The latest benchmark highlighting the strength of the US labor market is the four-week average of initial unemployment claims. The figure fell 4,000, to 241,000, last week, the fewest claims since July 1973.
Real estate investors, including retail REITs such as Brixmor, are increasingly bidding on healthy retail centers that are located in urban secondary markets for their higher yield and more affordable pricing. Primary retail markets are losing their appeal, according to JLL's Retail Investment Outlook, which found that investment was down 46.1% in these markets last year compared to a 43.5% increase in urban secondary retail assets.
J.C. Penney plans to close two distribution centers and 130 to 140 stores, after announcing its first annual profit since 2010. The closures will trim 13% to 14% from the retailer's real estate portfolio.
Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works are now feeling the effects of declining mall foot traffic after years of sales growth. Owner L Brands has warned that its full-year profits could fall nearly 25% this year.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the federal government will continue to use private prisons, which are largely run by REITs, in order to meet its incarceration needs. His statement reverses a directive under the Obama administration to phase out the use of private detention centers.
Hersha Hospitality Trust CEO Jay Shah said fundamentals in Manhattan's hotel market are improving as supply slows and authorities clamp down on illegal listings on home-sharing sites. "We're not ready to say yet that we're out of the woods, but we've been looking at the supply pipeline for a long time, and this is the year that we see a meaningful deceleration in new supply," Shah said during an earnings call.
Self-managed REIT InvenTrust Properties Corp. has purchased The Shops at Town Center in Germantown, Md., for $53.6 million. The 125,000-square-foot property features Safeway as an anchor.
Refinancing made up just 46.2% of mortgage applications in the week ending Feb. 17, its smallest share since November 2008, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony before Congress last week reportedly prompted an increase in Treasury yields and mortgage rates and a drop in refinancing applications.
Sam Zell's Equity Residential has a significant position in New York City, which Zell says has been "extraordinarily beneficial to date." He says commercial real estate is not so much seeing a reduction in demand but instead has been experiencing a surge in supply -- and that surge is starting to slow now, as banks and investors become concerned about fundamentals.
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