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11 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Nov. 24, 2021)

U.S. cities and states continue to deal with rent relief issues, according to CNBC. Proptech fundraising is on track to have a record year, reports The Wall Street Journal. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. After a Hard Time for Renters Cities and States Pass Dozens of New Protections “Before Covid, 1 in 2 renters in the U.S. were considered rent-burdened, meaning a third or more of their income went to their housing, according to the Government Accountability Office. Many tenants spent over half of their earnings on their rent, research shows. Vicente Sarmiento, the mayor of Santa Ana, California, said his city has lost more than 20,000 residents over the last decade, largely due to rising housing costs.” (CNBC)
  2. New York Hotel Business Getting Little Boost from Holiday Season “New York City hotel owners have been hoping for a big year-end boost to their business as international tourists start to return during what is traditionally a bustling time of the year. But early indicators suggest limited holiday cheer for the city’s beleaguered hospitality sector. Real-estate company CBRE Group Inc.’s hotel division expects citywide occupancy to reach about 56% in the fourth quarter. That represents only a slight improvement from the prior quarter, even though New York City hotel owners say occupancy rates look poised to rise in December compared with the previous two months.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  3. Institutional Investors Funneling Funds into Affordable Housing to Hit ESG Targets “Seventy-two percent of investors are making decisions based on ESG, a survey found.” (Bisnow)
  4. Proptech Fundraising Soars to Record Levels in 2021 “Growing landlord demand for better data, new apps and other real-estate technology is fueling a boom in proptech and attracting record sums of capital into the sector during the pandemic. Venture capitalists and other investors poured $9.5 billion into proptech through mid-November, according to data firm CB Insights. That is the most ever raised in any year, topping the $9 billion invested in the sector for all of 2019, the previous record. The new investment reflects how owners of commercial real estate are increasingly relying on technology to draw back workers or customers during the pandemic.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  5. N.Y.C. Severs Ties with Housing Boss Who Earned $1 Million a Year “New York City is severing ties with CORE Services Group, one of the largest nonprofit organizations running homeless shelters, citing the charity’s repeated management failures, conflicts of interest and excessive executive salaries. The move came after a New York Times investigation published last month found that the chief executive of CORE, Jack A. Brown III, collected more than $1 million a year, hired his relatives and steered millions of dollars in business to for-profit companies he controlled.” (The New York Times)
  6. Insurtech Comes to Proptech “Like many industries, real estate is more than ever dependent on technological innovation. However, only in the past few years has proptech begun to address the problems stemming from insurance compliance in the real estate industry. Now, though, insurtech — or the use of technology to make the insurance industry more efficient — has come to proptech, making a notable difference for startup founders, venture capitalists and the industry as a whole.” (Commercial Observer)
  7. Tenants and Landlords Call on Hochul to Reopen Rent Relief Applications as Eviction Crisis Looms “Since New York State stopped accepting pandemic rent relief applications, Catholic Charities and the nonprofits it’s working with to help tenants have built a waiting list of 600 city families shut out of help. And even with the original $2.7 billion in rent relief paid or allocated, the Community Housing Improvement Program, which represents small and mid-sized landlords, estimates that unpaid rent bills statewide total at least $1 billion.” (The City)
  8. Apartment Owners Quit Fight Against Santa Ana Rent Control “The California Apartment Association has thrown in the towel on its fight to stop Santa Ana’s proposed rent control laws.” (The Real Deal)
  9. Samsung Picks Texas for $17B Chip Plant “Since January multiple U.S. sites have been in the running for Samsung’s $17 billion semiconductor plant. After scouting locations in Greater Phoenix, near Austin, Texas, as well as a site in Western New York, Samsung has opted to build its new project in Taylor, Texas, the Wall Street Journal first reported. The decision comes in the context of a global COVID-19-induced shortage of microchips that has undercut many U.S. manufacturing industries.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. New York Targets Affluent Neighborhoods in Push for Affordable Housing “The City Council on Tuesday is poised to consider the first of two proposals that could bring thousands of new homes — including many affordable ones — to relatively white and rich neighborhoods. The first plan the City Council will consider is one of Mr. de Blasio’s most sweeping. It targets Gowanus, a one-time nexus of heavy industry that is now nestled among Brooklyn’s most affluent brownstone communities. The second, which the Council is expected to vote on next month, targets SoHo in Lower Manhattan, an upscale neighborhood known for its chic boutiques and cobblestone streets.” (The New York Times)
  11. How a High-Living Thief Reaped Millions for a Coachella Resort She Never Built “Serena Shi spent millions of dollars stolen from investors in a proposed retro-chic resort in the California desert that was a mirage.” (Los Angeles Times)
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