COVID-19 and real estate: Daily updates [April 8, 2020]

Daily news updates on COVID-19 impact on real estate
by Brad Cartier, posted in Stessa News

Every day there are updates on the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and we want to keep you informed. Whether you own a single-family rental or several apartment buildings, understanding how new policies affect you and your tenants is critical for your business. Here’s what’s happening today…

What’s New: Wednesday 8, 2020

Resource — The California Association of Realtors released a resource guide titled Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates.

ResourceThe Mortgage Reports released a report titled COVID-19 relief programs: Financial aid for homeowners, renters, and the unemployed.

ATTOM Data Solution provides interesting data showing where in the country we will see the most foreclosures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of note, housing markets in 14 of New Jersey’s 21 counties are in the 50 “most vulnerable” as well as four in New York, three in Connecticut, and 10 from Florida. There is only one country noted in California, zero in other West Coast states, as well as only one in the Southwest.

Andy Uhler of MarketWatch reports on the opportunities that may come out of the current crisis. “Now’s the time to innovate and go hunting because there will be opportunities…Phase one is really a repricing opportunity. And I think then the acquisition comes a little bit later, maybe six months down the road.”

R.A. Schuetz of the Houston Chronicle reports on how it’s getting harder to buy homes given lenders are tightening credit requirements on FHA and VA loans as COVID-19 uncertainty takes hold of markets across the U.S.

Unsurprisingly, weekly mortgage applications dropped 12% as COVID-19 causes buyers to sit on the sidelines, according to Diana Olick of CNBC. “Mortgage applications to purchase a home continued their sharp decline, falling 12% for the week and 33% year to year.”

#PropTech updateRedfin has furloughed 41% of its agents, noting “Today is the worst day for Redfin, but the service being performed by the agents and support staff who will remain is more important than ever.”

Be sure to check out Stessa’s COVID-19 Resources for more content to help real estate investors better navigate these uncertain times.

We’d love to hear from you: What your current challenges are, what other resources you’d like to see, and feedback on our content. Please visit our COVID-19 Community Forum thread today.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 released a series titled Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus, providing interesting guidance on the new aspects of home buying we should be considering. released their COVID-19 Guide: Coronavirus & Home Loans, giving resources to borrowers seeking advice related to mortgages and the current crisis.

Resource — For those with commercial real estate and loans, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their guide titled Coronavirus Guidance: Commercial Real Estate.

Following a devastating pandemic, China is getting back to normal. Liz Lucking of Mansion Global reports on Frank Knight data showing a rise in real estate transactions in China. “The recent uptick in property transactions suggests this filtered through into buyer sentiment with a degree of pent-up demand being released.”

Source: Mansion Global

Amidst uncertainty, Nerd Wallet predicts where they feel interest rates will head in April. “The Fed clearly intends to steady mortgage rates. If it succeeds, the 30-year mortgage could settle at around 3.5% or lower through April, giving more homeowners an opportunity to refinance.”

Rebecca Ellis of OPB TV reports on a touchy subject—rent moratorium. Reportedly, four Portland City Council members sent a letter to the state asking for all commercial rent and mortgage payments to be forgiven.

Airbnb announced yesterday that Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners will invest $1 billion in a “combination of debt and equity securities” as the home-sharing platform struggles with the ongoing crisis. CityLab’s Feargus O’Sullivan published an article titled Can Airbnb Survive Coronavirus, asking very tough questions on the longevity of Airbnb’s business model.

Finally, Jones Day provides some interesting guidance for multifamily investors with a number of FAQs related to the CARES Act and commercial lending.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Resource — The National Law Review explains the Small Business Administrations’ (SBA) new $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program.

No one is happy with the current version of the eviction ban, according to Jeff Collins of the Orange County Register. Tenants rights advocates predict a wave of mass evictions following the crisis, and landlord groups say tenant protections are being forced upon them, “who may face bankruptcies of their own.”

Listings are down substantially across the U.S., according to data reported on by Jacob Passy of MarketWatch. “In the weeks ending March 21 and March 28, the number of newly-listed properties fell by 13.1% and 34% respectively when compared with the same period a year ago.”

Matthew Haag of The New York Times reports on an NYC landlord who canceled rent for all his tenants in over 80 apartment buildings across the city. “His only interest, he said, was in alleviating stress for his renters, even those who were still employed and now working from home.”

Short-term rentals (STRs)The Guardian produced two well-written pieces on the future of Airbnb and the new reality for STRs as we rebuild ourselves following the pandemic.

Friday, April 3, 2020

ResourceQ&A for multifamily investors from the Federal Housing Administration.

The FHA and HUD announced yesterday new relief guidelines for lenders of FHA-back mortgages for single-family homes: “Effective immediately for borrowers with a financial hardship that makes them unable to pay their mortgage due to the COVID-19 National Emergency, mortgage servicers must extend deferred or reduced mortgage payment options – called forbearance – for up to six months, and must provide an additional six months of forbearance if requested by the borrower.”

There has been a surge in buyer interest in rural areas and small towns according to new data from Redfin. As a direct result of COVID-19, less-populated areas jump in search volume on the platform:

Interest in small towns and rural areas surges amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Source: Redfin

Jack Stone of D Magazine provides some timely and uplifting advice for investors who may be feeling the stress of the ongoing crisis: “People will always need a place to live, and there are few better places to invest in than multifamily housing, especially in markets like ours. So wash your hands, and let’s get through this together.”

Bendix Anderson of National Real Estate Investor reports on how multifamily rents have already dropped, something that is unprecedented during this season. “The rental cost of an average apartment in the U.S. on March 26, 2020, was down 0.23 percent compared to the week before.”

Diana Olick of CNBC picks up on the topic of struggling landlords, outlining that smaller investors make up the half of rental owners in the U.S.—8 million in total who hold 1-10 units—and how the crisis is affecting them the most.

In a provocative opinion piece, Lionel Laurent of Bloomberg talks about the future of short-term rentals. “Post-coronavirus tourism and city life may not rebound as quickly or smoothly as after previous disasters like 9/11 or SARS. Already, in China, the slow return of tourism is — understandably — skewed towards domestic, not international, trips.”

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Resource — The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) released a portal titled State Action on Coronavirus (COVID-19). This platform summarizes on a state-by-state level the different legislation passed related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As rent day has passed, the discussion moves to borrowers who may be left with debt coverage they have trouble fulfilling. In short, speak with your lender, there are options out there. Diana Olick of CNBC reports on the $2 trillion stimulus package (CARES Act), which allows borrowers to skip payments for up to a year, having those payments added to the end of the loans. Further, Olick notes that “the $2 trillion stimulus package states that borrowers need not provide any proof of financial hardship. They can simply say they can’t pay.”

Olick furthers in a separate report that the mortgages that apply for this skip payment option make up 62% of the total market.

Martin Baccardax of TheStreet reports on mortgage rates, noting that the 30-year fixed rate dropped 35 basis points in the week ending March 27 to 3.47%, “matching the lowest on record that was recorded three weeks ago, and in early 2012.”

Rental demand has understandably dropped, significantly! Julia Falcon of Housing Wire notes that “Google search volumes for apartments for rent were down between 10% and 35% last week in its top cities, while long-term inventory dropped by about 12% last week.”

We’ve seen a lot of press related to rent strikes—much of which ignores the reality of being a small business/landlord (a large majority of us!). Over 2 million rent strikers have already signed the 2020 petition. Kriston Capps of CityLab succinctly summarizes the intellectual inconsistency of this idea, noting that pension funds and insurance companies are some of the primary holders of securitized mortgages, which if a rent strike/jubilee would occur, would be at risk of collapse. The knock-on effects of mass rent strikes would damage the economy well beyond landlords.

Local — The California Apartment Association (CAA) reports that in addition to the eviction moratorium, Los Angeles has prohibited all rent increases in rent-controlled units, and has allowed tenants one year to cover any unpaid rent.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Resource — The American Bankers Association has put together a comprehensive list of U.S. banks and their specific policies to help borrowers. This is a must-bookmark resource for investors. Forbes did something similar, but not nearly as comprehensive.

ResourceGood Egg Investments released yesterday a thoughtful guide to COVID-19 for passive real estate investors with great FAQs.

ResourceAvail also released a COVID-19 guide for both landlords and renters with resources about rights and protections, government announcements, and tools to help navigate the pandemic.

Well, not your typical April fools day. It’s April 1st, and the 81 billion dollar elephant in the room is…how many tenants are going to miss payments? The economic repercussions—short and long-term—will vary greatly. Patrick Clark and Nic Querolo of Bloomberg report on the anticipated $81 billion in rent payments that are due, and the economic scenarios that could play out.

Matthew Haag of The New York Times talks about possible 40% rent delinquency in NYC amidst mass unemployment in the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

In short-term rental news, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote a letter to hosts indicating that the company would retroactively pay for canceled stays with check-ins between March 14 and May 31, but only 25% of “what you would normally receive through your cancellation policy.” This has left many Airbnb hosts with less restrictive cancellations policies understandably upset.

LocalBrookings Institute released an interactive report titled When will your city feel the fiscal impact of COVID-19? Using this, investors can better pinpoint the current economic thinking and data of their specific region.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 released its COVID-19 Resources platform that includes news, tools, and advice for homebuyers and real estate professionals.

Resource — Andrew McIntyre of Legal360 provides some legal FAQs for landlords, including, “What if my tenant can’t pay rent?”

Kriston Capps at CityLabs reports on some interesting housing proposals from former HUD secretary and presidential candidate Julián Castro on how to minimize the impact of a forthcoming recession.

Some initial analysis of the CARES Act and its implications for housing and mortgages from Ryan Smith at Mortgage Professional America, citing concerns for the viability of mortgage lending in the short-term. We are going to cover this topic more in this week’s investor newsletter.

Katy O’Donnell echos similar concerns for the mortgage industry in a POLITICO piece noting that “The mortgage finance system could collapse if the Fed doesn’t step in with emergency loans to offset a coming wave of missed payments from borrowers crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Which housing markets are going to be most affected by any forthcoming recession? Clare Trapasso of reports that any second-home destinations, retiree communities, gambling meccas, and luxury markets will be the hardest hit.

“The most vulnerable county was Horry County, SC, home to Myrtle Beach, with a median county home list price of $239,050 as of February, according to the most recent data. It was followed by Clark County, NV, where Las Vegas is located, with a median county list price of $329,050; Atlantic County, NJ (Atlantic City), at $250,050; Orange County, FL (Orlando), at $359,950; and Orleans Parish, LA (New Orleans), at $349,050. Rounding out the top 10 were Honolulu County, HI, at $636,050; New London County, CT (Mystic), at $287,550; Monterey County, CA (Carmel-by-the-Sea), at $1,173,050; Chatham County, GA (Savannah), at $325,050; and Prince William County, VA (Washington, DC, suburbs), at $480,050.”

Real estate and #PropTech companies are struggling. Redfin just announced it is selling $110 million of stock to Durable Capital Partners, in an attempt to head off further capital losses amidst the crisis. Aly Yale of Millionacres also reports on 9 other larger real estate firms who have laid off a significant amount of employees in recent days.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Jim Probasco of Investopedia outlines details of the new CARES Act legislation which directs lenders using federally backed mortgages to suspend payments for up to 12 months if the borrower lost income due to COVID-19. Some states are also working with lenders on mortgage relief.

The Basis Point picks up on the news, giving readers highlights from the legislation and how they can pause payments, as well as why lenders may still require a further bailout.

This will be a critical week in the trajectory of COVID-19. Amidst the growing cases, the Fed will also purchase $40 billion a day in mortgage back securities (MBS), according to Reuters.

Jeff Andrews of Curbed wrote an excellent and robust analysis of the impact of pandemics on the housing market. Although COVID-19 is certainly unique, during previous pandemics “while home sales dropped dramatically…home prices stayed about the same or suffered a slight decrease.

CoreLogic conducted a comparative analysis of current purchase applications compared to 2018 and 2019. Despite lower rates, we are seeing an understandable decrease:

Home purchase applications decline 2020

Source: CoreLogic

It’s no surprise that short-term rental investors are hurting. Carolyn Said of San Francisco Chronicle (subscription required) reports on specific cases of STR struggles, noting that Airbnb’s IPO is on hold given the significant loss in revenue and downturn in equity markets.

Further, Cory Weinberg of The Information (subscription required) notes that Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced to employees late last week that the company “plans to halt all of its marketing, pause most hiring, and likely withhold employee bonuses as it tries to conserve cash amid a slide in bookings.”

We’d love to hear from you: What your current challenges are, what other resources you’d like to see, and feedback on our content. Please visit our COVID-19 Community Forum thread today.

Friday, March 27, 2020

ResourceZillow deploys FAQs for home buyers along with market updates as well as the ability to ask them questions directly.

ResourcePropmodo released its apartment manager guide to COVID-19 for free (down from $149) discussing the on-the-ground effects of the crisis and provides advice for managers.

Lots of commentary on the new stimulus package, most interestingly coming from Jesse Drucker of The New York Times who reports that in the past, real estate losses could be used to offset other non-business income taxes—capped at $500,000 for a married couple. The new stimulus bill lifts those caps for three years.

Speaking of losses, Kriston Capps of CityLab has an interesting article titled Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too? Capps notes that “if landlords are asked to carry the brunt of the pandemic’s blow to the economy, they’ll lay off workers, miss their own obligations, and possibly wind up forfeiting their properties.”

Clare Trapasso of reports on how the record unemployment claims will affect the national real estate picture: “Even the millions of Americans who haven’t been laid off or lost work yet are likely to hold off on a major purchase, fearing for the stability of their employment…However, folks shouldn’t expect home prices to plunge by the double digits as they did during and after the Great Recession…This time around, there is a severe shortage of housing for sale.”

Kathleen Howley of Housing Wire reports on commentary from economist Joel Naroff who believes that interest rates—the 30-year fixed rate specifically—will possibly go as low as 2.75%.

Renter behavior is already shifting, with Anna Marie Erwert of SFGATE reporting on search trends which show the drop in rental search interest:

Decrease in search volume for apartment rentals

Source: SFGATE

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Resource — Anyone involved in short-term (vacation) rentals, check out Hostfully’s guide to managing COVID-19.

Resource — Excellent resource from Julian Hebron from The Basis Point on how homeowners and investors can handle banks based on new forbearance guidance from the FHFA.

The FHFA has issued new guidance to lenders, and Marc Rapport of MillionAcres has all the details for real estate investors. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extend COVID-19 mortgage relief to an estimated 27,000 rental properties, adding to efforts to stabilize housing as the nation deals with the tightening grip of the pandemic.”

Prashant Gopal of Bloomberg reports on the effect of the current crisis on the affordable housing asset class, noting “FHA borrowers are likely to struggle even more than other homeowners…Before Covid-19 started roiling China, a November FHA report found that 27% of borrowers last year spent more than half their incomes on debt, a level it describes as unprecedented.”

DimaWilliams of Forbes reports on what the $2 trillion stimulus means for housing. Instead of turning to page 567, read Williams’ summary highlighting that foreclosures are banned, and lender forbearance granted for up to 180 days for residential homeowners and 30 days for multifamily owners.

What mortgage boom? Wolf Richter of Wolf Street highlights a contrarian opinion about mortgage applications, highlighting that California, New York, and Washington have all seen a substantial drop in applications this week (-23%, -35%, -17%, respectively).

Alcynna Lloyd of Housing Wire picks up on this, noting that “after reaching a near 11-year high just a few weeks ago, mortgage applications declined for the second consecutive week as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continues to create instability in the housing market.”

Small mom-and-pop investors own half of the rental real estate in the U.S., so how are they doing? Jacob Passy of MarketWatch reports that “Mom-and-pops likely have a lot of exposure right now.”

Kerry Crowley of TheMercuryNews notes that over 1 million Californians have filed for unemployment insurance and Governor Newsom notes that banks will offer mortgage relief.

Local — How COVID-19 is affecting the NYC (and again), Illinois, Dallas, Boston, Buffalo, and Arizona markets.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Resource — The National Apartment Association (NAA) issues updated Guidance for Dealing with the Coronavirus.

ResourceExcellent advice from JD Supra worth considering for any real estate investor currently going through a transaction, or thinking of going through one in the near future.

Billionaire Tom Barrack is back in the news for his dire warnings for the real estate market, as reported by The Orange County Register. Barrack states that “the economic impact, magnified by widespread total industry shutdowns throughout the American economy, could be exponentially worse than the economic effects of the 1987 crash, September 11th attacks and 2008 recession, combined. The long-term impact on the economy could be catastrophic.”

Natalie Campisi of Bankrate reports on all the attempts by the Fed to keep interest rates lower, with Bankrate’s chief financial analyst noting, “the Fed has a blank check to keep markets functioning and maintain liquidity. There’s not one single announcement that is likely to cure all that ails credit markets, but each one is a step in the right direction…This won’t necessarily normalize mortgage rates by itself, but it does get us closer.”

Beckie Strum of Mansion Global outlines how home buyers are including coronavirus clauses in their purchase contracts which allow for delays or even cancellations from issues related to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Despite some completed transactions, we have unsurprisingly seen a spike in homes taken off the market:

Source: ARL Now

Heather Knight of the San Francisco Chronicle (subscription required) reports on an unfortunate new business model for hotels—housing quarantined COVID-19 patients. “In the latest sign of just how topsy-turvy our strange new world has become, some of San Francisco’s fanciest hotels are competing for an unlikely clientele: SRO residents who need to be quarantined because of exposure to the coronavirus.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Many real estate investors are moving ahead with mortgage forbearance—postponing payments to the end of your term—with most lenders offering some sort of relief (1-6 months depending on your lender). Chris Morris of Fortune discusses the current state of “mortgage forbearance” and urges those with loans to call and work with the lenders who have received guidance from Fannie and Freddie to be flexible. No one wins if payments are missed.

Further, Jesse Westbrook of Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie and Freddie will allow forbearance to multifamily mortgages in exchange for the suspension of evictions. “The move applies to all Fannie- and Freddie-backed mortgages in situations where renters can’t afford to make their monthly payments due to the outbreak.”

Diana Olick of CNBC reports on Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) estimates that if 25% of borrowers are given loan forbearance for 6 months or longer, “demands on servicers could exceed $75 billion and could climb well above $100 billion,” which could “easily bankrupt the mortgage finance system.” This was in a letter the MBA sent Sunday Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Kathleen Howley of HousingWire reports that the Fed “announced on Monday that it will buy unlimited amounts of Treasuries and agency mortgages, including multifamily, to grease the wheels of the credit markets.”

Housing Wire’s Ben Lane also reports that due to extraordinary circumstances the FHFA announced Monday that it directed Fannie and Freddie “to ease their standards for both property appraisals and verification of employment.” This includes using alternatives such as desktop or drive-by appraisals, and pay stubs for income verification amidst business closures.

Further to the Federal government’s announcement to delay the tax filing deadline until July 15, many states are seeking to do the same. See initiative from California.

Zillow, Redfin, and Opendoor have all suspended home-buying on their platforms until further notice.

A few days old, but for WeWork watchers a really interesting analysis from Forbes on how COVID-19 may “kill” WeWork.

Local News — How COVID-19 is impacting real estate in San Francisco and Seattle.

If you are involved in short-term rentals, check out the future of Airbnb investing according to Think Realty.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Excellent advice from Brandon Turner of BiggerPockets on how to work with and manage tenants during these difficult times.

Richard Rubin of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that the April 15 tax-filing deadline has been extended to July 15.

Erik Schatzker of Bloomberg quotes real estate billionaire Tom Barrack as saying “the U.S. commercial-mortgage market is on the brink of collapse and predicted a domino effect of catastrophic economic consequences if banks and government don’t take prompt action to keep borrowers from defaulting.”

On commercial loans, Crain’s Chicago Business reports on the freeze creeping over the commercial real estate landscape as hotels, restaurants, bars, among other assets, close amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “Investment activity could fall by 45% this year in the U.S., which would be more than the decline following 9/11…according to Kiran Raichura, senior property economist at Capital Economics.”

Jacob Passy of MarketWatch reports that mortgage interest rates saw their largest increase since 2016, as a result of bond uncertainty and lenders grappling with historically high levels of demand for mortgage products.

Preetika Rana of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that home-sharing giant Airbnb wants to raise more capital from new investors, as it “wrestles with escalating losses due to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its global business…The pandemic has also thrown into disarray Airbnb’s plans to go public this year.”

Indeed, the pain in short-term rentals is forcing many owners to turn to the long-term rental market as highlighted by Irish rental listing website which saw a surge in listings during March. “The increase in the number of properties advertised for rent so far in March is likely to be related to the collapse in tourism and thus the fall in demand for short-term rentals.”

The construction industry continues to face fears of a total shutdown. As mayors question developers, Governors consider allowing continued construction, local building offices are re-opening, and stay home orders are exempting construction workers, it’s certainly a difficult time for the industry. It does seem—for now—that most decision-makers realize the need to keep critical housing and infrastructure projects on track.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The California Apartment Association (CAA) has issued guidelines that will be useful to real estate investors and property managers in that state.

Mortgage payments were a hot topic yesterday with NPR reporting that New York will waive mortgage payments for 90 days based on financial hardship. And, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are ordering lenders to offer homeowners flexibility with the possibility of reduced or suspended payments up to 12 months depending on the situation.

CNBC reported on analysis from Capital Economics arguing that home sales could fall by 35% annually this spring, meaning a “total home sales of around 4 million annualized, the lowest since the start of 1991.”

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that homebuilders are currently still building amidst mass business disruptions across the country, however this is likely to slow—perhaps to a standstill—amidst a drop in demand.

Globe St reports that the city of Boston has halted new construction projects, with permitted and active construction projects having to be in a secure situation by Monday.

An interesting new policy proposal from the Brookings Institute to the federal government, which reportedly would “prevent a collapse in the real estate market, by allowing people engaged in both the commercial real estate and residential rental industries to pay their mortgages.”

For larger commercial and multifamily asset holders, some interesting discussion—Propmodo and JD Supra—is ongoing today about the role of “force majeure” in contracts and what it means for investors.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The National Apartment Association issued guidance on how property managers and landlords should deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Before we get into today’s (mostly challenging) headlines, a dose of hopeful news for readers from the Good News Network worth digesting and sharing: 10 Positive Updates on the COVID-19 Outbreaks From Around the World.

Bloomberg reports that the Trump administration is considering plans to allow affected homeowners to delay mortgage payments.

The Census Bureau halted all employee field operations yesterday due to the outbreak according to The Sacramento Bee. This means the Census Bureau “will not be able to deliver accurate results to the federal government on time.”

Housing Wire reports that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has suspended all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.

Redfin announces that it will pause all homebuying efforts—the RedfinNow feature—as a result of the pandemic, according to Housing Wire.

An opinion piece by SanjivDas of MarketWatch titled, How coronavirus is already threatening the housing market. “Lenders must now prepare for a recession.” expects a mild spring buying season, but due to tight inventory doesn’t see a massive drop in home prices as we saw during the last recession.

FOX Business on how the coronavirus pandemic could negatively impact the US real estate market, noting that “current data doesn’t reflect negative fallout, but the industry remains cautious.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

As expected, Darla Mercado of CNBC confirmed this morning that the Treasury confirmed that taxpayers can “delay paying their income taxes on as much as $1 million in taxes owed for up to 90 days…on payments applicable to federal returns.” Be sure to check with your state government for any follow-on announcements.

Mary Diduch of The Real Deal breaks down the impact of COVID-19 on real estate from industry experts.

Therese Fitzgerald of Commercial Property Executive gives on-the-ground examples of how property managers are actively helping tenants cope with COVID-19, with a focus on business continuity.

Commercial property value is on the decline since February, and Jonathan Lansner of the Orange County Register gives us some interesting insight: “Commercial property values are off an estimated 24% since Feb. 21. It’s another example of fallout from coronavirus fears and preventative measures that have upended the economy and raised huge questions about a key cog in the property investment game: tenants’ ability to pay the rent.”

COVID-19 and commercial real estate

Source: OC Register

Brenda Richardson of Forbes reports that “To meet the needs of borrowers who may be impacted by the coronavirus, last week Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reminded mortgage servicers that hardship forbearance is an option for borrowers who are unable to make their monthly mortgage payment.”

Julia Falcon of Housing Wire similarly reports on an announcement from the FHA, which states: “As with any other event that negatively impacts a borrower’s ability to pay their monthly mortgage payment, FHA’s suite of loss mitigation options provides solutions that mortgagees should offer to distressed borrowers – including those that could be impacted by the Coronavirus – to help prevent them from going into foreclosure. These home retention options are located in FHA’s Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1 Section III.A.2.”

Holly Dutton of Multi-Housing News reports on the nationwide push to temporarily halt evictions. Large U.S. metros and states are actively considering moratoriums on evictions, including New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Kentucky, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Delaware. Expect this to spread to many—if not all—jurisdictions over the coming weeks and months. Libertina Brandt of Business Insider reports that New York state issued a temporary ban on all eviction proceedings and orders, beginning March 16. San Diego Council President Georgette Gomez also announced that “City Council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to mandate a moratorium on residential evictions.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom just issued an Executive Order that authorizes local governments to halt evictions, slow foreclosures, and protect against utility shut-offs.