NEW YORK CITY-While political and economic uncertainty generally are taking a toll on investment sales activity, no factor is creating more sleeplessness than what will happen to interest rates. The future course of interest rates—how soon, how rapidly and how far they rise from the current historically low rates—is “the elephant in the room,” panelist Warren De Haan, chief originations officer and managing director at SPT Management LLC, told a RealShare New York audience Tuesday. For his part, Michael Cohen, president of the tri-state region for Colliers International, foresaw a “continued conspiracy” on the part of the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low for the time being, regardless of who’s elected President next month.

All of the panelists during Tuesday’s “Transactions Outlook” panel at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown, moderated by Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail group at Prudential Douglas Elliman, had plenty to say about government’s influence on the outlook for either sales or leasing. Patrick Robinson, president of the Northeast region at Transwestern, said we’re currently seeing “the calm before the storm” that may set in with election results. Cohen said that when it comes to the effects that the legislative/regulatory environment has on CRE, “the devil is in the details”—and there are few details available.

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