COVID-19 News Round-up for August 25

Credit: D Magazine

Budget, Policy & Stimulus News 
$730M Coming to 90K Displaced Ariz. Workers 
Nearly 100,000 Arizonans who have lost jobs during the pandemic are about to finally receive thousands of dollars each in jobless benefits, according to the Department of Economic Security. DES Director Michael Wisehart said the department has verified 90,000 applications to the “pandemic unemployment assistance,” or PUA, program that provides jobless pay for contractors, self-employed and other people who don’t qualify for regular unemployment insurance. (Source: AZCentral) 
Hotel Leaders Pleading for Relief 
Hotel industry leaders are calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to assist the industry, as a new report predicts a historic number of hotel foreclosures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A report by Trepp shows that 23.4 percent of hotel loans are delinquent by at least 30 days as of July 2020, compared to the 1.34 percent of loans delinquent by 30 days or more at the end of 2019. $20.6B in hotel commercial mortgage-backed securities loans were 30 or more days delinquent as of July, compared to $1.15B in December 2019. (Source: 
Economic News 
Reasons for Optimism in Housing Market Recovery  
The Census report on new construction showed a whopping 22.6 percent increase above the revised June estimate in housing starts in July. Year-over-year starts are up 23.4 percent. This may mean we can add housing starts to our growing collection of V-shaped recovery charts for the 2020 housing market. (Source: Housingwire) 
Scottsdale Fashion Square Hoping to Avoid Default 
Scottsdale Fashion Square is behind on its loan payments and working with a special servicer to avoid defaulting. The mall has been under financial stress since the outbreak of COVID-19 and also millions of dollars in riot-related looting damage. Owner Macerich Co. continues to work with lenders. (Source: Phoenix Business Journal) 
Pandemic Cuts CRE Borrowing in Half 
In a measure of how much COVID-19 has affected CRE, mortgage loan origination fell 48 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The primary damage came in the initial few weeks after the outbreak in the United States, when lending came to a near halt. Since then, the pace of lending has been picking up, but the pace and amount lent indicate it may be a while before it returns to pre-coronavirus activity. (Source: ORION Investment Real Estate) 
Pandemic a Growing Challenge for Affordable Housing Tenants 
According to MRI Software’s latest report on the effects of the coronavirus on affordable and public housing throughout the U.S., July rent collection in affordable housing fell to a new low this year to just over 75 percent, indicating the growing challenges for affordable housing tenants amid the pandemic. Meanwhile, public housing saw a strong rebound from its June to July rates with a 20 percent increase.

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