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The Daily Ten – Real estate moguls allegedly help rich pals jump COVID vaccine line, New York real estate begins recovery, Google staff launch union…

January 5, 2021by Steve NsonNews

The Daily Ten – Real estate moguls allegedly help rich pals jump COVID vaccine line, New York real estate begins recovery, Google staff launch union…

January 5, 2021 by Steve Nson
Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

The Daily Ten

1. Real estate moguls allegedly help rich pals jump COVID vaccine line | New York Post

NYC real estate brothers Bill and David S. Mack allegedly personally arranged for a host of their wealthy friends from Manhattan and the ritzy Palm Beach Country Club to get the COVID-19 vaccine at a Florida retirement home.

While elderly Florida residents line up overnight for the vaccine, sources say the Macks allegedly “made a list” of one-percenters given the chance to receive the vaccine, and some even allegedly flew in on private jets from NYC for the jab.

The vaccine was administered at the not-for-profit nursing home Joseph L. Morse Health Center in Palm Beach — conveniently located on David S. Mack Drive in West Palm Beach, where — wait for it — David S. Mack is the chairman.

One source said, “David and Bill Mack arranged for their friends from the Palm Beach Country Club to be vaccinated for COVID-19. They apparently made a list of people who could get the vaccine, who one can only assume are their wealthy friends and clients.

Read More…

2. How Covid-19 Could Change Workplace Technology | WSJ

Among the predictions: Tools to make it easier to work from home, new ways to measure performance and more virtual reality

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing changes in workplace technology—or accelerating changes already in place—that will continue long after an effective vaccine is produced.

Among the possible changes: innovation in video communications that will allow people to use avatars to have one-on-one conversations during group calls; the increased use of artificial intelligence, which could both help and hurt employee engagement; and technological improvements that can help organizations enhance workplace safety.

We asked experts in workplace technology to peer into the future. Here are eight of their predictions.

No place like home

There’s a huge explosion of innovation to make working from home more effective.

For example, a big drawback of video calls is that there’s only one channel of communication. You can’t have a side conversation with someone who’s on the call.

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3. New York Real Estate Begins Its Recovery | New York Times

Real estate sales picked up in the final months of 2019, but not enough to make up for the shutdown in the early months of the pandemic.

As the last deals of 2020 have been tallied, the pandemic’s effect on the real-estate market has come into sharp relief.

Surprising probably no one who has watched the coronavirus claim lives, cost jobs, prompt business failures and shatter the rhythms of urban life, the year in home sales in Manhattan was predictably grim, even though there have been recent signs of improvement, according to new industry statistics.

“There has been an upward grind in slow motion that’s been occurring since last spring,” said Jonathan Miller, an appraiser and the author of a year-end report for the brokerage Douglas Elliman released today. “But Manhattan has just not kept pace with the rest of the region.”

Battered by a ban on apartment showings at the beginning of the pandemic, a shutdown of construction sites and a decrease in potential buyers as New York has lost residents, sales activity in the heart of New York plummeted last year.

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4. Home prices are rising faster in the middle of the U.S. as Covid drives people away from coasts | CNBC

Home prices are rising across the nation, but the Covid pandemic is turning the usual geographical trends on their heads.

Home values have historically risen most sharply in large cities on the coasts, where supply is leaner and demand is stronger. That is no longer the case.

Smaller metropolitan markets like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Boise, Idaho, Austin, Texas, and Memphis. Tennessee are seeing some of the strongest price gains in the nation now, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Prices in those cities are now at least 10% higher than with a year earlier.

These have all been historically more affordable markets, and markets that generally have more inventory of homes available for sale. That makes the suddenly strong price growth in the middle of the country that much more striking.

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5. Google Staff Launch Union, Escalating Tension With Leaders | Bloomberg

Employees of Google and parent company Alphabet Inc. announced the creation of a union on Monday, escalating years of confrontation between workers and management of the internet giant.

The Alphabet Workers Union will collect dues, pay organizing staff and have an elected board of directors. It will be open to all employees and contractors in North America, regardless of their role or classification, and plans to take on issues including compensation and ethical concerns such as the kinds of work Google engages in. More than 200 workers have signed up to join so far, the group said.

“A lot of us employees are feeling disempowered, like we don’t have a say in the direction the company is taking anymore,” said Google software engineer Kimberly Wilber, an activist with the new group. “A union is of our way of building power so executives can’t ignore us.”

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6. Manhattan Home-Shoppers Aren’t Finding Huge Covid Discounts Yet | Bloomberg

Manhattan home-shoppers are insistent on finding bargains in the midst of the pandemic. Sellers aren’t offering many.

The median price of previously owned homes that changed hands in the fourth quarter fell just 1.5% from a year earlier to $925,000, according to a reportTuesday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The lack of deep discounting held back buyers:

The number of resales tumbled 23% to 1,617.

Shoppers are seeking opportunity at a time when thousands of New Yorkers have fled, office work remains remote and nightlife is on hold. While developers of new multimillion-dollar condos boosted sales by cutting deals for well-heeled buyers, owners of existing and lower-priced homes are making fewer concessions. They’re holding out hope that Covid-19 vaccines will bring people back to Manhattan and eventually get them their asking price.

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7. SkyBridge’s Bitcoin Cache Rises to $310M as New Fund Launches | Yahoo Finance

Skybridge Capital, the hedge-fund investing firm headed by Anthony Scaramucci, confirmed its launch of a new bitcoin fund Monday and said its exposure to bitcoin has already reached $310 million.

The announcement, made in a press release, comes a week after CoinDesk reported on the fund’s launch, citing a marketing brochure that was circulating among investors.

At that point, the firm’s investment across funds investing in bitcoin stood at $182 million.

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8. Estonian digital building operator R8tech raises €900K to enter new markets | EU – Startups

Tallinn-based R8tech, a digital building operator, has closed a €900K funding round from new investors. The startup is active in 12 different countries across the EU, including Portugal, Finland, Austria, Netherlands and Poland, and it plans to use the funding to take it further into new markets.

Founded in 2017, R8tech’s digital building operator platform takes advantage of Building Management Systems of large shopping centres, office buildings and other modern commercial buildings with thousands, if not tens of thousands of sensors and datapoints. It constantly monitors and optimizes indoor climate, detects faults in the system, and manages tasks for the property management company.

The result is energy savings between 10-20% per property which in return leads to reduced CO2 emission. For example a 25.000 sqm government office building in Tallinn, Estonia has saved even 31.5% of energy and 225 tons of CO2 in 4 months.

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9. Property platform with Groupon-like model that offers discounts to investors who club together aims to shake up the market | South China Morning Post

Auckland-based Du Val PropTech allows investors to receive sizeable discounts by grouping together to buy overseas properties

A new technology platform that allows investors to receive sizeable discounts by grouping together to buy overseas properties, is hoping to reshape the worldwide real estate market.

Auckland-based Du Val PropTech has sold some 40 homes in two new

projects in the UK to overseas buyers, including 10 from Hong Kong, since it launched on December 15. It uses a model similar to that of Groupon – the more buyers join up to buy a block of units, the higher the discount the developer is willing to offer.

.Read More…

10. Proptech Investment Fell 25 Percent in 2020, But Residential Investment Increased | Commercial Observer

How it started: In early 2020, capital flowed into real estate technology companies from venture firms and institutional real estate companies alike, hitting $4.25 billion in March alone.

How it’s going: Proptech ended the year with a total of $23.8 billion of investment, down 25 percent from the previous year, according to a report from the Center for Real Estate Technology and Innovation.

The pandemic helped boost some sectors within real estate technology, including companies focused on digitizing in-person experiences or mediating our new online reality, but overall, capital pulled back amid the economic downturn and health crisis.

Read More…