Reserve-White-house-domeReal 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 Dow Jones industrial average climbed 74.23 points, or 0.4%, to 17,325.76. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 11.29 points, or 0.6%, to 2,027.22. The NASDAQ composite index gained 35.30 points, or 0.8%, to 4,763.97.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $2.12 to $38.46 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose $1.59, or 4.1%, to $40.33 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.42 a gallon. Heating oil gained 5 cents, or 4.5%, to $1.23 a gallon. Natural gas rose 2 cents to $1.87 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Fed keeps key rates unchanged; foresees fewer hikes in 2016 — The Federal Reserve is keeping a key interest rate unchanged in light of global pressures that risk slowing the U.S. economy. As a result, Fed officials are forecasting that they will raise rates more gradually this year than they had envisioned in December. The officials now foresee two, rather than four, modest increases in their benchmark short-term rate during 2016. The Fed said Wednesday that the economy has continued to grow at a moderate pace but that the global economy and financial markets still pose risks. Offsetting the threats, the Fed said in a statement after a policy meeting that it foresees further strengthening in the job market.

Upscale Mall Landlords Pay Up to Stay Chic “Like Hollywood stars fighting for top billing, the owners of two Los Angeles shopping centers are undertaking expensive overhauls that highlight the staggering cost of keeping retail property chic. Taubman Centers Inc. announced last week that it will spend $500 million to renovate Beverly Center. The firm, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is tearing up the roof to install skylights and putting in restaurants at street level…” (The Wall Street Journal)

As home builder sentiment treads water, calls for more construction intensify “Confidence among home builders held steady in March, an industry group reported Tuesday, even as another issued a call for more housing construction. The National Association of Home Builders’ March sentiment index was unchanged at 58, a level that points to what NAHB calls ‘slow but steady progress.’ The index touched a 10-year high in the fall, but slipped after that. So did housing starts, the data release that counts the number of times builders break ground on new homes.” (MarketWatch)

Commercial, Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding Hits $2.83 Trillion in U.S. “According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the level of commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased to $2.83 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of $59.7 billion, or 2.2 percent, over the third quarter. On a year-over-year basis, the amount of mortgage debt outstanding at the end of 2015 was $184.5 billion higher than at the end of 2014, an increase of 7.0 percent.” (World Property Journal)

The best cities for first-time homebuyers “In the wake of the housing crisis last decade, homeownership rates declined markedly. In 2005, more than 69 percent of American households owned the home they lived in. Today that rate is just 64 percent. The decline has been especially steep among young homeowners. At the end of 2015, less than 35 percent of adults under the age of 35 owned their home.” (CBS News)

Real estate investors braced for tide to turn “Global real estate has enjoyed two plentiful years — attracting $700bn in direct investment in 2015 and slightly more the year before, not far from the record $758bn achieved in 2007, according to the Chicago-based estate agency JLL. But 2016 began with equity and bond markets in turmoil, while prices for buildings in key office centres such as London and New York have been coming off record highs. That left the industry with one question to answer: has the market peaked?” (Financial Times)

3 Real Estate Stocks That Insiders Like “…a company’s top two executives theoretically know more about the firm’s financial condition, future plans and corporate strategy than anyone else. So, those who buy shares with their own money probably have lots of confidence in the company’s long-term future and think they’re getting a good deal at a stock’s current price.” (The Street)

Kroger likes Roundy’s real estate, metrics, execs say “Kroger Co. acquired Roundy’s Supermarkets for the real estate and the company’s metrics, although it may take more work to improve sales than other potential acquisitions might, Mike Schlotmann told an investors conference Tuesday.” (Supermarket News)

Nonunion labor keeping wage growth down: report “Construction costs in the five boroughs grew steadily for the third year in a row at roughly 5 percent. That’s still less than half the rate that costs climbed last cycle, according to a new study by the New York Building Congress, which found that nonunion labor is likely one of the main culprits behind the relatively slow rate of growth.” (The Real Deal)

NWI office real estate market steady, prices up “The study of 23 large office buildings, prepared by principal broker David Lasser, showed 187,515 square feet available for rent at the turn of the year, out of nearly 1.4 million total rentable square feet. ‘That’s a healthy number that still creates enough space for people to move around in the market and grow,’ Lasser said. “It should be a number that stimulates new building.” Lasser said a report on fourth-quarter 2015 vacancies in the Chicago suburban market by CoStar, a commercial real estate information company, showed a similar rate of 14.5 percent.” (NWI Times)

Why real estate professionals need to adapt “Real estate in the future will need to be more of a service provider, prepared for continuous adaptation to tenants needs, rather than a keeper of bricks and mortar, says Professor Greg Clark, of the London-based Urban Innovation Centre. In the recent report, Technology, Real Estate, and the Innovation Economy, Professor Clark and co-author Tim Moonan name the big four drivers of the current real estate revolution: big data analytics, digitisation, the war for global talent and the sharing economy.” (Opp.today)

US consumer prices slip in February — U.S. consumer prices fell in February, dragged by another steep drop in energy prices. However, core inflation managed to tick higher, led by the biggest jump in clothing costs in seven years. Consumer prices edged down 0.2% last month after no change in January and a small decline in December, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. Core inflation, which excludes the volatile categories of food and energy, rose 0.3 per cent following a similar 0.3% rise in January.

US factory output picks up in February for 2nd month — U.S. factories produced more machinery, appliances and other goods last month, the second straight increase in output and a sign manufacturing may be stabilizing after a difficult year. The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that factory production rose 0.2% in February, after rising 0.5% the previous month. The increases in the past two months follow four declines in the previous five months.

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