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Where to Find Comfort in a World of Invasive Headlines?

I am tired. Most days, it is not from weeding — not from the same root cause as the sensation at the back of my legs, when I climb the stairs at the end of a too-long session outside. It is deeper, and simply from being in the world, a landscape of invasive, impossible headlines.

The garden is where I go to sort it out, whatever “it” has been along the way, during the last four decades. The garden has always been there, the Dorothy Boyd to my Jerry Maguire: “You complete me.” Thank you, many times over.

I was reminded last week by a different Margaret to go to the bookshelf, too — and specifically to stories of loss and death, to understand how the world works. That’s something we could all use extra help with right now, I suspect.

USDA hardiness zones away, in Nashville, suggested that reading books about loss can “remind us that we belong to a species capable of carrying on when we think we can’t carry on any longer.”

John Burroughs into my life. Someone listening responded by describing the revered naturalist and essayist, the author of 27 books, who spent his later summers in a house in the Western Catskills that he called Woodchuck Lodge (now a National Historic Landmark).

Mr. Burroughs wore a coat made from woodchuck pelts. Apparently he didn’t much like Marmota monax, or groundhogs, either.

But in every creature, he looked for knowledge and found meaning. “If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature,” he wrote in 1908, in “Leaf and Tendril.” “And the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature.”

May Sarton. If not for two unlikely tipsters, I might have missed her voice.

“You would like May Sarton,” Sydney Schanberg, a former Times colleague best known for his Pulitzer-winning reporting on the fall of Cambodia in 1975, told me offhandedly 30-something years ago. That got me started. Not long after, my therapist handed me a copy of Ms. Sarton’s memoir, “Journal of a Solitude,” as a homework assignment.

There is good advice for now in there.

“Keep busy with survival,” she wrote in that 1973 book. “Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember nothing stays the same for long, not even pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.”

A few years earlier, in “Plant Dreaming Deep” — among the most successful of her 50-something works of poetry, fiction and memoir — Ms. Sarton offered a prescriptive one-liner for the bad days, learned from her mother: “What better way to get over a black mood than an hour of furious weeding.” I agree.

Elisabeth Tova Bailey was bedridden, convalescing from serious illness. Her little 2010 book, “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating,” begins when a visitor finds a snail during a woodland walk, pots up some violets from the lawn, adds the snail and sets the whole thing down by the patient’s bedside.

Marc Hamer has had a long relationship with another secretive, mostly hidden creature. Mr. Hamer, an Englishman who has lived for more than 30 years in Wales, made his living as a gardener and mole-catcher, a traditional skill sought by gardeners and farmers who regard the animals as nuisance wildlife, because of the wobbly ground and invitation to crop loss that their tunnels and molehills create.

“H Is for Hawk.” There, beside it on my shelf, is Ms. Renkl’s own “Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss,” in which she sorts through the death of her mother and then her mother-in-law, informed by her own connection to the natural world.

Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” is the next book on the shelf. “Even a wounded world is feeding us,” Ms. Kimmerer reminds me. “Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.”

So many more voices call out from the bookshelves. Sy Montgomery has written dozens of books about animals for adults and children, including, in 2018, “How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals.”

“Knowing someone who belongs to another species can enlarge your soul in surprising ways,” Ms. Montgomery says at the start.

One of the 13 animals is a 750-pound pet pig, who “taught us how to love,” she writes. “How to love what life gives you. Even when life gives you slops.”

Bernd Heinrich, the University of Vermont professor emeritus of biology. So many things I have observed, but had no words or explanation for, have been illuminated by his writing: the genius of ravens, the force that is animal migration, how a bird weighing only as much as two pennies (the golden-crowned kinglet) can survive a Northern winter.

A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.

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Institutional Property Advisors Closes $201.75 Million Multifamily Portfolio Sale in the Southwest

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Institutional Property Advisors (IPA), a division of Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), announced the $201.75 million portfolio sale of three multifamily properties in the Southwest. The asset includes The Villages at Metro Center, 296 units in Phoenix, Arizona; Crystal Creek, 273 units in Phoenix; and Indigo Park, 216 units in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“The combined operational strengths of the Phoenix and Albuquerque multifamily markets provide our buyer with significant upside opportunity identifiable through the implementation of a programmatic common area and apartment interior renovation,” said Steve Gebing, IPA executive managing director. Gebing and Cliff David, IPA executive managing director, represented the seller, JB Partners, and procured the buyer, Bridge Investment Group. Ryan Sarbinoff, first vice president and regional manager, is Marcus & Millichap’s broker of record in New Mexico.

The Villages at Metro Center was built in 1979 on 11.5 acres and is proximate to the Deer Valley and I-17 employment corridors. Crystal Creek is also proximate to Deer Valley and nearby Bell Road Retail Corridor. The property was constructed in 1985 on eight acres. Accessible from Interstate 25, Indigo Park was built in 1974 on 7.5 acres, eight miles from Downtown Albuquerque.

About Institutional Property Advisors (IPA)

Institutional Property Advisors (IPA) is a division of Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), a leading commercial real estate services firm in North America. IPA’s combination of real estate investment and capital markets expertise, industry-leading technology, and acclaimed research offer customized solutions for the acquisition, disposition and financing of institutional properties and portfolios. For more information, please visit

About Marcus & Millichap, Inc. (NYSE: MMI)

Marcus & Millichap, Inc. is a leading brokerage firm specializing in commercial real estate investment sales, financing, research and advisory services with offices throughout the United States and Canada. As of December 31, 2021, the company had 1,994 investment sales and financing professionals in 82 offices who provide investment brokerage and financing services to sellers and buyers of commercial real estate. The company also offers market research, consulting and advisory services to clients. Marcus & Millichap closed 13,255 transactions in 2021, with a sales volume of approximately $84.4 billion. For additional information, please visit

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Commercial Cap Rates Likely to Keep Compressing in 2022 Despite Higher Interest Rates

Rising interest rates are likely to put some upward pressure on cap rates in 2022. However, the rise will be modest compared to the increase in the benchmark 91-day Treasury that has already increased by 1.3 percentage points as of the end of April from one year ago (2.7% as of April 26). This is because other factors are creating upward pressure on commercial real estate prices. The apartment market is likely to benefit from the higher mortgage rates due to increased demand for rental units. Reduced consumer spending will tend to lower the demand for industrial space but increased demand for warehouse space to minimize supply disruptions (just-in-case inventory management) could boost absorption. Inflation will hit consumer spending but retail stores providing essential services like the neighborhood centers will do better than retail stores providing non-essential services like high-end shopping malls. The continuing return to the office will also tend to minimize the decline in demand due to slower business formation.

Cap Rate Outlook in 2022

Cap Rate Trends As of 2022 Q1

Cap rates continued to compress across all core property types as of the first quarter of 2022 Q1 even as the benchmark 10-year T-note spiked to 2.8% as of April from 1.5% one year ago. The risk premium, which is calculated as the nominal cap rate less the 10-year Treasury Note yield, continued to compress across all property types. Though interest rates have been rising amid mounting inflation and the Fed’s efforts to control inflation by raising the federal funds rate (with anticipated rate increases every quarter), investors are factoring in the strong demand for commercial assets and local economic conditions. Nationally, employment conditions continue to improve, with 20 million jobs recovered of the 22.5 million jobs lost during 2020, and on average, there are nearly 2 job openings for every job seeker.1

Risk Premium Has Compressed Across Property Types Since 2020 Q3

While cap rates are positively associated with the 10-year yield, cap rates don’t move in lock-step with it. For example, during the height of the pandemic in 2020 Q3, the risk spread for office and retail, which were the hardest hit assets after the economy went into a lockdown and many businesses remained closed, rose to as high as 6%. With an improving economy and the reopening of businesses, the risk-premium for office and retail assets has compressed to around 4%.  

Because of the inverse relationship between cap rates and prices, the cap rate compression corresponds to a sharp rise in sales prices. As of 2022 Q1, office real estate prices are up 10% year-over-year on average while prices of retail real estate are up 16%. Industrial properties experienced the strongest price gain of 30% followed by apartment assets at 22%, according to the transaction-based commercial price indices reported by Real Capital Analytics.

Commercial Sales Price Growth Are Moderating in Office and Retail Markets As of 2022 Q1

Modest Cap Rate Increased in 2022

As of 2022 Q1, the apartment market had the lowest risk premium at 2.5% (3.5% one year ago). Cap rates are likely to continue to compress or hold steady for the apartment market. This is because rising mortgage rates will tend to encourage renters who would have been able to afford a home to remain renters. About 2.6 million renter households ages 25 to 44 years old have been priced out as mortgage rates rose from 3% to over 5%. Moreover, apartment assets are a good hedge against inflation as rents are adjusted annually. In a period of high inflation, investors will look for assets that yield positive returns. Currently, multifamily asking rents are rising 11% year over year2 while single-family apartment rents are up 13% year-over-year.3 With strong apartment demand, cap rates are likely to hover at 4.5% from the 2021 Q1 level of 4.4%.  At the height of the pandemic in 2020 Q2, cap rates were at 5.2%.

Industrial cap rates have also trended downwards to 3.5% (4.3% one year ago). Absorption of industrial space is robust, with the vacancy rate at a low 4.1% and asking rents up 11% year-over-year, also resulting in real net rent growth. However, absorption has been tapered from about 150 million square feet (MSF) in 2021 to about 100 MSF as of 2022 Q2. Slower economic growth and high inflation are likely to slow consumer spending and manufacturing which will reduce the demand for industrial space. However, the shift from just-in-time inventory management to just-in-case inventory management as businesses seek to minimize supply chain disruptions could offset some of the decline in industrial space due to slower business formation. With a slight decrease in demand, cap rates are expected to tick up modestly to 5.7% from the current level of 5.3%. At the height of the pandemic in 2020 Q2, cap rates were at 6%.

Rising inflation will hit the retail sector the most, as consumers cut back on non-essential spending. However, neighborhood centers that are anchored around grocery stores are likely to do well. Moreover, the average vacancy rate is low, 4.5%, and this will tend to support commercial prices. But with slower consumer spending, cap rates are expected to rise to 6.3% from the current level of 6.1%.  At the height of the pandemic in 2020 Q2, cap rates were at 6.6%.

In the office market, the vacancy rate in this property market remains elevated at 12%. However, the higher demand for office space as more workers return to the office is expected to moderate the decline in demand due to slower new business formation. Cap rates are likely to hover at 6.3% from the current level of 6.1%. At the height of the pandemic in 2020 Q2, cap rates were at 6.5%.

1Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics



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Instant Reaction: S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index Accelerates to 19.8% in February 2022

Home prices rose at a surprising, accelerated pace of 19.8% year-over-year in the past three months as of February, remaining robust in the face of rising mortgage rates, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller National Index. In 14 out of the 20 metro areas, home prices for single-family homes rose over 20%, with searing rates in Phoenix, (32.9%), Tampa (32.6%), and Miami (29.7%).

To note, the index reflects sales transactions over the past three months of December 2021 through February 2021, so these transactions transpired when 30-year mortgage rates were still below 4%. Mortgage rates hit over 5% last week.

However, the rapid pace of price appreciation indicates that demand is still heavily outweighing supply and that we are still in a seller’s market. The data lends credence to the argument that homebuyers are trying to lock in at current mortgage rates before rates rise further (to as high as 6%) by year-end. According to REALTORS®, homes that sold in March had an average of five offers.

Currently, at the median sale price of $375,300 and with a mortgage rate of 5.11% and a 10% down payment, the monthly mortgage is $1,851. By December, with home prices just up 5% year-over-year and mortgage rates at 6%, the monthly mortgage payment rises to $2,025.

Even as about 2.6 million renter households headed by 25 to 44-year-old persons have been priced out (at a mortgage rate of 5.11% relative to 3% on a $375,300 home), there are still 6.3 million renter households who can afford a home, with incomes of above $88,800.

However, expect prices to slow during the year as affordability takes a bigger hit from higher mortgage rates. Households are facing not only higher mortgage payments but also facing $500 more on expenditures excluding shelter with inflation at 8.5%. All told, households need about $1,000 more now than one year ago just to be able to afford a home and spend on the same type of consumer goods and services.

Will the pace of appreciation hit negative territory? Not likely, as supply conditions are still tight, with the inventory of homes for sale at just about two months’ supply given the current sales pace.

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Is a Kitchen Island Essential? No, but You Know You Want One

As the kitchen evolved from a work space hidden from guests to the place where everyone wants to congregate, the kitchen island became a must-have for many homeowners.

It’s easy to understand why: An island doesn’t just provide an extra work surface and add space for storage and appliances — it creates an area where family and friends can pull up a seat.

“No matter how large your home is, everyone tends to gather around the kitchen island,” said Jessica Nicastro, an interior designer based in Los Angeles. “Any party that you have, your kitchen island is the central meeting point. It also acts as a buffet, a homework center for children and a breakfast table.”

Workstead. “Oftentimes, I find it very confusing when you see a big island with lots of seating bordering a huge dining table with lots of seating. To me, it feels superfluous. But at the same time, I know it’s fun to sit at an island while someone’s cooking.”

To decide what works best for you, she said, consider how much seating you really need (especially if there’s a dining table directly beside the island), as well as how much space you require for kitchen essentials. In smaller kitchens, it might be better to forgo room for stools and maximize storage space.

At Ms. Brechbuehler’s former home in Gallatin, N.Y., she and her husband and business partner, Robert Highsmith, designed an island without seating. Instead, the island has a sink and dishwasher on one side; on the other side are deep storage drawers accessible from an adjacent dining area.

Worrell Yeung designed, a cantilevered section on the side of an island has room for two stools, with plenty of space elsewhere for storage. “We like activating the ends of islands, where it can function more like a desk or a work space,” said Jejon Yeung, a partner at the New York-based firm.

For another Manhattan loft, the architects designed an island resembling an enormous block of Ceppo di Gré marble, with two voids — one on the front and one on the side — that offer places to sit.

Ike Kligerman Barkley and the interior design firm the Wiseman Group, two countertops slightly overlap: A white Neolith work surface, where the island faces the range, is about 36 inches off the floor (typical counter height); a soapstone table surface, where the island faces a fireplace, is about 42 inches off the floor (typical bar height).

“We really wanted it to feel like a nice, big table, rather than an island,” said Carl Baker, a principal at Ike Kligerman Barkley.

Henrybuilt, which personalizes the insides of drawers to keep cutlery, spice jars and spatulas organized. “The interior is as important as the exterior.”

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CoStar Group Appoints David Mele as President of LoopNet

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP) – a leading provider of online real estate marketplaces, information, and analytics in the commercial and residential property markets today proudly announced the appointment of David Mele as the new President of LoopNet.

LoopNet is the most heavily trafficked mobile and online commercial real estate marketplace, connecting tenants and investors to commercial real estate available for sale and lease. As President, Mele will be responsible for the overall business strategy, sales, product management, marketing and extending LoopNet’s success internationally.

“Over the past several years, LoopNet has grown into the largest commercial real estate marketplace in the world, and we’re excited to bring on David Mele to oversee the company during these times of staggering growth,” said Andrew Florance, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CoStar Group. “With decades of experience, David has a proven track record of building and growing successful online marketplaces and we are confident that he will take LoopNet to the next level.”

David Mele joined CoStar Group in May 2021 as part of the acquisition where he successfully served as President of since 2014. As President, Mele played an integral part of the company’s acquisition by CoStar Group in May 2021.

Prior to joining, David served as publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, the largest daily metro newspaper in Virginia, and president of Pilot Media, a diversified media company based in Norfolk, Virginia. He also served as general manager of Pilot Interactive, where he was responsible for online and digital operations including,, online vertical marketplaces for homes, jobs, and autos, and a digital services division that delivered search engine marketing, social media and web development solutions. Mele began his career with Accenture, a global management consulting and technology services company, where he worked with a number of Fortune 100 companies on new product development and innovation.

About CoStar Group, Inc.

CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP) is a leading provider of online real estate marketplaces, information and analytics. Founded in 1987, CoStar conducts expansive, ongoing research to produce and maintain the largest and most comprehensive database of commercial real estate information. Our suite of online services enables clients to analyze, interpret and gain unmatched insight on commercial property values, market conditions and current availabilities. STR provides premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for the global hospitality industry. Ten-X provides a leading platform for conducting commercial real estate online auctions and negotiated bids. LoopNet is the most heavily trafficked commercial real estate marketplace online.,,,, Westside Rentals,,, and form the premier online apartment resource for renters seeking great apartment homes and provide property managers and owners a proven platform for marketing their properties. Homesnap is an industry-leading online and mobile software platform that provides user-friendly applications to optimize residential real estate agent workflow and reinforce the agent-client relationship. offers real estate professionals advertising and marketing services for residential properties. Realla is the UK’s most comprehensive commercial property digital marketplace. BureauxLocaux is one of the largest specialized property portals for buying and leasing commercial real estate in France. CoStar Group’s websites attract tens of millions of unique monthly visitors. Headquartered in Washington, DC, CoStar Group maintains offices throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada and Asia. From time to time, we plan to utilize our corporate website,, as a channel of distribution for material company information.

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” including, without limitation, statements regarding CoStar Group’s expectations, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future. These statements are based upon current beliefs and are subject to many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements, including the risk that the Company’s expected growth will not be as and when expected. More information about potential factors that could cause results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those stated in CoStar Group’s filings from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in CoStar’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, which is filed with the SEC, including in the “Risk Factors” sections of that filing, as well as CoStar’s other filings with the SEC available at the SEC’s website ( All forward-looking statements are based on information available to CoStar Group on the date hereof, and CoStar Group assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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