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The Daily Ten – Musk moves to Texas, Austin is a magnet for remote work, San Francisco rents plunge 35%…

December 9, 2020by Steve NsonNews

The Daily Ten – Musk moves to Texas, Austin is a magnet for remote work, San Francisco rents plunge 35%…

December 9, 2020 by Steve Nson
Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

The Daily Ten

1. Tesla’s Musk relocates to Texas from California; compares himself to war general | Yahoo Finance

(Reuters) -Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk said on Tuesday he had relocated to Texas from California as he wanted to focus more on Tesla Inc’s new electric car plant and his SpaceX venture in the Lone Star state.

Musk confirmed the move in an interview with Matt Murray, the Wall Street Journal’s editor in chief.

“The two biggest things that I got going on right now are the Starship development in South Texas … and then the big new U.S. factory for Tesla,” the 49-year-old Tesla chief said.

“It wasn’t necessarily a great use of my time here (in California)”.

Texas might potentially offer some tax reprieve for the world’s second richest man. It does not collect personal income tax while California has some of the highest state tax rates in the United States.

An over 670% jump in Tesla shares this year has boosted Musk’s net worth from $27 billion to $155 billion, just behind Inc’s Jeff Bezos, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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2. How to make the housing market more equitable | WSJ

Homes in Black neighborhoods are underpriced by about $156 billion, according to Andre M. Perry of the Brookings Institution. He has ideas on how to change that number

The homeownership rate among Black households remains stubbornly low, even as the overall U.S. homeownership rate has risen in recent years. That is a key reason why Black families have a median net worth well below that of white households.

Even for families that do own homes, the benefits of homeownership aren’t equally dispersed. Andre M. Perry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and scholar-in-residence at American University, has quantified some of that divide in an effort to shrink it in the future.

Mr. Perry’s research with colleagues has shown that houses are underpriced in majority-Black neighborhoods, a process he calls “devaluation.” That can lead to lower property-tax revenue to fund local schools and infrastructure in those neighborhoods and reduced wealth and discretionary income for Black families. In his book, “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities,” which came out in May, Mr. Perry argues that racism contributes to the devaluation of assets, including homes, in majority-Black cities.

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3. Should Biden Go Big on Public Housing? | Bloomberg

A major federal investment in public housing could tackle several urgent needs at once, from Covid stimulus to climate change, say progressive advocates.

The Biden administration will have a narrow window in 2021 to set their agenda, and a long list of competing needs: Beyond the raging pandemic and the climate crisis, the new president will confront an ailing economy, steep racial and income inequality, and a potentially cataclysmic wave of housing instability. Some progressive advocates say that President-elect Joe Biden could tackle all of those at once by embracing a long-neglected national infrastructural need — public housing — as the engine for the recovery.

That’s the argument put forward by the Justice Collaborative Institute, a progressive nonprofit, in a new report to promote housing as a human right as well as a tool for achieving a variety of liberal wish-list items.

“There are political and economic reasons why now is the time for a major expansion of the public sector and doing things like social housing. The economic rationale is simple: The current housing system has obviously failed, and it’s failed at a time when the economy has fallen to pieces,” says Daniel Aldana Cohen, assistant professor of sociology and director of the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the report’s co-authors. “We need public investment, and we need in particular public investment that creates jobs.”

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4. Covid-19, Remote Work Make Austin a Magnet for New Jobs | WSJ

Texas’ capital is attracting corporate jobs and remote workers, lured by lower costs and lower taxes

The pandemic and the prospect of working remotely have spawned an exodus from New York and San Francisco to sunnier, more-affordable cities. Few have benefited more than Austin.

Texas’ capital is attracting more corporate jobs and remote workers than  ever before, lured by lower costs and lower taxes. Business relocations to Austin announced this year are expected to create nearly 10,000 jobs. That is the city’s highest figure on record for a single year, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, and is helping offset the hit from Covid-19 to the city’s tourist-dependent restaurants, bars and music venues.

It helps that Texas has no state income tax, that Austin winters are relatively short and mild, and that social distancing is easier in a city where homes tend to be roomy and many have backyards. Austin has also managed to remain cheaper than San Francisco, Brooklyn and Manhattan by building tens of thousands of apartments over the past decade.

Tech investor Joe Lonsdale said he and his venture-capital firm 8VC were moving to Austin, and Royal Dutch Shell recently opened a studio to develop energy-exploration ideas in the city, among others who have made or plan the move.

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5. San Francisco’s 35% Plunge in Rents Shows Effects of Tech Fleeing City | Bloomberg

The rise of remote work in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic is remaking one of America’s priciest places to live.

Tech stocks are soaring and high-profile initial public offerings are set to mint millionaires. Yet in San Francisco, the boom times are over.

The resurgent coronavirus has thrust the tech hub back into lockdown. Offices sit empty as work-from-home policies stretch indefinitely. While this week’s share sales of hometown companies Airbnb Inc. and DoorDash Inc. would typically have the city girding for a flood of wealth, many workers have already fled for the suburbsLake Tahoe or beyond.

Nowhere are the effects more pronounced than in the real estate market, where apartment rents are plunging the most in the country.

The median rent for a studio apartment dropped 35% last month from a year earlier, to $2,100, while costs for one-bedrooms were down 27% to $2,716, according to data set to be released this week from The declines are steepening from earlier in the pandemic, a sign that people with the flexibility to move are leaving an area that’s still among America’s priciest for housing.

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6. Battery startup backed by Bill Gates claims major breakthrough | Fortune

QuantumScape, a battery startup backed by Bill Gates and Volkswagen, said its new technology is on track to be able to power cheap, long-range electric vehicles within four years.

The company’s lithium-metal battery offered greater capacity in testing than similar-size current lithium-ion batteries, could recharge more quickly, and could operate at low temperatures, the company said Tuesday. The battery could also be recharged repeatedly without degrading, avoiding a common problem with batteries.

QuantumScape argued that its technology would be cheaper for car manufacturers and provide cars with power over a longer period of time. If the company can manufacture the new batteries in large numbers, they could displace the lithium-ion batteries currently used by companies like Tesla and Chevrolet.

“That’s really our goal, to build a battery that could help EVs become more mainstream,” CEO Jagdeep Singh told Fortune. “The potential now exists for this technology to make its way into real cars on real roads within the next few years.”

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7. Arthur raises $2.5 million for its VR office space service | Venture Beat

Arthur has raised $2.5 million so you can have meetings in virtual reality. You can also set up a virtual office, as the company is offering small businesses and enterprises a place in VR where they can meet, hold events, and escape the boredom of the Zoomverse.

Wearing my Oculus Quest 2 VR headset, I attended the company’s virtual press conference with a bunch of other tech press. We listened to the half-bodied Arthur CEO Christoph Fleischmann talk about how this will be the virtual collaboration market of the future. Arthur is in beta testing now, and you can access it through VR hardware like the Quest 2 or through the PC. The company says iOS and Google access are coming soon. And the public beta is starting today.

The idea is to enable geographically dispersed teams — and those separated by the pandemic — to meet and manage their work in a virtual space that is analogous to physical offices. If you want to gather at the water cooler and chat with people, you can do so using your voice, or you can take advantage of the 3D audio and pull someone aside to have a private one-on-one. You can watch videos together, show a slide presentation to a group, and engage in icebreaker activities. It was very easy for me to log into the world, as I just downloaded an app in the Oculus Store and tapped on it. I entered my password and joined the correct room. And there we all were.

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8. Redfin expands RedfinNow to Seattle and Bay Area in new litmus test for iBuyer service | GeekWire

Redfin will launch its iBuyer service RedfinNow in Seattle and the Bay Area in the latest expansion of the company’s home-buying and selling product.

RedfinNow lets homeowners quickly buy and sell their house online, using an algorithm to calculate a home price. Buyers pay a higher sellers fee but get added convenience of a fast transaction. Redfin then fixes up the homes and sells them. There are similar offerings from fellow real estate giants such as Opendoor and Zillow Group.

The iBuyer market took a hit this year due to the pandemic as companies paused their home-buying activity. A recent Redfin analysis found that iBuyers purchased just 880 homes in the second quarter, down 88% year-over-year. But the companies are now ramping back up again amid a U.S. housing boom that Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said could heat up even more.

Launching RedfinNow in expensive markets with unique properties will be a litmus test for both Redfin and the larger iBuyer market. Redfin is the first company to have an iBuyer service in Seattle and the Bay Area.

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9. 10,000 of America’s restaurants are expected to close in the next three weeks | CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)About 17% of America’s restaurants have already permanently closed this year, with thousands more on the brink according to a new report.

The National Restaurant Association is publicly pleading with Congress to pass new stimulus to help the industry that has been damaged by the pandemic. The group said Monday that 10,000 restaurants could close in the next three weeks, in addition to the 110,000 that have already shuttered in 2020.

The group released results from a survey of 6,000 restaurant operators, revealing that 87% of full-service restaurants reported an average 36% drop in revenue and 83% expects sales to be “even worse” over the next three months as the virus continues to lash the United States.

“In short, the restaurant industry simply cannot wait for relief any longer,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president for the group, said in a release. He advocates for a “true compromise” between the competing Democrat and Republican proposals and hopes for a larger stimulus package in 2021 under the incoming Biden administration.

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10.  Ho, ho…Oh no. Values of troubled Manhattan retail properties sink 53% | MarketWatch

New York City, like much of the globe, has been doing a lot more huddling than hustling lately.

Tourism is expected to drop 66% for the full year, as the pandemic sets alarming new records. And lawmakers in Washington have yet to produce another pandemic aid package for struggling workers, businesses and cities, despite months of rancor.

All that is pretty cheerless for Manhattan retail properties, which after nine months of COVID-19 restrictions that pummeled business also could now face losing further ground this crucial holiday shopping season to e-commerce.

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