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Institutional Real Estate Americas

Feb. 1, 2014: Vol. 26, Number 2

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  • Real estate maximus: The floodgates of real estate investing appear to be opening, but things are not necessarily what they seem

    Suddenly, everybody loves real estate. Trade publications regularly trumpet surging capital for U.S. real estate. Pension funds are expanding their programs or launching new ones, international investors are ratcheting up their activity, and defined contribution plans are looking hard at “real” assets.

  • Rooms with a view: The global hospitality industry is making a strong comeback from its nadir

    The impact of the global financial crisis was immediate, and devastating, on the hotel industry. Companies cut budgets. Governments did not want to be seen as spending so much. And people who were uncertain about where their next paycheck would come from avoided jetting away for a frivolous long weekend.

  • Creative office: The evolution of open-plan work spaces demonstrates significant changes have come to market

    The office market is transforming more today than at any time during the past 50 years. While location, cost and image remain high on the list for prospective tenants, new to the list and moving up quickly in priority are a new set of criteria focused around making office space a powerful tool for building company culture in a rapidly evolving creative economy. No longer just walls, doors and windows, office space is now viewed as a place that should inspire new ideas and creativity. With labor being employers’ largest expense item, the focus is on attracting, retaining and inspiring people to do their best work.

  • What if interest rates go orbital? The story behind REITs and the rising cost of money

    Were you puzzled by how stock market investors, and particularly REIT investors, responded last year to news about economic growth and interest rates? So was I. The year started off very strongly for equities, including REITs, with total returns up 18.0 percent for stocks (as represented by the S&P 500 Index) and 19.3 percent for listed U.S. equity REITs through May 21, 2013. Then the market began to act strangely on what turned out to be the third-worst day of the year for listed U.S. equity REITs.

  • QE unchained: Will rising interest rates pummel your portfolio?

    In the wake of the financial crisis, in order to stimulate consumption and investment and to facilitate deleveraging, the world’s key central banks have undertaken aggressive quantitative easing programs. Since 2008, global monetary stimulus has produced interest rates that are close to zero. Positive inflation since mid-2009 has meant real interest rates have been negative for the first time since the 1970s.

  • The full monty: What you may have been missing

    You probably have noticed that we switched formats. For 24 years The Institutional Real Estate Letter had been presented in our traditional newsletter format. In 2013, we switched to a magazine format. 

  • BlackRock and the asset management talent war

    It has become axiomatic that leaders have no more important duty than hiring outstanding people, and that continually hiring great people is the only sustainable competitive advantage. In the final analysis, though, how many companies actually have systemic procedures in place that help ensure the best outcomes? How many leaders truly spend the time required to recruit, develop and retain the superstars of their industry?

  • Norwegian capital crosses the pond -- again

    Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, has made yet another significant push into U.S. real estate, this time inking new joint venture deals with MetLife Real Estate Investors and Prologis.

  • 2013 fundraising flat among equity REITs

    U.S. equity REITs raised $65.48 billion in 2013, slightly less than the $65.75 billion raised in 2012, according to statistics tracked by SNL Financial.

  • 2013 ends strong as vacancies fall across the board

    U.S. commercial real estate continued its steady recovery in 2013 and ended the year with a promising fourth quarter that bodes well for prospects in 2014, according to research from CBRE.

  • CMBS market well positioned for 2014

    A little over five years have passed since the market collapse in September 2008. Commercial mortgage–backed securities were one of the casualties of the global financial crisis and credit crunch. New issuances dried up, and investors were uncertain about what problems may have lurked in their CMBS portfolios.

  • A greener shade of investment dollar

    It is often said in the world of pension fund investors that the small follow the large. In other words, smaller and mid-sized pensions are often risk-averse and will not venture into new markets until the larger pensions do so.

  • The infrastructure imperative: Hard lessons about the importance of soft infrastructure

    Infrastructure is most commonly considered tangible. In other words, transportation, utility and related projects necessary to make places — most especially cities — function effectively and reliably.