Each Wednesday, The Wrap presents a compilation of recent noteworthy commercial real estate stories from a variety of publications. Below are links to five stories that caught our eyes in recent days.

Moving to Where the Price is Right by Patrick J. Kiger of Urban Land Magazine.

Key excerpt:

“In terms of lifestyle, smaller cities are competitive in a way that they were not 20 years ago, according to urban theorist Aaron M. Renn, founder of the website Urbanophile. ‘It used to be that if you moved from New York to Nashville, you took a hit in terms of amenities. Now, when you go to these smaller places, you find high-quality, locally roasted coffees; a plethora of microbrews; amazing food.’ And the Internet is helping to fill cultural gaps. ‘I’m a big opera fan,’ notes Renn, currently a resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. ‘But if I were to move to Nashville, they simulcast the Metropolitan Opera in theaters there, for a tenth of the price.’”

 

Commercial Deal Volume in U.S. at Post-Recession Peak, Says Auction.com by Michael Gerrity of World Property Journal.

Key excerpt:

“The total combined volume in the office, retail, apartment, industrial and hotel sectors reached nearly $120 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, a 5.5 percent increase from a year ago. All five sectors saw a year-over-year volume increase, reflecting stronger valuations and underlying fundamentals. Office and apartment transactions accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total. And, while retail continues to face headwinds due to the rise of e-retail, deal volume increased to a 20 percent share of the total.”

 

Can Popular REITs Avoid a Rate Hit? by Tom Lauricella of the Wall Street Journal.

Key excerpt:

“While the short-term fortunes of many real-estate funds are tied to swings in interest rates, fund managers say the underlying outlook for commercial real estate ultimately matters more. The real-estate market, they say, should remain healthy for the foreseeable future even if rates head back north.

The U.S. economy continues to grow, employment is improving and foreign investors have been funneling money into U.S. commercial real estate—in particular, urban office buildings and residential properties.”

 

The Impending Opportunity In Real Estate Technology by Josh Guttman of TechCrunch.

Key excerpt:

“Venture funding of real estate technology startups reached a peak in the fourth quarter of 2014, with 32 companies raising nearly $300 million. In total, venture funds invested $605 million in real estate tech in 2014 versus $241 million the year before – more than 2.5x growth. There are a number of signs suggesting the trend will continue through 2015, as the category moves from niche status to one that gains widespread attention.”

 

The Average American Mall Explained In 6 Charts by Bloomberg.

Key excerpt:

“Yet the mall persists. There are still more than 1,100 of them in the U.S., providing natural habitats to Sunglass Hut, Bath & Body Works, and all manner of specialty retailers, food court curiosities, and pimply teenagers. The following graphic is based on Bloomberg's analysis of 546 malls and 61,790 stores, representing the mall as it currently exists. Should it concern us that Moe's Southwest Grill is mostly confined to food courts in the Southeast, or that glow-in-the-dark mini-golf is less ubiquitous than pretzel stores? In a word, yes. But those are questions for another time. America, this is the state of your mall today.”