1. Blackstone Becomes No. 1 NYC Real Estate Buyer, Sees More Deals Coming “Blackstone Group LP jumped to the top spot in real estate acquisitions in New York last year, with purchases that encompassed Manhattan’s biggest apartment complex and stakes a group of office properties including the Starrett-Lehigh building on the Hudson River. Blackstone bought $9.6 billion of real estate in the New York metropolitan area in 2015, and sold $4.2 billion worth, the vast majority in Manhattan.” (Bloomberg)
  2. This Is How Much the Average American Investor Made Last Year “How’d your portfolio perform last year? All you had to see was a 1% rise on the year to beat the S&P 500 SPX, -0.28%  , which ended 2015 down 0.7% to snap a three-year winning streak. But, judging from this Visual Capitalist chart based on data collected by Openfolio, a site on which investors share information about themselves and their investments, most Americans didn’t meet that low threshold.” (MarketWatch)
  3. China Stock Swoon Could Boost U.S. Real Estate “Chinese investors purchased $8.6 billion in U.S. commercial real estate assets in 2015, according to CBRE, a global real estate services and investment firm. That does not even include real estate development, in which Chinese are also investing in a very big way. China still ranks second behind Canada in this race, but it nearly quadrupled its play in just one year. As China's economy and stock market spiral, will that help or hurt U.S. real estate?” (CNBC)
  4. Starboard Renews Pressure on Macy’s to Pursue Real Estate Deals “Activist hedge fund Starboard Value stepped up pressure on Macy’s Inc. to squeeze money out of the department-store chain’s real estate, which the firm values at $21 billion. Separating the properties into two or more entities would create $10 billion in shareholder value, the investment firm said in a presentation that was sent to Macy’s. The idea would be to put the chain’s iconic properties, such as its flagship location in Manhattan, into one joint venture, while placing its mall-based real estate into another.” (Bloomberg)
  5. A Waive of REIT Mergers Means This Activist Hedge Fund Gained 24.7% in 2015 “Litt’s activist fund, Land & Buildings, had a blowout 2015, earning 24.7% net of fees, according to a shareholder letter obtained by Forbes. Those gains soundly trumped the S&P 500 Index’s 1.4% rise on the year, and a 1.8% gain in the MSCI MSCI U.S REIT Index. Land & Buildings’ success was bolstered by a wave of dealmaking in the real estate sector.” (Forbes)
  6. Solid Housing Market Hasn’t Helped These Retailers “A stronger housing market has pushed sales from furniture and home furnishings stores nearly 6 percent higher over the 11 months ended in November, easily outpacing overall retail sales. But as rising home values encourage consumers to shell out more cash on their residences, two retailers that should be benefiting from the trend have failed to latch on.” (CNBC)
  7. Developers Take Risk by Starting Construction on SoHo Office Building without a Tenant in Place “The Related Cos. will begin construction of a proposed boutique office building in SoHo, reversing its initial plan to first secure a tenant before starting the project. The developer, which is building the $20 billion Hudson Yards complex on the far West Side, will break ground on 300 Lafayette St. in the next few months, according to a Related spokeswoman.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  8. Citigroup to Close $300M CBMS Deal on 5 Penn Plaza “With the maturity wave rising higher, the commercial mortgage-backed securities market is already seeing some major deals in the first month of the year. Citigroup is gearing up to provide a $300 million CMBS loan to the 91-year-old family-operated real estate firm Haymes Investment Company for its office property at 5 Penn Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, Commercial Observer can first report.” (Commercial Observer)
  9. Fake “Made in USA” Components Used at Miami Transit Hub “A Wisconsin-based contractor who performed work at the Miami Intermodal Center pleaded guilty this week and paid $3 million in criminal and civil fines for defrauding the federal government. The charges stemmed from Novum Structural LLC claims that it used materials forged and manufactured in the United States for at least three federally funded projects.” (The Real Deal)
  10. San Francisco Office Market at Dot-Com Era Peak, Tech Unicorns a Concern Now “According to a new research report from CBRE Group, the San Francisco Bay area's surging technology industry fueled robust office-leasing activity and soaring rents in 2015 reminiscent of the dot-com boom. Yet, with concerns swirling about a potential correction in tech valuations, certain Bay Area submarkets such as San Francisco carry more exposure to ‘unicorn’ tenants than others.” (World Property Journal)