1. Fannie and Freddie Give Birth to New Mortgage Bond “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are turning to crisis-era tools to reduce their exposure to mortgage losses and spark a new market for financing home buyers. Beginning in 2016, the two government-controlled housing giants will ramp up sales of a new type of security that will transfer most of the cost of defaults on all but their safest mortgages to private investors.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Icahn to buy Pep Boys for $1 billion after Bridgestone bows out “Carl Icahn's Icahn Enterprises LP has agreed to buy Pep Boys-Manny Moe & Jack for about $1 billion, the companies said on Wednesday, hours after Bridgestone Corp quit the race for the U.S. auto parts retailer. Japanese tire maker Bridgestone said on Tuesday it would not raise its latest cash bid of $17 per share to counter Icahn's raised offer of $18.50 per share in cash.” (Reuters)
  3. American median incomes are finally back to prerecession levels “Americans’ median incomes have recovered the ground lost since the beginning of the Great Recession — and it only took 8 years. A report released Tuesday by Sentier Research drew on Census Department data to show what a long slog it’s been.”
  4. Commercial Property Firms Set for More Deals in New Year “The world’s largest commercial real estate-services firms cranked their mergers and acquisitions engines into high gear in 2015 and will likely keep their feet on the gas well into the new year.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  5. Shopping Center Investors, Retailers Focus On Attracting More Consumer Spending in 2016 “With increasingly confident U.S. shoppers running up credit card debt again, retailers are hopeful that consumption of retail goods and services will continue to build in 2016. Shopping center landlords in turn are hopeful demand for physical retail space remains strong, with demand expected to outpace an escalating but still modest level of new store construction and deliveries in 2016.” (CoStar)
  6. A Conversation With Jonathan H. Simon “Mr. Simon, 50, is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Simon Baron Development, which focuses largely on residential and mixed-use developments, particularly rentals. Among Simon Baron’s current projects is a condominium at 12 East 88th Street, a prewar building in Manhattan designed by Rosario Candela.” (The New York Times)
  7. Rising Tide in Home Prices Could Lift Retailers Like Target “The rising tide in the U.S. housing market may be just what Target has needed, as shoppers are likely to find both a renewed sense of confidence in the U.S. economy as well as extra cash to spend at discount retailers.” (The Street)
  8. Related Cos. in talks for 11-acre Williamsburg waterfront site “The Related Cos., developer of the Hudson Yards, is in talks to invest in an 11-acre waterfront development site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, known for the large records warehouse CitiStorage that burned down there earlier this year. Related, along with at least two partners, Midtown Equities and East End Capital, is negotiating to provide a loan to one of the owners of the site, according to sources familiar with the proposed transaction.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  9. Hollister Soho Flagship Building Gets $120M Refi From Iron Hound, BNY Mellon “Iron Hound Management Company’s one-year-old lending arm, IH Capital, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. funded a $120 million loan facility to refinance a six-story building—which houses the Hollister Co. flagship—at 600 Broadway in Soho, Commercial Observer can first report.” (Commercial Observer)
  10. China’s Unprecedented Real Estate Bubble Is a Ticking Time Bomb “The second and biggest trigger I’ve been warning about is China’s unprecedented real estate bubble collapsing. Recall the Japanese at the top of their stock and real estate bubble in 1989. They were buying real estate hand-over-fist, from Pebble Beach to Rockefeller Center to London. Then, after bidding them up, they ended up selling those holdings at big losses.” (Investor Place)