Throughout the year, LightBox released blogs, reports, and webinars to help customers navigate a challenging market and move their businesses forward. Here are the top ten blogs in 2023, according to our readers. Not surprisingly, the most viewed topics favored the following categories: market trends, data integration, AI, environmental risk, GIS mapping, and regulatory and compliance issues.
Market Trends are Front and Center
With continued volatility in the CRE market, three of the top LightBox blogs were focused on assessing market activity and benchmarks.
- The CRE Market Snapshot Q3 2023: Lender-Driven Appraisal Trends and CRE Market Snapshot Q3 2023: Focus on Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Trends—principal analyst Dianne Crocker distills the key takeaways of LightBox’s market snapshot report, which takes a deep dive into environmental due diligence trends, including pricing, turnaround time, and metro performance.
- In Uptick in CRE Loan Sales Amid Market Unrest in 2023, Andrew Phillips discusses two strategies that banks with significant commercial real estate holdings can take to meet regulatory requirements and minimize risk. He suggests they perform detailed reviews of their loan portfolios and develop liquidation plans ahead of potential forced sales.
- The LightBox EDR: 2023 Benchmark Survey of Environmental Due Diligence Professionals, Summer 2023 provided insights into a range of topics, including risk tolerance, technology trends, ASTM standards, climate risk assessments, business challenges, and the market forecast, based on a survey of environmental professionals from every U.S. state across various firm sizes and types.
Technology Issues and Advances are Key Priorities
From data integration across disparate systems to implementing AI for streamlined operations, technology is being viewed as a source of differentiation. Two LightBox blogs that dive into those topics are at the top of the most-read list.
- The Challenge for Lenders: Uncertain CRE Market Driving Lenders to Superpower Portfolio Analysis reveals how lenders are looking for ways to synchronize disparate data sets to produce analytics to arrive at conclusions faster and drive better policy decisions. By de-risking portfolios, lenders can uncover hidden opportunities for upside.
- How is Technology and AI Changing the CRE Industry? notes that in response to intense market pressure to close deals quickly, technology is playing an increasingly important role across the industry to improve efficiency, accuracy, and reporting.
Environmental Risk Screening Remains a Concern
With climate events regularly making headlines, environmental factors are playing a growing role in the way commercial real estate firms do business. Developers want to build energy saving or net-zero properties, use green construction materials, and create a positive social impact with their projects. The industry is increasingly focusing on resilience—managing current problems caused by climate events as well as preparing for a more sustainable future.
- In ESG and Resilience: Understanding How Real Estate Affects Climate Change—and Developing Strategies to Mitigate the Impact, Zach Wade, Vice President of Data Science, explains how LightBox data and analytics help climate modelers in their effort to improve resiliency by screening and identifying properties that may be at risk.
- Case Study: Chicago’s ChiBlockBuilder—a platform managed by the city’s Department of Planning and Building to streamline the purchase of 10,000 city-owned properties—used LightBox’s nationwide coverage of Sanborn fire maps and city directories to investigate the history of vacant properties scattered throughout the city. The city sought a way to better address applications for development, streamline the vetting process, and meet aggressive time-frame requirements.
Builders Focus on Site Selection and Land Acquisition
Homebuilders rallied in 2023, as rising interest rates slowed sales of existing houses, driving demand and prices for newly built homes. Builders like Toll Brothers saw their home sales revenue surge in the Q3 compared to the same period in 2022.
- GIS Mapping Case Study: Toll Brothers—Learn how Toll Brothers used LightBox’s LandVision mapping software to provide a clear view of site selection and land acquisition, to identify land that has potential problems, to overlay data once a parcel has been selected, and to spot opportunities that weren’t previously visible.
Regulatory and Compliance Issues in Focus
The CRE industry faces compliance issues in a host of areas, from big-picture environmental regulations to local zoning and permitting codes. Two of our blogs that addressed zoning and appraisal bias were among the most popular with our audience.
- Four Problems that Can Derail a CRE Deal explains why understanding zoning conformity is essential for keeping deals on track and delves into the three types of zoning conformance status.
- Banking Update to Appraisal Discrimination—Candi Coleman, head of lender strategy at LightBox, led a webinar with FDIC appraisal expert Suzy Gardner, offering insights on recent regulatory changes that affect appraisers and lenders, along with proactive steps each party can take to ensure better compliance management.
Thank you to our readers for your continued support. Let us know about any topics you would like to see covered in 2024. In the meantime, subscribe to LightBox Insights to receive our research and analysis.