H. Pike Oliver compiles this weekly update of real estate and community development news focused primarily on the USA. The inclusion of an article does not imply endorsement. And please note that some links may lead to items that are behind a paywall.
This week, the selected articles are all about the coronavirus.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have separately announced nationwide initiatives to provide financial relief for their multifamily borrowers and tenants affected by the outbreak of coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). The two government-sponsored enterprises are enacting programs that allow their borrowers to defer monthly payments for up to 90 days by showing hardship as a consequence of COVID-19 and by gaining lender approval. Participants in the program must agree to not evict their renters who are facing financial hardship due to the current health crisis. The agencies anticipate the initiatives could impact more than 54,000 apartment communities across the country.
businesses with hotels emptying out due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Some downtown Seattle hotels are reporting a 40 to 60 percent decline in occupancy, according to the Downtown Seattle Association. The Washington Hospitality Association (WHA) reports it’s worse for one chain with occupancy rates down to between just 4 and 10 percent.
Around the world, health-care workers have reported growing harassment and discrimination since the coronavirus crisis started. A top administrator at the Royal College of Nursing recently tweeted about British nurses being heckled, verbally abused, and called “disease spreaders” on the street. Essentially, they are seen as walking “Petri dishes.”
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a widespread impact on the off-campus student housing industry. Many off-campus owners and operators are grappling with a growing number of universities canceling in-person classes, and in some instances, ordering students to vacate their campuses and residence halls altogether.
Ever since classical times, pandemics have tended to be especially tough on large, dense urban areas. A look at a map of COVID-19 infections, reveals that the vast majority of cases have occurred in dense cities, like Wuhan, and later on around Milan, and, to a lesser extent, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston. In contrast there has been very little incidence in vast middle of country and particularly more rural areas, which benefit from less crowding and unwanted human contact, which now may be even more attractive to urban workers.