COVID-19 Trends of the Week: 5/8/2020

Retail bankruptcies. Rent relief extensions. When and how will real estate reprice? These are the trends that shaped coronavirus coverage this week.

Anxious to get U.S. economic engines roaring again, President Trump this week rejected workplace reopening guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control as too “prescriptive.” But states like Georgia, Texas, and Tennessee are charting their own paths. Here are three trends that shaped real estate content this weeek.

  1. Retailers Feel the Pressure.

With most brick and mortar stores closed, it was only a matter of time before some serious cracks in the retail business began to show. This week, JCrew and Neiman Marcus both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Nordstrom announced it would close 16 stores, and Lord & Taylor announced plans to liquidate its stores once they are able to open. Meanwhile, Brookfield announced a $5 billion investment program to take non-controlling stakes in the businesses of retailers in the markets in which they operate. Earlier, this year the troubled Forever 21 retail chain sold its business to a Brookfield-Simon joint venture.

Mixed-Use Owners ‘Squeezed’ by COVID-19 Fallout 
Commercial Property Executive

Brookfield Will Spend $5 Billion to Save Retailers 

Retail Tenants, Landlords in L.A. at Odds On Rent Relief

May Is The Month Of Reckoning For Retail Landlords, Tenants

2. Investors Are Liquid. But at What Price?

Sam Zell

Before coronavirus, many investors were on the sidelines because prices had gone too high. Now, they are joined by a lot of opportunistic players who are eager to see how low prices will go. Sellers, many of whom have had transactions paused, are wishing for a V-shaped recovery.  In a widely covered interview this week with Bloomberg TV, billionaire Sam Zell made it clear he believes the disruptions to commercial real estate will be felt for a long time.

Multifamily Buyers and Sellers Are Ready and Waiting 
Commercial Property Executive

Beacon Economics: Don’t Count Out a V-Shaped Recovery

‘When it’s Really Ugly, it’s a Good Time to Invest’: Sternlicht on Starwood’s Hunt for Opportunities
The Real Deal

Sam Zell: ‘We’re All Going to be Permanently Scarred’
Crain’s New York Business

3. As Landlords Wait for May Payments, Renter Relief Is Extended.

While multifamily owners are hopeful about May collections, some lawmakers are working to extend the suspension of late payment fees and evictions. This comes as unemployment numbers continue to soar and the economy remains shuttered. But lawmakers are also acknowledging that the struggle for landlords is real. While announcing an extension of New York State’s moratorium, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state is working on relief for landlords and banks. 

What Historic Unemployment Could Mean for Multifamily 
MultiHousing News

What Will California Do About the Rent?

Houston Landlords Will Vie For $15 Million In Emergency Rental Assistance 
Houston Public Radio

No Evictions or Foreclosures in Pennsylvania Through July 10, Officials Announce
Philadelphia Inquirer