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

U.S. home sales rose by more than 20 percent last month, reports the Associated Press. The pandemic has made the self-storage sector vulnerable to a downturn, according to The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. NMHC Rent Payment Tracker Finds 91.3 Percent of Apartment Households Paid Rent as of July 20 “The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 91.3 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by July 20 in its survey of 11.1 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country. This is a 2.1-percentage point decrease from the share who paid rent through July 20, 2019 and compares to 92.2 percent that had paid by June 20, 2020. These data encompass a wide variety of market-rate rental properties across the United States, which can vary by size, type and average rental price.” (NMHC)
  2. U.S. Sales of Existing Homes Jump 20% After a 3-Months Slump “Americans stepped up their home purchases in June by a robust 20.7% after the pandemic had caused sales to crater in the prior three months. But the housing market could struggle to rebound further in the face of the resurgent viral outbreak and a shrinking supply of homes for sale. Sales of existing homes rose last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.” (Associated Press)
  3. Americans Hunker Down, Threatening the Self-Storage Industry “For years, the self-storage industry in the United States has relied on what insiders call the Four D’s: death, divorce, displacement and disaster. But the coronavirus pandemic, combined with aggressive competition and brash overexpansion, has made what once seemed like one of the few recession-proof parts of the commercial real estate industry look as vulnerable as many other businesses.” (The New York Times)
  4. How the Apartment Industry Can Address Inequality “Housing is a central component of inequality in this country, and the apartment industry and apartment owners are in a position to directly address issues of inequality related to housing. While there is certainly an ethical and moral reason to create more equitable housing, there is also a financial reason too. Avanath Capital Management has launched an eight-step action plan to address inequality in minority communities, and the company’s founder, chairman and CEO Daryl Carter says that the policies are good for business.” (
  5. Proptech Helping Manage Packed, Pandemic-Era Multifamily Properties “For those working in multifamily property management, including apartment managers and staff, orders to quarantine have meant full buildings all day, every day. These unusual circumstances have presented challenges that range from record high electricity and water usage levels to the daily performance of customary maintenance chores, along with the pandemic-era mandate to go beyond maintenance and keep public areas sanitized.” (Forbes)
  6. Women of Influence 2020 “Welcome to our 2020 edition of Women of Influence. As we have been doing for many years now, we have based our selection of nearly 200 candidates on such criteria as career achievements, community outreach and mentorship within the industry. And as we experienced in previous years, we found it hard, to say nothing of humbling, to sift through the applications and select just the right nominees. As you will see as you flip through the following pages, these women come from diverse backgrounds with a wide array of specialties.” (
  7. Vornado: Coronavirus Responsible for $306M Loss on Value of Prized Retail JV “The ‘tragic abyss’ that coronavirus has created for Vornado Realty Trust’s finances now includes a massive writedown on some of the city’s most valuable retail real estate. The real estate investment trust has recorded a nearly $306 million impairment loss on its Fifth Avenue and Times Square retail joint venture, according to preliminary estimates released Monday. That equates to a net loss of $1.50 per share, SEC filings show.” (The Real Deal)
  8. Texas Retailers Figure Out Their Own Reopening Rules “The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted millions of U.S. businesses and pushed their owners to come up with new ways to operate while keeping workers and customers safe. With few guidelines, many store owners are left to devise their own precautions. The Wall Street Journal visited several businesses in Houston, which has had a recent surge in coronavirus cases, to see how they have been affected and what they are doing to stay open.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  9. Aldi Opening 70 More Stores This Year “Discount grocer Aldi is embarking on the next wave of its coast-to-coast expansion. On the heels of opening its 2,000th store, the fast-growing retailer, part of privately held German company Aldi Süd, plans to open more than 70 new stores by the end of the year. The new wave of expansion will bring Aldi to Arizona (its 37th state) for the first time, with four new stores in the greater Phoenix area.” (Chain Store Age)
  10. Flex Office Operators Look to Unlock the Suburbs “The adoption of remote work around the world highlights the flexibility and proximity to home that suburban markets can offer. Britain, until last year the world’s largest flexible office market, could provide a test case for how coworking and serviced offices respond to a changed post-COVID environment. Andrew Butterworth, commercial director at British workspace developer Bruntwood Works, noted that customer inquiries have picked up most rapidly at the company’s properties in the regional towns around Manchester, rather than its four city center markets.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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