COVID-19 Trends of the Week: 5/1/2020

Reopening is a reality. Delinquencies emerge. Could apartment renters strike? These are the trends that shaped coronavirus coverage this week.

The stock market rebounded a bit this week following a few positive announcements. But the U.S. economy, or the “real economy” as Fed Chair Jerome Powell called it this week, is still suffering. And, until the economy is in full swing again, current and future income at commercial real estate buildings will be a concern. Here are three trends that shaped real estate content this week.

1. Reopenings Bring a Glimmer of Hope for the Economy.  

A number of states began phased reopenings. That is welcome news for real estate owners whose tenants say they cannot pay rent and lenders whose borrowers are struggling to stay current. But even in states eager to lift stay-at-home orders, resumption of normal business and the return to full occupancy will be slow. Meanwhile, public health officials may roll back openings if there is a spike in new coronavirus contractions. Nevertheless, there is a lot of discussion about how to protect tenants when commercial real estate spaces reopen.

BOMA Unveils ‘How to’ Guide to Reopening Commercial Buildings
Real Estate Weekly

Simon Property Group Gears Up to Reopen 49 Malls
Commercial Property Executive

Best Practices for Commercial Property Owners/ Operators: Phase One of Reopening the Economy
National Law Review

These Real Estate Execs Will Help Cuomo Reopen New York 
The Real Deal

2. Late Loan Payments Spell Trouble.

Data showed that some hoteliers and retailers had trouble making payments on loans in CMBS pools in April. Others were able to eke by with revenue earned in March. But April receipts are expected to be bleak, and PPP loans only cover payroll expenses. Loan servicers will be busy in May negotiating forbearance with borrowers, some of whom are requesting to be accommodated for lost revenue for a year or longer.

CMBS Late Payments Starting to Mushroom
Commercial Property Executive

Mall Owner Pyramid Sees 6 CMBS Loans Slip Into Special Servicing

Retail CMBS Battered as Loan Defaults Skyrocket

AAHOA: Leaders in Washington must act to provide immediate liquidity
Hotel Management

3. Continued Economic Strain Could Bring Multifamily Rent Strikes.

While the Coronavirus crisis in the U.S. seems to be easing a bit, apartment building owners are dealing with the growing public cry to give renters a break. While 92 percent of renters paid in April, according to the National MultiFamily Housing Council, May 1 rent strikes could occur. In all, 30 million Americans have filed new jobless claims during the pandemic, and gradual reopening of the economy will not fix that problem for many. Future income for apartment building owners looks cloudy, too, as construction is still stalled in most places.

‘Rent Relief Has to Happen’

Renters Feel Safe But Find Management Lacking
MultiHousing News

Coronavirus: San Jose Passes Rent Freeze for Thousands of Apartments, Mobile homes
Mercury News

Coronavirus Florida: One West Palm Complex, Partly Built, Could Halt Construction for Years.
The Palm Beach Post