Roundtable Testifies on Health of CRE Markets and Recommended Policies

House Oversight Committe hearing included testimony from Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer
Click to watch a compilation of select testimony by Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer

Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer testified this week before a House subcommittee on the “Health of the Commercial Real Estate Markets and Removing Regulatory Hurdles to Ensure Continued Strength.” (Videos of DeBoer’s testimony | Entire hearing | Select clips from the subcommittee’s wrap-up)

CRE Issues

  • The April 30 hearing before the House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services included The Roundtable’s views on market liquidity, the state of the office sector, remote work, affordable housing, and property conversions. (DeBoer’s oral statement and written testimony)
  • DeBoer emphasized that all stakeholders in the regulatory and private sectors should work together to ensure real estate continues to be a leading driver of the economy—and a primary way cities grow, business needs are met, and housing challenges are solved. (Transcript of entire hearing)
  • DeBoer also clarified, “The commercial real estate industry is not seeking a bailout of any sort.” (MarketWatch, April 30)
  • Subcommittee members heard testimony on how liquidity in CRE markets, particularly office, is an overriding industry concern. As nearly half the value of the $4.7 trillion property debt market is scheduled to mature by 2027, base interest rates have risen nearly 500 basis points in 24 months while lenders are considering reductions in their CRE portfolios. (RER’s written testimony and Mortgage Bankers Association testimony)
Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer testifies before House Oversight Subcommittee on April 30, 2024
  • DeBoer urged policymakers and regulators to acknowledge that not all CRE is the same. “In the office market, there are notable differences. Some individual owners are facing considerable pressure, potentially leading to increases in mortgage defaults, foreclosures and large losses of equity. Many top-tier modern office buildings with strong ownership and workspace amenities are currently weathering the storm. There needs to be a better distinction and not a monolithic treatment of commercial real estate.”

Policy Solutions

  • The Roundtable’s policy recommendations submitted to the subcommittee address a wide swath of concerns for owners, lenders, and local communities, including:
  • Ensure federal employees return to the workplace. DeBoer testified, “The federal government should lead by example by highlighting the value of in-office work” as it is critical for the health of cities, local economies, tax bases, and small businesses. (GlobeSt, May 2)

    He also commended efforts by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) to bring federal workers back as the lead sponsor of the Stopping Home Office Work’s Unproductive Problems (SHOW UP) Act (H.R. 139). “This bill passed the House over a year ago and should be enacted into law,” Deboer said. (Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 20 and Feb. 3, 2023)
House Oversight Subcommittee wide shot
  • Encourage banks and loan servicers to extend maturing loans and restructure maturing loans with new equity—effectively making “cash-in refinances”—by converting non-performing and criticized loans to new performing loans.
  • Encourage foreign capital investment in U.S. real estate by amending or repealing the outdated Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA).
  • Reject pro-cyclical measures such as the Basel III Endgame and other regulatory measures that will restrict credit and capital formation.
  • Stimulate the production of affordable housing. The Roundtable and a broad real estate coalition submitted a set of specific policy recommendations this week to Congress detailing a host of pending legislative and regulatory actions that would help provide housing to more Americans.

  • DeBoer informed the subcommittee that these solutions include converting obsolete buildings into housing, increasing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit volume caps, incentivizing local zoning and permitting reforms, increasing efficiency in the Section 8 housing voucher program, and more. (see Affordable Housing story below)
Left to right: Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer with House Oversight Subcommittee Ranking Member Katie Porter (D-CA) and Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa McClain (R-MI)
House Oversight Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa McClain (R-MI), right, and Ranking Member Katie Porter (D-CA), center, with Jeffrey DeBoer
  • He added, “Rent control and eviction moratoriums are on first blush appealing concepts, but they’ve proven time and again, that they’re counterproductive to addressing the housing shortfall.”
  • Congress should also enact a time-limited tax incentive to convert older, underutilized commercial buildings to housing that would help revitalize America’s cities, accelerate the economic recovery of office buildings, and create new supplies of housing in close proximity to jobs.

Property Conversions

  • Separately, The Roundtable provided a list of specific agency actions to accelerate property conversion projects in a recent letter to Jared Bernstein, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. (Roundtable Weekly, April 19)
Doug Turner, Sr. Fellow, Housing,
Center for American Progress
  • Turner stated in his written testimony and oral comments, “I want to compliment The Real Estate Roundtable for a second. They sent a letter to the Council of Economic Advisers in April and offered some very specific suggestions on how to improve the conversion process. Many of these are sensible. And they could help direct what is an evolving policy. We haven’t seen an attempt to convert this much real estate in a short period of time.” (Video clip of Turner’s full comment, or click on photo above)

The Roundtable’s all-member Annual Meeting on June 20-21 in Washington, DC will include speakers and policy advisor committee meetings focused on many of the topics discussed during this week’s House hearing. 

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RER President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer Recognized with Commercial Property Executive’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer

A “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the national publication Commercial Property Executive recognized the accomplishments of Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, who spoke about current policy challenges facing the industry, The Roundtable’s evolution, and the industry’s historical effectiveness in Washington. (Watch the Jan. 18 webcast | Read DeBoer’s written comments | CPE article, Jan. 19)

  • DeBoer noted that real estate is entering a period of increased national public policy risks, which include issues such as liquidity, energy and resiliency, tax policy, and more.  
  • DeBoer stated, “[The Roundtable’s] job is to focus on these policy risks, gather the facts, prepare the analysis, develop sound messages, and fine-tune our messages and our message delivery system.”
  • DeBoer added, “It’s very important that everyone in the industry recognize that to ignore Washington in the coming years is to increase business risk.”

Current and upcoming challenges facing the industry will be the focus of The Roundtable’s Jan. 23-24 all-member State of the Industry Meeting in Washington, DC.

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Roundtable Chair John Fish Honored at Annual Lamplighter Awards

Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk), right, was honored this week with the Lamplighter Award from the American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kurt Newman, President and CEO of Children’s National Medical Center. (Photo: Mr. Fish with Rabbi Levi Shemtov, left. | Watch Mr. Fish’s powerful comments)  


  • The American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) is a part of the largest network of Jewish educational, cultural and humanitarian institutions in the world, with branches in all 50 states and over 100 countries on six continents.
  • The annual Lamplighter Awards honor exceptional communal, political, corporate and academic leaders. Several hundred people attended the Oct. 24 event reception and dinner, including 8-12 U.S. Senators; House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and several House members; 20 Ambassadors from foreign nations; and seven family members of hostages now held in Gaza. 

Roundtable Leaders’ Comments

  • Mr. Fish commented, “It pains me to discuss the reality that many of us have discussed here this evening. There is, unfortunately, a rise in anti-Semitism and hate in the world today. A reality that played out tragically several weeks ago.” The Roundtable issued an Oct. 13 statement condemning the violence and urging humanitarian aid.
  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, above, gave introductory remarks as the co-chair of the event, stating that each one of the three honorees exemplified a unique combination of leadership and optimism. DeBoer added that Mr. Fish is a selfless person who provides The Roundtable with steady guidance, positive advice, and consistent support in his role as Chairman of the organization.

DeBoer asked the Lamplighter audience “… for a moment of silence to internally pledge that each of us will do our part, every minute, hour and day to reject evil, to help those in need, and to embrace the goodness of ethnic and religious diversity worldwide.” (Read DeBoer’s remarks and watch Mr. Fish’s comments)

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Roundtable Condemns Violence; Urges Humanitarian Aid

The Real Estate Roundtable today issued the following statement:

“The Real Estate Roundtable strongly condemns last weekend’s violent, murderous attack on Israel and its citizens. Long standing regional conflicts cannot justify this abhorrent behavior. We urge all civilized people and organizations to stand in opposition to it, and to provide assistance to mitigate the rapidly growing humanitarian crisis.

Roundtable and Coalition Partners Launch Industry-Wide Initiative to Advance “Supplier Diversity” in Real Estate

CREDS Founding Organizations include The Real Estate Roundtable

The Real Estate Roundtable and six national real estate trade associations this week announced a first-of-its-kind alliance that aims to foster supplier diversity throughout the industry. (News release, Feb. 14)

The Commercial Real Estate Diverse Supplier (CREDS) Consortium

  • The Roundtable is joined by CREW Network, ICSC, Mortgage Bankers Association, NAIOP, Nareit, and the National Multifamily Housing Council in the CREDS Consortium.

  • The CREDS Consortium aims to improve and accelerate opportunities for “MWBEs”—shorthand for firms owned by minorities, women, veterans, LGBTQ+ persons, and persons with disabilities – in the chain of vendors, service providers, and other suppliers that support the real estate industry. (CREDS Frequently Asked Questions)

  • The CREDS Consortium has initiated a pilot program with SupplierGATEWAY—a leading supplier management software platform and minority-owned firm that automates and simplifies supplier and vendor management. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 10)

  • SupplierGATEWAY provides software tools and a robust vendor database that allows real estate companies to track, report, and procure services and materials from MWBEs. Members of the CREDS associations can subscribe to SupplierGATEWAY’s platform at discounted rates through the end of 2024.

  • Upon this week’s CREDS Consortium launch, Real Estate Roundtable board member and chair of its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, Jeff T. Blau (CEO, Related Companies), said, “Diversifying the supply chain in real estate must be a collective effort – and I am proud to be a part of this deeply impactful program. This vital work will help us lift up MWBEs and provide the industry with real tools to connect with these businesses and track spending. With partners like my fellow Roundtable board member, Ken McIntyre (CEO, Real Estate Executive Council) and the RER staff, together, we are on the road to expanding opportunity across the industry.”

  • Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “Owners, developers, and financiers of commercial and multifamily real estate are committed to help minority, women, and other historically under-represented entrepreneurs prosper in our great industry.”

  • “The CREDS Consortium can help our members realize their intentions to advance economic opportunities across the vast and varied supply chain that serves real estate, makes our buildings productive, and strengthens the fabric of our communities,” DeBoer added.

DEI and ESG Goals

  • SupplierGATEWAY tools that measure and track MWBE procurement spending can support companies’ efforts to advance environmental social and governance (ESG) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals. Hiring companies can also post their purchase orders and other contracting opportunities through the CREDS portal to be matched with potentially qualified MWBE firms.

  • CREDS associations’ members can subscribe—at a discounted price—to SupplierGATEWAY’s vendor management software and a comprehensive database of more than 1 million MWBE suppliers through the Consortium’s portal page.

  • SupplierGATEWAY Founder and CEO Ade Solaru said, “Our partnership with the CREDS Consortium is an important component of our mission to generate meaningful economic impact at scale for our customers. Each member of the CREDS associations can now create meaningful social impact at the local level without sacrificing efficiency, cost or risk.”

Next Steps

  • The CREDS Consortium also hopes to gain insights from the pilot program about supplier diversity trends across the commercial real estate industry to strengthen the program in the future.

  • Learn more about the CREDS Consortium pilot program. Interested companies can contact Julian So ( to schedule a demo of the system.

More information on the initiative can also be provided by Roundtable Senior Vice President and Counsel, Duane Desiderio, and other points of contact listed at the end of the CREDS Consortium’s “ Frequently Asked Questions” document.

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