“I want to welcome you to the recovering phase of this recession,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist at Meyers Research, in her introduction to the 11th weekly COVID-19 Update webinar by Meyers Research. “By no means is the crisis over, and we still expect plenty of bumps along the way. But the hope at this point is that the free-fall is behind us, and now we start weighing the opportunities with the outstanding risks and make strategic decisions.”
With several states reopening in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, JBG Smith has released its “Healthy Workplace Blueprint,” a new design for the company’s offices as tenants return to work. The Healthy Workplace Blueprint focuses on health and safety measures related to cleaning and sanitation, indoor air quality, social distancing and tenant communications.
JBG Smith, which owns and operates several properties in and around Washington, D.C., has been working with federal, state and local health authorities to design this blueprint. Upon arrival at a JBG Smith-owned office building, employees can expect to see doors for entrances and exits clearly marked, a two-person maximum for elevator cabs, decals on the floors of the elevators for where they should stand, staircases labeled whether they are for ascending or descending, and signage throughout the lobby reminding people to stay six feet apart.
It took an unprecedented pandemic to speed up the music. Now, in the game of mall-REIT musical chairs, the game is just about over. Mall REITs havelost about 48% in market capitalization since Jan. 1. That’s worse than hotel REITs, which lost about 40% during the same time period. Combined, retail REITs in general have lost 40%, or $65 billion, in market capitalization vs. all equity REITs that have lost 18%, or $22 billion.
Simon Property Group (NYSE:SPG) CEO David Simon issued the warning during the REIT’s Q1 earnings call when he said: “The bottom line is, we do have a contract and we do expect to get paid.” Simon Property alleges in a lawsuit that Gap (NYSE:GPS) failed “to pay more than $65.9M in rent and other charges due,” The Real Deal reports. The clothing chain is Simon’s biggest non-anchor tenant in terms of rent, according to CNBC. Stores have been closed due to stay-at-home orders that started in March to slow the spread of COVID-19. Since then many shuttered tenants, including Gap, stopped paying rent. Simon wants the court to order Gap to pay up to $66M plus any future rent payments.
The latest round of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Application Survey showed a decline in its benchmark Market Composite Index for the week ending on May 29 by 3.9% from the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis. Purchase application activity rose by 5.3%. Continuing the trend that had begun in the second week of April, purchasing activity posted an even higher year-over-year gain this week had, indicating a moderate rise in home buying activity compared to last year.
As one of the country’s worst economic and health crises in history deepens, rent is due again for millions of people who are struggling to make ends meet. Over the last couple of months, there hasn’t been a steep drop-off in the number of people paying rent. The question is what will happen in the next few months.
As tenants across the U.S. run out of options, more and more are turning to credit cards to pay the rent. Property management company Zego processes millions of rent checks every month. It reported that from March to April, the number of tenants putting rent on a credit card increased 30%; from April to May, it went up another 20%.
San Diego–based modular builder Dvele—known for its luxury prefab product that emphasizes health and technology—has announced the acquisition of Blu Homes, another premium prefab builder based in the Bay Area. The new agreement will bring together these two leading companies that specialize in luxury factory-built housing and home technology and deliver new cutting-edge homes to a market desperate for innovation.
Blu has spent over a decade developing and building prefabricated homes across the U.S., with its award-winning Breezehouse at the forefront. Blu’s homes have continued to show what kind of modern, luxury homes can be produced in a factory setting ensuring quality, timeliness, and value.
Today, prefabrication in the United States is stunted. The small manufacturers that exist cannot invest in research and therefore cannot produce the more sophisticated projects that are needed. Plus, the regulatory environment is so restrictive here in the US, that in many cases, it can be less cost to ship a project over from a more experienced or innovative fabricator located overseas.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected metropolitan areas across the USA with varying force. New York City has been hardest hit, and it’s no secret that the Big Apple is going to be one of the places that will have the most challenging time bouncing back from the coronavirus pandemic, no matter when things subside. But which cities will have the best coronavirus recovery? And which other cities will struggle? Moody’s Analytics has issued a report that examines the potential to recover from coronavirus among the top 100 metro areas in the US—and while some of the results are to be expected, some are more surprising.
Facebook workers will be able to work permanently at home, but can expect a drop in wages if they move to cheaper areas to continue working. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced via livestream that he expects approximately 50% of the company’s 50,000 employees will work remotely over the next five to ten years.
A blind survey revealed that 66% of tech workers like Facebook, Twitter and Uber would move away from big cities if homework became permanent. Some employees will be allowed to work full-time remotely and will need to notify Facebook of any location changes by January 1, 2021.
Employees who hoped to take their big paychecks to Silicon Valley if they moved to a less expensive region are cautioned. Employees will be able to work from home permanently, but will be paid wages based on the cost of living in their area “It means that if you live in a place where the cost of living is considerably lower or the cost of labor is lower, then wages tend to be somewhat lower in these places,” said Zuckerberg .
Some things just can’t replace human connection. In the long run, the cities will almost certainly bounce back, because in the long run, the cities always seem to bounce back. No matter how unlikely that may seem at the moment. Rome endured through centuries of plague and sackings, even though for some time its population diminished to the point where goats were grazed and vineyards planted inside the Aurelian walls. It’s now bigger than ever. Individual cities can fall, or even vanish, but over the course of human history, The City has only grown, despite the predictions of countless generations of pastoral fantasists.
Will protesters in American cities bring progress, or set back the cause they champion? It would be easy to conclude that police violence and racial inequality in America are just too hard a problem to fix. Such pessimism is unwarranted