The Daily Ten – Facebook break-up, Vaccine here..office workers still want to stay home, Airbnb has a neighbor problem…
The Daily Ten
1. Facebook hit with massive antitrust lawsuit from 46 states | TechCrunch
A huge collection of states filed an antitrust lawsuit Wednesday accusing Facebook of suppressing its competition through monopolistic business practices. Forty-eight attorneys general across 46 states, the territory of Guam and the District of Columbia are behind the lawsuit, with only South Dakota, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia declining to join.
The lawsuit, which looks at Facebook’s actions throughout the company’s history, alleges that the company bought competitors “illegally” and in a “predatory manner” in order to grow and preserve its market power. The suit cites Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp as prominent examples.
The collection of states asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to “restrain Facebook from making further acquisitions valued at or in excess of $10 million” without notifying the plaintiff states in advance. The lawsuit also asks the court for “any additional relief it determines is appropriate, including the divestiture or restructuring of illegally acquired companies, or current Facebook assets or business lines.”
2. Vaccines Herald Return to Offices, But Workers Don’t Want to Go | Bloomberg
As employers eagerly await the Covid-19 vaccines that promise to return staff to offices after months of working from home, new reports indicate getting them back won’t be easy.
More than half of U.S. employees currently working from home say they’d like to keep their remote arrangements beyond the pandemic, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday.
One-third of those surveyed said they want the option to telework at least sometimes. Only 11% said they ‘rarely or never’ want to work from home, according to Pew’s October survey of almost 6,000 U.S. adults.
Most Americans won’t have a choice. While almost two-thirds of workers holding a bachelor’s degree or higher said their work can be done remotely, only 23% of those without that educational attainment can, according to Pew.
Most who do have the choice — especially those over 50 –said it’s been easy for them to complete projects on time and stay motivated.
A recent University of Chicago survey found similar results. Employees viewed working from home as a perk for which they were potentially willing to trade as much as 8% of their salaries. The study concluded that remote work following the pandemic could raise productivity as much as 2.4%, according to the paper released Dec. 2.
Its survey of 15,000 Americans “reveals that the experience has been positive and better than expected for the majority of firms and workers.”
3. Airbnb’s IPO Warning: Unhappy Neighbors Are Fighting Back | WSJ
The company, scheduled to list its shares Thursday, has warned its success depends on managing unfavorable local laws in the face of angry neighbors
In the dozen years since it was founded, Airbnb Inc. has moved into hundreds of U.S. cities, transforming many of them into vacation-rental meccas.
In response, residents across the country have ratcheted up grass-roots efforts aimed at keeping authority over short-term rentals in the hands of towns and cities.
Airbnb shares are scheduled to begin trading on Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market after an initial public offering. The company priced its shares at $68 apiece on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter, setting a valuation of about $47 billion based on a fully diluted share count and including proceeds of the offering. Airbnb has warned prospective investors that managing its success in the face of angry neighbors and unfavorable local laws is among its biggest challenges in the U.S. and around the world.
Many Silicon Valley tech giants have battled regulators in Washington, D.C., and state capitals. Airbnb’s fights are breaking out city by city. For the company, the opposition could yield slower-than-expected growth and higher costs if local authorities impose restrictions on short-term rentals.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which looked disastrous for the company in the spring, has instead fueled an explosion in rental demand among people flocking to popular destinations within driving distance. In August, half of Airbnb’s global bookings were for stays within 300 miles of the guest’s location, the company said.
4. Desperate NYC workers using LIRR, cars as quiet and cheap office spaces | New York Post
Muriel Soenens calls the Long Island Rail Road her “WeWork on wheels.”
Every morning, the documentary film producer and director packs herself snacks in “a bag full of Tupperware,” walks the four minutes from her Clinton Hill home to Atlantic Terminal and hops aboard the LIRR to either Amagansett or East Hampton. On the train, the mom of two teenage sons gets eight hours of uninterrupted work time — except for a 15-minute train transfer and bathroom break at Jamaica Station.
Forget taking important calls from the bathroom, or hunkering down in a closet wearing noise-canceling headphones. For some industrious New Yorkers, working remotely during the pandemic has become just another thing to “hack,” another unanticipated obstacle to craftily overcome. And after months of experimenting, they’re finally figuring it out.
5. HomeLister Raises $4.5 Million for Commission-Free Real Estate Platform | Los Angeles Business Journal
Santa Monica-based online real estate platform developer HomeLister Inc. has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by venture capital firms MetaProp and Homebrew.
The funding, announced Dec. 8, will go toward the further development of an online platform allowing homeowners to sell property without the assistance of a real estate agent. The service guides users through the process of listing and promoting homes, showing them to prospective buyers, reviewing offers and completing the complicated closing process.
According to a company announcement, the funds will contribute to ramped-up marketing efforts and a planned website redesign.
“Our mission at HomeLister has always been to make listing and selling a home easy and affordable for homeowners,” Chief Executive Lindsay McLean said in a statement, adding that the new round of funding would allow the company to “bring the best possible home sale experience to more markets.”
6. Renters return to Manhattan, driving 30% gain in new leases in November | CNBC
Renters started returning to Manhattan in November, lured by a record drop in rental prices, according to a new report.
The number of new leases in November jumped 30% compared with a year ago, according to a report from Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman. That marked the strongest November in 12 years, with over 4,000 new leases.
The jump suggests that the outflow of residents from Manhattan, which began in March, may be turning, as lower prices attract new renters and others who are returning to the city after months in suburban or rural homes. The median net-effective rent, or rental prices including concessions, fell 22% in November. That tied with October for the biggest drop on record.
The median rent price is now $2,743, with most landlords offering more than two months free rent.
“Lower prices have created this this trigger for inbound migration,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel. “That’s one of the early signs of the market potentially improving.”
A real estate recovery in Manhattan will likely take years given the huge supply of empty apartments and condos and co-ops for sale, brokers say. There are still more than 15,000 unrented apartments in Manhattan, and the vacancy rate — normally around 2% — is still at a record 6%, the report said.
7. Evictions loom for as many as 20 million Americans who are behind on rent. That’s about the population of Florida. | Business Insider
Millions of Americans are currently out of work and thousands of dollars behind on rent.
Meanwhile, eviction moratoriums due to the coronavirus pandemic are expected to expire at the end of this month, just as some unemployment benefits cease. A startling number of families will fear eviction heading into the holidays, with little hope of relief on the horizon.
Moody’s Analytics found that nearly 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in back rent and utilities by January, according to the Washington Post. Moody’s chief economist, Mark Zandi, previously estimated that tenants nationwide could owe a total of $70 billion in back rent by the new year, leaving landlords struggling to pay mortgages, property taxes, and more.
Evictions loom, and the overall outlook is bleak. One November survey by the US Census Bureau found that roughly 5.8 million Americans — roughly the population size of Singapore — actively expect to face eviction in the coming months due to inability to pay their back rent.
8. Dubai’s IBC Group Invests CAD $8 Million in Proptech Company, SITEFY | Al Bawaba News
Mr. Khurram Shroff, the Dubai based Chairman of the IBC group, has announced that his group of companies has invested approximately CAD $8 million – at a pre-money evaluation of CAD 21 million – into Canadian facilities management software platform SITEFY. A game-changing proptech solution, SITEFY will assist commercial real estate owners and facility managers in streamlining daily building operations and proactively manage their real estate assets.
The senior management team at SITEFY brings to the table over 35 years of experience and global best practices in real estate management. SITEFY increases transparency and accountability by leveraging real-time data and analysis to help building owners and FM’s in proactive management of their real estate portfolios.
9. The ‘Biden bump’: How real estate may benefit from a Biden presidency, and how it may not | ABC News
The president-elect has promised to help homebuyers and fund affordable housing.
Following the 2020 presidential election, there has been a noticeable uptick of real estate activity in New York City and other big cities.
According to data from Serhant, since November, the number of new deals in Manhattan increased 6% from the same period last year. This is one of the first promising signs of renewed confidence in the city, but there are other factors that brokers and agents are thinking about when considering the impact Joe Biden’s presidency will have on the U.S. real estate market.
After a difficult few months, those working in real estate are anxious to see how Biden will handle tax policy and federal funding. They also believe his administration will bring back a sense of confidence in the market, the U.S. and the future, that buyers and renters have been lacking due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s political climate.
“Whether or not you supported the last administration, it was not a beacon of stability for just about anything,” said Warburg Realty agent Steven Gottlieb. “There was a revolving door of secretaries and appointees and nominees and nothing was stable. There was a tax bill that was floated halfway through the presidency that affected certain people differently than other people based on deductions.”
10. What We Can Learn From Recent NYC Real Estate Transactions | Forbes
Many seem keen to ring a death knell for New York City’s commercial real estate sector, but recent transactions are providing clarity and short-term positivity.
There are, of course, a few headwinds delaying a return to normalcy right now. The city’s COVID-19 positivity rate has ticked upward and the holiday season could exacerbate the rate of spread. The city’s economy is also not operating at levels of full confidence, while vacancy rates and collections are still not up to pre-pandemic levels.
Still, recent transactions have a lot to tell us about what to expect in 2021.