Panelists at Nareit's REITworld: 2018 Annual Conference recently discussed the state of capital markets and their effect on REITs, covering topics including valuations, interest rates and the disconnect between stock and asset prices. They also discussed the cycle's eventual end, with Lisa Kaufman, managing director at LaSalle, noting that "the only protection you have from your cloudy crystal ball is diversification."
Liberty Property Trust has sold four office properties in Malvern, Pa., for $173.1 million as part of its shift toward the industrial asset class. Including this deal, the REIT has executed $742.4 million in office sales this year.
Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, which will change its name to RPT Realty on Tuesday, has realigned its executive team and is changing its approach to the retail market. The REIT plans to sell off assets in secondary and tertiary markets and focus on revamping its open-air centers, many of which are grocery-anchored.
Large companies expect to use more flexible space for their future office needs, finds a survey by broker Knight Frank in which more half of respondents said they expected nontraditional space to account for at least 20% of total office space, compared with about 5% now. Big businesses are drawn to the amenities and flexibility the model offers.
Colony Capital, which has experienced a significant drop in value this year, plans to refine its focus to asset management. "With $2 billion of liquidity in these equity markets, leveraging that for third-party capital and fees is exponentially better," said founder Tom Barrack.
With Congress divided, the Trump administration is expected to take steps to limit the government's role in backstopping the mortgages that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase and securitize. One sign of the administration's direction will be in its choice of a new director for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, expected in January.
Good face-to-face retailing relies on retailers having an intimate knowledge of the customer and showing them that they are wanted and valued, Andrew Busby writes. Small, independent retailers are more capable of building better relationships by doing what's right for the customer.
Westgate Shopping Center, a large commercial development in San Leandro, Calif., has been purchased with an all-cash offer of $87 million, above its estimated value of $58.9 million. The retail location features Home Depot, Burlington and Office Depot, along with a second floor dedicated to tech startups, small industrial companies and artists.
Connecticut retail locations are doing well, bucking national trends in some cases because property managers have shifted their focus to new trends that bring in businesses and visitors. Properties such as Danbury Fair and Stamford Town Center continue to be retail hubs, while the Connecticut Post retail center has added more restaurants and bars.
A sprawling retail center by developer Siam Piwat called Iconsiam opened over the weekend in Bangkok, Thailand. The region has more than $4 billion worth of retail investments planned, even as the area's economic health is uncertain amid a drop in tourism.
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