COVID-19 Trends of the Week: May 25-29

Technology facilitates reopenings. Construction delays persist. Student housing delinquencies could rise. These are the trends that shaped coronavirus coverage this week.

Commercial real estate owners are working hard to determine how to reopen spaces safely when they are permitted to do so. Office building operators are particularly challenged in light of the CDC’s recommendations on office space issued this week. The guidelines include temperature checks, transparent shields between desks and an increased percentage of outdoor air. 

  1. CRE executives use technology to manage reopenings.

As commercial real estate executives contemplate returning to relative normalcy, they are turning to technology to help ease the health-related concerns of occupants and their own staffs. From touchless elevators and higher-efficiency air filtration systems to coronavirus tracing applications and access control systems, these innovations will be critical to both the short-term and, most likely, the long-term viability of the built environment.

The Social (Distancing) Network: Can Proptech Help Coronavirus Tracing? Commercial Observer

Tools & Tactics the CRE Industry is Using to Reopen 
NREI

Sinking Feeling: Elevators Could Thwart Office Re-Entry
Bisnow

Coronavirus Places Premium on Healthy Buildings 
Commercial Property Executive

Snap Session: Summer Is Coming—The Key to Safely Reopening Amenities
Multi-Housing News

2. Construction delays continue though moratoriums are being lifted.

Construction moratoriums on non-essential projects are being lifted across the country, but delays persist and construction workers still represent a significant percentage of the unemployed. According to data released by the National Multifamily Housing Council, however, delays in the multifamily sector are due more to permitting issues and less to do with required work stoppages. Meanwhile, some developers report not being overly concerned about the pause because many of the projects in progress are not due to be completed for another year or two—when hopefully rental conditions will be where they were before COVID-19.

Developers Report Continued Construction Delays
Multi-Housing News

Construction Industry Hit Hard by the Coronavirus Pandemic
U.S. News & World Report

Retail Construction Drops to 20-Year Low
CDRcycler.com

Coronavirus Has Affected Construction the Most in These 10 States
ConstructionDive.com


3. College reopening question hits home for developers and lenders
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If America’s colleges don’t reopen in the fall, that could cause a lot of problems for private off-campus housing developers. Online courses can be attended from off-campus apartments and many developers have spent a bundle making sure they can offer premium wifi. But many students are delaying lease signings until they find out if live classes and campus life will resume. Student housing mortgage delinquencies have been on the rise, and projections are they will leap if vacancies surge. Developers may also see growth plans put on hold.

DBRS Morningstar Report Looks at Student Housing Market
Multi-Housing News

Student-Housing Recommendations Waiting to Be Vetted
Auburn Villager

Student Housing Amid Coronavirus: ‘Count on Getting Heads in Beds’
Yahoo Finance

Lot Lines: COVID-19 Effect on Student Housing
The Journal Record