PREA in sound bites, some suitable for tweeting

Not letting the “things-that-legends-are-made-of” power blackout of the 2012 Spring PREA conference deter them, 900-plus institutional real estate managers, investors, consultants and “others” returned to Boston in early March to discuss the issues of the day — and network of course. Because connections at PREA conferences tend to be quick (Hey! Good to see you. Let’s get together when we get back to the city. Great. See ya then.), it made sense to summarize the event in the same way.

Best applause line

Jacques Gordon, global strategist at LaSalle Investment Management, was talking about a time “when women didn’t work.”

Martha Peyton, head of strategy and research, global real estate division at TIAA-CREF, jumped in with “We always worked. We just didn’t always get paid for it.”

The comeback was met by a round of applause from the increasingly large number of women in the audience.

General observations

  • Last child entering college in the fall is a catalyst for searching for a new job.
  • Dress codes are slowly getting more casual, but Mohawk haircuts still stand out.
  • No matter how long the lunch break, people will still be late for the after-lunch panel.
  • Howard Marks, chairman, Oaktree Capital Management, is always good for a quote or two (or 10 or 20).

A few of Howard Marks’ observations

“Market price is the fair price because it is the consensus of those who vote. No one wants a fair price — they want to buy below fair price. Doing so, however, requires the help of someone who is willing to sell below fair value.”

“When people say they are buying conceptually, it means they aren’t getting caught up in the numbers, like price and cap rates.”

“We’ve all heard, ‘If you build it they will come.’ Well, in our industry, ‘If you lend it, they will build.’ Interest rates are so low you have to take advantage — they’ve become coercive.”

“We get so involved in the fundamentals that we forget that price is always the number one factor. It’s not buying good things — it’s buying good things well.”

“Buying a good asset at the wrong price is worse than buying bad stuff at the right price. Nothing is so good that it’s a good investment at any price. And nothing is so bad that it’s a bad investment at any price.”

“It doesn’t matter when tapering happens. We know it is going to happen. It’s a tremendous waste of time to debate when.”

Other tweetable tweets

From the Research Panel

Ray Torto, global chairman of research, CBRE — “I don’t have a lot of faith in investor intention surveys because every morning I wake up and say, ‘Today I’m going to start a diet.’”

Martha Peyton — “Given the inflow of capital into the U.S., this is an opportunity to shed poor properties and reposition the portfolio to improve NOI.”

Jacques Gordon — “We are in uncharted territory; no Fed Board has ever done what we’re doing now. There is no road map for this. We don’t know where this will end. I don’t know, but here’s what I think:

  • Interest rate growth will be closer to 4 percent on 10-year Treasuries than 3.5 percent.
  • Net-lease deals will be hammered. There will be destruction in the value of bond-like investments when rates go from 2.7 percent to 4 percent.
  • Demography, tech, urbanization are themes to look at.
  • We are looking around the world for things that will grow.

Need to focus on things you can control (price, location, financing, etc), understand the things you can’t control (inflation), and have the wisdom to know the difference.”

From the investor panel

“Pension funds are not nimble. To change allocations or strategies is like turning an aircraft carrier. It doesn’t happen on a dime. So a new ‘opportunity’ might be of interest, but actually committing capital can be problematic.”

“The great thing about real estate is that you can manufacture any return you want.”

From the DC/DB panel

“We don’t have a marketplace for DC plans yet. We still need to define best practices, as well as common standards. We need a common story to tell consultants and plan sponsors. Best place to start is with those sponsors that already have real estate in their DB plans because they already understand real estate.”

“When you leave a meeting on including real estate in a DC plan, everyone is always smiling and nodding in agreement. But as soon as you are out the door they make five phone calls:

  1. They call HR — Can you communicate the details to participants in an understandable way?
  2. They call the administration group — Can you administer this new product?
  3. They call the investment committee — Are you comfortable with the investment parameters?
  4. They call the ERISA counsel — Is this legal?
  5. They call their consultant — Are you familiar with this product?

If you haven’t pre-answered these questions, you can be blackballed by someone you’ve never met.”

“I hate losing to the status quo just because it’s easier to just keep doing what I’m doing now than make a change.”

In closing

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what Robert Gates and David Gergen talked about during the closing session. It was a closed-door session, and everyone was asked to refrain from tweeting, reporting or emailing. But, suffice to say, Gates was as entertaining, thought-provoking and controversial as you’ve been led to believe — and listening to his take on a variety of subjects was a great way to end one of the must-attend events of the year. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak — go. You might not agree with everything he says, but you certainly won’t be bored. And how many conferences can you say that about?

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


SheilaWebSheila Hopkins is managing director – Europe and infrastructure at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

Keeping it real

With many global stock market benchmarks reaching or exceeding record levels and infrastructure fundraising picking up, it is beginning to feel a little bit like the “good old days” of 2006–2007 just before the market crash. Of course, as American writer Mark Twain reminds us: history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.

So while today’s markets might not have the same frenzied feel as those in the run-up to the crash six years ago, values are getting fairly rich and a lot of capital has been raised that needs to be deployed.

The last time infrastructure markets — and most markets for that matter — were faced with similar conditions, it turned out many people and organizations didn’t know how to apply the brakes, and capital continued to flow into closed-end funds that with the help of cheap-and-easy financing bid prices for infrastructure investments up so high they undermined the very premise of infrastructure investing for many investors — relatively low volatility, low risk and low return, income-producing, inflation-hedging, portfolio-diversifying investments.

This time around, however, there seems to be more caution. That’s probably partly a function of new financial regulations, as well as the fact that the lessons learned and pain endured from just a few years ago are still very fresh in everyone’s mind.

In infrastructure markets, there also is evidence of new reactions to rising competition and prices. Some investors have recently announced they are seeking out listed infrastructure investments, which also have high valuations but offer clear exit strategies that can be quickly executed should markets decline.

Another reaction is to simply sit it out until prices come down.

But it’s another response that might be the most interesting. In conversations with some of my Institutional Investing in Infrastructure publication and conference advisory colleagues, it sounds like a growing number of investors are open to the idea that infrastructure can fit into a larger real assets allocation with timberland, agriculture, commodities, energy and real estate. And that investments in these sectors can be compared against each other and can be interchangeable. They might not be physically similar — a toll road is different from timber forests, for example — but their risk profiles are similar, and they can accomplish similar objectives for investor portfolios.

One advantage of this approach is if prices are too high for the limited number of available quality infrastructure investments, then investments in timber or commodities that have a similar risk/return profile (lower risk/return than private or public equity, for example, with income, inflation hedging and diversification) could make a suitable replacement.

This way of organizing and administering a portfolio could help solve the problem of committing capital in a market where asset prices are being bid up by the competition. This approach could allow investors to take their feet off the gas pedal, slow down and take a look around at what could be very similar investment opportunities. Doing so can open up the universe of investable assets and let managers and direct investors compare more opportunities across real asset subsectors that may be in different cycles of price appreciation, and therefore offer different value propositions and with similar risk profiles and investment characteristics.

The idea of a real assets allocation with infrastructure as one of several subsectors, is similar to another increasingly popular allocation — the private markets allocation. The private markets universe can include private investments in real assets, private equity and hedge funds, for example. The idea is similar — unconstrained searches for investments that fit a certain risk profile and decision making that is not restricted by rigid asset class-based investment policies that set up a “siloed” way of investing.

It’s an idea worth keeping an eye on, and we can help you do that — Institutional Investing in Infrastructure will devote a feature article to this topic in the second half of 2014.

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


DrewWebsiteDrew Campbell is senior editor of Institutional Investing in Infrastructure.

Take note, compliance: You’re out of compliance

Hey, compliance people, why don’t you take a little direction instead of giving it all the time. Here is what I have to suggest: Stand down!

I’m so tired of hearing otherwise willing story sources at pension funds and investment management firms tell me they would have to jump through too many hoops with compliance to make participating in the story worth their while. When they do participate, the compliance police bludgeon the source’s comments until that are stripped of any flavor or character.

Most compliance people seem committed to making sure their employers have zero personality. They are so concerned with running afoul of SEC regulators they won’t risk the use of an adjective or action verb. Heaven forbid.

Even the SEC has relaxed its rules for marketing, but compliance still has people from top to bottom of organizations wrapped in straightjackets. When even the CEO or managing partner is fretfully mincing their words during interviews with me, it’s a sure signal compliance lawyers have run amuck.

Lawyers are basically paid to say “no.” If a lawyer says “yes” all he or she sees is legal culpability. So why say “yes” to anything when “no” is the ultimate prophylactic?

Doing nothing might keep people out of trouble, but won’t make them an agent of progress. And it doesn’t give an executive or their organization any hope of standing out in a productive way.

If compliance people cannot figure out a way to comply with SEC regulations while giving their organizations the breathing space required for bringing some character to bear, then they stink at their jobs.

Your employers just haven’t figured that out yet.

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


MikeCfinalwebMike Consol is editor of The Institutional Real Estate Letter – Americas.

The China issue

Front cover TIREL-AP April 2014The April edition of our Asia Pacific publication, The Institutional Real Estate Letter – Asia Pacific, is devoted to articles on China. We have prepared many interesting features in collaboration with our editorial contributors from the industry who have shared their knowledge and experience in China.

Needless to say, the subject of China is complex and complicated. While the gathering and publishing of economic data and statistics have improved, the reporting and interpretation of these data remains subject to personal interpretation and bias. Many writers and analysts have an axe to grind. And, as was noted on many occasions by various sources, the government-reported data often serve political purposes and remain unreliable, so it is not so easy to get to the bottom of many matters.

I encourage anyone with even a passing interest in China to take a look at the latest issue.

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


AlexFinalv3webAlex Eidlin is managing director – Asia Pacific with Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

A little light reading

As most of you know, I spend a good deal of my time on the road.

Over the past two years, my travels have taken me to Amsterdam; Arlington, Va.; Aspen, Colo. (twice); Atlanta (twice); Austin; Bali, Indonesia; Bangkok; Barcelona (twice); Beijing; Berlin; Boston (four times); Butte, Mont. (twice); Carlsbad, Calif. (twice); Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago (four times); Copenhagen; Cork, Ireland; Dallas (three times); Dana Point, Calif. (twice); Denver; Des Moines, Iowa (twice); Frankfurt; The Hague; Half Moon Bay, Calif.; Hong Kong (twice); Houston; Laguna Beach, Calif. (three times); Lisbon; London (twice); Los Angeles; Nashville; New York City (10 times); Phoenix (three times); Queenstown, New Zealand; Raleigh, N.C.; Rome; Sacramento, Calif. (three times); San Antonio; San Diego; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Santa Monica, Calif. (twice): Santiago, Chile (as well as Temuco, Huilo Huilo, Valparaiso, Vina Del Mar and Horcun); Short Hills, N.J.; Singapore (twice); South Beach, Fla.; Tacoma, Wash.; and Washington, D.C.

Obviously, that’s a lot of miles, and a ton of hours in the air. Most of the time I try to spend productively, by reading. Because my interests are somewhat eclectic, the titles I’ve completed during the past two years spans a broad range of topics and genres. Here’s a sampling of most of them:

  • Abundance, by Peter Diamandis
  • The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and A World On Fire, by Neil Irwin (who recently helped keynote our VIP Americas conference)
  • Ancient Rome, by Robert Franklin Pennell
  • Average Is Over, by Tyler Cowen
  • The Battle of Bretton Woods, by Been Steil
  • Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosensteil
  • Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War, by Max Hastings
  • The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande
  • A Clash of Kings, by George R.R. Martin
  • The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx
  • Confessions of an Economic Hitman, by John Berkins
  • Content Is Currency, by Jon Wuebben
  • A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Denial: Why Business Leaders Fail to Look Facts in the Face — and What to Do About It, by Richard S. Tedlow
  • Design Crazy, by Max Chafkin
  • Disorder in the Court, by Charles M. Sevilla
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink
  • The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosensteil
  • Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, by Brad Stones
  • The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution that Transformed the South, by Bruce Levine
  • A Feast of Crows, by George R.R. Martin
  • A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
  • The Genius (Bill Walsh biography), by David Harris
  • Gettysburg, The Last Invasion, by Allen C. Guelzo
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman
  • How Stella Saved the Farm: A Tale About Making Innovation Happen, by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
  • I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words, edited by George Beahm
  • Into the Wild, by John Krakauer
  • Jesus, Interrupted, by Bart D. Ehrman
  • Jony Ive, The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products, by Leander Kahney
  • The Kingmaker’s Daughter, by Phillippa Gregory
  • The Lady of the Rivers, by Phillippa Gregory
  • The Leader’s Checklist, by Michael Useem
  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson
  • The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
  • The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Volume I through XII, by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
  • The Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, by Liaquat Ahamed
  • Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, by E.M. Berrens
  • One Summer — America, 1927, by Bill Bryson
  • Other People’s Money: Inside the Housing Crisis and the Demise of the Greatest Real Estate Deal Ever Made, by Charles Bagli
  • The Pacific, by Hugh Ambrose
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
  • The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo
  • The Red Queen, by Phillippa Gregory
  • The Score Takes Care of Itself, by Bill Walsh
  • A Short History of England, The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation, by Simon Jenkins
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson
  • The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver
  • The Singularity Is Near, by Ray Kurzweil
  • Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
  • Still Foolin’ ’Em, by Billy Crystal
  • A Storm of Swords, by George R.R. Martin
  • That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
  • The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes’ Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy, by Sharon Bertch McGrayne
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
  • This Explains Everything, a collection of essays edited by John Brockman
  • Transcend — Nine Steps to Living Well Forever, by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, M.D.
  • A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson
  • The War that Ended Peace: the Road to 1914, by Margaret McMillan
  • Washington, A Life, by Ron Chernow
  • The White Princess, by Phillippa Gregory
  • The White Queen, by Phillippa Gregory
  • Whole Earth Discipline: Why dense cities, nuclear power, transgenic crops, a restored wildlines and geoengineering are necessary, by Stewart Brand
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
  • Why the West Rules — For Now, by Ian Morris
  • Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan

Most of the above are highly recommended. Where have you been lately, and what have you been reading?

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


GeoffFinalv5forwebGeoffrey Dohrmann is president and CEO of Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

Any way the wind blows…

“Easy come, easy go, will you let me go, BISMILLAH! No, we will not let you go, let him go!” This lyric from the famous Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” seems to characterize the current retail market these days when it comes to big name retailers.

Last June, I wrote an article titled “The future of online spending and e-commerce,” and it seems that some of the things that were predicted are coming to a head. A recent report by ABC News states that companies that were once the darlings of malls and shoppers recently have made headlines for financial struggles.

A change in consumer tastes and technological changes has caused a shift in preference for consumer spending. Food retailers such as Sbarro and Quiznos are among the top chains that are set to be making large cuts and possibly going out of business in the coming years.

Sbarro, according to a Wall Street Journal article, is considering bankruptcy and has about $140 million in debt. Quiznos is also considering bankruptcy, as it is in debt for $570 million. The chain has closed thousands of locations, having approximately 2,100 locations (a small amount when compared to rival sandwich-maker Subway’s 41,391 locations in 104 countries).

This change may be due to the fact that people these days are trying to maintain a healthier diet, i.e., eating more vegetables, cutting back on carbs, using more organic and locally grown products and eating less processed foods. This shift may be a start of a string of fast food chains seeing hard times.

The article names other companies such as Barnes and Noble, Staples, Radio Shack and Sears, all of which can only point to one thing: consumers are starting to go online find what they need and search for a better price. It is also more convenient for consumers to shop online, which in turns saves them time to do other things rather than going to the actual store location.

Staples recently announced it would close 225 of its 1,846 locations, as half of its sales are made online. This closure would save approximately $500 million in cost cutting efforts. Sears isn’t showing too much of glimmer either, after closing hundreds of stores and reporting $358 million in losses in its fourth quarter. CEO Eddie Lampert was quoted by the Associated Press stating that the holiday season was tough to terrible.

On the technology front, BlackBerry seems to be losing the smartphone war. The article states that back in December, BlackBerry announced that it lost $4.4 million in the third quarter and restructured the company. Though it is not the first choice in smart phones these days, CEO John Chen, who took over in November, has helped raise the stock more than 50 percent.

With the bankruptcies and closures of these major retailers that were once gems in the retail consumer world, it will be interesting to see what other retailers will be at the chopping block by the end of 2014.

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


DenisefinalwebDenise DeChaine is special projects editor at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

The booms and busts of real estate cycles

A speaker at our recent VIP – Europe conference in Copenhagen pointed out that the last three real estate downturns were all spaced 17 years apart. That’s useful to know, especially if you’re concerned about when (not if) the next real estate downturn might come. 2007 + 17 = 2024. Can you wait that long?

You might not need to. Another speaker at the same conference suggested that alarm bells were ringing already in some European real estate markets. Apparently all will be revealed at MIPIM later this week.

People are at least alive this time to the possibility of a crash. One of the peculiarities of the 2007 downturn, which turned into the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2008–2009 general recession, is that plenty of people saw it coming but only a prescient few did anything about it or, even better, sat on their hands and did nothing at all.

Another is the number of people who hadn’t seen anything like it before and didn’t know what to do. That’s what happens when events are spaced 17 years apart; the people who were around last time and learned from the experience aren’t around next time to pass on the benefit of their experience. Could that happen again?

We now know that the best thing people can do in a downturn is keep the information flow going. Investors don’t like not being told the bad news, if bad news there is. The winners from 2007 are those who weren’t invested, and those who were invested and made sure that their investors were kept fully informed.

We also know that people are alive to the possibility of a crash because we carried out a press-your-button-now zapper poll in the room at VIP – Europe. 70 percent of delegates “agreed” (51 percent) or “strongly agreed” (19 percent) that real estate markets “would burn again” in five to 10 years’ time. That’s a pretty high number and, even if we say it ourselves, that was from the kind of senior, well-informed audience that you usually get at a VIP conference.

Europe is awash with global capital as investors seek out real estate opportunities in the various countries, regions and sectors that give them the prospect of better returns than they can find in other asset classes and markets. The final quarter of 2013 saw a strong end to a burgeoning year for transaction activity and from what we hear that strength of activity, frenetic almost, has continued into the first months of 2014.

The streets of Cannes will be heaving this week as the visitors to MIPIM make and renew contact and do deals. But as Russia’s interventions in Ukraine have shown, it doesn’t take much in Europe to upset investor sentiment and confidence, especially when the source of the upset is geographically not that far away — and potentially even closer geographically if things go out of control. When you hear that the United States has sent fighters — the flying kind — to Poland and Lithuania and destroyers — the floating kind — into the Black Sea (OK, just one, so far), you realize there is scope for catastrophic error. Long memories, uncompromising and intractable attitudes, and obstinate, stage-managed Cold War behavior and rhetoric — 25 years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall — do not augur well.

“I love surprises; it’s the suspense I can’t stand,” goes the saying. The next real estate “bust” will come. We just don’t know when. Whether due to geopolitics or real estate fundamentals, the best thing we can do is be ready for it. Are you ready? Can you stand the suspense?

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


RichardFlemingRichard Fleming is editor of The Institutional Real Estate Letter – Europe.

Making a list

People like lists. Readers want rankings to provide perspective, validation and order. And, of course, these lists are always a good topic of debate. Some of these lists are totally subjective (e.g., People magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most beautiful people), while others are based on criteria, surveys, data, research (e.g., Multifamily Executive magazine’s “Top 10 Rent Growth Markets of 2014”). In the business world, and especially in the investment arena, recognizing and understanding trends is paramount to success.

Being in the publishing industry, I take note of such lists — all kinds of lists — and consider 1) maybe we can use a similar type of list in one of our magazines and 2) what’s the takeaway — if any — from this list?

Below are a few lists for you to ponder that I’ve collected in recent weeks.

U.S. News & World Report published its list of annual best job rankings, based on employment growth from 2012 to 2022 as predicted by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. The publication notes that for the first time ever, the number one ranked job isn’t from the healthcare industry — it’s a tech job.

  1. Software developer
  2. Computer systems analyst
  3. Dentist
  4. Nurse practitioner
  5. Pharmacist
  6. Registered nurse
  7. Physical therapist
  8. Physician
  9. Web developer
  10. Dental hygienist
    Note: Indeed the tech sector is currently booming and has been a prime driver of recent economic growth. Tech-centric commercial real estate markets, such as San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Austin, rank high on investors’ lists.

Forbes magazine recently employed Praxis Strategy Group to gauge the MSAs with the most economic momentum heading into 2014. The firm developed several metrics to determine its rankings. The publication noted that most of the strongest local economies on the list combine the positive characteristics associated with blue states — educated people, tech-oriented industries, racial diversity — with largely red, pro-business administrations.

  1. Austin
  2. San Antonio
  3. Salt Lake City
  4. Houston
  5. Nashville
  6. Dallas
  7. Denver
  8. Oklahoma City
  9. Raleigh, N.C.
  10. San Jose
    Note: Claiming four of the top 10 cities, Texas reigns supreme. The Lone Star State and California are expected to account for approximately 22 percent of the 2.6 million new jobs projected for 2014, according to research by Moody’s Analytics.

Here’s an interesting list generated from a Gallup study that appeared recently in USA Today: The most miserable states in the USA. The rankings are based on The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which interviewed more than 176,000 people from all 50 states last year to measure the physical and emotional health of Americans across the country. West Virginia remained at the bottom of the list for the fifth consecutive year. The article noted that no Americans had as negative an outlook about their future as West Virginians. Just 44.8 percent of residents described themselves as thriving, the lowest in the nation. In addition, West Virginia also had the lowest score for overall emotional health.

  1. West Virginia
  2. Kentucky
  3. Mississippi
  4. Alabama
  5. Ohio
  6. Arkansas
  7. Tennessee
  8. Missouri
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Louisiana
    Note: North Dakota topped the well-being list in 2013. And is it any wonder that the citizens of North Dakota are doing so well? Its large shale oil formations have made it the fastest growing economy in the United States; its unemployment rate is 2.6 percent.

A few of my recent takeaways from the world of lists:

  • San Francisco ranked number one in 2014 Emerging Trends in Real Estate’s U.S. Markets to Watch in the categories of Development Prospects and Homebuilding Prospects and number two in the category of Investment Prospects. There’s no doubt The City by the Bay is on fire! It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen so many construction cranes in San Francisco.
  • Currently ranked number two in USA Today’s Coaches Poll, the Wichita State basketball team, at 31-0, is looking pretty good for the March Madness office pool.
  • After much deliberation, Institutional Real Estate, Inc. will not be publishing a list of the commercial real estate industry’s 100 most beautiful people.

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


LarryFinalwebv2Larry Gray is editorial director of Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

Keeping up the pace

Less then 60 days into the New Year and IREN has reached a huge milestone. Through the end of February, the publication has published 118 original, exclusive stories. This is an IREN first and IREI first. Good start for the year.

IREN was rebranded in 2013 as a web-based news publication updating daily. The IREN team consists of two writers, along with occasional stories written by fellow editorial staff.

The IREN team ended 2013 with 500 original stories published. The 100th story was published on March 27, 2013: “TMRS invests in core and opportunistic real estate.” This year’s 100th story was “Heitman buys Northern California office complex” on Feb. 21.

Some major headlines from so far this year:

A month ends and a new month starts, which means more institutional real estate news coverage to come.

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.


AndreafinalwebAndrea Waitrovich is editor of IREN and web content editor of Institutional Real Estate, Inc.