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Nine Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (May 11, 2022)

The remote work trend is leading to more technology jobs moving out of the U.S., reports The Wall Street Journal. Fortune asks if we are looking at a repeat of the 2007 housing bubble. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Tech Industry Warns That More Remote Work Jobs Are Headed Out of U.S. “Tech-industry representatives are coming to Capitol Hill this week to warn that the remote-work trend will lead to more offshoring of software developer and other technology jobs unless the U.S. admits more high-skilled immigrants. Remote jobs in tech jumped by more than 420% between January 2020 and last month, growth that was intensified by the pandemic, according to a jobs data review by Tecna, a trade group for regional tech councils. In February, more than 22% of all tech jobs were listed as remote, compared with 4.4% in January 2020.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. Housing Bubble 2.0? Regional Housing Markets Are Beginning to Look Like They Did in 2007 “Over the past two years, U.S. home prices are up 34.4%—including a 19.8% jump over the past 12 months. That 12-month hike is more than four-times greater than the historic annual average (4.6%) posted since 1987. It's also well above the largest 12-month price jump (14.7%) posted in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. Our ongoing housing boom has more economists pondering the most feared word in real estate: Bubble.” (Fortune)
  3. Revealed: 93% of Districts in Major U.S. Cities Are Unaffordable to Black Residents “More than 90% of neighborhoods in America’s major cities were unaffordable to the majority of local Black residents at the start of the pandemic, according to a new study on the worsening housing crisis in urban regions across the US. The National Equity Atlas, a research initiative focused on racial and economic equity, compared rents and wages in the 100 most populous American metropolitan regions in 2019 and examined whether the majority of households of different racial groups made enough income to afford median market rents in their neighborhoods.” (The Guardian)
  4. Miami Locals Are Steamed Over Relocating New Yorkers Driving Up Apartment Rents “Natalia Solar moved to a 49-story luxury tower in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood two years ago. She and a roommate paid $3,300 a month for a two-bedroom apartment in a building with an Equinox fitness club, rooftop pool, and 24-hour concierge service. She renewed the following year for $3,500. Then when her lease expired earlier this year, the landlord delivered some shocking news: He was doubling the rent to $7,000 a month. Ms. Solar looked at other apartments in the building, but every two-bedroom condo available for rent was going for $6,000 to $7,000.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  5. Is the BTR Market Already Overheating? “The build-to-rent sector has emerged as one of the most sought-after investments in commercial real estate, but the fervor might be contributing to an erosion of fundamentals, according to Mark Wolf at AHV Communities. ‘Everything is build-to-rent these days. When we talk about a sector that is getting overheated, it is usually when those lines get blurred. You have $80 billion chasing a sector that is relatively new, and I believe there is an erosion of fundamentals,’ Wolf tells.” (
  6. The Promise of AI in Real Estate: What’s the Verdict? “With regard to AVMs and valuations in general, the ability to contextually analyze hundreds of millions of data points and associate them to particular clusters of variables is fairly new and certainly has come about because of advances in AI. Valuations are the core of real estate because so much emanates from the simple question, “What is this house worth?” While AVMs and the entire valuation industry took a hit with the rhetoric emanating from Zillow as they crashed and burned with Zillow Offers, this was the unfortunate byproduct of a bad business decision and as such cast unfair doubt on AI. Computer vision allows us to enter the heretofore closed-off portal:  The inside of the house.” (finLedger)
  7. Online Grocery Sales Drop in April as Cost Concerns Outweigh COVID “onsumers are doing less grocery shopping online. Online grocery sales pulled back 3.8% in April versus last year, finishing at $8.1 billion, according to the Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey. Total order volume dropped 5.8%, driven by lower order frequency and a slightly smaller monthly active user (MAU) base.” (Chain Store Age)
  8. Construction Industry Confronts Drug Abuse Among Workers “The aches and pains associated with the physical labor of construction — the grinding monotony that hauling, breaking and lifting imposes on backs, shoulders and knees — have always been a price workers paid. How else to make it in an industry where a sick day can sometimes mean no pay? But in recent years, increasing evidence has shown that the nation’s opioid crisis, inflamed by the aggressive marketing and prescription of drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, has significantly impacted a workforce that has in so many cases simply followed medical advice to treat chronic pain.” (Commercial Observer)
  9. Say Goodbye to the Boring Conference Room “The conference room is perhaps the least loved space in the modern office. Typically long and narrow, with a rectangular table presided over by a boss at one end, it’s the place where countless workers have nodded off, shared eye rolls or sneaked peeks at cellphones held in their laps. The design of the room contributed to these responses, workplace experts say, citing the stuffy formality of the space and the obvious hierarchy of the seating arrangement.” (The New York Times)
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