Let’s be honest, the last two weeks of March felt endless. In the real estate industry, the month started off quite normally, with a Freddie Mac report announcing a shortage of housing supply of more than 3 million units, which advances by about 300,000 units annually. Additionally, the class-action lawsuit filed by three residents of the New York City Housing Authority’s Red Hook Houses against the City underlined that public housing is part of the housing crisis.
A series of new projects broke ground or landed construction financing in the first half of March, including Mill Creek Residential’s 24-story, 350-unit Modera Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the largest residential project to date in downtown Orlando, Fla., as well as Chicago’s largest mixed-use project within an Opportunity Zone.
However, by the end of the second week, the coronavirus outbreak started to make its way into real estate news, with President Trump declaring it a national emergency and several large metro areas considering enacting a moratorium on residential evictions. Two weeks later, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning evictions for renters who have been affected by COVID-19. In the meantime, however, the Federal Reserve announced an emergency adjustment to its benchmark interest rate, bringing it down to a range of 0 to 0.25 percent. And, as New York is the hardest-hit state in the country, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed repurposing buildings into makeshift hospitals.
Meanwhile, an Institutional Property Advisors survey found that multifamily investors expect a modest impact from the coronavirus crisis. At the same time, senior housing REITs were encouraging investors not to panic, while industry experts anticipate a short-term disruption. As the U.S. Congress was getting ready to vote on a record $2 trillion stimulus package, we looked at what the bill means for the multifamily sector.
Here are MHN’s must-reads for last month: