When the world shut down because of COVID-19, few people thought their work routine would change so drastically. It’s now more than a year since the virus forced people into a remote work environment, and with the pandemic threat diminishing, there are big questions about the best way to shift to a more hybrid model that combines workplace with work-from-home.
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending March 27th, 2021… the state of the economy from Treasury Secretary Yellen and Fed Chief Powell, what some see as a co-working rebound, and a new demand for golf course homes.
The push continues for a solution to lumber shortages and skyrocketing lumber prices. A large number of sawmills were shut down early last year, creating a major shortage of lumber for the construction industry. While there’s hope that sawmills will return to full capacity as people get vaccinated and social distancing mandates are relaxed, the National Association of Homebuilders is urging policymakers to find solutions right now.
Individuals across the U.S. are getting a new round of stimulus checks worth more than $410 Billion. This is the third time the government has handed out money because of the pandemic. While many people are still suffering financially, the economy is also recovering, and that’s raising a lot of questions about whether people should save, spend, or invest their checks.
So what should individuals do with their stimulus checks? I thought I’d cover some of the ideas and recommendations I’ve been seeing in the news, and what many people say they are planning to do with their checks.
New risk reduction policies at Fannie Mae could make it harder to get loans for single-family second homes and investment properties. The GSE sent letters to lenders saying it will impose a new 7% limit on the acceptance of those kinds of loans. Fannie is currently accepting a higher percentage. So what does that mean for investors?
Dozens of New York City landlords are being accused of discriminating against people with housing vouchers. A housing rights watchdog group filed a federal lawsuit against 88 brokers and landlords after an undercover operation that involved recorded phone calls.
The state of New York made it illegal to discriminate against tenants based on their source of income in 2019. That includes people who use Section 8 vouchers to pay their rent as well as other forms of assistance like child support, alimony, foster care subsidies, and veterans benefits. There are a few exceptions that include rentals in one- or two-family homes but only if they are occupied by the owner.
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending March 13th, 2021… a $1.9 Trillion economic rescue, iBuyer 2021 rebound, and a Zillow hiring spree.
We begin with economic news from this past week, and the approval of a $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 relief package. The National Association of Realtors is applauding the high-dollar stimulus plan because there are several provisions that will help the housing market, including another $21.55 billion in rental assistance. Landlords who are owed back rent will benefit from those funds, and the previous $25 billion approved in December. $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals will also help the back rent situation. There’s also money to help homeowners struggling to pay mortgages, as well as small businesses, schools, and local governments that are low on cash.
The pandemic has increased renter preferences for certain amenities, and one New York City website has come up with an interesting list of “must haves.” It’s a top 10 list that was compiled from search results in December and January by apartment listing website StreetEasy.
People have been spending more time at home since the start of the pandemic, and that’s changed a lot of priorities about our home space. Although there are many preferences on this list that are geared toward apartment buildings, several apply to any kind of rental situation.
“The 2020’s will be the decade of the hyperloop.” Those are the words of Virgin hyperloop co-founder Josh Giegel just a few months after the company conducted its first passenger test. Giegel was one of the two people on board the. Virgin now expects its system to be up and running for the public by the end of this decade.
1 - https://virginhyperloop.com/
2 - https://www.radio.com/kxnt/articles/press-release/virgin-hyperloop-has-successful-test-in-nevada-desert
3 - https://virginhyperloop.com/press/results-midwest-hyperloop-study
4 - https://www.star-telegram.com/news/coronavirus/article244517722.html
5 - https://gizmodo.com/north-carolina-is-eyeing-a-hyperloop-one-system-for-the-1836318917
6 - https://www.forbes.com/sites/geekgirlrising/2020/12/08/san-francisco-to-la-in-35-minutes-virgin-hyperloop-moves-closer-to-reality/?sh=4f2dfc8b5274
7 - https://clevelandmagazine.com/in-the-cle/news/articles/cleveland-to-chicago-in-28-minutes-hyperloop-moves-forward?fbclid=IwAR2QRUk2mumJxqU1uaSTbi1Cxtq4k9hnqnvaQBkp-g1bm2XbLKDT_XrRBxw
8 - https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Car-Rental-News/Hyperloop-travel-appears-to-be-on-the-fast-track-to-reality
Selling a home is about to get cheaper as the result of an antitrust lawsuit. Because of a settlement between the National Association of Realtors and the Department of Justice, the fees that sellers pay to buyers will be publicly displayed on listing pages. Redfin is already doing it in many markets, and other real estate websites are expected to follow suit in the coming months. That kind of transparency typically results in more competition and lower rates.
A Texas judge has ruled the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium is unconstitutional. It’s been in effect since last spring because of the pandemic, and has put some landlords in a tough spot because they can’t afford to support tenants who aren’t paying rent. The ruling stopped short of an injunction, and it’s now being appealed by the Department of Justice.
California landlords may face a new excise tax. AB 1199 would impose a tax on landlords to pay for the privilege of renting or leasing property in California. Some people feel it’s an end run to the failed Proposition 15 in the last election which would’ve eliminated Prop 13 protections for commercial property. AB 1199 would also create a public registry of rental property information including the names of the individual property owners.