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.
The U.S. economy is likely to take a hit this year from the effects of geopolitical uncertainty and a global recession in the manufacturing sector, according to Michael Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). His forecast calls for U.S. GDP growth of 1.2 percent in 2020, down from 2.2 percent in 2019, and for job growth to dip from a monthly average of 175,000 last year to 150,000 this year. The unemployment rate, which currently stands at 3.6 percent and is near a 50-year low, is expected to reach 3.9 percent by year’s end.
Job growth within Seattle’s technology sector has been meteoric over the most recent market cycle. A tech ecosystem that began with Microsoft’s move to Bellevue in the late 1970s steadily gained steam over the following three decades to a fever pitch of tech companies both organically hatching in Seattle and migrating here as they defected from other tech- and non-tech-based cities.
In 2017 Dylan Simon of Kidder-Mathews, wrote How Durable is Seattle’s Tech Sector? This article emphasized that the majority of Seattle’s technology-based companies focus on creating efficiencies in marketplaces. Why is this important? Having a stable of mature technology companies with demonstrated business models, strong war-chests, and market-cycle durability is key. And Seattle has many such companies.
The luxury residential tower with fewer parking spots than any comparable new downtown building is making a deal with a neighbor because many potential buyers apparently aren’t ready to go without parking.
Seniors housing development costs are expected to rise modestly in 2020, with labor and land the primary drivers of higher expenditure, according to research from Los Angeles-based CBRE. Total cost for a seniors housing development rose by 6.4 percent in 2019 to an average of $317 per square foot. Average returns (stabilized net operating income as a percentage of overall development costs) rose to 9.5 percent, up approximately 60 basis points in 2019. This is attributable to an uptick in perceived risk due to lower occupancy rates on a national basis.
When California’s housing crisis slammed into a wealthy suburb, one public servant became a convert to a radically simple doctrine. Per Steven Falk, former City Manager of Lafayette, CA, USA: “All cities — even small ones — have a responsibility to address the most significant challenges of our time: climate change, income inequality, and housing affordability,” The story of the town’s failure to do this, which caused Mr. Falk to resign, is told in an excerpt from Golden Gates, New York Times reporter Conor Dougherty’s book about the causes of the housing crisis in California.
Early adoption of the timber code provisions isn’t just about tall buildings. It is a critical opportunity to encourage wider investment and innovation in sustainable mass timber development of all scales. Why should California (or any place else) care about mass timber construction? Building with engineered timber products addresses our most pressing global challenges. It has the potential to decrease carbon emissions relative to construction, spur rural economic development, encourage forest practices that prevent fires, and increase the speed at which we can deliver projects, including much-needed affordable housing.
Popular projects to plant more trees and expand green space in cities may not protect residents from soaring and often deadly heat unless the efforts target those most in need of relief and bring communities closer, researchers and policymakers said. As record numbers of people move into urban areas, cities around the world are struggling with fast-rising temperatures and worsening heatwaves - from the global north to the south.
South Korean film “Parasite”, which became the first non-English language movie to win the Best Picture award at the Oscars, highlights the widening divide and lack of affordable housing in the capital Seoul, according to social analysts and academics. The gap is starkly portrayed in the living quarters of the two families in the movie: the small, dingy semi-basement space of one, and the sprawling, luxurious home of the other.