Real Estate Daily News Buzz July 13, 2017

Real Estate Daily News Buzz is designed to give news snippets to readers that our (yet to be award winning) editors thought you could use to start your day. They come from various business perspectives, real estate, government, the Fed, local news, and the stock markets to save you time. Here you will find the headlines and what the news buzz of the day will be.

Wednesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 17.72 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,443.25. The Dow rose 123.07 points, or 0.6 percent, to 21,532.14, a record high. The average, which had been up more than 171 points, last set a record high on June 19. The Nasdaq composite added 67.87 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,261.17.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 45 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $45.49 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 22 cents, or 0.5 percent, to close at $47.74 per barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.52 a gallon. Heating oil slipped less than 1 penny to $1.47 a gallon. Natural gas fell 6 cents, or 2 percent, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Tech firms lead broad gains for US stocks; new high for DowTechnology companies led U.S. stocks higher Wednesday in a broad rally that helped nudge the Dow Jones industrial average to a new high. In remarks before Congress, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen raised the possibility that the central bank would consider slowing the pace of its interest rate increases if inflation remained persistently below its target level. The move assuaged concerns among some traders worried that the Fed has been moving too quickly to raise interest rates.

City court judges named Judge of the Year (VIDEO) – The Arizona Judicial Branch recently named Tucson City Court Judge Michael Pollard as Judge of the Year as part of its Distinguished Service Awards. The awards honor individuals, projects, and teams who have made outstanding contributions to improving public trust and confidence in the Arizona court system. In addition to his regular court duties, Pollard also oversees the Regional Municipalities Veterans Treatment Court, which gives veterans a diversion program to clear their criminal records. For an in-depth look at Veterans Court and its mentoring program, please follow the Tucson 12 video link below.
Watch the Tucson 12 video:

City offers grants for neighborhood stormwater harvesting projects – The City of Tucson is offering grant funding for neighborhood-scale stormwater harvesting projects in public spaces. Project applications are evaluated for benefits to human and environmental health, community safety, and the neighborhood’s commitment to maintenance. The projects incur no cost to residents, but they do need to do some upkeep in the future. “For about the following three years, they’re going to have to do maintenance on the project, pick up litter, trash, take out the weeds,” said Irene Ogata, the urban landscape manager with Tucson Water. After that, the residents must monitor how much rainwater is going into the basin and how much rain fell in that area of town, she said. Each member of the Mayor and Tucson City Council has $45,000 to fund stormwater projects. Tucson Clean and Beautiful is helping with application and project site selection.

Tucson named top city for recreation – A new survey from WalletHub ranks Tucson No. 7 on the list of 100 best cities in the United States for recreation. The financial website says Tucson fared well in the cost of recreation, per capita spending on parks, average fees for fitness clubs and massages, movie and bowling costs, food prices, and more.

Zoo Mourns deaths of two animals – Reid Park Zoo this week announced the deaths of Moms, a 47-year-old white-handed gibbon, and Lucy, a 4-year-old female ostrich. Moms was euthanized July 8 due to age-related health issues. She was one of the oldest gibbons in the United States. Moms’ death leaves a 43-year-old male gibbon, Billy, as the only gibbon left at the Zoo. Lucy, the ostrich, died July 6 due to complications associated with an obstruction in her gastrointestinal tract.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen: Expect Gradual Rate Increases “The United States is healthy enough to absorb further gradual rate increases and the slow wind down of the massive bond portfolio accumulated by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in prepared testimony to be delivered to Congress Wednesday morning. The Fed ‘continues to expect that the evolution of the economy will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate over time,’ Yellen said, while reductions in the Fed’s more than $4 trillion in securities are likely to begin ‘this year.’” (Fortune)

Office Sharing Start-Up WeWork Gets $760 Million in New Cash “Start-up WeWork has raised about $760 million of new funding, according to filings with the Delaware Department of State. The company’s valuation now stands at $20 billion, unnamed sources told Forbes, which previously reported the funding round. That would be higher than the $16.9 billion valuation last estimated by CB Insights. WeWork declined to comment on the filing.” (CNBC)

City Fines Landlords Who Report Airbnb Violations “In its running battle to stem the tide of illegal Airbnb listings, City Hall has been alienating a powerful ally: landlords. Building owners often have detailed knowledge of what is happening at their properties, information they might be happy to share with the de Blasio administration as it seeks to oust problematic tenants who operate de facto hotels out of their apartments. But several landlords who have reported illegal home sharing to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement have themselves been slapped with violations.” (Crain’s New York Business)

Building Boom in Boston Casts Shadows on History and Public Space “Boston is riding the crest of what city officials say is the biggest building boom in its history, with cranes lifting glassy towers into place and raising the city’s unassuming profile. The surge of construction is also plunging some of its most cherished sites into deepening shadow, testing state laws that have long balanced economic development with protection of sunlight and open space.” (The New York Times)

Apple to open data center in China with government tiesApple will open a data center in mainland China with ties to the country’s government, raising concerns about the security of iCloud accounts that store personal information transferred from iPhone and other devices there. The data center announced Wednesday will be run by a company owned by the Chinese government. Despite Apple’s assurances, experts believe the data center will make it easier for China’s government to peers into iCloud accounts through legal demands or other means. (AP)

The 10 Best Cities for Millennials in 2017 “If you’re a millennial thinking about moving to a new city, you’re likely mulling over its job market, cost of living and tendency for sunny days. But perhaps you’re also considering whether a city has a vibrant, diverse community. Niche, a website that ranks schools and neighborhoods, released its annual list of the best cities for millennials. The list puts an emphasis on how many bars, coffee shops and restaurants are accessible to a city’s residents — these factors make up nearly 40% of the ranking.” (Forbes)

Self-Storage Boom Shows Signs of a Slowdown “After decades of growth, the self-storage industry is poised for a slowdown, according to real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors. The category has enjoyed massive expansion as more Americans seek out places to keep their stuff. In all, 8% of the U.S. population now uses a facility, up from 3% in the 1980s.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

Real Estate Venture Firm Fifth Wall Launches an Early Stage Accelerator “For the firm’s co-founder and co-managing partner Brendan Wallace, the accelerator is an opportunity to reach out to companies when the firm’s input can make more of a difference. Because the company’s backers include some of the nation’s largest real-estate and construction firms, Fifth Wall has deep insights into which types of technologies will be most interesting to the industry and can play the role of kingmaker, according to Wallace.” (TechCrunch)

Gymboree’s Bankruptcy Means Closing 350 Stores “The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday that it’s mostly closing Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores. It also operates Janie and Jack stores. The company will have more than 900 locations after the stores are shut down. Gymboree filed for bankruptcy protection in June. Traditional retailers have been struggling to deal with strong competition from online companies and slowing mall traffic.” (CBS News)

U.S. Office Vacancy Rates Remain Unchanged in Mid-2017 “According to CBRE, vacant office space in the U.S. remained unchanged during the second quarter of 2017 at 13 percent. The steady performance was attributable to a balance of supply and demand. The vacancy rate in suburban markets increased by 10 bps, to 14.3 percent, while downtown vacancy remained steady at 10.7 percent. Vacancy continued to fall in an about half of the U.S. office markets, and the national office vacancy rate remains near its post-recession low.” (World Property Journal)