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12 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Sept. 1, 2021)

With vaccine mandates for nursing home workers set to go into effect within weeks, the seniors housing industry faces new labor challenges, reports The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. economy is growing, but high inflation, goods shortages and still too empty downtowns present a challenge, according to The New York Times. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. The Economy Is Booming, But Far from Normal, a Challenge for Biden “A summer that many business owners and consumers had hoped would bring a return to prepandemic activity has delivered waves of disappointment in key areas. Restaurants are short on staff and long on wait times. Prices have spiked for food, gasoline and many services. Shoppers are struggling to find used cars. Retailers are struggling to hire. Beach towns are jammed with tourists, but office towers in major cities remain ghost towns on weekdays, with the promised return of workers delayed by a resurgent coronavirus.” (The New York Times)
  2. Soaring Home Prices Shattered Another Record in June, Case-Shiller Says “Home prices rose 18.6% annually in June, up from the 16.8% increase in May, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index. That is the largest annual gain in the history of the index dating back to 1987. Prices nationally are now 41% higher than their last peak during the housing boom in 2006.” (CNBC)
  3. House Rents Pop Up as Investors Pour In “Would-be home buyers priced out of the sales market are finding little consolation when they turn instead to the single-family rental market. Prices are soaring there as well. Asking rents for houses rose nearly 13% for the year to date through July, the highest annual increase in the past five years as tracked by real-estate data company Yardi Matrix, which analyzed professionally managed properties.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  4. New York Eviction Moratorium Poised for Months-Long Extension “Lawmakers around the state will be headed back to Albany as early as Wednesday for a rare off-season legislative session to pass a new proposal extending New York’s eviction moratorium. The state of emergency that was declared at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, which allowed then-governor Andrew Cuomo to issue orders like the moratorium without legislative input, expired in late June.” (The City)
  5. Equity Commonwealth Terminates Monmouth Real Estate Merger Agreement “Real estate investment trust Equity Commonwealth said Tuesday it was terminating a merger agreement with Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corp. after Monmouth's stockholders didn't approve the deal. Both companies held special meetings for their shareholders to vote on the deal Tuesday. Equity said its shareholders approved the proposed merger. Real estate investment trust Monmouth said that based on a preliminary count of the votes cast at the special meeting, it didn't receive the necessary votes to approve the merger with Equity Commonwealth.” (MarketWatch)
  6. Senior Housing Industry Faces Higher Costs as It Plays Lead Role in Vaccine Mandates “The senior housing business, which was one of the hardest-hit commercial property sectors early in the pandemic, is now getting hammered by rising labor costs as it takes a lead role in mandating vaccines for employees. Within weeks, nursing homes that don’t require workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 won’t be able to participate in Medicare or Medicaid, the Biden administration said in early August. Meanwhile, more of the largest private-pay senior housing owners and managers either are requiring or are in the process of mandating staff vaccinations.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  7. AIG Global, Korean Investors Form $1B Industrial JV “AIG Global Real Estate and LB Asset Management, the latter on behalf of three Korean institutional investors, have created a joint venture that has acquired an 8.6 million-square-foot portfolio of U.S. industrial real estate assets valued at more than $1 billion, AIG GRE announced Monday. The portfolio comprises 86 industrial properties primarily located across the Southeast.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  8. Who in Real Estate Is Supporting Larry Elder in California’s Recall Election “Real estate developers, investors and brokers have contributed $513,000 to Larry Elder’s campaign to unseat Governor Gavin Newsom.” (The Real Deal)
  9. Office Building Terraces Bloom During COVID “These days, you almost can’t build an office building without including some outdoor space for people to relax on, to work on, or from which to just see the world differently. And, as COVID increasingly causes people to question why spend so much time in the car or on the train when you can be just as productive on your laptop at your kitchen table, with the delta variant out there and the odds of getting sick dwindling the more time you spend outdoors, outdoor terraces make more sense than ever.” (Commercial Observer)
  10. Walgreens to Raise Minimum Hourly Wage to $15 for All Staff from October “Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said on Tuesday it would raise the minimum wage of all its staff to $15 an hour from October, as the drugstore chain joins several U.S. firms in trying to retain and lure more people back to work.” (Reuters)
  11. Remote Workers from San Francisco Flocked to Lake Tahoe During the Pandemic. Now, Thousands of People Are Being Forced to Evacuate as the Caldor Fire Bears Down on the Serene Northern California Enclave. “Lake Tahoe has long been a vacation destination for residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, but in recent years, tech billionaires have began putting down roots along the shores of the lake. During the pandemic, Bay Area residents followed suit, snapping up real estate on the lake and its surrounding towns. Now, they may be in the direct path of a wildfire.” (Insider)
  12. Nike Gives Head Office Workers a Week Off to ‘Destress’” “Sportswear giant Nike gave its head office employees the week off, as the latest company to offer workers vacation in order to support their mental health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Matt Marrazzo, a senior manager of global marketing science at Nike, said in a LinkedIn post last Friday that Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon were ‘powering down’ for the week from last Monday.” (CNBC)
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