My nephew, and long time Manhattan resident packed his bags several weeks ago and headed off to his (and my) home state of Connecticut. The New York Times confirmed this week, “Cooped up and concerned about the post-Covid future, renters and owners are making moves to leave the city, not for short-term stays in weekend houses, as was common when the pandemic first arrived, but more permanently in the suburbs. The pandemic has convinced some New Yorkers that it’s time to finally give up on city living.” Coronavirus Escape: To the Suburbs.
2. PULLING THE TRIGGER
Mortgage applications from buyers jump 11%, signaling the spring housing market may not be a total loss reports CNBC. “Applications to purchase a home rose for the fourth straight week, jumping a decisive 11%. They were still 10% lower compared with the same week one year ago but that annual loss has been shrinking markedly. Last week, purchase volume was down 19% annually, and one month ago it was down 35%.” New York had a 14% jump in those applications. Illinois, Florida, Georgia, California, and North Carolina also had large increases last week.
3. THE OFFICE
“Since the pandemic, Google’s parent company Alphabet pulled out of deals to acquire more than two million square feet of office space. From startups and tech giants to more old-school Wall Street firms, businesses are rethinking the role of office space and whether they even need it.” Marker is saying The Office Is Dead. Commercial real estate may need to reinvent itself when the dust settles from this pandemic.
4. THE NEW DEAL
Housingwire reported this week Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac: Borrowers in forbearance can defer all missed payments until the end of their loan. “According to the GSEs and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the deferral option is available to borrowers in forbearance who regain the ability to pay their mortgage on time. Under the program, the borrower simply starts making their mortgage payments again when they’re able and any missed payments are deferred to the end of their loan. The FHFA also reminded borrowers in forbearance that they can still use other repayment options, including reinstatement, repayment plan, or loan modifications based on their individual situations.”
5. FEAR FACTORING
Vacation real-estate markets are ‘toast’ because of the pandemic as Airbnb owners rush to offload their homes, Redfin CEO says. MarketWatch says the company reopened its iBuying division because they see opportunities for iBuyers in beach towns. “The company’s CEO, Glenn Kelman, has said that the company’s tech offerings — including virtual home tours and open houses — will help it weather the pandemic. But while signs are starting to emerge that Americans may begin to re-enter the housing market, the speed of the recovery is far from certain.” I’ve been reaching out to vacation rental owners this week to get more of a pulse on what’s happening in the market, and they appear to be steadfast in the vacation rental market for the moment.
For those of you who have been watching John Krasinski’s weekly SGN report on YouTube, I have some ‘Some Good Real Estate News’ for you this week from Yahoo Finance: Real estate CEO surprises employees with $1,600,000 in bonuses amid coronavirus pandemic.