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Real Estate Big Data

The million missing workers may stifle the real estate industry

Blue collar workers are needed more than ever in the housing market but despite an influx of new blood, the industry as a whole is still about one million laborers short of desired levels.

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new home construction

Isn’t there an old saying that goes something like “Marry a plumber and you’ll never have a leaky faucet?” If there’s not, there should be and you should add, “Marry a construction worker and your house will never fall apart.”

Of course the way things are going you might want to add in brackets “If you can find one!”

Labor: The last frontier

As far back as I can remember, there has never been anything wrong with trades. Say what you will but this country sits on the shoulders of blue collar workers. At some point, that mindset changed.

Fortune points out that in the 1990s, “Schools began to phase out vocational classes and began to encourage all students to pursue a four-year college degree.”

Even if it was with the best of intentions, this move put skilled trades growth in a state of flux. One of the industries hardest hit was home construction.

Implosion by the numbers

According to an article on the US Census, “The percentage of 19- to 25-year-olds hired in the construction sector declined from approximately 18% at its peak before 2006 to 13% in 2012-2013.”

That may not seem like that big of a deal. But the flipside is that those 19-to-25-year-olds were replaced with workers 45 to 55 years old.

In an industry that could use a few young men (and women), 45-to-55-year-old demographic employed in the construction sector has exceeded the employment share of this age group for all other industries.

Some [but not much] improvement

This is an industry that could use some new blood. The National Association of Home Builders explains that, “Although the residential construction industry has gained more than 433,000 positions since the lowest low following the Great Recession, the industry remains more than 1 million workers short of the workforce seen at peak 2006 levels.”

The lingering talent gap

The sad reality is that homebuilding and home services businesses are stunted and the ripple effect of that comes in the form of completing construction projects on time, and home prices being raised due to labor shortages.

I’m not sure what the solution is. Some types of labor – building homes for example – can’t exactly be outsourced. And with an entire older generation of workers set to retire the housing industry is in dire need of some replacements.

Anybody got a hammer and some nails?

#TalentGap

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

Real Estate Big Data

Fall has brought record rent prices and they’re not slowing down

(REAL ESTATE DATA) A market saturated with buyers and fewer homes, along with current job growth, is causing just as much demand for rent as to own.

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for rent sign in front of house yard

September 2021 reported an increase in rent for single-family homes from 2.6% in 2020 to 10.2% in 2021. A market saturated with buyers and little homes to choose from, along with current job growth, is causing just as much demand for rent as to own.

93% of people surveyed believe owning a home is a good investment, but many are being forced to rent even with sky-high prices due to the current state of homebuying. Buyers feel like the competition is too fierce or that a market crash resembling the 2008 crisis is looming in the near future.

Even more so than apartment complexes, private rentals of single-family homes are being scouted as they provide more room for multiple roommates or a family. Millennials aging into marriage and adulthood that would like to buy a home, but don’t feel it is the right time, are settling for paying double the mortgage of a single-family home in order to wait out the market.

“Single-family rental vacancy rates remained near 25-year lows in the third quarter of 2021, pushing annual rent growth to double digits in September,” said Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic. “Rent growth should continue to be robust in the near term, especially as the labor market improves and the demand for larger homes continues.”

Some particular markets are heating up while others are cooling off. Miami, FL saw a 25.7% gain year-over-year with the highest median rent prices across the entire US. Phoenix, AZ, and Las Vegas, NV take the second and third spots at 19.8% and 15.9%.

“Austin, Texas, and San Diego rounded out the top five markets for rent growth.”

On the other hand, major metro cities such as Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City are seeing lower rent growth, still 5% above mid-pandemic rates.

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Real Estate Big Data

Cities and states where renters eviction protection policies are still in place

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) Even though the national eviction ban has lapsed, 7 states and over 20 cities still have policies in place for renters eviction protection.

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UnTil Debt Do Us Part representing renters debt

Half of the renters in the United States still have some protections available due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of these renters were those who were tenants before, during, and “after” the pandemic though the effects are still lingering. Some new renters have had to enter the expensive rental market scene after being discouraged when attempting to buy a home. Those that are over the bidding wars, rising prices, and dwindling options are stepping out of the home buying process and are opting to rent instead, driving rental prices sky-high. It’s a lose-lose situation either way.

The Supreme Court ruled in August 2021 that the national moratorium on evictions was overreaching, even though the policy had been in place since September 2020. In response, many states and cities are setting their own limits.

Even though the national eviction ban has lapsed, 7 states and over 20 cities still have policies in place for protection. More than 15% of renters are behind on payments with the average debt owed is $3,700. Though in some areas, the debts amount to $10,000 per household.

New Jersey and New York tenants can’t be evicted until the new year in most counties. In New Mexico, renters also can’t be pushed out for late payments, but the end date for that protection has not been established.

In Connecticut and Virginia, landlords can’t evict tenants who have applied for federal aid. In LA, the eviction protection ends January 31, 2022, in Austin, TX, December 31, 2021, and in Seattle, January 16, 2022.

In Oregon, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington D.C., eviction proceedings are paused for those that have their renter’s federal assistance application pending. In Nevada, showing that you’ve applied for rental assistance is considered a defense against eviction until June 2023.

$45 billion in aid is allocated by Congress for federal rental assistance, but less than $13 billion has been used so far.

If you are still in need of assistance and don’t reside in any of the areas above, consult location advocates and learn your rights to see what protections are available to you.

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Real Estate Big Data

5 ways AI is shifting real estate and how to capitalize on it

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) Artificial intelligence is bringing a seismic shift to commercial real estate in everything from investing to sales to property management. Hold on!

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Woman working at desk with multiple desktops open to AI tools.

Forget about that location thing. Now real estate – especially commercial real estate – is about data, data, data. As in, Really. Big. Data. And AI is owed a large part of the credit for that.

A dizzying amount of data is being crunched and sorted and searched by artificial intelligence-enabled tools that are changing how deals get done and who will still have a job in the future.

The promise of AI to use data to predict the future is massive – and it promises to do that with more accuracy and efficiency, greater productivity, and less cost for commercial as well as residential real estate.

So, what, exactly, can AI do for commercial real estate? Let’s break it down.

What AI is

To put it simply, artificial intelligence is what lets Amazon’s Alexa talk to you and cars drive themselves. Its algorithms use data to mimic human intelligence, including learning and reasoning. Then there’s machine learning, where algorithms analyze enormous amounts of data to make predictions and assist with decision making. We’re putting them both under the same AI umbrella.

There are four main areas where AI is remaking the commercial real estate industry: development and investing; sales and leasing; marketing; and property management.

Development and investing

With its ability to quickly analyze a staggering amount of data, AI lets investors and developers make better data-driven decisions. More responsive financial modeling helps identify ideal use cases and project ROI under multiple scenarios using real-time data. Pulling in alternative data – say, environmental changes or infrastructure improvements – goes beyond traditional data points and can identify investment opportunities, such as neighborhoods beginning to gentrify. In fact, alternative, hyper-local data has become even more important as COVID-19 continues to upend property valuation models.

AI’s crystal ball comes from recognizing patterns in the data and continuing to learn from new information. It can forecast risk, market fluctuations, property values, demographic trends, occupancy rates and other considerations that can make or break a deal.

And it does all of this more efficiently, more accurately and less expensively than manual methods.

Sales and leasing

There’s a big question looming over AI and automation: Will technology put real estate brokers out of business? The short answer is, “No, but brokers need to step up their tech game.”

Keeping up with – and being open to – tech trends is essential. Clients’ ability to use online marketplaces to search for or list property will only grow, but there still is no substitute for expertise and the personal rapport that builds trust. Chatbots can’t negotiate (yet). Robots can’t show a space and weave details about the property into a story. (If you want to know more about using storytelling in real estate, check out this great marketing guide.)

But Big Data is such a powerful tool that brokers need to know how to harness it for themselves. Having more, and more nuanced, data about clients and properties means brokers can better match the two. They can be more confident in setting sales prices and rental rates. Becoming a “technology strategist” to help clients design an automation strategy for a property would be a great value add to their services. Even just starting out with a website chatbot to answer common questions would add a level of tech-savvy efficiency to communication with clients and prospects.

Marketing

Also a boon of Big Data for brokers: more sophisticated, targeted marketing for themselves, as well as for client properties.

Integrating AI with customer relationship management (CRM) tools brings a richer understanding of clients and prospects that can make choosing marketing channels and personalizing targeted content more precise.

Then there’s data-driven lead scoring. Property intelligence firm Reonomy says its commercial data mine – 52 million properties, 100 million companies, 30 million personal profiles, and 53 million tenants – can be searched in multiple ways to create custom prospect lists. (Check out Forbes.com’s “5 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Transforming CRMs” for a fascinating list of what AI can do, including analyzing conversations for sentiment analysis.)

Property and facility management

The Internet of Things (IoT) is already helping property and facilities managers control and predict energy costs, as well as proactively address maintenance issues. Integrating smart technology like thermostats and sensors with AI also means more efficient space planning. Smart security cameras and wi-fi tracking can create “people heat maps” that can identify underutilized or overcrowded areas.

IBM’s TRIRIGA does that and more. Part of the Watson project, TRIRIGA offers AI-driven insights to show how people are actually using a space and ensure a company has the right amount of space in the right areas. It can also analyze common questions from a chat log, then use that data to create an AI virtual assistant to automatically answer those questions – and update itself as it learns new data. Maintenance requests, room reservations and more can be fully automated.

Strategic space planning has become even more important during the pandemic, as work-from-home trends and safety concerns reshape offices as workers return. (Need ideas for your office? IBM’s Returning to the Workplace guide might be a good place to start.)

Barriers to adoption

There’s no question tech-enabled commercial real estate companies will have a competitive edge. The question is, when will more of them agree enough to adopt AI more widely?

PropTech with and without AI has exploded over the past few years – and that’s part of the problem. In an Altus Group survey, 89% of CRE executives said the PropTech space needs significant consolidation before it can effectively deliver on industry needs; 43% said that is already underway or will occur within 12 months.

Then there’s the undeniable learning curve that comes with any tech tool – an investment of time as well as money. The survey also showed concerns about regulatory requirements for data collection and management, having enough internal capacity, and nonstandard data formats.

Despite those perceived barriers, there’s also no question that innovation and disruption from AI are moving at a dizzying pace – and that commercial real estate needs to keep pace.

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