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This Week in CRE: Fed Pause on Rate Hikes Explained, CBRE Moves Into Coworking, Ninth Inning Isn’t Always Last

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The minutes of the Federal Reserve’s late January meeting in which the Fed decided to suspend its incremental march toward higher interest rates were released this week.

Fed officials found that pressing pause would pose “few risks,” the minutes show.

“The Fed did not see any immediate threats to America’s economic expansion, but officials indicated they were worried enough about potential risks – including slowing growth in China and Europe, trade tensions, a volatile stock market and a prolonged government shutdown – to postpone rate increases,” the New York Times reported Wednesday.

So will there be a rate hike at some point in 2019?

That remains to be seen, and Fed officials are split on the issue. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Loretta Mester, said Tuesday that interest rates “may need to move a bit higher than current levels” if the economy grows as expected, the Wall Street Journal reported.

CrediFi CEO Ely Razin explains what more rate hikes would mean for commercial real estate. “Higher interest rates make borrowing more expensive for owners, which can have a constraining effect on the commercial real estate market,” he wrote in Forbes. “All else being equal, cap rates will go up and property prices will come down. Yet higher rates also typically signal a stronger economy, which tends to be associated with a stronger real estate market.”

CBRE Kicks Off Coworking Business

Watch out, WeWork: CBRE has been keeping tabs on your success, and is looking to cut out the middleman.

“CBRE Group Inc. and other big brokers are trying to muscle their way into the increasingly crowded but lucrative co-working business, aiming to help landlords create their own flex-space companies that cut out middlemen like WeWork Cos.,” the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The availability of coworking spaces has freed companies from long-term commitments to office landlords, providing space for young and more established companies as well as feeding the gig economy.

But the commingling trend doesn’t just affect the office sector. It’s also starting to disrupt multifamily, with National Real Estate Investor reporting this week that co-living operators like Ollie and Ditto are reporting strong demand. Ollie CEO Christopher Bledsoe said the co-living spaces at its ALTA, LIC apartment building in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City (yes, the New York City location Amazon has said buh-bye to) are earning more per square foot than the traditional apartments in the same building.

Ninth Inning Isn’t Always the Last One

The long economic cycle has had many people wondering what inning we’re in, but that may not be the right question, PricewaterhouseCoopers partner and business development leader Mitch Roschelle said at last week’s 10th annual Israel-U.S. Real Estate Investment Conference in Tel Aviv.

After all, Roschelle pointed out, baseball goes into extra innings when no one has won.

“Yes, we’re 116 months into this expansion,” he said. “But we still haven’t overheated the economy the way other recoveries did that caused those recoveries to stall.”

Related stories:

Mixed Indicators Show Goldilocks Economy Isn’t Overheating ‒ And That’s a Good Sign for CRE

This Week in CRE: Amazon HQ2 Take 2, Biotech Demand, What’s Up at MBA CREF, Hospitality Cools

Multifamily Gets a Boost as Buying a Home Becomes Less Affordable

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