These 25,000 retail dinosaurs will meet the meteor this year

A new report says the virus will harm shopping malls especially (iStock)

A new report says the virus will harm shopping malls especially (iStock)

As many as 25,000 retail stores may close this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a majority closing in shopping malls, further hastening the industry’s decline.

That number would dwarf the prior record of 9,800 retail closures set in 2019, according to a new report from the retail data firm Coresight Research.

First issued in March, the report estimated that 15,000 stores could close in 2020, but as the reach of the coronavirus grew across the country, governments required many stores to close temporarily and shoppers were discouraged from venturing out.

For some businesses, those temporary closures may hasten the transition to digital commerce, or they may become permanent.

Coresight’s CEO Deborah Weinswig said in the report that the closure of department stores and large clothing retailers — so-called anchor stores — represents a particular threat to malls.

Already, 15 national retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M, Century City, AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas, Party City and The Gap, have elected not to pay May’s rent. The company Macerich, which owns 47 shopping malls across the U.S., said it “collected about 26 percent of rent” owed by tenants in April, and sported a similar number as of mid-May.

Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest mall owner, sued The Gap last week for $66 million in unpaid rent across its properties. The mall giant this week also exited a $3.6 billion deal to acquire up-market mall operator Taubman, known in the industry for its quality anchor tenants.

Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penny, J.Crew, and Victoria’s Secret have gone beyond closing stores and filed for bankruptcy. The Mall of America has fallen behind on its $1.4 billion mortgage, exposing the wider bond market to systemic risk.

If damage done to the retail sector by coronavirus has been deep, any return to health will be slow and grinding. Anonymized cell phone data shows that foot traffic in malls that have reopened are just a quarter of what they were in January 2020, suggesting that the Coresight report correctly predicts many more closures ahead. [Bloomberg] – Orion Jones

Bernie Sanders throws support behind New York rent-suspension bill

Bernie Sanders (Credit: Getty Images)

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has thrown his weight behind Sen. Michael Gianaris’ rent-suspension bill.

“Along with pausing mortgage payments, evictions, and utility shutoffs, we must place a moratorium on rent payments, especially in states hardest-hit by the coronavirus like New York,” Sanders tweeted on Saturday morning. “We must build on the important work [Gianaris] and others are doing to make this happen.”

Gianaris’ bill is quickly gaining momentum. Along with the national attention, Senate Bill 8125 has 21 co-sponsors in the state senate, just one week after having been formally introduced.

According to the legislation, rent and mortgage payments would be forgiven rather than postponed. An executive order issued by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week urged banks to defer mortgage payments for 90 days for homeowners suffering because of the health crisis, but offered no such equivalent for apartment owners and renters.

A relief package for landlords with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac came earlier this month. Most renters will receive some financial assistance from the government in the form of a one-time payment of $1,200, in a $2 trillion federal stimulus package which passed on Friday. But there is little else in the package for multifamily real estate owners or renters.

Along with waiving rents for 90 days, the Queens Democrat’s bill would allow landlords in financial distress to apply for forgiveness of their mortgage payments in an amount equal to that of unpaid rent stemming from coronavirus-caused hardship.

For renters, late fees would not apply during the 90-day period, and any lease that expires during that time would be automatically renewed, with the monthly rent unchanged.

Critics of the legislation question how such a waiver would be enforced, and are instead pushing for relief for landlords in the form of a tax abatement, which could be passed on to tenants in the form of a rent reduction.

Why New Yorkers, Californians and others pay so much rent

US rent payments in the 2010s totaled $4.5T

The U.S. homeownership rate peaked in 2005 at 69.1% and has been falling since

Residential rents in the U.S. increased in 2019 as did the number of tenants, pushing America’s total rent bill to $512 billion, according to a new research report from Zillow. That’s about 10% above the decade’s average.

With most U.S. renters making their final payments of the decade at the start of this month, Zillow used census data and its own to look back at rent payments for the period.

“A bump in the overall number of U.S. renters in 2019 (to 43.6 million), after a slight decline in the previous year, and rent growth itself that has picked up slightly throughout the year both contributed to a higher overall rent bill this year than last,” the report notes.

The U.S. homeownership rate peaked in 2005 at 69.1% and has been falling since, USA Today reported this summer. It’s now 64.2%. According to, the rate declined in 99 of the 100 largest metro areas between 2006 and 2013 — a period that included the housing crash and the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.

Unsurprisingly, the country’s two largest metropolitan areas are the two largest sources of rent payments. New York City renters paying a total of $56.6 billion in 2019, followed by Los Angeles with $39.2 billion — more than twice the total of any other metro in the country.

But low homeownership rates have a lot to do with that. Only about half of New York and Los Angeles metro-area residents own their homes — which is the case in only four the 75 largest metro areas. The other two are in northern California: Fresno and San Jose. Silicon Valley salaries and tight development policies make homeownership extremely costly there.

In part for the same reasons, San Francisco, the 11th-largest metro area, is No. 3 in total rent payments. After spending the first half of the decade neck and neck with Chicago and Washington D.C., San Francisco ($16.4 billion) has since opened up a $1 billion gap between itself and fourth-place Chicago ($15.2 billion). Restrictions on building combined with a tech boom have pushed up rents in San Francisco.

Another factor is that San Francisco and New York City both have rent control, which deters tenants who pay below-market rents from becoming homeowners.

Nearby San Jose, as well as San Diego and Austin, also contribute a disproportionately large share to the nation’s collective rent bill, while Pittsburgh and St. Louis stand out for small total rent payments relative to population — in part because of high home-ownership rates. Nearly 70% of those two metro areas’ residents live in owner-occupied homes.

Meanwhile, Miami appears to have a total rent load in line with its population: It is the country’s seventh-largest metropolitan area and No. 7 in rent payments with $12.3 billion in 2019.

Zillow’s report also notes three markets that have seen the greatest rent growth in the past year: Phoenix (up 7.5 percent), Las Vegas (5.6 percent) and Charlotte (5.5 percent).

The states with the biggest share of vacation rentals aren’t where you’d think

The states with the biggest share of vacation rentals aren’t where you’d think

The Northeastern U.S. has a higher percentage of vacation rentals than the South

July 20, 2019 01:00PM
Portland, Maine (Credit: iStock)

Portland, Maine (Credit: iStock)

Year-round sunshine didn’t help Florida make it to the top of this vacation rental ranking.

The states with the highest percentage of vacation homes are clustered in the Northeast, Bloomberg reported, citing a new study from investment property exchange firm IPX1031.

Maine topped the ranking, with 19.3 percent of its homes being used as vacation rentals. Vermont came in second, at 17.4 percent, followed by New Hampshire, at 11.8 percent, and Alaska clocked in at No. 4 with 10.5 percent. Florida came in sixth place, at 9.7 percent.

Few of them are in the Midwest. The study found that states with the five smallest percentages of vacation homes are Indiana (1.7 percent), Iowa (1.6 percent), Kansas (1.4 percent), Ohio (1.1 percent) and Illinois (1 percent).

The report used data from the Census Bureau, which defines vacation homes as residences “vacant for seasonal, recreational or occasional use.” The United States has 5.7 million vacation homes. [Bloomberg] – Mike Seemuth

Poll: one in five Americans can’t pay rent

From TRD New York: Rising rents and the growing number of people renting in the U.S. is resulting in one in five tenants struggling to pay their rent, an Apartment List poll of about 40,000 respondents found.
The poll was skewed towards higher-income users of the website who were renting high-end apartments, according to Bloomberg News. Out of the total respondents, 3.3 percent have been evicted at one point, up from 2.8 percent two years ago.
Among people earning more than $60,000 annually, 8.8 percent didn’t pay rent – in entirety – in the last three months, while the figure for people earning between $30-60,000 were at 14.8 percent, and people earning $30,000 or lower were at almost 28 percent.
[Bloomberg News] — E.K. Hudson

Source: The Real Deal Miami