July 4, 2017

It seems nothing can stop housing demand, which just hit a new high, according to Redfin, an online real estate brokerage. The company’s Housing Demand Index increased 11.3% in May to a new record high. The index now stands at a seasonally adjusted level of 136, the highest level of homebuyer demand since Redfin began tracking in January 2013.

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The increasing presence of food and beverage in shopping centers—often accounting for more than 20 percent of units in new and redeveloped centers in more mature markets—is being driven by rapid global growth in consumer spending on eating out.

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Walgreens will no longer acquire Rite Aid, instead purchasing 2,186 stores and three distribution centers from Rite Aid for $5.2 billion.

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The Institute of Supply Management runs something called the manufacturing index and this has jumped for the month of June, both in general activity and also in new orders. It’s worth out noting that this is a forward looking measure, it tells us something about what is going to happen. It’s thus hugely useful about that short term economic future. No, it’s not some massive rise, we’re not at the time for the Happy Dance, but it does show that the economy continues to grind on getting better bit by bit.

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July 3, 2017

During the 2017 Independence Day holiday period (June 30 to July 4) a record 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home, according to a recent AAA forecast. That would be 1.25 million more travelers than last year, making 2017 the most traveled Independence Day holiday weekend on record. Some 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year

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March 15, 2017

Apartment building developers have a lot to worry about. So many new developments are under construction, they are likely to compete with each other—and not just for residents. Developers are also competing to find construction workers to build their projects.

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Don’t look now, but nearly eight years after the Great Recession ended, it’s finally starting to feel like a normal economy again, at least judging by the Federal Reserve’s second interest rate hike in three months. The Fed on Wednesday raised its benchmark short-term rate by a quarter percentage point to a range of 0.75% to 1% and stuck to its forecast of two more such increases this year and three in 2018. Some economists had expected Fed policymakers to modestly step up the pace. Wall Street cheered the Fed’s decision but reacted with restraint.

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March 14, 2017

A few weeks ago I was triple booked. It was Phoenix Startup Week, I was speaking at an AZ Tech Council gathering on Medical Technology, and I was unable to attend an event on the Internet of Things. We have been attending these sort of things for 23 years now and it wasn’t always like this. In fact, not too long ago it was kind of pathetic.

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Small businesses are excited about a new healthcare law, tax reform and regulatory relief from Washington. According to the February Small Business Optimism Index, small business optimism is at its highest readings in 43 years, despite a .6 point dip to 105.3. The National Federation of Independent Business released its monthly report that shows a month-over-month increase of optimism from small businesses.

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Investors focusing on commercial real estate in the Americas have no plans to scale back their investments this year, according to the recently released CBRE Americas Investor Intentions Survey, which queried about 1,000 investors. Fully two-thirds of them intend to be net buyers this year, taking in more acquisitions than dispositions.

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A Fed rate hike is expected at the end of its widely watched meeting Wednesday. It would be the Fed’s second rate hike since December and a sign that the central bank’s leaders are moving interest rates up at a faster pace this year.

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Chinese investors were the single largest group of foreign investors in commercial real estate in the U.S. last year, with deal volumes reaching a record high of $19.2 billion, up 10% from $17.3 billion in 2015, according to a new report from Cushman & Wakefield. Chinese investment made up about 29% of total foreign investment in U.S. commercial real estate, ahead of Canada, the second largest foreign investor, which invested $13.1 billion.

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March 13, 2017

Feeling happy?

If not, you might want to move to Scottsdale or Gilbert. The two East Valley cities are the highest-ranking Arizona cities on WalletHub’s list of happiest cities.

Scottsdale and Gilbert are two of the happiest cities in America, according to a new ranking from WalletHub. Scottsdale came in at No. 13 while Gilbert wasn’t far behind at No. 16.

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Single tenant net lease properties remain a hotbed of activity in the commercial real estate industry. And market fundamentals point to continued strength in the sector. Yet sentiment has begun to soften ever so slightly based on the responses to NREI’s second annual exclusive survey of the net lease real estate sector, which was conducted in February. Rising interest rates and general economic uncertainty remain concerns, as does the lack of stability in Washington emanating from the chaos of the new Trump administration.

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After a strong start to the year, construction continues to see rising employment, as the industry added 58,000 jobs in February — the strongest recorded level since March 2007 — the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The month’s total construction employment of 6,881,000 represented a 219,000 — 3.3% — increase from February 2016.

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Although apartment sale prices have more than doubled since 2010, market forecasts predict that rent declines are on their way in many cities. Many publicly traded REITs have pulled away from multifamily, and aggregate U.S. multifamily loan volume fell 2% year over year for the 12 months ending on Sept. 30, 2016, according to Banking Exchange.

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Private investors accounted for nearly 30 percent of all transaction volumes in 2016, with particular interest in residential and commercial properties in some major U.S. cities, according to Knight Frank’s latest wealth report. As an investor class, private investors—including ultra-high and high-net-worth-individuals, as well as various kinds of family offices—are now major drivers of CRE transactions, both domestically and abroad, according to the 2017 Knight Frank Wealth Report, which was released this March.

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March 12, 2017

Bob Weston, CFO of Phoenix-based owner–operator Alliance Residential, reports at the Urban Land Institute’s annual conference that the average renter’s age has gone up “at least five to seven years,” to the surprise of many developers.

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The project comprises three phases with phase one encompassing 49 units and 65,000 square feet of total living space. Located at Second and Moreland streets, the property is within walking distance of the Roosevelt Row arts district and a wide range of urban amenities. In addition, the development overlooks Margaret T. Hance Park, a 32-acre green space and cultural destination. The unit mix ranges from 500-square-foot micro-units to 1,700-square-foot three-bedroom units with white gloss cabinets, quartz countertops, and designer fixtures and finishes.

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Olen Properties Corp. in Newport Beach has added to its multi-family holdings in the Valley with the purchase of The Highlands, a 272-unit apartment project at 15255 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale. Maricopa County records show Scottsdale Highlands Apartments Corp. (Olen Properties entity) paid $48.5 million ($178,309 per unit) to acquire the multi-family property in a cash transaction.

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BKM Capital Partners in Irvine has acquired 11 industrial buildings in Phoenix to bring its Valley real estate holdings to more than 2 million sq. ft. BKM Capital Partners paid $17. 2 million ($75.57 per foot) to buy 227,603 sq. ft. of industrial space in the first and third phases of the Northwest Business Center industrial park. That 13-building complex is located north and east of the northeast corner of Interstate 17 (Black Canyon Freeway) and Dunlap Avenue.

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For big-box industrial properties in core markets nationwide, fundamentals are exceedingly strong, according to a new report by Colliers International. Last year saw all-time highs in net absorption, leasing, product under construction and product delivered. This year, robust development will probably keep vacancies from rising much, which will slow growth in effective rents (but not put downward pressure on them).

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March 9, 2017

Staples Inc. suffered its worst stock decline in almost seven months after the company posted disappointing results and announced plans to shutter 70 stores in North America. Same-store sales in the region declined 7 percent during the fourth quarter

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Inside a small, nondescript suite of an office park in Scottsdale sits some of the rarest and most valuable objects in the world: dinosaur fossils, ancient minerals, pre-Columbian weaponry and even a piece of Mars. There’s no sign on the door and the windows are tinted

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Most survey respondents said the level of development is about right for the sector, with very little fear that too much space is being built. In this year’s survey, 58 percent said the level of development is the right amount.

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