Government Shutdown Looms … Coalition Supports YIMBY Bill … SEC Scope 3 Emissions Rule
Despite Ongoing Market Challenges, Industry Leaders Expect Improvements in 2024
Roundtable Weekly
February 23, 2024
Government Shutdown Looms … Coalition Supports YIMBY Bill … SEC Scope 3 Emissions Rule

Congress returns next week to address an imminent government shutdown. Unless the House and Senate pass a long-term budget or short-term stopgap by March 1, 20 percent of funding for the current fiscal year will expire – with remaining federal operations potentially ceasing on March 8.  (Forbes | (Politico, Feb. 21)

Funding Negotiations

  • Policy riders on issues such as abortion, gender-affirming care, and medical research remain contentious issues.
  • Axios reported this week that House Republicans expect some version of a shutdown before passing a new funding bill. Congress has approved three continuing resolutions since Sept. 30 to keep the government open with current funding in place, as a full budget for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 remains elusive. (Committee for a Responsible Budget, Feb. 13)
  • Congress must also take into account a key date of April 30, when a 1 percent cut in all federal funding (including Pentagon programs) will take effect without passage of fiscal legislation. (Federal News Network, Dec. 26, 2023)

Pending Tax Package

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith [R-MO]
  • A bipartisan $79 billion tax package that was overwhelmingly approved by the House on Jan. 31faces potential hurdles in the Senate. The bill contains Roundtable-supported measures on business interest deductibility, bonus depreciation, and the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC). (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 2 and Jan. 19)
  • Leading congressional tax writers are considering adding the House-passed tax package to a potential spending bill. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith [R-MO] recently told Axios that he is meeting with Republican senators to pass the limited tax extenders package as a prelude to next year’s effort on whether to extend tax cuts passed in 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (TaxNotes Talk podcast, Feb. 21)
  • Smith commented, "For one it breaks the dam. There has not been any kind of even a small extenders package passed in three years and let alone in divided government. And so 2025 is the Super Bowl of tax." (Axios, Feb. 16)

“Yes in My Backyard” Coalition

The Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act -- H.R. 3507
  • This week, The Real Estate Roundtable and 21 other national organizations expressed their strong support for the bipartisan Yes in My Backyard Act (YIMBY) in their latest letter to the House Financial Services Committee (Coalition letter, Feb. 20)
  • H.R. 3057, introduced by Congressmen Mike Flood (R-NE) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA), would help promote development of affordable housing by requiring local governments that receive certain federal grants to report on their practices to support high-density development.
  • Separately, the Wall Street Journal (Feb. 20) highlighted that community opposition to new projects is not just restricted to housing developments. E-Commerce hubs are also “increasingly contending with a headache” of NIMBY sentiments, as developers of warehouse and logistics properties face the conundrum of siting projects that are necessary to deliver goods to residents and consumers.     

SEC & Scope 3 Disclosure

The SEC must still vote on the final regulation before its release. Progressive Democrats in Congress will likely object to any rule that relieves registered companies from Scope 3 reporting.

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Despite Ongoing Market Challenges, Industry Leaders Expect Improvements in 2024
Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer
Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer

The Real Estate Roundtable’s Q1 2024 Sentiment Index confirms that commercial real estate property markets continue to experience significant challenges. At the same time, in the coming year industry executives expect monetary policy action reflecting lower inflation to bring greater stability in asset pricing and expanded availability of debt and equity capital. 

Cautious Optimism

  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “Our current Sentiment Index shows improved optimism by industry leaders, compared with previous surveys that highlighted significant market concerns. The Q1 sentiment continues to note challenges presented by ongoing tight capital markets, increased operating expenses, and the continuing uncertainty of post-pandemic, in-office work. However, as the interest rate environment appears to have settled somewhat, executives are now expressing increased optimism that values and capital availability will improve in 2024.”

  • He added, “As we look at the current and future landscape of commercial real estate, it's clear that we are at a pivotal moment. With nearly $3 trillion of commercial real estate loans maturing in the next four years, it remains very crucial that lenders continue to work constructively with borrowers to reflect both current and expected economic growth. Markets and asset values continue to adjust and stabilize as office use, interest rates, and inflation begin to normalize.”

  • All indices of The Roundtable’s Q1 Index are up, compared to the previous quarter and one year ago. The Index—a measure of senior executives’ confidence and expectations about the commercial real estate market environment—is scored on a scale of 1 to 100 by averaging the scores of Current and Future Economic Sentiment Indices.­­­­ Any score over 50 is viewed as positive. ­­­­

Topline Findings

The Real Estate Roundtable's Q1 2024 Sentiment Index
  • The Q1 2024 Real Estate Roundtable Sentiment Index registered an overall score of 61, an increase of 17 points from the previous quarter. The Current Index registered 53, a 21-point increase over Q4 2023, and the Future Index posted a score of 70 points, an increase of 13 points from the previous quarter. These increases point to cautious optimism in the real estate market.
  • There continue to be variations among asset classes and within specific property types as the real estate market rapidly changes. Industrial and multifamily are starting to soften, but retail and hospitality asset classes were identified as being surprisingly resilient. While many office properties have experienced a significant erosion in value, Class A offices continue to outperform.
  • An overwhelming 79% of survey participants indicate that asset values have decreased compared to the previous year. However, the potential end to interest rate hikes has instilled some industry optimism, with nearly 80% of survey participants expecting asset values to be the same or higher a year from now.
  • Survey participants continue to emphasize the challenging capital markets landscape, with 86% and 85% of survey participants suggesting that the availability of equity and debt capital, respectively, is the same or worse than a year ago. That said, 67% and 76% believe the availability of equity and debt capital, respectively, will improve a year from now

Data for the Q1 survey was gathered in January. See the full Q1 report.

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