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Amazon’s Housing Move; Smaller Houses; & Informal Emails 😎

By January 7, 2021 No Comments

Amazon makes housing move

The CEO of online shopping behemoth Amazon, Jeff Bezos, often gets bad press over his supposed lack of charitable giving as it relates to his overall wealth. But here’s the thing, Rise&Shred can think of several, other super-wealthy people (talking about you, Elon Musk) who give a diddly squat to charity… and Bezos ain’t one.

In February last year, shortly before COVID-19 engulfed America, Bezos made a high-profile announcement to commit $10 billion, then one-tenth of his fortune, to battling climate change through a new foundation called Bezos Earth Fund. That’s huge. And yet there’s this line: “Yet, a $10 billion—especially in a commitment form—pales in comparison to Bezos’ vast financial gain in 2020.” That line is in an article talking about Billionaires giving record lows to charity in 2020. That line is in an article that later admits Bezos TOPS the list of charitable giving by billionaires.

There’s just something about being #1 that people like to attack. And it’s not because everything he touches turns to gold. Amazon has a long history of failures. First, we all know about its ill-fated foray into mortgages. Dead in the water. Now, its attempt to disrupt the healthcare market, along with partners Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan is also now dead and done.

Bezos next big charitable move, however, also involves housing.

Amazon announced the Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion commitment to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in Washington State’s Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville, Tennessee—three communities where the company has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees each in the coming years.

“Amazon has a long-standing commitment to helping people in need, including the Mary’s Place family shelter we built inside our Puget Sound headquarters. The shelter now supports over 200 women and children experiencing homelessness every night,” said Bezos, in a statement.

The press will likely continue to ride Bezos for not giving up more of his fortune to others, but when he does give, he gives in all the right places.

Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund will also provide an additional $125 million in cash grants to businesses, nonprofits, and minority-led organizations to help them build a more inclusive solution to the affordable housing crisis, which disproportionately affects communities of color.

How this man ever gets vilified is a headscratcher to us.

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30-year rates hit record low; houses get smaller; multifamily BOOM

Rise&Shred isn’t big on consistent reporting on rates movement but this is notable. According to Black Knight, 30-year rates started the year at a record low of 2.77%, a trend they expect to continue.

“Until quantitative measures are rolled back and the COVID-19 recovery path becomes clearer, the yields on MBS and mortgage rates will likely be materially insulated from other market factors that would otherwise drive rates higher,” the daily update notes (download it here).

While it remains a great time to buy or refi, we couldn’t help but notice that, although homes are getting smaller, the number of bedrooms is increasing.

Even though the average square footage of new homes sold in the United States increased from 2,457 in 2010 to 2,724 in 2015 — it actually dropped to 2,518 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Characteristics of New Housing.

Despite the decline in average square footage, the share of homes with four bedrooms or more that were sold increased from 41% in 2010 to 49% in 2019.

It should also be noted that we are in the middle of a rental property construction boom. There were 352,000 new multifamily units completed in the United States in 2019, compared to 155,000 in 2010. The numbers include units for sale as condominiums or cooperatives.

🔥 The Caliber Club 🔥 

With Josh Pitts, David Schroeder, & Tony Kottenbrock

During the pandemic, formal writing styles took an absolute nosedive

Something strange happened when we all moved to work from home back in March. Without seeing each other face-to-face, we turned to the writing word to communicate more and more — emails, IMs, texts, attachments, you name it. Even with video conferencing, nothing really replaced the chit chat of working side by side.

However, an email from Grammarly, the paid-service that cleans up text in content, and logs 30 million users daily, notes in its Communication Trends in 2020 that, “in the fall, Grammarly users shifted in a more casual direction. Formal writing DECREASED 91% compared to January.” Grammarly defines formal writing as featuring a “more buttoned-up construction, longer words, and little to no slang.”

In short, we started “talking” informally to one another via our digital communication tools. Emails became exceedingly more informal and conversational (like Rise&Shred LOL).

But that’s not to say we got sloppy. Grammarly notes that our writing became more careful and we took longer to create messages, despite using a more relaxed and carefree tone.

One notable pattern in Grammarly’s writing concerned the element of uncertainty that dominated life in 2020. In aggregate, Grammarly users’ writing sounded 43% less confident in November than it had in January.

“The lack of clarity around the pandemic and associated social distancing, as case counts surged and dropped and surged again at multiple points throughout the year, potentially contributed to this drop in confidence,” the report states. “Other factors, including the economic downturn and related unpredictability around reopening businesses and schools, not to mention a tumultuous and closely watched election in the US, could have also contributed to this drop in confident tone.”

2021 goal: Write with more confidence. C’mon everyone, we CAN DO THIS!!! (See, we’re already on our way!)

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Shred Media

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