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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Dec. 23, 2020)

Commercial Property Executive looks at the real estate industry’s reaction to the new stimulus package. Investors are buying hotels and redeveloping them into rental apartments, reports the Wall Street Journal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. CRE Reacts to $900B Stimulus Package “The 5,593-page, $900 billion pandemic relief bill that the U.S. Congress finally passed Monday evening contains a great deal designed to help individuals and businesses. And while many in the commercial real estate industry welcome the long-awaited package as an indirect boost to the industry, others see it as quite little, quite late.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  2. Empty Hotels Get Second Life as Tiny Apartment During Pandemic “Investors are buying hotels and turning them into rental apartments, in the latest sign of how the Covid-19 pandemic is changing the American real-estate market. These buyers are trying to take advantage of the hospitality industry’s crisis by taking over struggling or foreclosed properties at bargain prices. They are also looking to profit from rising demand for cheap housing from households forced to downsize during the recession.” (Wall Street Journal)
  3. NYC Property Owners Facing Jan. 4 Tax Bills Are Already Behind $500M “With nearly $500 million still owed the city from recent property tax bills, officials from the Department of Finance will be focusing on another $13.744 billion that is due Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 – a four-day payment reprieve due to New Year’s Day falling on a Friday. Because of mid-fiscal year tax rate changes, this is also $84 million more than was due from property owners on July 1, 2020.” (Commercial Observer)
  4. Cantor Fitzgerald Looks to Buy Real Estate Brokerage with Latest SPAC “CF Acquisition Corp. IV is planning to raise $400M, with SEC paperwork listing brokerage as a target area.” (Bisnow)
  5. These U.S. Real Estate Markets Are Poised for a Post-Pandemic Boom “New York, N.Y., is a hell of a town — and in a post-COVID world, home buyers may also see it as a hell of a bargain. Since COVID-19 emerged as a major concern in the first few months of 2020, the pandemic has upended the country’s housing market in many ways. At first, health concerns fueled the digitization of the home-buying process, with some people opting to purchase homes sight unseen apart from virtual tours. The shift to remote working arrangements for people in white-collar jobs meant that households all across the country could rethink where they lived.” (MarketWatch)
  6. The Need for Affordable Housing Continues to Pressure NYC “Despite New York City’s efforts to solve affordability issues, the city’s deep housing crisis continues to persist. The coronavirus outbreak has put even greater pressure on New York City’s vulnerable citizens and brought the affordable housing crisis even more to the forefront. Since the pandemic began, the city has focused on advancing affordable housing projects and has recently announced the acceleration of capital funding within the city’s affordable housing plan.” (Multi-Housing News)
  7. Pandemic Crushes Global Supply Chains, Workers at Both Ends “Orozco began working part-time at J.C. Penney when she was 18, and in nearly four years rose through the ranks from cashier to freight team associate, unloading trucks stuffed with new stock and doing inventory. Four days a week, she arrived at the store by four or five a.m. The early mornings suited her; she loved her job but crowds made her anxious. Now, since being laid off, she’s stressed. She’s applied for a couple of jobs - one counselling kids, the other delivering flowers - but has yet to hear back from either.” (Associated Press)
  8. U.S. Population Growth Smallest in At Least 120 Years “The U.S. population grew by 0.35% from July 2019 to July 2020, an increase of 1.1 million people in a nation whose estimated population in July was more than 329 million residents, according to Census Bureau estimates. An analysis by Frey shows that it’s the smallest increase this century and smaller than any in the last century as well. At the height of the Spanish flu, the growth rate from 1918 to 1919 was 0.49% — even with U.S. troops abroad during World War I.” (Associated Press)
  9. Alex Rodriguez Is Getting into the Hotel Business—Is This a Good Sign for the Industry? “Alex Rodriguez may be most famous for his career as a Yankees baseball phenom and his high-profile relationship with Jennifer Lopez, but he's also a seasoned real estate investor. That's why the news that he's getting into the hotel business warrants a second glance. Our own Liz Brumer recently identified hotels as one of the top opportunities of 2021 because it's likely there will be a lot of distressed assets in the coming months.” (Millionacres)
  10. Hiring Frenzy for Pharmacists as COVID-19 Vaccine Rolls Out “The nation’s drugstores and groceries are racing to hire thousands of pharmacists and technicians to administer Covid-19 vaccines to the masses. Pharmacies big and small were laying off pharmacists as recently as summer, as the profession’s outlook grew dim. Now some of those same pharmacies and supermarkets are making public pleas, reaching out to retired workers and offering signing bonuses. Several retail pharmacy chains, including CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., have agreed to work with the U.S. government to serve as Covid-19 vaccination sites.” (Wall Street Journal)
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