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The latest news on Real Estate from Business Insider

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    Tiny homes are all the rage. Real estate is getting expensive, and younger people are more worried about paying off student loans than saving up for a house. Tiny homes offer a way to live somewhere on the cheap, pare down your life to the essentials, and not necessarily skimp on some of the nicer things in life.

    And if you don't want to buy one, they're great to rent for the weekend. Tiny homes are a popular category on Airbnb, and there's even a company worth millions of dollars dedicated to renting out tiny cottages.

    On roofs, wheels, and in backyard, here are 29 of the most beautiful small homes in the world.

    Melissa Stanger contributed to an earlier version of this story.

    KODA Walking Concrete can be taken apart and easily rebuilt in a new location.

    Size: 250 sq. ft

    Location: Tallinn, Estonia 

    The KODA Walking Concrete made the World Architecture Festival's shortlist of the best "Small Projects" in 2016. It's completely mobile, and can be unassembled and reassembled if it needs to move to a new location. The company that developed it, Kodasema, designed the two-tiered home so that it can be assembled in as little as four hours.

    The simple design allows it to function as whatever space is needed, be it a beach house, mountain hut, café, or office.


    This 196-square-foot home cost its architect less than $12,000 to build.

    Size: 196 sq. ft.

    Location: Boise, Idaho

    Boise architect Macy Miller decided to downgrade from a full-size home to a tiny one, which she designed and built herself. She lives there with her partner and dog.

    The home, which sits on top of a flatbed trailer, cost about $11,500 all in. The most expensive component is the composting toilet — about $2,000 — which uses barely any water.

    A young American filmmaker converted an old van into a mobile studio so he could travel the country.

    Size: 2003 Chevrolet Express, L x 79″ W x 82″

    Location: United States 

    Zach Both, a 23-year-old filmmaker, lives and works out of a converted van. It took Both six months to transform the vehicle into a fully functional home and studio, complete with a bed, kitchen, and desk. 


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Zachary and Cody Vichinsky have sold just shy of $1 billion (£77.5 million) in property since launching their company, Bespoke Real Estate, in 2014.

    They also happen to be brothers.

    Together, they represent the top five most expensive rentals and five of the top ten most expensive properties in the exclusive holiday destination of the Hamptons in Long Island, New York.

    "All of our negotiations are based on want, not need," Cody told Business Insider.

    "Our average sale is around $25 million (£19 million), and our average listing is around $27 million (£21 million), so we deal in a space that is completely emotional."

    The brothers admit they are lucky, because working with a family member isn't always a good idea. Cody said he has seen businesses rip families apart, because for some people, mixing your personal life with your career just doesn't work.

    "It takes a very strong team, a communicative team to compartmentalise the segments of their life," Cody said. "When you've seen a lot of people who have been families working together in business, it's not so much the business that collapses, I think it's inequitable portions of how that business gets divvied up, but it's also the personal elements that creep into the business world."

    However, he told Business Insider that working with his brother has helped them get ahead in the real estate world. Here's why:

    They use their differences to their advantage

    Firstly, although the Vichinskys share DNA, they have different personalities, skills, and perspectives, which lends them both to different areas of the business.

    "We've mastered the good cop/bad cop by now," Cody. "We definitely have different ways of negotiating a deal, or strategising with a deal, and our personalities are also very different. I'm a little more aggressive, and a little more verbose. My brother is a little more to the point and elegant."

    Cody deals with a lot of the buyers and the market intelligence side of the business, whereas Zachary handles the listings and corporate management.

    "My brother is a very meticulous, calculated person, and he measures five times before he cuts once, whereas I'm a little more of a quick shooter than he is," he said.

    Rather than falling out over their differences, the Vichinskys use them to their advantage. For example, if Cody is struggling to close a deal, Zachary comes in at the end with a different voice.

    "We like to say our two brains in one give us the perfect business human," he said. "Our spectrum is completely covered."


    They tell it like it is

    Zachary and Cody put their success of working together down to being very close. The disadvantages you might encounter, such as arguments about a deal or client, can be mitigated "if you are real with each other, and you have a deep bond with each other."

    "There is no pulling of punches. We can speak really authentically, even if it hurts. That's the benefit of having somebody you don't have to be political with," Cody said.

    They split everything down the middle

    "My brother and I split everything 50/50. There's never an argument over money — money will never come in between us."

    In fact, if Cody makes a big sale, he says the first thing he does is give his brother half of the earnings.

    "I think that's the fundamental element that often gets in between people in these type of scenarios — it's who's getting what."

    The brothers came from a small, tight-knit family, which is the reason Cody gives for having such a close relationship. He says their father used to remind them all the time that all they had was each other, so it was a dream early on to have a business together.

    "It's somewhat uncommon to be splitting your life, but we feel that two brains are better than one," he said. "It's a good lesson, and it's a rare one. We often meet a lot of our clients who have brothers or sisters, and they tell us all the time 'I wish we had your relationship.'"

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's how you can use math to find your soul mate — and why we're so resistant to that idea

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    west creek ranch

    John Hendricks, the founder of the Discovery Channel, is looking to part with his Colorado estate to the tune of $149 million.

    Dubbed West Creek Ranch, the nearly 7,000-acre property is situated mostly in Mesa County, Colorado, with parts in Grand County, Utah. 

    In addition to a 22,000-square-foot main house, the ranch is also home to horse and bison pastures, an airstrip and hangar, helipad, stables, and even an observatory. 

    Hendricks is also the founder and former chairman of Discovery Communications, and he owns the nearby Gateway Canyons resort. 

    Kerry Endsley of LIV Sotheby's International Realty has the listing. Let's take a look around.

    SEE ALSO: The Obamas just shelled out $8.1 million for the DC mansion they've been renting since leaving the White House

    DON'T MISS: Eerie photos show a neighborhood of abandoned million-dollar McMansions

    West Creek Ranch is accessible by helicopter ride or a 55-minute drive from Grand Junction Regional Airport.

    Hendricks placed about 4,000 aces of the property in a conservation easement, which means that no roads or structures can be built in that area.

    Hendricks purchased West Creek Ranch in 1995, then in later years acquired additional land to assemble the current tract. "West Creek Ranch is a place where the earth really opens up to tell its story. When you look up at the walls of the canyons, it's all these layers of earth that go back 300 million years," Hendricks said in a press release announcing the listing.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Matt Lauer is having a hard time offloading his home in the Hamptons.

    According to Curbed, he just cut $2.1 million from the asking price of his Sag Harbor estate, which he originally listed for $17.995 million in July 2016. He had cut $1 million from the listing price in September, and now it's asking $14.9 million.

    The home was built in a stunning traditional style with plenty of space for entertaining guests and a backyard pool to lay out by. Lauer also previously owned a three-bedroom cottage in Southampton, but that sold in January.

    The "Today" show host bought Richard Gere's former Hamptons home for $36.5 million in July. 

    Susan Breitenbach of Corcoran Real Estate has the listing.

    Emma Rechenberg contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article. 

    SEE ALSO: The founder of the Discovery Channel is selling his enormous Colorado ranch for $149 million

    The 8,000-square-foot home sits on top of a 25-acre private lot.

    A cobblestone driveway paves the way to the home's red front door.

    Inside, the dining room is the perfect place to host the "Today" show cast.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Whether it's a lake house or beach side motel, everyone has a go-to vacation spot. For the country's wealthiest, that summer hang might actually be more of a mansion than a motel. Based on summer search listings data from 2016, Trulia found the vacation destinations with the highest median price points that are being searched the most from the largest metro areas. So find out the vacation spots where the city-dwelling elite kick up their heels and take a look at the most expensive homes in these hot markets.

    SEE ALSO: The founder of the Discovery Channel is selling his enormous Colorado ranch for $149 million

    DON'T MISS: No one wants to buy Matt Lauer's Hamptons mansion, which just got a $2.1 million price chop

    New Yorkers make the short trip to Southampton

    Oceanfront estate in Southampton, NY

    Price: $145,000,000

    Bedrooms: 12

    Year Built: 1900

    Summer Features: Two custom Gunite pools, a tennis court and private beach access

    San Franciscans head south to Carmel

    Beachside craftsman in Carmel, CA

    Price: $15,000,000

    Bedrooms: 4

    Year Built: 2011

    Summer Features: Private gardens, water features, blocks from Carmel and River Beaches

    Chicagoans make the flight to Florida

    An island villa on Marco Island, FL

    Price: $9,450,000

    Bedrooms: 6

    Year Built: 2004

    Summer Features: Set on Caxambas Island, Bayfront lot and on-lot dock

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    howie guja

    Forget the Hamptons, if Howie Guja, photographer and real estate agent, keeps doing what he's doing, Bellport, NY, will be the next hot vacation destination.

    Guja grew up in Babylon Village in Suffolk County — only about a 30 minute drive away from Bellport. Yet he stumbled upon it almost by accident as a student at the School of Visual Arts, when his sister's friend needed a ride there.

    "As soon as you turn on South Country Road, you step back in time," he said. "It's just beautiful, beautiful leafy streets, white picket fences, clapboard and shingled homes, green shutters. I said, 'I have to come back here.'"

    He did come back, and has lived in Bellport with his family since 2006.

    beach bellportHis photos of the idyllic surroundings have earned him almost 26,000 followers on Instagramsome of whom even turn into residents themselves. 

    Some locals worry that Guja’s Instagram will make Bellport too popular. One couple that he showed around town after they reached out through Instagram made an offer on a house on the spot.

    He has since sold 10 homes — a large number considering Bellport is only two square miles.

    The village may be small, but it continues to attract big names in fashion, art, and culture. Past residents include Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, designer Isaac Mizrahi, and First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Designer Francisco Costa, actress Isabella Rossellini, and art dealer Angela Westwater currently call it home.

    Despite boasting some notable locals, Guja maintains that Bellport isn't "sceney."

    "There's no traffic, there's no waiting to get into restaurants — it's just a quiet, laid back place where people aren't really showing off or anything," he said. "It's not a seen-and-be-seen kind of place."

    Bellport is only 90 minutes outside New York City, but it couldn’t be more different.

    “It's beautiful little town with a big preservation culture,” Guja said.

    There’s no shortage of gorgeous scenery. “You can just walk out on the street and take a photo of almost anything and it's just so ridiculously charming,” he said.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks is selling his sprawling Colorado estate for $149 million. West Creek Ranch features a helipad, astronomical observatory, and dinosaur footprints.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    china housing bubble real estate broker

    Looks like China’s capital controls are legit working this time. In January, one of our writers claimed that China’s new capital controls would cause a capital shortage for Mainland Chinese buyers. Shortly after he observed a capital flow reversal at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), and claimed inventory would flood certain markets. I had my doubts, but five months later it looks like he’s right. China’s capital controls have led to substantially less money leaving the country, and the markets Mainland Chinese buyers flooded have no idea how much their homes are worth anymore.

    China’s FX Reserves Hit A 7 Month High

    China’s foreign exchange reserves rose for another straight month. According to SAFE, total reserves hit US$3.052 trillion at the end of May, a US$23 billion increase from the month prior. This is a 0.77% increase, and a 7 month high. SAFE claimed last month that the reserve exchange will be balanced going forward, and the market appears to have followed through. This means a lot of things, but most important it means money isn’t leaving the country in the significant quantities it was last year.

    Screen Shot 2017 06 08 at 3.44.06 PM

    Why This Is Important

    SAFE’s reserves are an important measure of capital outflows due to the lack of convertibility of the Chinese yuan. In order for Chinese yuan to be used outside of China, it must be converted by the Chinese government into a foreign currency. Last year over a US$1 trillion more currency left the country than entered. That’s an impressive amount when you consider how much money actually enters the country on a daily basis. You know, since virtually everyone buys things made in China.

    In January 2017, China rolled out stronger capital controls. Now they always had capital controls limiting the exchange of more than US$50,000, but there were no rules on borrowing someone else’s exchange allowance. The new rules prevent borrowing someone else’s allowance, and it can only be exchanged for an approved use – this does not include real estate. Further rules to tighten the money supply will be rolled out over the next few weeks as well.

    Impact On Global Real Estate Markets

    Real estate markets that saw locals scramble to cash in on foreign buyers are now noticeably cooler. Toronto is seeing new listings hit an all-time high, coupled with a massive dip in sales. New Zealanders that were complaining about a “flood” of Mainland Chinese buyers, are now complaining about the market cooling faster than expected. Australia’s leading property analyst is now telling people to prepare for a 10% drop in prices soon. The one place that’s bucking the trend is Vancouver, where locals are still convinced that Mainland buyers are somehow buying – but not showing up in any significant statistics. Good luck with that Vancouver!

    Mainland Chinese buyers were buying a lot of international real estate, but over excited locals bought into the narrative way too much. Countries that are nice, but not global leaders got way too excited that they were the next “New York.” Canadians after all, have been heavy real estate speculators without Chinese influence. Now that mainland Chinese buyers aren’t buying in any significant quantity, buyers are finding themselves in an existential real estate crisis. Is a 30% rise in a single year a justifiable increase in property prices? We’ll find out.

    SEE ALSO: Chinese home buyers are starting to invest in smaller cities

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's why the American flag is reversed on military uniforms

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    bushrod oakland hottest 4507

    Bushrod, Oakland, a small enclave across the Bay from San Francisco, was named the hottest neighborhood of 2017 by real estate site Redfin.

    The accolade might come as a surprise to Bay Area locals, in part because there's not much to do in Bushrod. We bet few could find the three-block-wide micro-neighborhood on a map.

    It's the first time an Oakland neighborhood has made one of Redfin's "hottest neighborhoods of 2017" lists. The site based the ranking on increases in internet traffic to listings in specific neighborhoods. Bushrod homes typically sell in under two weeks at 115% of the listing price.

    I recently spent the afternoon in Bushrod to see if it's worth the hype.

    SEE ALSO: Nobody wants this mansion near San Francisco's 'Billionaire Row' that's on sale for $29 million

    Bushrod, Oakland, is one of a shrinking number of Bay Area neighborhoods where you can buy a home for under $1 million. That might not be true for long.

    Nestled between Berkeley and Oakland, the micro-hood sits in an area that's said to be "closer to San Francisco than San Francisco is." It takes about 20 minutes to travel from the city's downtown to Berkeley's Ashby Station, a 15-minute walk from the heart of Bushrod.

    Source: East Bay Times


    A long-time enclave for the black working class, the neighborhood has tree-lined streets and a handful of businesses with storefronts that haven't changed in years.

    Not much happens in Bushrod. A Wikipedia entry makes note of a 2006 incident in which a large chunk of ice fell from the sky and left a crater, making the local news.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    kendall jenner

    The INSIDER Summary:

    • Kendall Jenner is moving out of her $1.6 million condo in Los Angeles.
    • As you might expect, it’s absolutely beautiful.
    • The model is selling it for $300,000 more than she payed for it three years ago.
    • It is located in the Wilshire building in LA's trendy Westwood area.
    • Jenner will move into a $6.5 million home that she purchased in July 2016.

    Forget the life of Kylie. We’d like the life of Kendall, please.

    The supermodel has listed her first apartment for $1.6 million — just $300,000 more than she payed for it in 2014 — and it looks like something straight out of Pinterest.

    kendall livingroom

    Three years ago, Jenner moved out of her mom Kris Jenner’s house into the casual two-bedroom condo in Los Angeles' trendy Westwood neighborhood.

    kendall kitchen

    Now 21, Jenner has outgrown her pad at the Wilshire, a luxury apartment building in the trendy Westwood neighborhood.

    The Wilshire has amenities like a heated pool, a fitness center, social spaces, and 24-hour valet and security, according to Trulia.

    kendall workspace

    As far as first homes go, Jenner's luxurious condo makes the average person's eighth-floor walk-up look like a literal storage closet. The bedroom is huge.

    kendall bedroom

    Jenner's apartment has three bathrooms. This one has two sinks.

    kendall bathroom

    Jenner is poised to move out of her amazing "starter home" into a six-bedroom house previously owned by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. She purchased the Sunset Strip home for $6.5 million in July 2016. The model's new house has a gym, rooftop terrace, bar, and pool, according to Trulia.

    Until she moves into her next place, you can check out the rest of Jenner's first apartment online.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Johnny Depp is selling his quirky $12.7 million LA apartment

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    Donald Trump's childhood home

    Now's your chance to live like Donald Trump.

    Trump's childhood home, that was bought for $2.15 million at auction in January, is going to become available for rent for between $3500 and $4000 per month. 

    The two-story, Tudor-style home was sold to a real estate investor whose identity has not been disclosed. 

    Jason Friedman, a real estate broker for the Friedman Team of Coldwell Banker is handling the listing. Friedman told Business Insider that the new owner bought the house as a "collector piece," and did not plan to live there. "Instead of leaving it empty they decided to make some money from it," he said.

    Since the house was bought in January, it has not been renovated.

    Take a look inside:

    Donald Trump's childhood home is situated in the neighborhood of Jamaica Estates in Queens, New York.

    The petite 40' x 120' suburban lot fits in with the rest of the neighborhood.

    The rear of the Tudor-style home includes a sun porch.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    McLaren Spyder

    If you think millennials have it tough in the US, they really have it hard in Hong Kong.

    In the latest installment of jaw-dropping Hong Kong property prices, a parking spot in the Upton, a luxury apartment building in the Western District of Hong Kong, recently sold for $664,000, The New York Times reports

    "This is basically the price of one flat in Hong Kong," Lennon Choy, an associate professor of real estate and construction at the University of Hong Kong, told The New York Times

    Choy went on to say what everyone is thinking: "This is crazy, actually."

    The record-breaking parking spot is almost double the price of a Hong Kong parking spot that sold for $387,000 in 2012 and caused quite a stir at the time. The previous record for most expensive parking spot was $615,000 in 2016, The New York Times reported

    If the 'Rich Kids of Hong Kong' Instagram account is any indicator, parking spots for luxury cars may be particularly in-demand. There is no shortage of cars in the photos, including a McLaren 675LT Spider that has a starting price of $372,600.

    A post shared by Richard Lau (@richard_xrx) on

    Compared to the $664,000 parking spot, the McLaren could almost look like a steal. 

    But compared to the current median price of a home in the US, which is $309,200, according to the Federal Reserve, all of it seems pretty insane. 

    SEE ALSO: How Instagram's 'Rich Kids of Hong Kong' spend their fortunes

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 8 great ways to earn passive income

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    Toronto real estate had a sudden surge last year, and we’re finally starting to get a better picture of what happened. New statistics released by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) once again confirm everyone didn’t just wake up to a shortage of land overnight. Instead it appears that speculators saw a gold rush, adding pressure to prices that sent emotional buyers into a bidding frenzy.

    Sold In Less Than A Year

    A surprising number of properties in the city of Toronto have been bought and sold in less than a year. In 2016, TREB said it was “less than 5%” but stopped short of giving a number. In just the first five months of 2017 however, it accounted for 7% of transactions. TREB called this “a very small share,” but to give it context it’s about twice as large as Toronto’s luxury market. Also probably worth noting here that Toronto’s luxury market is considered one of the hottest in the world. In case you didn’t catch that, 7% of the properties that were sold *this year* were bought less than 12 months ago – right around when prices started taking off.

    Screen Shot 2017 06 15 at 2.55.27 PM

    Foreign Buyers Are A Smaller Segment

    Foreign buyers represented another “small share.” From the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016, 4.9% of transactions were conducted by “foreign buyers.” These aren’t the foreign buyers looking for assignment flips, and guaranteed cap rate investments like in Vancouver. In 2016, 91.5% of these buyers bought their home to move into, likely implying many of these were immigrants. Less than 1% had mailing addresses outside of Canada, and TREB found the majority of addresses were in the United States.

    Domestic Speculation Running High

    Most of the larger brokerages in Toronto have been telling us that domestic speculators are a larger segment than foreign buyers, and TREB just confirmed that too. In the Greater Toronto Area – Hamilton economic zone, 6.2% of homeowners own more than one home. Not 6.2% of transactions in the past few months – 6.2% of all homes. This is in line with the number the Ministry of Finance released just a few weeks ago.

    Screen Shot 2017 06 15 at 3.08.45 PM

    Sure, some might be informal landlords, but the cap rates don’t make economic sense. If you’re not familiar with the term, that means home prices in Toronto can’t be made up with rental income in an efficient way. Most purchases return around 2% in rental income, which means you’ll lose money on a mortgage annually. These are either extremely dumb business people that can’t do math (not likely), or people holding empty to flip at peaks. Tenanted properties are more difficult to sell than untenanted ones, and even easier if they’ve never been occupied before. Toronto’s vacant home situation starting to make sense? Perfect.

    Speculative pressure is fleeting, and usually results in prices caving very quickly once the incentive gets removed. Prices are still creeping up in Toronto, but at a smaller rate than they previously were. Meanwhile listings are soaring, as people try to exit. Toronto needs to continue building to prevent an actual housing crisis in the future, but if you still think land became scarce in Toronto overnight, good luck with that.

    SEE ALSO: Toronto's housing inventory is piling up

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This is what Bernie Madoff's life is like in prison

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    A suburban loft in Queens that Trump had lived in until he was 4 sold for $2.1 million and is now available to rent. Trump reportedly expressed interest in buying the house but never followed through to visit the property.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    homeowners new house

    Paychecks across the US are being forked over to landlords.

    One in four renters spends more than half their income on housing, according to the 2017 State of the Nation's Housing report, published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Almost half pay over 30% of their incomes on rent.

    In total, between renters and owners, nearly 39 million American households — 33% — are paying more than they can afford for their homes.

    The standard measure of housing affordability — 30% or less of pre-tax income — has been in place for 80 years, since the United States National Housing Act of 1937 was passed, establishing public housing assistance for low-income families.

    But affordable housing is still difficult to find, for low-income as well as moderate-income renters. The typical renter earns $37,900 a year, which means a maximum rent of $950 a month would be considered affordable under the 30% rule. 

    proportion who can afford home

    Between 2005 and 2015, 1.5 million rental units with rents above $2,000 a month were added to the market, while rentals costing less than $800 a month declined. The number of available rentals in the US hit a 30-year-low in 2016, causing rental prices to rise faster than inflation in most areas, according to the report

    "The problem is most acute for renters. More than 11 million renter households paid more than half their incomes for housing in 2015, leaving little room to pay for life's other necessities," Chris Herbert, the Center's managing director, said in a press release.

    Still, homeownership is the norm in the US, with approximately two-thirds of American households owning rather than renting. Among homeowners, 10%, or 7.6 million, spent more than half their household income on their mortgage. The typical homeowner earns $70,800 a year, according to the report. 

    There is one bright side, however. The report found that incomes inched up slightly from the previous year, moving a few households on the cusp of affordability under the 30% benchmark.

    SEE ALSO: RANKED: 13 major cities where renting a home is the most unaffordable

    DON'T MISS: This flowchart could help you decide whether to buy or rent a home

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The best and worst months to rent an apartment in major US cities

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    mila kunis ashton kutcher

    The INSIDER Summary:

    • Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis just purchased a new $10 million beach house near Santa Barbara.
    • The six-bedroom house has plenty of open space and natural light.
    • You can see the ocean from every room in the house.
    • The couple’s new oceanfront property is several hours away from their main home in Beverly Hills.

    Celebrities are often moving in and out of lavish, million-dollar homes

    Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are the latest to buy some expensive real estate. The couple just purchased a new beach house for $10 million, Trulia reports. Their new property is located in the beach town of Carpenteria near Santa Barbara, California.

    As you might expect, it’s totally amazing.


    The 31,000-square-foot house boasts six bedrooms, six bathrooms, tons of patio space, and a bar, according to Trulia.

    The secluded beachfront property has an open floorplan and lots of large windows.


    The master bedroom has a beachy vibe.


    This room has a similar theme. It's perfect for kids.

    kidsroomThe house is so close to the ocean that you can see it from every window in the house.


    And there's a veranda where you can sit outside to eat with an ocean view.


    The family still has their main house in Beverly Hills, but they'll likely be spending most of the summer in their new beach vacation spot.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: There's a beach in Oregon where you can dig for your dinner — here's how it works

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    918 ferngrove drive, cupertino, ca

    In Silicon Valley, the more suburban area south of San Francisco, house-hunters find a confluence of a mild climate, a strong economy with high-paying jobs, and a tech sector unlike any in the world.

    The environment attracts a competitive housing marke. It's not uncommon for prospective owners to place bids well above listing prices, often for more than $100,000 over asking.

    We took to Zillow to find the most modest but expensive houses on the market — under 2,000 square feet selling for over $1.1 million. They could be all yours, if you've got the funds to spare.

    SEE ALSO: Go inside the hottest neighborhood in San Francisco, where home prices have risen 75% in the last 5 years

    The listing describes this 1,130-square-foot cottage in Palo Alto as a "darling home tucked away on a quiet street ... close to Stanford campus, Google, [and] Facebook."

    Address:477 Dymond Court, Palo Alto, California

    Price: $1,999,000


    It has two bedrooms and one bath, as well as a kitchen that's begging for a makeover.

    A renovated three-bedroom, two-bath ranch house sits on a corner lot in Mountain View.

    Address:374 Fay Way, Mountain View, CA

    Price: $1,799,000

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Fairfax Co, VA

    The American McMansion is officially a dying breed of architectural design, which is good news for those who consider the unnecessarily massive and disproportionate homes an eyesore.

    The blog Worst of McMansions, also known as McMansion Hell by its URL, has taken on the daunting task of chronicling these monstrosities and helping the general public understand exactly what makes these homes so hideous.

    The anonymous author, who simply goes by "Kate," studied architectural acoustics and has been writing about architecture for six years. We've asked Kate to gather what she considers to be the ugliest McMansions built in the past five years. Below is her list, accompanied by her own commentary in quotes.

    SEE ALSO: These eerie photos of deserted golf courses reveal a new normal in America

    19. Loudoun Co, VA

    "Huzzah! Money can actually buy taste! Loudoun County, the wealthiest county in the country, is at the very bottom of the Top 19 List, with this cheap, remarkably boring tract home."

    18. Hunterdon Co, NJ

    "Another tract house hub, as evidenced by this dated, low-budget estate."

    17. Prince William Co, VA

    "Tract house or cult compound? You decide!"

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Chad Carson

    This post comes from Chad Carson who's currently living the good life in Ecuador with his family.

    When we started our real estate investing business in 2003, I had $1,000 in the bank, a paid-off 1994 Toyota Camry, and no college debt thanks to a football scholarship from Clemson University (Go Tigers!). My business partner, who was a little older, owned a home and had an internet business that paid his bills (barely).

    We faced many of the same challenges other new entrepreneurs and investors face: We couldn't possibly learn everything we needed to know, yet we couldn't wait forever to get started.

    So, I initially apprenticed for a year finding deals for a more experienced investor. Down south in the US, we call this being a “bird dog” because I sniffed out deals for someone else. I learned an incredible amount from this on-the-job training and saved some cash. At the same time, my business partner and I gave ourselves a crash course of real estate education from books and seminars.

    After this first year of learning, we began buying properties on our own to resell at higher prices (aka flips). We used money partners, debt leverage, and a small amount of our own cash to fund the purchases.

    About the time of our 2nd or 3rd purchase, we attended a real estate class that made a big impression on us.

    Can we buy 50 houses per year?

    The class was taught by an experienced house flipper with an impressive business. At the time she was flipping fifty houses per year for an average profit of $20,000 per house.

    I did hit my head a few times playing football in college, but even I could do that back-of-the-envelope math. 50 deals x $20,000 = $1 million per year!

    This will likely sound naive (and it was), but my business partner and I decided that 50 deals per year and 1 million dollars were probably good enough for us (ha, ha). So, we decided that our goal was to build a real estate business as “successful” as the teacher of that class.

    We figured the wealth building would take care of itself as we grew our business (oops again).

    Our sprint up the real estate mountain

    Chad Carson rentals

    Between 2004 and 2007 was our sprint up the real estate mountain. My business partner and I ramped up to buy and sell more properties by creating business systems and investing a lot of money into marketing.

    We became REALLY good at finding real estate deals. We also became good at finding the money to buy them. As 20-something self-employed investors, we were not exactly attractive borrowers for traditional financing. As a result, a large majority of our financing came from private loans and seller financing.

    By 2007 (right before the cliff of the Great Recession), we had our buying machine in full motion. We had nearly 50 acquisition closings in that year alone! Somewhere in between that crazy amount of activity, I also found time to get married to my wonderful (and patient) wife.

    But had we reached the goal we set earlier? Were we an impressive business like the teacher of the class? Not exactly.

    The results of the sprint

    Our sprint up the mountain did achieve a similar level of yearly volume as the teacher who inspired us. But our results were a little different.

    On the positive side, some of our 2007 acquisitions were flips that generated even better profits than the teacher had made. We also did more than just flip houses. Some of our acquisitions were keeper rental properties. By the end of the year, we had 43 separate buildings (58 units) either owned or under our control with lease option contracts. And some of these rentals had low-interest financing that would pay off in only 10-15 years.

    But not all was positive. A large enough handful of the new properties were NOT good deals. Some were in bad locations that made them harder to sell or to attract good tenants. On others, we underestimated repair costs, which meant we had to invest more of our own cash. And some properties had negative rental cash flow because we underestimated operating costs like maintenance and vacancy.

    Plus, by the second half of 2007, we noticed signs of a slowing real estate market. We did not predict the severity of the recession to come, but we certainly saw the storm clouds brewing.

    All of this caused us to step back and reflect on our journey up to that point.

    Reflections from high altitude

    Chad Carson financial independence mountain

    In some ways, we had reached a milestone. We were successfully buying, selling, and holding profitable real estate. We had more cash in the bank and equity in real estate than ever before. But the economic realities and our mistakes weighed on us.

    My business partner and I sat down to talk towards the end of 2007. We realized some important lessons.

    1. We realized we had used borrowed goals. The lady who flipped 50 houses per year was impressive, but we needed to find our own path. We learned that a massive, fast-growing real estate empire wouldn't automatically give us the life we imagined.
    2. We realized that business and investing weren't just about making money.They were most of all about life! So, what did we want our lives to look like anyway? I can still vividly remember writing down some of my favorite things to do in life. These included playing pick-up basketball in the middle of the day. Learning something new, like a foreign language. And traveling to new, interesting places with my wife, family, and friends. I can also remember being shocked that these activities that constituted “the good life” didn't even cost that much money!
    3. We realized that life didn't start once we reached our final goals.Financial independence for us was both the peak and the plateaus along the way. We didn't have to put our lives on hold until “someday.” We could enjoy life while continuing to climb the financial mountain.

    Bracing for the economic storm

    My business partner and I had our work cut out for us as the storm of the 2008-2010 recession hit. Because the market was soft, we had to keep a lot of properties rather than resell them. And as I explained before, we had to handle the mistake properties that we acquired in 2007 and before.

    But our frugal habits and low cost of living now benefited us. We had not spent most of the cash we made during our sprint up the real estate mountain, so we drew on that to cover many of our mistakes. This allowed us to enjoy life during a time of decreased income.

    But more than simply surviving, I wanted to enjoy the plateaus during my climb towards financial independence.

    About that time, I read a fantastic book called Vagabonding – An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. The book inspired me to travel while I was young and flexible instead of waiting. So, my wife and I decided to take a mini-retirement as soon as possible.


    My first mini-retirement

    My business partner and I worked to get our real estate portfolio as stable as possible. We also worked hard to create systems and to leverage the skills of other people in order to free up our time and energy. My wife and I then scrounged up every extra penny we could save.

    Then in August 2009, my wife and I set off for a 4-month mini-retirement in Spain, Peru, the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina, and the beautiful city of Buenos Aires.

    Aside from the amazing experiences, I was shocked that this kind of “retirement” experience was possible before I had fully arrived financially. Yes, we had some passive income and a decent net worth. But we had not reached all of our financial goals.

    The experience convinced me to continue these kinds of experiences throughout my life. Even after returning we planned and took 1-2 months trips almost every year. And the experience also gave me the energy and perspective to move into our next, smarter growth phase.

    Our next, smarter growth phase

    The next 7-year phase of our business and investing began after I returned from our mini-retirement. We focused on pruning the mistakes of our past and doubling down on the successes. We sold properties when we could (even at a loss if necessary). And we refinanced or paid off loans that were less than ideal.

    We also began to acquire more new properties. It turns out that in 2010 people were still scared to buy real estate. So, we found plenty of low-hanging deals! And our strategy of using private loans and seller financing was a blessing in disguise. We still had access to funds from private lenders when others had no access to the frigid bank financing market.

    But we never returned to our frantic pace of before. The pace was always deliberate, careful, and thoughtful. It was a lot like my experience hiking at high altitude in the Andes Mountains of South America. We took two steps forward, paused, and sometimes took a step back. But we always kept steadily moving up.

    By the end of this next growth phase, we had purchased some of our best performing rental properties and flips. And we had steadily improved our net worth and cash flow. Between the sales and the new purchases, we found ourselves in 2016 at a plateau of 90 rental units, most of which produced consistent cash flow.

    About that time, we began planning the next phase of our early retirement journey!

    Mini-retirement part 2 – Ecuador with my family

    One of the most important things in our lives also happened during the smarter growth phase. We had two kids! After a few years of nesting, our travel itch returned. So, we began planning another, longer trip.

    While the first mini-retirement was a challenge, detaching ourselves from our lives with kids made this second mini-retirement MUCH harder. While money is always a factor, getting freedom this time was more about our STUFF. We learned first hand that simplicity is the uncommon path to freedom.

    After months of yard sales and other simplification efforts, including renting out our residence, we were ready for the next phase of our journey.

    In January of this year, we arrived in Cuenca, Ecuador – our home for the next year.

    Chad Carson

    It's a beautiful, small city set 8,400 feet high in the green Andes Mountains. Several rivers and lush parks criss-cross the ancient city in the shadows of colonial-era cathedrals. We love it!

    Why early retirement & financial independence?

    People at home often asked us why Ecuador? Why a year abroad with your family? Officially we could answer because we love the friendly people, the mild weather, and the opportunity for our kids to become fluent in Spanish at an early age.

    These reasons are very true.

    But there's a deeper why. And it's less practical but much more important.

    Because it feeds our souls! Because it's who we are, deep down inside!

    Abraham Maslow was a 20th-century American psychologist. He described the essence of why we pursue financial independence and an early retirement:

    “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”

    What a man [or woman] can be, he or she MUST be. That quote has both inspired and haunted me for a long time.

    Maslow also offered an equally challenging follow-up:

    “If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”

    Money is an important part of life. Early on, it puts food on the table and warms your house when it's cold outside. But its ultimate power is to buy you freedom.

    But this type of freedom isn't just about sipping margaritas on the beach. Financial freedom is about becoming who you MUST be. It's about being happy, in the deepest and truest sense of the word.

    In closing

    By sharing the details of my story, I wanted to give you a true picture of my messy, mistake-ridden climb towards early retirement. I'm certainly not perfect, but then again, there is no perfect path to anything worthwhile. At best we make mistakes, learn, and keep moving forward.

    There are only three main things necessary for financial independence:

    1. Building a strong source of regular income
    2. Saving a large portion of that income
    3. Investing the savings in assets that will grow or at least not lose value

    The unique angle in our story was that we used real estate both for #1 – our income source (house flipping business) and for #3 – our investments (rental properties). For #2, my wife and I lived simply and employed tactics like house hacking to reduce our personal expenses and to save more money.

    Our particular path, however, wasn't necessarily better. Yes, it was exciting, but if you're taking an alternative path like holding a steady job while investing on the side, that's just as viable (and perhaps more stable and safe).

    The beginning of any path towards financial freedom starts by deciding it's important. Then, with a combination of persistence, frugality, and trusted investing tools like real estate or other favorites (like stock index investing), you can reach amazing heights in your finances and your life.

    I look forward to hearing about your own amazing stories!

    Chad Carson blogs at– a site about using real estate investing to retire early and do what matters most in your life. He shares practical strategies, step-by-step explanations, and real-world case studies, all with the goal of helping you build your worth and live your dreams. He can also be found on Twitter at @CoachChadCarson.

    SEE ALSO: 'If you are human,' you should be investing your money, financial editor of NBC's 'Today' show says

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    Join the conversation about this story »

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    one57 from the sky

    A full-floor penthouse in the landmark One57 condo building is headed to the auction block after it was seized under foreclosure, Bloomberg reported.

    This is most likely the largest foreclosure in the history of high-end real estate in New York City, experts say.

    "I don't know of a foreclosure that's larger than that," Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Realty, told Bloomberg.

    The apartment, which was the eighth-priciest sold in the building, will go to auction on July 19.

    It was purchased for $50.9 million in 2014, with a $35.3 million mortgage loan from Banque Havilland. It was due to be paid in full a year after purchase, but no such payment was made by the shell company the unit was registered under. Havilland is now forcing the auction to recoup the funds it's missing, plus interest, according to court filings.

    One57 is emblematic of New York City's Billionaire's Row, a stretch of 57th Street near Central Park, which in recent years has become a magnet for new condos courting high-priced investment. One57 is considered the most expensive of the new buildings, with record-breaking sales that included a $100.5 million top-floor penthouse.

    This is the second apartment in the building to face foreclosure in the last two months. A unit on the 56th floor, which sold for $21.4 million in July 2015, hit the auction block on June 14. It's unclear if the property has changed hands yet.


    The foreclosures come as another sign that Billionaire's Row is dead as the Manhattan real estate market above $10 million continues to cool.

    A glut of units available with no buyers, combined with an increase of scrutiny on shadowy, identity-hiding corporations by the US Treasury Department, cooled the market considerably last year. With new regulations on capital outflow abroad (especially in China), it's becoming harder for foreign investors to use these apartments as investment properties. Pair that with an uncertain global market, and it's clear why the developers of these unique buildings are feeling the pinch.

    On Billionaire's Row, "it's not just slow — it's come to a complete halt," Dolly Lenz, a real-estate broker catering to super-rich individuals, told the New York Times last year.

    SEE ALSO: The Obamas just shelled out $8.1 million for the DC mansion they've been renting since leaving the White House

    Join the conversation about this story »

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