Rent-control expansion fails in Sacramento

San Franciscans swarm state capital to boost, decry rent-control law

Hundreds of San Francisco and Bay Area residents trekked to Sacramento Thursday morning, waiting in lines that stretched out of the State Capitol building, to tell the California State Assembly whether they oppose or support AB 1506, a bill that would give cities the opportunity to create new rent-controlled housing.

The bill ultimately failed to pass the Housing and Community Development Committee, falling one vote short of the necessary threshold to move forward. However, backers of the bill, which would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act, promised to revive it.

Tenants groups like Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and the SF Tenants Union boarded buses before sunrise at Civic Center in order to make it to Sacramento for the 9 a.m. hearing. While lawmakers calmly listened inside, shouting matches broke out in the hallway outside as hundreds of Californians, both pro and con, waited their turn to speak.

Read more from Curbed SF

As Rents Rise, Advocates in Multiple Markets Push for New Rent Control Laws

In most parts of the U.S., lawmakers are currently not allowed to create new rules to limit by how much landlords can raise rents at their properties.

In November 2018, voting ballots in California might include a question on rent control. Right now, California law restricts the spread of rent regulations on housing built after 1995, in addition to many older properties.

Some housing advocates want to change that. A proposed law that would have allowed more rent regulation died in the state legislature in 2017. Now advocates including the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the San Francisco Tenants Union are pressing the same proposal as a ballot initiative.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

What Do Single-Tenant Net Lease Deals Offer High-Net-Worth Investors?

HNW investors are especially attracted to single-tenant net lease deals in the retail sector.

For more and more high-net-worth (HNW) real estate investors, dollar stores and drugstores make for a winning combination, although these assets can turn into losers if the sole tenant leaves.

Office and hotels still draw a lot of attention—and dollars—from HNW investors. But a rising number of them are betting on single-tenant net lease properties such as dollar stores, drugstores and fast-food restaurants to help round out their portfolios.

By and large, net lease properties are magnets for HNW investors because they’re viewed as safe, recession-proof assets that preserve cash flow and yield.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

For renters, the new normal: lower expectations and shrinking apartments

Gabriel Rodarte grew up in San Jose and has worked there for 30 years as a mailman for the U.S. Postal Service.

Making his rounds, he says, “I see it all. I see three families living inside one small apartment, or total strangers who share a room. None of them stay very long; they can’t afford it.”

Neither can Rodarte. He earns nearly $60,000 a year, but his apartments keep getting smaller. Dodging the region’s skyrocketing rents for the last five years, he now rents a room from a friend for $400 a month and feels “trapped. That’s where I’m at — I feel like I’m the working poor. It’s just ridiculous when you can’t afford to live in the place where you grew up.”

A generation of tenants now sees itself as rent-poor, with every last dime doled out for gas, groceries and the landlord. Renters struggle throughout the Bay Area.  In San Jose, the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now $2,550, far above the national average of $1,560.  A similar two-bedroom flat can cost even more elsewhere: $3,080 in Walnut Creek and $4,910 in Cupertino, according to a recent report.

As the Bay Area’s economy booms, and as the tech sector continues to expand, this is the new normal for those on the margins: shrinking expectations and shrinking apartments. Nearly 40 percent of working adults in the Bay Area are now “doubled up” with roommates in order to afford rent, according to a study from Zillow.

Read more from East Bay Times

Powell as Fed Chief—A Win for CRE Investors and Lenders?

As 2017 comes to a close, commercial real estate total transaction volume is over $500 billion according to CoStar. Although, that equates to a 14 percent year over year decline, many forget that those levels are still higher than 2006—a banner year. Regardless, numerous industry observers are holding their collective breath. In fact, Janet Yellen began 2017 indicating a potential bubble in commercial real estate driven in part by today’s extended low interest rate environment.

In response, lenders, investors and regulators remain anxious with the possibilities of cap rates blowing out in the face of rising interest rates. But are these concerns warranted and will the nomination of Jay Powell actually lead to strong levels of commercial real estate price growth?

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

Downtown Corporate Campuses are Expanding into the Suburbs

One of the most important development trends in recent years has been the push to redevelop, reenergize and revitalize downtown districts in cities and towns across the country. Aligned with a demographic wave (led by millennials, empty nesters and active seniors) displaying a renewed appreciation for and attraction to the live/work/play dynamism that dense, mixed-use urban centers can provide, developers have become more aggressive and more adept at transforming underutilized urban neighborhoods in vital and energized centers of commercial and social activity.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

How CRE Investors Could Cash in On the Tax Bill

President Trump signed the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill on Dec. 22, effectively putting the final seal of approval on the most substantive tax law changes that the country has seen in 30 years.

It may take some time to crunch the numbers to determine just how much tax savings the new tax bill could generate for commercial real estate investors. The general view is that provisions specific to property owners and developers will deliver a net positive result—although not nearly the windfall that corporations will see with a drop in the tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

What’s Up With Retail?

Rent, online shopping, regulations, and a higher minimum wage reduce the brick-and-mortar presence.

Omar Mughannam of Beauty Center faced a 30 percent rent increase at one location.

For local retailers, whose inventory costs are high and whose profits depend on foot traffic and fickle consumer demand, even small increases in rent can be difficult to bear. And when rent increases hit double digit percentages, owners are often forced to relocate to a more affordable space, consolidate multiple outlets, or close altogether.

Empty stores are everywhere, in Rockridge where Itsy Bitsy, Cotton Basics, Rockridge Home, and See Jane Run once seemed to thrive; in Elmwood where the corner of College and Ashby looks sparse without Jeremy’s, and in Montclair Village, too, where the local bike shop and Daisy’s are no more.

How will the Senate-approved tax bill offer a big break for real estate developers?

After weeks of speculation, President Donald Trump’s tax reform bill passed the Senate 51-49 around 2 a.m. Saturday.  The bill, crafted to encourage more investment by U.S. companies and to boost the country’s economic growth, is particularly generous when it comes to commercial real estate developers.

The final version of the nearly 500-page tax bill includes last-minute changes such as a larger tax break for pass-through entities, common among real estate developers. The legislation offers a 23% tax deduction for businesses set up as a partnership or entity with a tax burden that transfers to an individual; this deduction used to sit at 17.4%.

Much remains unknown about the Senate’s bill, as many changes were scribbled onto the bill at the last minute. TBO reports if left as is, the bill could add $1 trillion to the nation’s deficit over the next several decades.

Read the full article from Bisnow

Bitcoin Is Creeping Into Real Estate Deals

The real-estate industry is taking its first steps in adopting cryptocurrencies and the technology that backs them in what could eventually produce important changes in the way property is bought and sold.

While noticeable differences might be years or even decades away, several U.S. states already have changed laws to allow the technology to be used in property deals.

Read more from Wall Street Journal