Retailers fared better than expected in the first half of the year amid higher consumer confidence and low unemployment, prompting NRF to raise its forecast for 2018, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. The forecast now calls for sales growth of at least 4.5% this year, up from an earlier prediction of between 3.8% and 4.4%.
Treasury Department data show the US government's budget deficit rose 21% to $684 billion in the first 10 months of fiscal 2018, compared with $566 billion during the same time frame in fiscal 2017. One factor behind the increasing deficit is that government spending has risen while business and individual tax rates have decreased.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US reportedly has informed China's HNA Group Co. that it must sell its stake in Manhattan's 850 Third Ave. office tower, which houses a police precinct that protects Trump Tower, sources say. HNA acquired a 90% stake in the building in 2016, valuing the 21-story property at $463 million.
The spending prediction for nonresidential construction this year has been revised upward to 4.7% from the 4% forecast in January, according to the American Institute of Architects' Construction Consensus Forecast. The panel of entities surveyed, which included Dodge Data & Analytics and Associated Builders and Contractors, also upgraded its forecast for 2019 to 4%, from 3.9%.
Two more increases in short-term interest rates are likely to emerge from the Federal Reserve in 2018, with one in September and another in December, a Wall Street Journal survey of economists finds. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans says economic growth could set the stage for one or two more increases this year, while Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin says economic growth will determine the amount of any such increases.
At a special meeting held Thursday, Gramercy Property Trust stockholders voted to approve the REIT's $7.6 billion acquisition by Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII. The all-cash deal is expected to close within the next two months.
Demand was moderate to strong across most major commercial property sectors in the second quarter, which helped keep vacancy rates low and rents rising. Nareit researchers Calvin Schnure and Alexandra Thompson discuss the recent trends in supply, demand, vacancy rates and rent growth.
Affordable housing provider Front Yard Residential Corp. paid $485 million for a 3,236-unit portfolio of affordable single-family homes from HavenBrook Partners, a property manager that Front Yard also acquired in the deal. Freddie Mac, through Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, provided some financing for the acquisition.
Big-box retailers, inspired by Walmart's experimentation, are developing small-store concepts to test. Target, Kohl's, IKEA and Nordstrom are other examples of retailers creating stores with smaller footprints, especially in urban areas.
New Senior Investment Group is bringing operations in-house as part of a continuing strategic review. The REIT has proposed paying external management Fortress Investment Group $50 million as part of its internalization, which drew criticism from some shareholders.
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