ahead.  

U.S. Office Vacancies Reach Record Highwas the headline, with the story reporting that vacancies are now a few basis points higher than they’ve ever been in the 45 years that Moody’s Analytics has been keeping track. The remote-working trend is only partly to blame; the Wall Street Journal also traced the current vacancy issue to the office-market downturn of the 1980s and ‘90s, which followed years of overbuilding.  

As if providing a case in point, our third most-read story of the week concerned a distressed sale in the office sector. Resonating with readers both in Chicago and nationally, Distressed Chicago Office Tower Sells to Investor at Huge Discountreported an acquisition that represented a nearly 90% markdown from the property’s last change of ownership, in 2012. 

Connect CRE’s report on the sale of 300 W. Adams St. wasn’t the only Chicago office story to draw strong readership this past week. Although not among the week’s top five, another discounted sale—100-112 S. South State St.—also attracted both local and national interest. A key distinction is that the State Street sale wasn’t a distress deal, pointing to an ongoing trend of cut-rate pricing in the office sector. 

Chicago, or at any rate an organization headquartered there, also figured in the top five with our fourth most-read story. The National Association of Realtors, which last year was hit with an unfavorable verdict in a class-action lawsuit over broker commissions, leading to the resignation of its CEO, suffered another setback last week with the sudden resignation of its president. 

New President of NAR Resigns Amid Blackmail Threats, which ranked fourth this past week, reported that President Tracy Kasper had only been in office since the resignation of her predecessor last summer. NAR’s president-elect, Kevin Sears, will succeed her. 

Another regional story with national implications rounded out the top five. Although the U-Haul Growth Index may not be the most scientific measure of population shifts, it is a widely recognized barometer, and California Again Ranks First for Resident Exodusillustrated its popularity. Not surprisingly, Texas led the states in 2023 for resident move-ins, as measured by U-Haul truck rentals. 

The past week also saw strong national readership for a breaking news story on Avison Young acquiring the retail services business of Madison Marquette, a Mortgage Bankers Association survey which found that CRE lenders expect the market to stabilize this year, and JLL’s report that first-movers will be at an advantage in closing the refinancing gap, which is expected to range as high as $570 billion globally. 

Connect

Inside The Story

About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 16-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 7-10 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).