An August 17 meeting exploring reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sponsored by the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, showed wide disagreement about what to do about the two giant mortgage suppliers and when to do it. The administration has vowed its full support for these government-sponsored entities ( GSEs), but Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner began the meeting by asserting that there will be fundamental changes to the two GSEs.
Much of the economic data has been coming in weaker than many experts had expected, even as companies appear to have made an impressive recovery from the Great Recession. Talk of a double-dip downturn is spreading. Bottom line–the economy that emerges from this recession may not resemble the pre-recession economic fabric. What will the economy that emerges from this recession look like?
Why are REITs so seemingly attractive? Among the reasons, in no particular order, is the principal of anticipation; investors know that real estate is not overbuilt – it’s just “under-demanded, which will be self-correcting as the economy improves. Investors, anticipating a recovery in industry fundamentals want to be owners of shares rather than spectators trying to time the bottom of the market.
Metropolitan Washington, D.C., is a leading example of walkable urbanism, in which most daily needs can be met within walking or rail-transit distance of one’s home. Ten years ago, horsey suburban D.C. neighborhoods boasted housing prices 25 to 50 percent higher than those of walkable urban neighborhoods. But now, the situation has reversed, with home prices 50 to 70 percent higher per square foot in walkable urban neighborhoods than in high-end suburban neighborhoods.
It is hard to pinpoint how much of the $787 billion in federal economic stimulus funds is making its way into actual real estate developments, but projects adding value to real estate are under way, or on the way, in all four corners of the country—and many places in between. While the massive injection of taxpayer capital into the economy is not without its critics, it has prompted one of the biggest increases in construction spending the industry has experienced in a long time.
Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), owned by national governments to invest a country’s surplus wealth, will become an increasingly important source of capital for real estate—particularly in the United States, and especially in a market that has seen a decrease in capital available from other institutional investors. And as the U.S. economy recovers, SWFs—along with pension funds and real estate investment trusts —are likely to be very active in U.S. real estate investment.
For years before the clock ticked down on the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), policy makers and advocates have grappled with what should replace it. A major reform effort may be unlikely for the next few years, or longer. Where does a new bill stand, and what is happening in the meantime?
Washington, D.C. is generally not known for either artists or gritty industrial space, but both exist there. One project attempting to turn these rare commodities to its advantage is the Brookland Artspace Lofts project, which will provide 41 affordable live/work apartments for working artists. Gap financing linked to the federal stimulus program, plus support from a local dance school, helped make the project possible.
How will your city and its public officials, urban thinkers, and community leaders score in the future based on whether they rose to the challenge of doing more with less or gave in to the temptation of policy retrenchment and disinvestment? Read how one city has focused on playing to its competitive strengths and diversifying its economy.
From Australia to Canada, from the U.K. to the U.S, see ten examples where cash-strapped city and state governments get new or refurbished parks, libraries, or recreation facilities. Private sector partners get added value such as higher home prices and enhanced foot traffic for retail, entertainment, and dining uses. In some cases, the private sector partner builds and operates justice or transit structures in exchange for development rights.