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12 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Sept. 10, 2021)

Many high-net-worth investors are thinking about betting on commercial real estate, but are not sharing their thoughts with financial advisors, reports Barron’s. Conventions are slowly coming back, according to The Associated Press. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Investors Keep Waiting for Re-Reopening “Someday, with hope, not very long from now the resurgence in Covid-19 cases now gripping the country will go away. How should investors be thinking about that? The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus has given rise to a rapid increase in new Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths since the early summer. This hasn’t exactly knocked the economy back on its heels, but it has slowed it down, and the bright future that many businesses thought they would be experiencing by now has yet to arrive.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Investors Are Curious About Commercial Real Estate, But They Are Not Telling Advisors “Wealthy clients looking to diversify their portfolios are interested in alternative investments like commercial real estate, but hardly any are discussing those ideas with their advisors, according to a new survey of high-net-worth individuals. In a survey of nearly 250 Barron’s readers with $1 million or more investible assets, 41% said that they have become interested in access to a wider access of assets after going through the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Barron’s)
  3. Fannie/Freddie Will Develop New Plans for Equitable Financing “The GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will be required to submit Equitable Housing Finance Plans to their regulator the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) by the end of the year. The plans, which will be updated annually, will identify and address barriers to sustainable housing opportunities for the next three years. FHFA also will require the GSEs to submit annual progress reports on the actions undertaken during the prior year to implement their plans.” (Mortgage News Daily)
  4. Skilled Workers Are Scarce, Posing a Challenge for Biden’s Infrastructure Plan “A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey found that 88 percent of commercial construction contractors reported moderate-to-high levels of difficulty finding skilled workers, and more than a third had to turn down work because of labor deficiencies. The industry could face a shortage of at least two million workers through 2025, according to an estimate from Construction Industry Resources, a data firm in Kentucky.” (The New York Times)
  5. Everyone’s Hiring at Once: Two-Thirds of CRE Firms Facing COVID-Era Talent Shortage “Roughly 60% to 70% of all commercial real estate firms are facing a talent shortage or talent challenge, according to a leading industry analyst, a hindrance to performance that, in part, comes from long-term issues with attracting and developing the best staff. CEL & Associates CEO Christopher Lee, whose firm releases a widely read CRE compensation study every year, said that Covid and a shift toward hybrid work have created challenges for the industry.” (Bisnow)
  6. Crushed by Pandemic, Conventions Mount a Cautious Return “In pre-COVID times, business events __ from small academic conferences to giant trade shows like CES routinely attracted more than 1 billion participants each year. The pandemic brought those global gatherings to a sudden halt, emptying convention centers and shuttering hotels. More than a year later, in-person meetings are on the rebound. In late August, 30,000 masked attendees gathered in Las Vegas for ASD Market Week, a retail trade show. In Chicago, the Black Women’s Expo recently held the largest event in its history, with 432 vendors and thousands of masked attendees.” (The Associated Press)
  7. Biden Is Expected to Require the Vast Majority of Federal Workers and Contractors to Get Vaccinated “President Biden on Thursday will sign executive orders requiring the vast majority of federal workers and contractors who do business with the government to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, as part of an aggressive new plan to that will also put pressure on private businesses, states and schools to enact stricter vaccination and testing policies as the Delta variant continues its spread across the United States.” (The New York Times)
  8. Microsoft Delays Full Office Reopening to Undetermined Future Date “Microsoft Corp. is abandoning plans to fully reopen its headquarters and other U.S. sites early next month and won’t set a new date, for now, given uncertainty around Covid-19. ‘We’ve decided against attempting to forecast a new date for a full reopening of our U.S. work sites in favor of opening U.S. work sites as soon as we’re able to do so safely based on public health guidance,’ the software giant said in a blog post. Instead, Microsoft said it would move to a 30-day ‘transition period’ approach and notify staff with lead time when offices are slated to generally reopen.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  9. Amazon Offers to Pay College Tuition for Most U.S. Workers “Amazon is offering to cover four-year college tuition for most of its approximately 750,000 hourly workers in the United States, the latest major employer to offer the perk to attract and retain hourly employees in a tight job market. Starting in January, Amazon for the first time will pay for tuition, fees and books for warehouse, transportation and other hourly employees who want to pursue bachelor's degrees. It will also begin covering high school diploma programs, GED's and English as a Second Language (ESL) certifications for employees.” (CNN Business)
  10. Walmart Ends Quarterly Bonuses as it Raises Employees’ Hourly Pay “Walmart said it will end quarterly bonuses, as it raises hourly wages for store employees and other workers, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. In a memo to employees, the big-box retailer said it will eliminate the additional pay on Jan. 31, 2022 and roll it into its workers’ base pay, according to the report. The bonuses — dispersed four times per year — have been paid out for decades.” (CNBC)
  11. United Airlines Staff Who Are Granted Religious Exemptions to Vaccine Mandate Will Be Put on Unpaid Leave “United Airlines’ employees who are granted exemptions to a company vaccinate mandate for religious reasons will be put on temporary unpaid leave starting next month, the airline told staff Wednesday, citing the recent rise in Covid cases. The airline last month said its 67,000-person U.S. workforce must be vaccinated against Covid-19 this fall, but said it would consider exemptions for religious and personal beliefs as well as medical reasons.” (CNBC)
  12. Savills Fires Employee After Probe into Racist Football Tweets “Real estate broker Savills Plc has dismissed an employee who is under investigation for a slew of racist comments on social media. The worker was suspended in July following racial insults from his Twitter account about black players on the England soccer team after their defeat in the European Championship. His contract has now been terminated, London-based Savills confirmed in a statement on Twitter on Thursday.” (Bloomberg)
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