YASC Digital May22

YASC Digital

Assembling more than 2,000 clients and employees in Washington, D.C., for the spring Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference wasn’t an option. But Yardi got creative and delivered all the expected benefits of YASC in a new way this month. YASC Digital, which was free to clients, comprised more than 125 on-demand courses on asset and investment management software innovations. Spotlight sessions addressed developments in the multifamily, commercial, investment management, affordable and PHA market segments. The virtual conference attracted 16,000 participants from 2,500 companies in 30 countries, with attendees completing 107,000 courses and viewing 50,000 hours of content over three days. Yardi product specialists fielded thousands of live chat requests. Company president and founder Anant Yardi, offering a video welcome in lieu of “meeting and greeting,” reaffirmed the company’s dedication to maintaining superior client service in the COVID-19 environment. Noting the company’s $2 million donation to food banks that are helping communities in the U.S. and Canada weather the pandemic, Mr. Yardi invited his audience to “tackle the future with resolve and optimism.” (The company also donated $25 to food banks for every selfie submitted during YASC Digital – see many of the submissions in the gallery below.) The YASC Digital experience resonated positively with participants. “Thank you to everyone on the YASC team for putting together the digital format … which allows us all to continue to learn and grow with Yardi,” said Scott Teem of Portland, Ore.-based Guardian Real Estate Services LLC. “Thanks in no small part to Yardi, we’re doing fine,” added David Wise of Philadelphia-area LCOR. “Thank you for supporting the local food banks and for keeping us all connected!” said James Juliano, checking in from Berkshire Residential Investments in Boston. Watch a recap of the event: Clients will receive an email...

Support for Seniors May22

Support for Seniors

COVID-19 poses many challenges to senior living, but providers, and the public at large, are stepping up to help residents and staff in every way they can. A few weeks back, I shared a few positive stories of support in the industry. Since then, the coronavirus outbreak has continued to spread, but communities have continued to get creative in their response. Here are a couple more stories featuring Yardi clients that we hope will make you smile: Crafting a clear connection For families, one of the most trying parts so far has been the inability to visit their loved ones. Providers have locked down facilities to keep residents and staff safe, but at Thrive Senior Living, CEO Jeramy Ragsdale was determined to do more to help everyone stay in touch. He hit upon the idea of glass panels that would allow interaction without the risk of infection. “We custom built it to fit inside the front doors of our communities and created a venue where residents and families can visit in a safe way across these barriers,” Jeramy said in a local news report. “Our biggest challenge is now telling families ‘your time is up’ because there’s someone there to visit behind you.” As a gesture of support to the industry, Thrive has made the plans for their glass panels freely available on their website. Download the instructions Famous art, familiar faces Sure, museums are closed for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find inspiration in their art. Following the recent social media trend, residents at Osprey Lodge of Allegro Senior Living have recreated masterpieces by dressing up as the models, using whatever they could scrounge up from their closets and cabinets to mimic the artwork. The photos speak for themselves. From toilet paper rolls as cartwheel ruffs to buckets and towels for headwear and hairdos, the imagination on display is amazing. My personal favorite is the gentleman with a glass of orange juice precariously dangled in front of him. That one clearly took a lot of patience to nail the balance. A red carpet for the real stars The nurses, caregivers and staff in senior living communities have been doing all they can to ensure the safety of their residents. And those efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Last week, workers at The Woodlands at Hillcrest were given the red-carpet treatment — literally. A local business, NRC Health, rolled out an entrance carpet, gave away gift bags and displayed posters of support as the staff arrived. “They do a lot of great things, and they don’t always get the credit they deserve,” said Tess Kurtenbach, business development manager for NRC Health, in a news interview. “They’re our heroes. They’re doing the biggest job right now.” Positivity from the public While red carpets are wonderful, words by themselves can mean just as much. A group of high school students in Colorado recently filmed their own creative message of support for Golden Pond Retirement Community. The video follows AHCA/NCAL’s launch of a new campaign last month, #CareNotCOVID, which encourages those sheltering at home to share positive messages with their local senior living communities. The messages are meant to help staff and residents feel supported, now so more than ever. — Social distancing guidelines have pushed us apart for our own health, but they’ve also drawn us together in new ways. Examples of connection like these are growing in senior living, and we hope they inspire even more to follow...

Self Storage Outlook May21

Self Storage Outlook

Self storage is still considered among the most stable real estate sectors during rocky economic times, but it is not immune from the COVID-19 crisis, attendees of the May 19 SSA Webinar presented by Yardi Matrix experts learned. “Under the best of circumstances, and short of a medical solution, recovery is going to be partial and slow,” said Jeff Adler, vice president of Yardi Matrix, at the start of the presentation. Adler and Chris Nebenzahl, institutional research manager for Matrix, presented the current outlook for self storage as it navigates changing tides. If you missed it, find the presentation materials and a recording of the session. While the industry looked strong in March, things shifted in April. National street rates for 10×10 non climate controlled (CC) units fell 2.6 percent, and rates for 10×10 CC units fell 6 percent. That was the largest decline in more than three years.   The impact was nearly universal, as street rates for non-CC units fell in 97 percent of the major markets tracked by Yardi Matrix, and CC units saw declines in every market tracked. Only Raleigh-Durham and Portland, Ore. saw non-CC street rates drop less than in previous months, and Phoenix stayed completely flat (see slide at left). Nationwide, Yardi Matrix tracks a total of 2,209 self storage properties in various stages of development, comprising 593 under construction, 1,172 planned and 444 prospective properties. Matrix also maintains operational profiles for 25,914 operating self storage businesses, bringing the total data set to 28,123. The COVID-19 crisis has yet to slow self storage development, however, as properties under construction or in the planning stages account for 9 percent of the market in April, a 20-basis-point increase over March. That’s expected to change in the coming months. “We expect...

Getting Match Fit May20

Getting Match Fit

Yardi recently partnered with the UKAA and Get Living to deliver a webinar which explored the effects that Covid-19 has had on the build to rent market. Yardi’s special guests from Get Living, Chris Armstrong, Brand, Technology and Experience Leader and Ian Gibbs, Director of Neighbourhoods, shared their experience on how brand, technology and operations have come together through the pandemic. Justin Harley, regional director at Yardi, kicked off the webinar by sharing some interesting technology trends that Yardi had collated throughout the pandemic. Harley highlighted that technology should be at the heart of any business as the need to be ‘digital-ready’ grows. The count of virtual tours, online applications and resident app downloads are at an all-time high, and data analysis from Yardi shows that resident app usage has doubled since lockdown. Underlying technology has become more essential than ever before. “Technology is a critical part of a business’s infrastructure, just like the physical foundations of any building” said Harley. He posed the question, “when we’re out of lockdown, will these tech tools stay crucial to businesses?” Are you Match Fit? The Get Living duo, Gibbs and Armstrong, scattered sporting analogies throughout the webinar as they compared their response to Covid-19 as becoming ‘match fit’. “We’ve been working on becoming ‘match fit’ for some time now. Gibbs compared Get Living as being ‘at times close to the top of the table’ before new opponent Covid-19 arrived, challenging the team in more ways than they were prepared for. Armstrong compared the Get Living team to being stood on the side lines, discussing the best tactics to take to win the match. He said their first step was to get the right people in the room and to talk it through about how to play...

Stepping Up May20

Stepping Up

(Part three of a three-part series highlighting the efforts of food banks during COVID-19. Read about food bank efforts in Santa Barbara and Raleigh.) Always a supporter of the communities in which its offices are located, during the last three months Yardi has committed funds for hunger relief services across North America. This week, the real estate software leader announced a second round of donations for the food banks it supported in March. (Read previous blogs on the Santa Barbara County and Raleigh food banks.) An example of one outreach was a grant to the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). “I know what a big difference this will make in so many lives locally,” says Don Rogers, general manager for Yardi Atlanta. Ben Burgess, ACFB corporate relations manager, received the donation from Yardi. “I’m speechless. This is the kind of overwhelming generosity that makes me love what I do and working with companies like yours,” Burgess said. From bad to better beyond expectations In early March, ACFB relocated to a new office. When COVID-19 business closures hit, the organization was still trying to acclimate to its new environment. “Most of us were still figuring out where all the light switches were and which printers were ours when this hit,” says Burgess. “We immediately lost our biggest fundraiser, the annual Hunger Walk/Run 5K and our annual Golf Tournament.” As consumers stocked up on supplies to shelter in place, retail stores became overwhelmed. Empty shelves left little to donate to the food bank. “Retail store donations represent round 1/3 of our food inventory which was just .. gone. We were bracing for the worst,” says Burgess. But in the midst of that anxiety came unexpected support for ACFB from the local community. “People stepped up to support us from all over the place. Businesses, non-profits, individuals, everyone. We know for certain that at least 30 people have donated the entirety of their stimulus check to help those who need it right now,” Burgess said. Volunteers, a crucial component of most food banks’ operations, couldn’t come in due to social distancing requirements. But an alternative source of help stepped in. “We typically host over 125,000 volunteer hours per year – but the state gave us 50 National Guard service members to help fill that role five days a week. It’s been an overwhelming thing to see,” Burgess said. We are in this together As a result of the community outpouring, ACFB has been able to meet the demand for emergency aid in the community. The organization has distributed over 7 million pounds of food in the last 30 days, including 4.1 million in the last two weeks. Every donation is needed. “In demand, we estimate an increase of more than 30% in the last 30 days which puts us at more than 1 million people who are food insecure in the metro Atlanta area right now,” reports Burgess. “We are humbled. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your support!” says Burgess. Learn more about emergency relief efforts at ACFB: Join Yardi in donating to the Atlanta Community Food Bank....

Moving Forward May19

Moving Forward

Yardi multifamily experts Dhar Sawh, Paul Yount and Patrick Hennessey went in-depth on how industry professionals can best prepare for what’s next in a helpful operational strategies webinar this week. Miss it? You can register for additional sessions here. The hour-long presentation featured both current economic data sourced from Yardi Matrix as well as key takeaways from Yardi’s Downturn Playbook, a comprehensive resource for meeting the challenges ahead. “When we saw COVID-19 hit the U.S. in March, we really saw (multifamily demand) plummet. But we are already seeing that demand bounce back. It’s bounced back, but it has definitely changed,” said Sawh, industry principal at Yardi. Find out more about national multifamily trends in the latest Matrix webinar recording. Preparing for success in the post-COVID-19 multifamily world will involve shifts in the way leasing and operations teams are used to doing business. Examples include: A virtual marketing and leasing experience, from start to finish. “It is critical prospects can get what they need to make a decision when they cross your digital threshold,” said Yount, industry principal at Yardi. That may mean activating aspects of your marketing website that you haven’t used before. Do you have adequate photos, videos and 3-D floor plans? What about the ability to chat live online with a leasing representative? Nudge marketing? Details about how your property has responded to coronavirus is another essential. And the need to fully execute a lease online is more important than ever – many prospects are now willing to consider signing without ever visiting a property in person. The opportunity to take a self-guided tour. Self-guided tours were already growing in popularity before the pandemic, but they now provide an opportunity for contactless viewing and will be likely more popular than ever moving...

Leading with Action May17

Leading with Action

“Adversity does not build character. It reveals it.” Those words from James Lane Allen have resonated with readers for years. As we face challenges, our true nature is exposed. Yardi is proud to share the stories of several clients that have supported residents, built community and exercised leadership during this difficult time. Employee and resident support The Bridge Employee Emergency Support Initiative to Aid Employees Amidst COVID-19 details support services for team members. Bridge has offered to pay employees’ regular salary or hourly pay during their absence from work due to COVID-19 illness, self-quarantine, or to care for COVID-19-infected family members. The aid supports employees who can work remotely as well as those who cannot. This Initiative exceeds the requirements stated in The Families First Coronavirus Response Act for companies with less than 500 employees. It supplements current Bridge protocols regarding teleworking and enhances the organization’s protective measures for employees and residents. Bridge Investment Group multifamily residents are eligible for the COVID-19 Financial Hardship Assistance Program. Residents can contact property staff to negotiate a rent payment plan suitable for their financial condition. The plans may include deferrals, lease extensions, and renewal opportunities. Bridge will not pursue any evictions for the non-payment of rent during the crisis. “We do not want any resident to be concerned that they will be without a home during this pandemic,” states a recent Bridge press release. Hope through health and fitness To help residents cope with shelter in place practices, Bozzuto has introduced #BozzutoStaysHome, a virtual event series committed to bringing a sense of sanctuary to residents. “Sanctuary means many different things, but at the heart of it is a place where you feel at peace, where you can be yourself,” says Nicole J. Wells, content marketing manager, digital marketing and strategy with Bozzuto. “Prior to scheduling any activities, we first surveyed our residents to learn what topics were of true interest. Wellness and fitness were among the top areas. It’s natural that the place where you are at peace, where you can be your full self, would incorporate movement. Whether through dance, fitness or yoga, you are free to express and be,” says Wells. The #BozzutoStaysHome series emphasizes the importance of physical movement and fitness as a tool to release stress and maintain health. Sessions include yoga, functional movement, and dance resources. The multifamily housing provider also created the Flamingo 21-Day Virtual Wellness Challenge. Residents are encouraged to participate in home workouts. They can then post photos and encourage their fellow renters. Participants earn points that will be used to calculate rewards which include a party thrown by Flamingo—once shelter in place mandates are lifted– and year of free housekeeping services or personal training. In May, Bozzuto encourages residents to join A Wider Circle’s Virtual Race to End Poverty on May 16. Residents can sign up to exercise at a specific time to raise funds and awareness for A Wider Circle. The nonprofit focuses on emergency and long-term solutions for housing and food insecurity. Finding normalcy while sheltering in place Lincoln Property Company (LPC) has kept the atmosphere light by providing ways that residents can make sheltering in place feel more natural. Via social media, LPC shares content from their blog and sites such as Apartment Therapy to give residents tips on sheltering in place. Such resources include a guide to working from home, a list of the most versatile workout apps, bonding activities to do over teleconferencing apps, and quick meals for days when residents feel overloaded. The housing provider is also hosting the #LPCHomeTogether contest. Residents can submit pictures of how they’re making the most of their extended time at home. Submission ideas include pictures of DIY projects, workouts, and family games. Each week, LPC choses a winner who will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. LPC resident relief efforts include options for payment plans and other policies to lessen financial...

Responding to Need May15

Responding to Need

(Part two of a three-part series. Read part one, on the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.) Always a supporter of the communities in which its offices are located, during the last three months Yardi has committed funds for hunger relief services across North America. This week, the real estate software leader announced a second round of donations for the food banks it supported in March. Among the 22 organizations is the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, which has seen a significant increase in the need for food supplies in the Raleigh/Durham metro area. Normally, Foodbank CENC would distribute around 7 million pounds of food a month. In March, they saw that number increase by nearly 1 million pounds, said Jennifer Caslin, its marketing and project manager. The food bank also had to dramatically increase spending to buy non-perishable items and prepare for the months to come. A normal outlay for one month of purchased food would be $55,000. In March, they spent $2 million, mainly to stock up on nonperishable items. “Prior to the crisis, we had 600,000 people in food insecure households in our area. We think that number has gone up by 200,000 to 250,000, and that’s probably a conservative estimate,” Caslin said. Adjusting to changing times Without access to some of normal resources, like a steady supply of community volunteers and consistent donation stream from local grocery stores, the Foodbank CENC has pivoted – like almost all businesses and non-profits nationwide – to adjust workflows and best practices and continue serving as many people as possible. To help children who might usually receive a free breakfast and lunch during the school day, they worked to supply school sites with adequate supplies for grab-and-go lunches and snacks as well as...

Compliance While Distant May15

Compliance While Distant

The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic affects affordable housing providers in many ways. Missed rental income, difficulty documenting residents’ eligibility and ensuring compliance with a suddenly remote team are just three of the challenges faced by the industry. Thankfully, there are assistance resources that can help alleviate the discomfort of change and uncertainty. Yardi is here to help Affordable housing providers have big concerns, and Yardi is committed to help. Here are some questions you may be asking, and follow-up answers from Yardi below: Q: Where can I get information about changing compliance requirements? A: Current Yardi clients can log into Client Central to watch a free webinar titled “How COVID-19 Changes Affordable Housing Compliance.” The recorded demonstrates ways to keep socially distant and while making sure compliance work gets done. Q: How can we accept applications or conduct compliance interviews when staff are working from home? A: It’s possible for households to complete their affordable housing application online, without having to bring paperwork to your office (which is likely understaffed or closed as employees are working from home). Yardi is offering a fast-track implementation of RENTCafé Affordable Housing to current Yardi Voyager customers. Clients can be processing online applications and certifications in as little as two weeks. RENTCafé Affordable Housing includes online portals for application processing, screening, move-in, initial, interim, and annual certifications, leading practice compliance forms, payment processing, maintenance requests, compliance reporting and more. The fast-track offer is currently limited to 50059 certifications. As we develop additional leading-practice workflows, we will include additional subsidy types. Q: How do you certify the eligibility of new and current residents when they can’t drop off forms and employers are closed? Your housing specialists can use RENTCafé to review household, income, asset and expense data submitted through the online applicant portal. Applicants and residents can upload images of bank statements, paychecks, and any other required eligibility documentation. The online interface enables your compliance team to collaborate, even as they work individually from home offices. Q: How can I implement RENTCafé when most of our team are working remotely and have limited to no time available to complete the setup of the software? We understand current circumstances may make implementing any new software or processes challenging. To overcome this, we have developed a streamlined guided implementation approach featuring our leading practice certification workflows and forms. As your partner, Yardi will take the lead to complete the necessary configuration and setup and provide remote webinar training and support for your teams enabling them to start using RENTCafé Affordable housing in as little as two weeks. Learn more by downloading a free ebook called Five Steps to Revolutionize Affordable Housing Applications and Workflows. Another way to bolster income certification data is to use social service verification screening from Equifax®. That service delivers applicant and resident payroll data, year to date income reports and more as part of the applicant screening and annual recertification processes. Affordable housing providers using Yardi’s ScreeningWorks Pro can access social service verifications on the Yardi Voyager and Breeze dashboard. Q: How do we process rent deferrals? RENTCafé includes a new feature that facilitates rent deferrals and doesn’t require in-person meetings. Residents can log into RENTCafé to see what options they have for rent deferral, see how a deferral affects their account balance, and keep up to date with changing policies. Watch a free webinar and see how this new rent deferral feature works. Q: How Does the CARES Act support affordable housing? A: The CARES Act includes legislation that offers relief for property owners experiencing reduced revenue from missed rent payments. Specifically, the CARES Act identifies the procedures landlords can take to keep their properties viable despite financial hardships caused by COVID-19. It addresses forbearance of mortgage payments, temporary eviction moratoriums, and more. Now more than ever Affordable housing is a vital resource for communities across the country. As...

Continued Support May14

Continued Support

(Part one of a three-part series highlighting the efforts of food banks during COVID-19.) If there is a silver lining in any crisis, it could be that we have the chance to better prepare for the next emergency to come. In Yardi’s hometown of Santa Barbara, that has been the case for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County (FSBC), which used the lessons of the devastating Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslides of 2017-2018 to create a comprehensive disaster feeding plan. It includes widespread cooperative response from local agencies, nonprofits and medical resources, as well as ways to ramp up supply quickly and get food directly to people at home. That plan has come into play in a major way over the last three months, as the Foodbank saw its demand and food outlay double simultaneously nearly overnight due to the impacts of COVID-19. Always a supporter of the communities in which its offices are located, including during the Thomas Fire, during the last three months Yardi has committed funds for hunger relief services across North America. This week, the real estate software leader announced a second round of donations for the food banks it supported in March. “We are pleased to be able to provide another round of funding to food banks across North America that are doing such crucial and outstanding work during this time, including right here in our hometown of Santa Barbara,” said Sally Parks, vice president of human resources at Yardi. We recently caught up with Judith Smith-Meyer, marketing and communications manager for the FSBC, to learn how the organization is responding daily on a local level to the current crisis. “We worked really hard in the development of this disaster feeding plan to make sure we had strong relationships at every level to be ready. But because that plan was in place, our partners that we had been working with came forward right away. It’s not easy, but we had a plan, and it’s working,” Smith-Meyer said. By the numbers The FSBC provided food to 85,000 individuals during the first quarter of 2020, compared to 57,000 for the same period in 2019 and 37,000 in 2018. As of May 10, it had distributed 3 million pounds of food since March 9, with half of that fresh produce. Normally, in a full year FSBC would distribute around 10 million pounds. “To distribute 3 million pounds of food in two months is unprecedented compared to any kind of disaster we have encountered,” Smith-Meyer said. Luckily, supply channels and donations have so far been able to keep up with the enhanced demand. “We have been making use of all of the pathways that we know of to source food. We have great ongoing relationships with farmers and growers across the county, as well as local businesses who have seen the need and donated during this time,” Smith-Meyer said. They have also received financial support from companies like Yardi that enables the purchase of additional supplies, typically at pennies on the dollar compared to normal retail cost. Adapting to the times With the shelter-in-place orders and social distance requirements, FSBC quickly adapted to conduct food pickup and distribution safely. The organization relies on volunteers and is thrilled that citizens who are able have continued to donate their time. “We lost a lot of volunteers because seniors have had to stay home, but it’s really beautiful to see all the people who are out of work right now and want to come out and help. We’ve had a lot of people volunteering because they were receiving services for the first time and wanted to give something back in return,” Smith-Meyer said. Their efforts have been supplemented by a unit of 20 National Guard troops who were assigned to FSBC in March and have now had their service extended through the end of May. They have been vital in making at...

Proptech Pivots May14

Proptech Pivots

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared in Property Australia and is reprinted here with permission. How is real estate technology responding to the industry’s needs during the COVID-19 lockdown? We check in with Yardi’s Bernie Devine, regional director of sales for APAC, to find out. “Real estate technology companies have been doing extremely well over the last five years. Massive amounts of investment have flowed into the sector as investors seek high returns, demand access to new technology and, for some for some, react to a fear of missing out,” Devine says. “COVID-19 has caused investors to refocus and technology companies to pivot to take advantage of adjacent or complementary market opportunities. Proptech companies not in a position to do so are facing a quick death.” Devine says Yardi has mobilised to respond to clients’ needs quickly, prioritising health, continuity, analytics and communication. As transactions and projects are paused, or in some cases cancelled altogether, the industry needs tools to eliminate paper from processes, enhance data rooms and streamline the valuation and underwriting process, Devine says. “A key challenge is in the due diligence process when it is currently not possible to travel to do site inspections.” Operational initiatives include mass rent abatement assessments and their impact on budgets requests and approvals, Devine explains. Expect to see artificial intelligence embraced to enforce social distancing and the rise of the robot cleaning and testing workforce, he adds. Technology is also helping property companies to stress test business continuity plans to see “how it holds up with a remote working scenario.” “The COVID-19 crisis has revealed how fragile spreadsheet-based processes really are. Some companies have rediscovered paper-based processes and must now figure out how to fix them in a remote working model. “In countries like China,...

Varying Impacts May13

Varying Impacts

Yardi Matrix continued its series of comprehensive market impact webinars on May 13 with an in-depth look at the state of the commercial real estate industry, presented by Jeff Adler, vice president of Matrix, and Rob Teel, senior vice president of global solutions at Yardi. Both provided data and insight into the crucial question Adler introduced at the start of the session: How do we move forward, past the lockdown and into the recovery phase? “Despite the herculean efforts by the federal government to keep businesses afloat, there is still more pain to come,” Adler said. And for each sector of commercial real estate, the road ahead will look different. Optimistic outlook for industrial Across all real estate sectors, industrial and multifamily are holding up best during the COVID-19 pandemic. “They were also the two best performing sectors before this hit,” Adler noted. April rent collections for industrial averaged around 86-87 percent, so the sector is not entirely immune to nonpayment, but looks good compared to retail. Dependence on e-commerce for home-delivered supplies and other purchases has helped industrial stay stable. In some smaller markets ideal for last-mile delivery siting, industrial rents are even edging up. There’s also newfound demand for cold storage due to changes in the grocery market. Office holding up, but changes expected All things considered, “office is in pretty good shape,” said Adler. “Though coworking is hurt pretty bad.” April collections of office rents were in the 85 percent range, and are expected to stay high for buildings with large, well-capitalized tenants. Office may see significant changes as states return to work, however. Concern looms for office hubs like New York City, where dependence on public transit and crowded elevator rides in skyscrapers are both hard to reconcile with ongoing social distancing requirements. “There is going to be a rethinking of the footprint. How much physical space and face to face contact do you need to keep (corporate) culture together?” Adler asked. Teel noted that there has been a spike in interest in serviced, suburban office space from firms who want to return workers to the office but in a less congested setting. And coworking is likely not dead, but will have to return either long-term or with major changes to accommodate social distancing needs. A rough road for retail “This is where the carnage is,” Adler summarized bleakly. “And for retail, the snapback is not likely to happen anytime soon.” April rents were paid by around 45 percent of retailers, and May is expected to be far worse. Major retailers like J.Crew and Neiman-Marcus have already declared bankruptcy, although in some cases the pandemic merely sped up a predetermined outcome. Brick and mortar stores were already struggling with online competition well before the pandemic. “We are social animals, we will gather again, it will just take a bit of time for it to happen. And there will be pain in the sectors that depend on the gathering of people,” Adler said. Grocery-anchored retail continues to outperform, but is still taking a hit due to closed secondary tenants. For more in-depth information on the state of the commercial real estate market, view the latest Yardi Matrix report. Yardi observes latest CRE technology trends Teel delivered an overview of the tech requirements that commercial owners and managers are now finding to be essential in today’s changed world. Accounts receivable tracking for deferrals and concessions is crucial, as is accurate documentation and tracking of tenant status. Yardi will soon introduce a new CRE tool, LeaseManager, to help with that. But perhaps the biggest tech shift will be a paperless push. It will help CRE improve contactless business practices like vendor invoicing and electronic payment fulfillment. “This is one area that’s overdue for disruption and change and it’s happening now,” Teel said. He estimated that physical checks still make up 90 percent of the payments that Yardi clients...

A Nurse’s Insights May13

A Nurse’s Insights...

For the latest installment in Voices, a Yardi-sponsored interview series, Senior Housing News spoke with Lisa Conrad, manager of the clinical and compliance team at Yardi. The series features different leaders’ views on trends, topics and issues in the senior living industry. In this case, Lisa’s experience gives her a unique perspective on not only technology changes but the COVID-19 crisis as well. Lisa’s background is actually in health care, not software. She’s a registered nurse who has worked in several different practice areas, from oncology to sports medicine to long-term care. Before Yardi, She was a director of nursing at a facility that had adopted electronic medical records very early on, which spurred her interest in the technology side of care. That role directly led to her position today at Yardi. Keep reading to see what Lisa had to share in her interview with SHN: Generally, how do you apply that clinical background to the technology in your day-to-day work at Yardi? My role is on the clinical compliance team, which focuses on supporting our implementation and customer service teams. We interact in the background with the various departments, whether it be assisting with a sales demo or working with an account manager on client workflows. We develop and do the quality assurance check on all the clinical software to make sure that it meets federal and state regulations. We keep up with federal and state requirements to make sure the software is always compliant. The team itself is composed of health care professionals from different specialties. It’s a really unique group in that we have team members from a variety of backgrounds who bring their own specialized skill sets to the projects we work on. What are the challenges and solutions that...

Multifamily Outlook May11

Multifamily Outlook

Yardi Matrix continued its series of comprehensive market impact webinars on May 6 with an in-depth look at the state of the multifamily industry, presented by Jeff Adler, vice president of Matrix. “We are just beginning to see some of the ripple effects (on multifamily), and now the discussion has shifted to how we recover and move forward,” stated Adler at the outset of the session. Nearly 1100 real estate professionals tuned in for the 90-minute session. A similar presentation with a focus on the commercial real estate sector is set for Wednesday, May 13. You can register here. Attendees report that the Matrix webinars are invaluable for keeping a finger on the pulse of the rapid changes that continue to impact the industry. Here are some of the key takeaways from the multifamily impact webinar. Listen to the full presentation to see data points and comprehensive slides. So far, the multifamily industry is holding up well. April rent collections were excellent, only off a few single digit points from prior months, said Adler. It’s expected that trend will continue at least until August. Leasing season has resumed and many properties with availability are seeing more interest than expected, according to anecdotal reports from industry contacts. Data from Yardi’s RENTCafé online leasing service shows a marked uptick in views of online apartment listings over the last month. The economic recovery is expected to be partial and slower in some states than others. This will impact all industries, and multifamily will likely continue to see household consolidation as renters move in with friends or family members to try to keep costs down. For new leases, concessions offered by owners and managers will be an important indicator of market performance trends going forward. Population trends will...

Opening Opportunities May10

Opening Opportunities

According to INREV, more real estate investors are looking to allocate capital to European value-add strategies in 2020 than to core. As a notable sidebar to that finding, opportunistic investing is more apparent than at any time since the 2008 global financial crisis for those investors with a greater risk appetite. Many European investment firms are keen to attract the increased allocations reaped by Asia Pacific investors, especially those in Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong but also China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Japan. Key factors driving this trend to invest in Europe include economic and geopolitical stability, low interest rates, desire for diversification and yield, currency trends and reliable legal environments. Europe has been the beneficiary, but many Asian investors also have a longer and more conservative investment approach with a renewed focus on core office, logistics assets and student accommodation investments in key gateway cities in the U.K., Germany and France. Many investment management firms that traditionally focused on European value-add and opportunistic strategies are also attracting capital with longer term core and core+ fund investment strategies. This turn of events is driving firms to embrace new technology as a step toward facilitating their asset strategy and decision-making process. Collaboration between all internal and external parties involved in the asset lifecycle becomes more critical than ever to facilitate informed decision-making, due to the longer-term nature of the strategy Essential elements to promoting that collaboration include: Full insight into the deal pipeline and portfolio value obtained from relevant comparisons with MLA’s and existing leases. Availability and transparency of current operational and financial data, which comprises the foundation of a comprehensive business plan. Asset managers’ ability to improve cost control, reduce risk and keep projects on track with complete budget oversight, accurate forecasts, and management of contracts, commitments and cash flows. Technology platforms that encompass the full investment management lifecycle are already helping many firms — including those working with outsourced parties, operating partners and fund administrators — drive stronger revenues while giving them instant access and full transparency into their data. Such systems have revolutionised how asset/portfolio/fund management, development and finance teams gain insight into risk, exposures and tasks during the leasing, forecasting, budgeting and development processes. As fully integrated systems, they enable superior collaboration among internal and external teams and maximise efficiency by automating business processes. Undertaking a new investment strategy can be attractive yet unsettling. Advanced real estate asset management technology can help chart a way forward that minimises risk and maximises opportunities for success. Learn how Yardi solutions promote success for real estate asset managers in Europe and...

Industry Perspective May09

Industry Perspective

As multifamily real estate continues to adapt to new standards of social distancing and uncertain economic times, a longtime asset management executive sees signs of positive momentum for the industry. Greg Slang is executive vice president of asset management at KETTLER, a national recognized developer/owner/operator of multifamily assets in the Washington D.C. region as well as Florida and the Carolinas. With a portfolio that includes apartments in all asset classes from affordable to A+, Slang is positioned to observe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across property types and resident experiences. He recently sat down for an interview with Dhar Sawh, industry principal at Yardi, to speak about multifamily’s adaption to the changing times and KETTLER’s particularly swift response. You can listen to the full commentary here. Having worked through 9/11 and the Great Recession of 2007-2008, Slang provided an insightful look at the state of the multifamily industry from an asset management perspective. Among the topics covered in his interview: remote work, resident considerations during COVID-19, and what to look out for next. “This all happened very quickly,” said Slang. “It has been very difficult from a shock perspective. I liken it to 9/11, where one day all seems to be fine, and the next day, the whole world seems to be thrown into disarray.” Multifamily has reacted quickly to the social distancing circumstances required by COVID-19, incorporating the use of virtual tours, online leasing and other proactive measures. The only things that truly can’t be resolved remotely are major maintenance concerns. Slang said that the KETTLER team has reacted well to working remotely and is continuing to serve their residents effectively from a safe distance. That may be the norm in the months to come, he noted. “We were very surprised at...

Price is Right? May08

Price is Right?

Are you thinking about fine tuning your revenue management program to meet the challenges of COVID-19? The current market is impacting demand and pricing, and it’s time to consider new strategies for managing your assets with both a short- and long-term focus on collections and occupancy.   As some states are already planning to open up within phased approach guidelines, Yardi Matrix data shows that demand is bouncing back from an initial drop of about 30% during the first two weeks of March. Plus, move-outs have slowed down. Looking at data collected from 11.5 million apartment units, April collections were better than expected according to the NMHC Rent Payment Tracker which showed 84% of apartment households made full or partial rent payments by April 12 and 91.5% by April 26. While that’s good news, the coming months are a bit unpredictable due to growing unemployment and delays for many people in getting their benefit payments. “It is encouraging that apartment residents continue to meet their rent obligations whether that’s with the support of the federal relief funds, credit cards and alternative, flexible options provided by the industry’s owners and operators,” said NMHC President Doug Bibby. “But their financial security is unclear as many may not qualify for federal relief, while others are drawing down savings and facing greater financial challenges, including higher health care costs. For that reason, lawmakers need to act now to enact a direct renter assistance program.”* One growing trend is undeniable: leasing has shifted online, so be ready to handle more virtual traffic to your properties. Your revenue management strategy should adapt smartly to these changes in demand and interactions. Many initially thought a lockdown on rental pricing increases made sense but could be a knee-jerk reaction. There’s more to...

Leaving Cities May07

Leaving Cities

Anabelle Strauss grew to love the Mission District of San Francisco. As a data scientist, she enjoys the balance of living in a neighborhood of creatives. Her apartment is nestled amid an array of local grocers, international restaurants, and small businesses that are also appealing. But as COVID-19 swept through the city, much of what she loved about the area changed. Her tech job allowed her to work comfortably from home two weeks before the governor issued a shelter in place edict. But then the local shops closed, some temporarily while others were less fortunate. Her cozy apartment began to feel claustrophic. She yearned for outdoor access that she didn’t have. What’s worst, she felt that the shared ventilation system in the apartment building caused her illness. “I was sick for a while, likely COVID,” Strauss says casually. “All the neighbors coughing constantly, I think I contracted it inside the apartment. It was a milder form, so it wasn’t that bad, but it affects my cognitive ability and there is lung pain. It’s been one-and-a-half months now.” Now Strauss, like many other Americans, is looking to escape the congestion on urban life. Her interview took place over the phone as she drove to the suburbs to tour a single family home. “A detached home would be nice. The more detached the better,” she laughs. “It would be very nice to get some outdoor space.”  The quiet exodus The transition from cities to suburbs has been happening quietly for years now. The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on the shift and brought a few newcomers onto the moving truck. Many wonder, though, if the suburbs create a false sense of safety. It’s a misconception supported by legislators nationwide. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has accused density of spreading the virus more rapidly.  “Why are we seeing this level of infection? Well, why cities across the country?” he asked reporters during a news briefing.  “It’s about density. It’s about the number of people in a small geographic location allowing that virus to spread. … Dense environments are its feeding grounds.” In an effort to not be consumed by the respiratory infection, those who can seek refuge in less densely populated towns are doing so. Austin, Nashville, Asheville, and a spattering of towns in Texas and South Florida have experienced a spike in new residents. The problem: research doesn’t support the theory that densely populated cities increase the likelihood of illness.  The facts: policy—not space—protects residents   Some of the most densely populated cities in the world have successful mitigated COVID-19 spread. Decisive, proactive policy coupled with community adherence has led to success in ways that space alone cannot. Tokyo, Vancouver, and Seoul exemplify that population density does not correlate to an increase risk of illness. Vancouver, which is more densely populated than New York, has had a fraction of the illnesses and deaths per capita, reports Joe Cortright, director of The City Observatory in New York. Conversely, less populated areas like Cynthiana, Kentucky and Fairfax County, Virginia have a disproportionately high number of cases per capita. “I think that’s one of the lessons here: With information and smart policy, there’s no reason why cities are inherently going to be hit harder,” observes Cortright. So why are people still leaving the cities? While less populated towns can’t offer refuge from a pandemic, people like Strauss still want to leave the cities for the sake of their mental health. “Even before COVID, all the face-to-face time in the city extracts energy. It takes a toll. It’s draining,” she says. “And the neighborhood that I live in, I think it’s becoming more dangerous. Those are other reasons to look for something new. And I think I may just like more space, more green space, if the price makes sense.” Strauss plans take her tech job with her to her new location. COVID-19 highlights just...

What’s Ahead for Energy May06

What’s Ahead for Energy

  The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy’s statistical and analytical agency, provides annual projections for U.S. and world energy markets over the next 30 years. Highlights from the latest release: Overall U.S. energy consumption will grow more slowly than gross domestic product as energy efficiency continues to increase. Purchased electricity consumption will increase by 0.6% and 0.8% annually in the residential and commercial sectors, respectively, due to increased demand for electricity-using appliances, devices and equipment. In 2019, 44% of residential light bulbs were LEDs, the most efficient light bulb technology available, and 17% of commercial lighting service demand was met by LED bulbs and fixtures. By 2050, these shares will reach 90% and 88%, respectively. Energy-related CO2 emissions decrease initially then rise closer to 2050 as economic growth and increasing energy demand outweigh improvements in efficiency. After initially falling, total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions will grow modestly in the 2030s, driven largely by increases in energy demand in the transportation and industrial sectors. Emissions in 2050 will still be 4% lower than 2019 levels. Increases in fuel economy standards will drive a 19% decrease in U.S. motor gasoline consumption through 2050. The U.S. will continue to export more petroleum and other liquids than it imports as domestic crude oil production continues to increase and domestic consumption of petroleum products decreases. Renewables/biofuels Renewables will be the fastest-growing source of electricity generation due to continuing declines in solar and wind capital costs coupled with federal tax credits and higher state-level targets. Total renewable generation will exceed natural gas-fired generation after 2045. Without distributed generation sources, particularly rooftop solar, electricity consumption in residential and commercial buildings would be 5% and 3% higher, respectively, by 2050. Generation from renewable sources will rise from 18% of total generation in 2018 to 38%. Solar photovoltaic (PV) will contribute the most to the growth in total renewable generation, increasing from 13% in 2018 to 46%. Although onshore wind generation will more than double, its share of renewable generation will go from 37% to 29%. The U.S. will add 117 gigawatts of new wind and solar capacity between 2020 and 2023. Electricity is the fastest-growing energy source in the transportation sector, increasing by an average of 7.4% per year as a result of increased demand for electric light-duty vehicles. While gasoline vehicles will remain the dominant vehicle type through 2050, the combined share of sales from gasoline and flex-fuel vehicles (which use gasoline blended with up to 85% ethanol) declines from 94% in 2019 to 81% because of growth in sales of battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. The percentage of biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, and biobutanol) blended into U.S. gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel will increase from 7.3% in 2019 to 9% in 2040. Commercial and industrial space Total delivered energy consumption in the U.S. buildings sector will grow by 0.2% annually as energy efficiency improvements, increased distributed electricity generation and regional shifts in the population partially offset the impacts of higher growth rates in population, number of households and commercial floor space. Lower costs and energy efficiency incentives will result in efficient LEDs displacing linear fluorescent lighting as the dominant commercial lighting technology by 2030. Commercial PV capacity will increase by an annual average of 3.4%. Residential space S. total delivered residential energy intensity, defined as annual delivered energy use per household, will fall by 17% between 2019 and 2050 as the number of households grows faster than energy use. Factors contributing to this decline include gains in appliance efficiency, onsite electricity generation (e.g., solar photovoltaic), utility energy efficiency rebates, rising residential natural gas prices, lower space heating demand and population shifts to warmer regions. Residential PV capacity will increase by an average of 6.1% per year, accelerated by rising incomes, declining system costs and social influences. Learn how Yardi software can increase energy efficiency...

Real Estate Resiliency May05

Real Estate Resiliency...

Note: the following originally appeared in Gulf Property and is reprinted here with permission. Rapid advances in technology continue to reshape how the real estate industry operates, and how quickly one adapts to change is critical for success. Yardi continues to see growth in the adoption of its digital platforms by clients wishing to improve their business models and respond to challenges. Catering to nearly every real estate vertical, Yardi has also now expanded its support resources for clients with free webinars and other online resources. While digitisation has been a steady movement in real estate, its adoption has only really accelerated in these recent weeks with every segment of the industry having to cope with work-from-home regulations not just in the UAE, but around the world. Contactless property management enabled by RENTCafé A tool that has become extremely valuable due to current events is Yardi’s RENTCafé app for residential real estate. With more than six million residential units using the app, RENTCafé benefits tenants at various levels: it helps to check the unit listings or available inventory in the market, facilitates online application and encourages tenant self-service. “A tenant can log on to the app and search for properties, shortlists the units they like and do a 360-degree viewing of the property, similar to a walk-through,” explains Aditya Shah, head of operations, Middle East at Yardi. “When they decides on a unit, they can submit an online application and then subsequently the property management firm can generate a lease contract. The entire process is contactless and this has helped our customers greatly during the stay-home period.” Available on Apple and Android mobile devices, the RENTCafé app also has tenant self-service features whereby a tenant can use the apps for paying fees, service charges,...