• The big deal

    • 2013-12-16
    • WENDY BROFFMAN

    The CEOs of Memphis-based Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. (MAA) and Birmingham-based Colonial Properties Trust, respectively, believed their companies combined would be better than two standalone entities.

    So, on Oct. 1, after 20 years as friendly competitors in the Sunbelt, they joined forces to create the largest multifamily REIT pl


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  • MHP reflections

    • 2013-12-16
    • Linda Hoffman, Publisher

    A friend of mine was recently told he had leukemia. He had a big doctor's appointment coming up to consider his options. Already there had been dozens of tests, doctor appointments and wringing of hands prior to this, the mother of all appointments. He would be given his options and, in his mind, his death sentence. He could think of nothing else.


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  • Bundling single-family rentals

    • 2013-12-16
    • Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel

    In one of the surest signs that the home-rental business is going corporate, Orlando's biggest new landlord has started bundling rent checks from residents and selling them as securities on Wall Street.

    The sale this month by Blackstone Group means that Wall Street investors are banking on residents paying their rents on time. But it also ind


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  • Three factors that could shape the fate of housing overhaul

    • 2013-12-16
    • Nick Timiraos, wsj.com

    But several developments unfolding right now could make the next five or six months among the more consequential periods for housing-finance policy since the companies were taken over by the government five years ago. Here are three reasons why:

    First, Fannie and Freddie are now reporting large profits. This could make it easier for the compa


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  • Coping with hurricane employees

    • 2013-12-16

    The words describe employees--from CEOs down to mid-level managers and their subordinates--who tear through an office, disrupting everyone's work environment and leaving a path of destruction in their wake before finally moving on, like a hurricane.

    Hurricane employees are nothing new: While most people have encountered some version of them d


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  • The complex economics of America's minimum wage

    • 2013-12-16

    Over the summer, Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and automatically index it to the cost of living. In an opinion piece for Politico, Harkin said raising the minimum wage is "good for workers, good for businesses and good for our economy."

    I


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  • The incredible shrinking workforce

    • 2013-12-16
    • Brad Plumer, washingtonpost.com

    Now, a big caveat: That big October drop in participation could have been skewed slightly by the government shutdown. The official household survey counted 720,000 people as leaving the labor force in October, but that might have included some furloughed federal employees or contractors who have since returned to the job. If so, expect a small rebo


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  • D.C. dysfunction

    • 2013-12-16
    • PEGGY SHAW

    While AvalonBay Communities' portfolio in the nation's capital achieved positive revenue growth and rent growth in Q3, revenue growth from the company's D.C. Metro portfolio was up about one percent year-to-date, but turned flat on a year-over-year basis, reported AvalonBay's Executive VP of Investments and Asset Management Sean Breslin during the


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  • Zero net energy living

    • 2013-12-16
    • Richard Chang, Sacramento Bee

    The $300 million West Village campus project opened to much fanfare two years ago, riding on the hope that it would serve as a model for future construction.

    Touted as the largest planned "zero net energy" community in the nation, West Village elicited great interest from politicians and newspapers alike. Millions of taxpayer dollars went int


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  • The hummingbird effect

    • 2013-12-16
    • LISA BENSON

    Over the next 12 to 24 months, as Google continues to index our personal searches, incorporate permission-based GPS tracking, include integrated application data and maybe a bit of Big Brother, we will learn a lot more about ourselves and what we truly seek. For today, here is what we do.

    Over the past two years, Google has engaged in a large


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  • Residents only

    • 2013-12-16
    • Candace Jackson, wsj.com

    In Key Biscayne, Fla., Oceana Key Biscayne is constructing a private restaurant with globally-inspired cuisine that's dedicated to the buyers of its units priced from $2 million to $19 million. Another going up within the Grove at Grand Bay in Coconut Grove, Fla., will serve breakfast, lunch and four-course dinners seven days a week. "There's a lot


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  • Maximum occupancy

    • 2013-12-16
    • PEGGY SHAW

    Camden Property Trust
    "I think we're pretty well-positioned going into fourth quarter with an occupancy rate of 96 percent and that's directly related to a specific tactic we undertook to make sure we got our occupancy rate up," said Camden Property Trust President Keith Oden during the REIT's Q3 2013 earnings call at the be


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  • A grand time in texas

    • 2013-12-16
    • Marilyn Alva, Investor's Business Daily

    While many parts of the country have not fully emerged from the housing crisis and recession, Texas continues on a tear with new building and thriving residential and commercial real estate markets.

    And that shows no sign of letting up.

    Construction crews are finishing office towers, industrial buildings, rental apartments and single-fa


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  • FHFA faces pushback on cuts to Fannie Mae apartment lending

    • 2013-12-16
    • Clea Benson, bloomberg.com

    While the size of the cuts is still undetermined, they will add to a 10 percent reduction in apartment financing the Federal Housing Finance Agency required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make this year as part of a broader effort to boost private investment in housing finance.

    Developers, lenders and affordable-housing advocates are pushing


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  • Apartment market tightens as housing costs jump

    • 2013-12-16
    • Dawn Wotapka, wsj.com

    The average monthly rent in the third quarter was $1,073, up 1 percent from the prior quarter, the largest quarterly gain in a year, according to a recently released report by Reis Inc., a real-estate research firm. Compared with the third quarter a year ago, average monthly rent was up 3 percent. None of the 79 markets tracked by Reis saw rents fa


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  • Key US housing markets vexed by lack of multifamily builds

    • 2013-12-16
    • Kerri Ann Panchuk, housingwire.com

    The big question is whether enough new inventory will arrive in the near future to help alleviate some of the tightness in key markets located in inventory-starved states such as Colorado. Colorado apartment rental markets continue to suffer from low vacancy rates, which means rents are higher and the pickings for renters is slim.

    Caitlin Sug


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  • Values begin at home

    • 2013-12-16
    • 247wallst.com, Janet Loehrke

    The economy and standard of living can be affected by decisions made decades ago, forces outside the control of the state's government and administrators, as well as the government's own actions.

    Every year, 24/7 Wall St. tries to answer this question by conducting an extensive survey of every state. To determine how well states are managed


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  • You can't manage what you don't know

    • 2013-12-16
    • Michael Murray, greentechmedia.com and constructech.com

    Among those changes is the way a building's energy use is tracked, and subsequently adjusted to make it more green and cost-efficient. As time goes on, such practices may become more common.

    A recent report from IHS Research, Englewood, Colo, entitled "Building Automation Equipment," projects the U.S. market for the technology will grow 43 pe


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  • If you're going to change your culture, do it quickly

    • 2013-12-16
    • Brad Power

    Few organizations explicitly use culture as a way to drive business performance, or even believe it could make sense to do so. The logic usually works the other way--make specific changes in processes, and then hope that, gradually, the culture will change.

    Yet some leading organizations are turning this conventional wisdom on its head. Consi


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  • Mindfulness as a business skill

    • 2013-12-16
    • Todd Essig

    That's right, consider mindfulness, usually associated with meditation and yoga, as a money-making business skill.

    Mindfulness is already known to be a rich concept. In psychology it means being aware of one's thoughts and feelings, and non-judgmentally accepting them. While mindfulness is a learned behavior, it can also be an enduring featur


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  • Let the games begin

    • 2013-12-16

    The object of the game is for Chicago residents to take simple steps to reduce energy usage, resulting in lower utility bills for families and property owners, and a smaller carbon footprint for the city. This first-of-its-kind program uses prizes and awards to drive participation throughout the competition.

    "The Chicago Neighborhood Energy C


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  • The closer

    • 2013-12-16
    • George Leef

    A crucial reason why the U.S. used to enjoy robust economic growth was that we had a strong rule of law tradition. People could mostly know what the law was and enforcement was the same for everyone--no favorites.

    In that environment, people could invest and plan for the future without worry about having their wealth seized. They could also g


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