Arthur Segel published an article in the Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge on the real estate boom: The New Real Estate.
He points out four stories in the commercial real estate markets:
1. Record prices: Highest price for a single building ($1.8 billion for 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City), the most paid for one project ($5.4 billion for Peter Cooper Village, also in New York City) and the largest takeover ever ($39 billion takeover of commercial property owner Equity Office Properties Trust) (now second after TXU).
2. New Capital Markets. REITs are now in 24 countries with 28 other countries looking to implement them.
3. Sustainable Development. Green Buildings are coming.
4. Emerging Markets. Huge real estate growth in China and India.
The problem? REIT dividends are at an historic low of 3.6% (100 basis points below the 10 year treasury), the housing market is in a slump, foreclosures have risen.