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      Leonard Steinberg

      Covid Fatigue

       

      I'm so over COVID-19. I hate it! It has been too long, too depressing. It makes me sad at times. It frustrates me, restricts me, annoys me. At times it drives me nuts! I want to see people's smiles again. What I thought at first might be a few weeks' lockdown has extended itself well beyond anyone's expectations. And now a massive surge of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths is enough to make anyone want to give up.  I think most of us are suffering from some form of COVID fatigue - or COVITIGUE - but now is NOT the time to quit or let down our guard.

      "It is not enough that we do our best; 

      sometimes we must do what is required."

       ~~ Winston Churchill

      In fact, now is the time to be even MORE vigilant and disciplined about doing our small but important part in slowing the spread and keeping our fellow humans - and ourselves - safe. Why? Because we - the lucky ones who did not get sick or die - have the CERTAINTY that the path to resolution has begun with last week's announcement of the first effective vaccine. The POST-COVID ERA has officially commenced. Now it is up to us - everyone - to participate in the really 'dumb, basic' actions that we know are effective in slowing the spread: masks, hand-washing and distancing. While we may be 'over it' or depressed or fatigued, let's remember those before us who fought wars and at the time when all others may have quit, they did not. They persevered under much, much worse circumstances. They continued fighting. They did their part. Everyone participated for the greater good.


      This all too shall end. We can now see a finish line on the not-too-distant horizon. But we must exercise patience, prop one another up and encourage one another to persist to that finish line.  Six months ago we could not see this finish line, but now we can. Let's not squander a golden opportunity - and our responsibility - to help minimize the damage from this awful moment in time. Let the incentive be the remarkable coming 2021 economy and life we will probably enjoy and appreciate much more than we could have in 2019.


      Have a MAGNIFICENT Monday!

      Compass Contemplations for Thursday

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Nearly 25% of homebuyers between April and June bought houses priced at $500,000 or more, up from 14% of buyers during the preceding nine months, according to a report from the NAR. Most jobs lost during the pandemic were lower-paid jobs, an audience that usually does not qualify to buy a home. (WSJ)

      “The mortgage buyers that we’ve worked with have really unfortunately been cut out of the deal in many cases on the homes that they’ve wanted,” - Jack Sarsen, COMPASS Greenwich, speaking to how in a super-heated market all-cash buyers have had a tremendous advantage over those seeking a mortgage. (WSJ)

      DID YOU KNOW?  If you wanted to watch three important economic touch-points over the next few weeks, look closely at:

      1.  The potential for a constitutional crisis around the contested election.

      2.  The massive spike in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

      3.  The Senate. The result could impact the size of a new stimulus bill that appears essential to weather the next few months before a COVID vaccine has been widely distributed.

      DID YOU KNOW?  Of the 10 largest cities in the USA, Dallas has the most workers returning to the office, around 41%. (Bloomberg)

      DID YOU KNOW?  There may be a workaround to the $10,000 SALT deduction cap on state and local taxes when it comes to state and local taxes paid by pass-through entities.   
       

      DID YOU KNOW?  Goldman Sachs is forecasting 5.3% US GDP growth in 2021 versus the wider consensus of 3.8%....mostly due to the vaccine news.

      Real Estate Market Gridlock

      What is worse in real estate than a market where buyers feel prices are too high and don't raise their bids and sellers think prices are not high enough and are not willing to negotiate?  Gridlock markets are possibly the most frustrating for agents.....and the consumer.


      In the past few years in numerous areas around the country negatively impacted by the SALT tax deduction limitation, many homeowners were simply unable to sell their large home with high real estate tax bills. The devaluation that happened by this gridlock - mostly in some suburbs - was astounding. It also put lives and planning on hold. New COVID-related demand re-awakened and unlocked these stagnant and de-valuing markets, a combination of new interest in larger homes outside of large cities as well as pricing that had become super-attractive....and much lower than three years before when the valuation decline began. There is one upside to gridlock: With far fewer actions/transactions, no clear pricing trends register.  Unfortunately, the few transactions that do happen can often register large price declines and sway averages, something that drives valuation perceptions. This too can create demand. Like all gridlock moments, sooner or later they end too and after a period of gridlock, a wave of activity can be unleashed, mostly via perceived value. 

       

      Gridlock is frustrating for everyone: buyers, sellers, and agents. A free-flowing market with a healthy balance between buyer and seller expectations is the best kind, but very rare. So is gridlock good? I don't think so. Holding up people's lives is never a good thing in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, these gridlock markets do and will continue to happen....and then like all markets they too will unlock.

       

      9/11- 19 Years Later

       
       
      Today, 19 years ago, multiple terrorist attacks killed nearly three thousand people in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC, and caused billions of dollars worth of damage resulting in an enormously expensive re-building and a $6 trillion war that resulted in thousands more lost lives. This horrific event triggered enormous changes around the globe. Here are some observations.
       

      1.  The Pentagon in Washington DC was fully restored and repaired. In Manhattan it's difficult to believe this horrific event happened almost two decades ago......but it's so invigorating to see what has happened since then. The Lower Manhattan Renaissance is a sight to behold: Multiple towers and a museum and memorial have been built, including a sensational Santiago-Calatrava designed World trade Center transportation hub that has become an instantly recognizable and unique New York attraction. Today Lower Manhattan's population has almost tripled to 62,000. and the number of residential housing units has spiraled past 30,000 units.

      2.  The economy did not stop: US GDP was about $10.5 trillion in 2001: last year it was more than double.

      3.  Air travel was transformed with a whole host of security measures that have become 'expected' and 'normal' today.

      4.  Surveillance increased dramatically. Most large cities have security cameras everywhere and new high tech solutions have made cities much safer.

      5.  The world collectively realized safety and security would always have to be a top priority of governments, cities, towns, villages.

      6.  The unity in the USA felt directly post-9/11 is something we should all remember and try to re-produce. A united front against adversity is always more effective.

      7.  We were reminded how important firefighters are in our world. We are reminded of that again now as they battle wildfires in the West.

      8.  We CAN learn from history if we choose not to forget or ignore realities and data points that provide us clear intelligence and insights.

      9.  With anything catastrophic, we learn how there are always warning signals before they happen. Responding to those may appear paranoid to some, yet we should weigh the cost of paranoia against the cost of recovery. It's usually a fraction.

      If there is one important lesson to be learned from 9/11 it is that we as a human species evolve, learn and adapt. We rebuild and restore. We invent and innovate. At a time like this when so many are unemployed, homeless, sick, grieving and the USA has suffered a truly awful few months, we can look back to 9/11 to be CERTAIN we will recover from this moment and soar well past it. 

      I know someone well who ran down fifty flights of stairs from the south tower of the World Trade Center and exited the building just as it was crumbling.....he walked home for over an hour covered in dust and debris, bloodied from flying glass. When he arrived home, the phone rang. It was his real estate agent: "I have a full price offer on your apartment!" He responded by saying it was not the best time to speak, hung up and the phones went dead for a week. He re-connected with his agent then and she had another offer over the ask..... Life goes on. It always has and it always will.

       

      Compass Contemplations for Monday

      Good morning,

      Wishing all of those in California, particularly in our Compass family,  well,  who are experiencing a heatwave and wildfires. Death Valley near the border of Nevada recorded a temperature of 130 degrees! 

      DID YOU KNOW? More than 25% of U.S. colleges plan to begin fall instruction fully or mostly online, but many are still opening up their dorms. Some are limiting space to those students with housing insecurity or other hardships. Some, like Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., plan to offer housing to students who fit into a number of defined categories, such as veterans or those with on-campus jobs. Other online-only campuses, like the University of California, Berkeley, say they’re still accepting housing applications. Some may change plans at the 11th hour, as the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, did less than 3 weeks before classes were to begin, with an announcement that it would no longer allow students whose classes are held remotely to move into the dorms. (NY TIMES)

      DID YOU KNOW? Fewer Floridians filed for unemployment last week than any other week since mid-March, a hopeful sign. Leisure and hospitality accounts for 40% of the USA’s long term pandemic unemployment. Destinations Florida showed tourism revenue was down more than 80%. Tourism is roughly a little under 3% of US GDP.....but in Florida, it's closer to 10%. Tourism generated roughly $26 billion in tax receipts in 2018 in Florida which helps fund schools, improve healthcare and supports other government services.

      DID YOU KNOW? Commercial real-estate loans make up around 22% of U.S. banks’ total loans. 
      For the 5 years preceding the beginning of the pandemic, global commercial real-estate investment ran to around $1 trillion a year. We might all wish for a return to the office for this reason alone..... (WSJ)

      DID YOU KNOW? In Hong Kong, CBRE expects a fall of more than 15% in top-tier office rents this year. The combination of political unrest and COVID are driving this. (WSJ)

      Where Did All The People Go?

       

      As I walk the streets of Manhattan, a question I hear asked repeatedly is: "Where are all the people?" This same question is being asked around the globe in larger towns and cities, more so in some areas than others. So I did a little research to help explain this highly unusual moment.....and this is what I discovered:


      1.  Big Cities are often NOT mostly locals.  Most bigger cities attract vast numbers of tourists and visitors, domestic and international. New York City attracts around 60 million people annually......that's around 5 million per month or 160,000-400,000 per day.  Cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc also attract huge numbers of visitors and tourists. Miami attracts over 23 million per year. That's a lot of people and most of them cannot or don't want to travel right now.

      2.  Big Cities attract tons of daily commuters. Manhattan alone attracts about 1.6 million workers per day. Many come from outside the city. Most larger cities don't house the majority of workers and these days many are working remotely.

      3.  Big Cities have big colleges and schools......most are shut right now for the Summer and COVID-19 precautions.

      4.  Big City dwellers house many residents with second homes or those who escape for a few weeks in the Summer. They are also out of cities right now.


      Add up the above and it's easier to understand why larger cities around the globe are not quite the same right now. But this will change. It's a matter of time. Not if, but when. Some say things will never be the same again, and I agree with that to a certain degree: Chances are we'll never again take for granted those (sometimes annoying) throngs of visitors, tourists, students, etc that are a critically important part of the fabric of the places we call home.....they are the VOLUME that drives commerce, jobs, growth and LIFE!


      Have a Magnificent Monday!

      COMPASS Contemplations for Sunday

       

      A very HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the amazing Father's in America and to their extended families. Today is YOUR day and I hope you enjoy it thoroughly. I am always in awe of the fathers that have a full workload AND have the responsibilities of fatherhood too. I simply don't know how you do it! While being a parent is possibly the most rewarding of all human roles in life, it can also be the most challenging, exhausting and consuming one too.

      So here's a big THANK YOU and CONGRATS to all the fathers everywhere - for the critically important role they play in our society and the lives of all those kids who love and admire you beyond words.

       

       

      “A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” - Unknown


      DID YOU KNOW?  Alain Ducasse hired interior designer and architect Patrick Jouin along with doctors Thomas Similowski (head of pulmonology, intensive medicine, and resuscitation) and Jerome Robert (head of bacteriological medicine and hospital hygiene) from Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, in Paris, and architect Arnaud Delloye to create an aesthetically pleasing high-performance system that purifies air and limits its movements to reduce the potential risk of aerosol transmission of the coronavirus in his Paris restaurant ALLARD. The $56,000 filtration/ac system with high-tech filters and fans is akin to that used in operating rooms, and the dividers between tables are ultra-chic. 
        
      DID YOU KNOW?  Yesterday I read a story about a lease in the Hampton's that went awry during the pandemic.....the tenant whose behavior was allegedly awful was a real estate agent in the Hampton's and of course his brokerage was mentioned clearly and boldly. Again. another reminder that every COMPASS employee or agent's actions can reflect poorly on ALL of us. The brand name COMPASS is to be nurtured, treasured and respected as it is something we all share as an extension of who we are. 



      “We believe the FDA will likely approve at least one vaccine prior to the November election. Perhaps multiple vaccines could get the go-ahead at some point early in the fourth quarter and quell fears of a second wave of Covid-19.” - Jared Jolz, Jeffries

      COMPASS Contemplations for Wednesday

      DID YOU KNOW?  In celebration of Pride Month, Robert will be chatting with the Executive Director of GLSEN Eliza Byard TODAY at 4pm ET and their conversation will be live-streamed in the Compass Workplace group. GLSEN is an organization recognized worldwide as a pioneering leader in the fight for educational equity and in making sure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying. Thank you to Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, OUT at Compass and Compass Cares for pulling together this event!

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Russian President Vladimir Putin now has a “disinfection tunnel” installed at one of his official residences to protect him from contracting the coronavirus. Could this become the next X-RAY machine we have become so accustomed to at airports?

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 4% last week from the previous week and were a remarkable 21% higher than a year ago, the 9th consecutive week of gains and the highest volume in more than 11 years!  The average interest rate for a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.30% from 3.38%  (CNBC)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online, increased a seasonally adjusted 17.7% in May from a month earlier. Expect more GOOD NEWS headlines like this over the next few weeks and months after weeks/months of bad headlines. While the higher you climb the further you can fall is true.....so too is it true that when you have fallen to a deep low, chances are it's up, up, up from there! (WSJ)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Builder sentiment jumped a striking 21 points in June to 58, the largest monthly increase ever in the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Any reading above 50 indicates a positive market. In April, it plunged a record 42 points to 30. Of the index’s three components, current sales conditions jumped 21 points to 63. Sales expectations in the next six months rose 22 points to 68. Buyer traffic more than doubled from May to June, from 22 to 43.

       

      “The dollar is going to fall very, very sharply,” - Steven Roach, Yale University, citing growing debt and diminished savings. If this happens, could it spur a new wave of foreign buyers? Again, this is just one of many predictions/opinions.

       

      DID YOU KNOW?  The total of new COVID-19 cases from the top 5 states in the USA is 2.5X that of the next 5 states, to put things into perspective.  The top 5 states have a total population of around 108 million, while the next five have almost 47 million people. So the top 5 have a ratio of 78.7 new cases per million inhabitants. The next 5 have 71.7 new cases per million inhabitants. A cheap and widely-used steroid called dexamethasone has become the first drug shown to be able to save lives among COVID-19 patients in what scientists said is a “major breakthrough” in the coronavirus pandemic.

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Housing starts that measure how many single-family homes builders break ground on probably will fall to 770,000 this year, the lowest level since 2015, according to the NAR. The 1.47 million properties on the market at the end of April was the lowest ever recorded for the month, according to NAR data. Americans created 11.4 million households in the 10 years through 2019, according to Census data. Builders sold 5.2 million single-family homes in the same period. In the prior decade, they sold 10.4 million new houses. Supply disruptions and the COVID-19 lock downs that ensued have made the situation worse. (Housingwire)

      COMPASS Contemplations for Tuesday

       

      Wishing all our LGBTQ colleagues, friends and family at COMPASS a HAPPY PRIDE MONTH! Yesterday The Supreme Court concluded by majority that the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The question for the justices was whether that last prohibition — discrimination “because of sex”— applies to many millions of gay and transgender workers. Could there be a better PRIDE MONTH gift?

       

      DID YOU KNOW?  A long overdue $1 TRILLION infrastructure bill seems to be in the works to help fuel the economy and provide much needed improvements to the USA's infrastructure..... (CNBC)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? With the most economic uncertainty in decades and a head-spinning stretch of volatility in the U.S. stock market, many investors have rushed into money-market funds where cash assets have swelled to about $4.6 trillion, the highest level on record, going back to 1992. Imagine if this capital was deployed in the economy.....(WSJ)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Nationwide, about 64% of home shoppers looked for suburban homes in April, compared with 66% in April 2019. New York metro area shoppers, those looking to move to a different metro area grew to 40%, from about 35% last year. About 70% of all shoppers in the New York metro area looked for suburban homes, down from 72% last year.(WSJ)

      DID YOU KNOW? A 2017 report by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions suggeste
      d that 41% of remote employees report higher levels of stress compared with just 25% of their counterparts who work in the office. According to a 2018 survey that Mental Health America conducted with FlexJobs, about 71% of people would like to work from home to reduce commute-related stress. Approximately 75% of survey respondents also said that working remotely could potentially help them limit stress related to distractions during the workday. (Healthline)

      DID YOU KNOW? People who work from home are at a greater risk of obesity and diabetes because there is a significant decrease in physical activity. (Dr A.J. Marsden of America’s Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida)

      DID YOU KNOW? The FBI reported a 50% surge in mobile banking since the beginning of 2020, likely due to stay-at-home orders. (Housingwire)

      DID YOU KNOW? Remote workers typically save about $4,000 a year by working from home, according to a study from FlexJobs. That comes from saving on commuting costs as well as paring spending on coffee, lunches and a professional wardrobe. Those cheering the concept of abandoning working in offices should factor the potential loss of $4,000 spending per person in the economy.....

      COMPASS Contemplations for Thursday

      DID YOU KNOW? Manhattan markets are picking up: There were 47 in-contract deals from May 11 to 17th, up from 31 the week prior. That increase follows six consecutive weeks of declines.

       

      DID YOU KNOW?  Besides DOW 25,000, what SIX METRICS could define the real estate recovery?

      1. The flattening of the curve. (This is a health-fueled crisis, not an economic fundamentals-fueled crisis). CHECK, for most areas.

      2. The end of stay-at-home orders. Once society moves around more freely, so too can commerce flow. CHECK for many areas, not all.

      3. The 10-year yield rises above 1%.  IMPROVING. Not there yet.

      4. Credit Stress. IMPROVING notably.

      5. JOBLESS CLAIMS. STILL BAD, yet most jobs lost were in sectors that are now re-opening. Re-hiring could improve dramatically. (eg: Amazon has offered 125,000 of the 175,000 part-time employees it hired for the pandemic a fulltime job)

      6. Hardest hit sectors improve. STARTING NOW.

      DID YOU KNOW? In Miami, April saw a 20.7% year-over-year drop in closed sales of single-family homes and a 36.5% plummet in condo-townhome sales during the same period. New listings in April were down over 27.2% year-over-year in the single-family category and were down 38.5% for the condo-townhouse sector. New pending sales for April took a 35.1% drop in the single-family category from a year earlier and pending sales in the condo-townhouse category sank by 56.6% from April 2019. April should prove to be the 'bottom' of this decline. May, however, is already showing a sharp improvement with pending sales up around 80%! $1m+ pending sales are up over 30% already.

      DID YOU KNOW? Dozens of U.S. cities have inadequate flood insurance coverage. In Boise, Idaho ValuePenguin found that there was only one active flood insurance policy despite there being more than 8,700 homes ....in a 100-year flood plain. Riverside, California, was the second-worst city for flood insurance coverage ratios, with only 344 active policies despite more than 40,000 homes in a 100-year flood plain. Across the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., there are only 4 active policies for every 100 homes in active flood zones. Maybe a good time to check in with your clientele to see if their home is located in a flood zone and to make sure they have adequate insurance?

      DID YOU KNOW? In the week ending May 10, newly pending sales nationwide were up almost 50% from the same period in April. And in four large metros — Cleveland, Cincinnati, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, newly pending sales were up from the same time last year. New for-sale listings are up 12.5% month over month after the seven days ending on May 10, but year over year they were still down 27.6%. Overall, while home listings continue to bounce back, inventory still remains about 20% below last year’s already low levels. (Housingwire)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Summer is almost here and it may be a good time to message to your clients how to deal with ticks, a common problem with pets and kids....and adults! After safely removing the tick, one of the most important steps is to test the tick. Knowing the species and what disease(s) the tick is carrying will help with your diagnosis. Click here for a list of tick testing labs in the U.S. Click here for complete Be Tick AWARE resources.

       

      COMPASS Contemplations for Tuesday

      DID YOU KNOW? American biotech company Novavax has started the first human study of its experimental Coronavirus vaccine and expects initial results on safety and immune responses in July. Last week, Moderna reported positive development on its vaccine trial: all 45 participants had developed coronavirus antibodies. Merck plans to work alongside IAVI, a non-profit scientific research organization, to develop a potential vaccine against the Coronavirus. (CNBC)

      DID YOU KNOW? Lumber prices for July delivery are up 46% from a low on April 1 and 15% higher than a year ago, indicating a rebound in construction demand. With trade tensions with China worsening, don't expect construction costs to go down: the exact opposite is possible. (WSJ)

      DID YOU KNOW? Current cash levels are above a historical average dating back to 2005. Cash allocations have risen to nearly 14% for Bank of America clients. Over $1 Trillion could enter the markets soon..... the S&P 500 is up more than 35% since March 23. (CNBC)

      DID YOU KNOW? French GDP fell 5.8% in the three months to March, while Italy’s GDP contracted by 4.7%. In the previous quarter, their GDP fell by 0.1% and 0.3% respectively. GDP in Germany and the U.K. was down by around 2%, with GDP for the entire European Union shrinking by 3.3%. U.S. GDP fell by 1.2% in the first quarter, compared to 0.5% in the previous quarter. The second quarter could be as bad, if not worse as shutdowns extended. The World Bank has forecast a worldwide GDP contraction of 5% this year.....although I think we should always judge a year at the END of the year! After a big fall.....expect big rises!  I am optimistic!  (CNBC)

      DID YOU KNOW? Mortgage availability has tightened sharply as lenders impose tougher income, credit-score and down-payment conditions and drop some loan types altogether, such as home-equity lines of credit. If you have any clients seeking to buy now or over the next few months, be certain to evaluate their credit scores early and connect them with a 'credit clean-up' consultant ASAP to improve their score.but a strong credit score alone may not be enough, so pre-approving buyers early may be more important now than ever. JP Morgan Chase said it wouldn’t make loans without a 20% down payment or a credit score of 700 or above. Wells Fargo stopped allowing cash-out refinancing loans. (WSJ)

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