We’re now all accustomed to our masks and personal space but, I wonder if you also recognize a sense of peace during this crazy time in our lives. One of the most interesting new discoveries has been my ability to stay home and enjoy it. I never thought I’d see the day, nor did Lynn. I love to go out to dinner, to see theatre, to see movies, to attend concerts, to visit with people. But it has worked, using jig saw puzzles, lots of movies, Scrabble games, reading a boat load of books and magazines, and transforming our business to a paperless enterprise through the magic of Compass technology.

All of our lives have changed so much in the past six months. Entire industries have been changed, people have lost a lifetime of savings, careers have been destroyed and mindsets are altered. Eight months ago it would be unimaginable to walk into a bank with a mask on, but here we are! Now they’re required!

Nevertheless, real estate marches forward. Our phones are busy, our contracts stacking up with new listings and escrows are closing. New rules do not permit me to publicly advertise our “Coming Soon” listings until 24 hours before being launched on the MLS, but I can tell you about them directly one-on-one. So contact me if you are interested. These new rules are pretty ridiculous; that’s all I can say. They remind me of the old adage; “sometimes the cure is worse than the disease”.

One of the other highlights has been a daily deposit in my email inbox from the Compass Chief Evangelist (official title). I’ve mentioned Leonard before, and still remain delighted with his daily blast. I wouldn’t miss them for anything.
They’re broken down into three sections; first, there are some fascinating snippets from news outlets around the world, then there are six Compass listings displayed from around the country showing the huge disparity in property values from one end to the other, and finally some personal observations from Leonard.

Guess what? You can receive this daily e-mail as well. Just let me know and I’ll add your email address to Leonard’s list, promising you that you’ll enjoy it as much as I do every morning. It gives me perspective, offering me some sanity in this time of insanity.
Here’s some samples of his news snippets from the last four days.

• DID YOU KNOW?  Morgan Stanley predicts that office tenants across Asia will permanently give up between 3% and 9% of their existing office space. That will result in a rent decline of between 10% and 15% over the next three years, a recent report by the investment bank estimated. (CNBC)

• DID YOU KNOW? 14.1 million adults and 6.4 million children in the USA are unbanked, meaning they do not have a bank account, as of 2017, the last time the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation checked. (Marketwatch)

• DID YOU KNOW? Global cases of COVID-19 are now approaching 20 million. Of the 20 largest cities in the USA, San Francisco has performed remarkably well. With 883,000 residents, its death rate stands at around 6 per 100,000 residents. New Zealand recorded its 100th day without a single new case. (CNBC)

• DID YOU KNOW? Looking for a new way to communicate during the pandemic? PORTL, a Los Angeles company has created phone booth-sized machines (about $60k) to beam live holograms into your living room. Each PORTL device is 7 feet tall, 5 feet wide and 2 feet deep, and can be plugged into a standard wall outlet. Anyone with a camera and a white background can send a hologram to the machine in what is being called a “holoportation.” When will YOU be HOLOPORTING? (Reuters)

• DID YOU KNOW? Redfin has broken into the top three of real estate search websites, but Zillow is still the search leader with 218 million monthly unique visitors during the second quarter, a 12% year-over-year growth. (Seeking Alpha)

• DID YOU KNOW? Around 2.3 million square feet of commercial office lease space was signed in New York City in the month of July, the highest in 6 months, including space for Facebook, Microsoft, AIG and BNP Paribas. Facebook alone has signed on nearly 3 million square feet in New York City in the past year, adding over 730,000sf in the past month alone. New York just announced that schools will be re-opening this Fall.

• DID YOU KNOW? Citizens Bank surveyed the consumer and determined at least 69% are comfortable doing digital transactions, but 65% felt it was essential to speak with a human when it came to guidance and advice. (Bloomberg)

• DID YOU KNOW? The luxury markets are suffering:  Dressing up, buying new clothes and following fashions is incredibly dependent on social activities such as going to work, going out, having parties and simply being seen by others. Instead of showing off an upscale bag or car, which might feel too conspicuous when the U.S. economy is in a downward spiral, consumers are instead displaying their “wellness” during stay-at-home orders. Health and vitality are the new luxury. Quiet luxury seems appropriate now when many are suffering a loss of jobs and wealth. (CNBC)

• DID YOU KNOW? Foreign purchases of U.S. homes dropped to the lowest level since 2013, a boost for domestic buyers at a time when inventory has been tight. Foreigners bought $74 billion in U.S. residential real estate in the year ended in March, down 5% from the prior year and the third straight year of declines. With COVID lockdowns and quarantining of foreign visitors expect this number to drop even further……expect buyer build-up and pent up demand to grow from this sector. (WSJ)

• DID YOU KNOW? Zillow’s consolidated second quarterly revenue grew 28% year over year to $768 million, driven primarily by a continued increase in Zillow Offers resale volume. Realogy (owner of (mostly franchises) Better Homes and Gardens, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Corcoran-Citi Habitats, Sotheby’s, etc) generated revenue of $1.2 billion, a decrease of 27% or $457 million year-over-year in the 2nd quarter with net Income of $28 million from continuing operations and a Net Loss of $14 million including discontinued operations. Vector Group (owner of Douglas Elliman) first half revenues were $900.2 million, compared to revenues of $959.4 million for the same period in 2019. Of that revenue, $599.6 million came from its Tobacco subsidiary Ligett Cigarettes. Year-over-year Elliman revenues dropped 45% to $132.9 million from $243 million in 2019.

Stay safe, Be healthy and social distance while wearing your mask.