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The latest news on Real Estate from Business Insider

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    forgotten mall

    • It's been a record year for real estate mergers and acquisitions, with $387 billion in announced transactions worldwide.
    • Part of the explanation rests with Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that own and operate shopping malls, which have been battered amid the ongoing retail apocalypse but now may be undervalued.
    • Global logistics businesses, which need warehouses to house and distribute product, are also driving the trend.

    Mergers and acquisitions of real estate companies have hit record levels in 2017. 

    Through November 15, more than 3,300 real estate deals were announced worth $387 billion. They account for 12.1% of the total global M&A market by value, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

    Each figure is a year-to-date record, eclipsing marks set in 2007 on the eve of the financial crisis when there were 2,500 deals worth $380 billion making up 11.9% of the M&A market through mid-November.

    But unlike 2007, the asset class doesn't appear to be part of a bubble on the verge of its reckoning. 

    To the contrary, many Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) — stricken by ties to the unfolding retail apocalypse that has caused thousands of store and shopping mall closings — have been battered and underperformed the broader market, which has notched record high after record high this year.

    The fact that real estate companies with retail exposure are trading at discounts is one component driving the M&A boom, according to several Wall Street dealmakers, as acquirers search for REIT targets at which investor backlash may be overblown.

    "These companies are trading at significant discounts to [Net Asset Value]," Drew Goldman, Deutsche Bank's global head of real estate, gaming, leisure, and lodging investment banking, told Business Insider. "And people are saying, 'Should that actually be the case?'"

    real estate M&A thomson reutersTake, for instance, the megadeal announced this week that pushed real-estate M&A into record territory: Brookfield Property Partners' $27.9 billion bid for shopping-mall investor GGP, the third-largest real-estate deal of all time, according to Thomson Reuters data.

    Brookfield's $23-a-share bid was a more than 20% premium to GGP's share price before news of the deal leaked. But it's still significantly lower than what many think the company is worth.

    Brookfield, which already owned 34% of GGP before its bid to acquire the rest, said the shares it held were worth about $30 based on net asset value in a conference call in October. 

    So by Brookfield's own estimation, GGP is worth far more than what they've offered for it. 

    And GGP isn't the only one. Activists are circling two of GGP's peers that also run high-end malls, angling to unlock value: Paul Singer's Elliott Management has bought a stake in Taubman Centers, a $3.4 billion company, and Dan Loeb's Third Point acquired a position in Macerich Co, a $9.2 billion company.  

    Both were trading near their 52-week lows before the activist positions were revealed in the past week. 

    Absent the upheaval in retail and the REITs exposed to it, M&A in the sector likely wouldn't be so hot.

    "If you take out those, you're probably in a more normalized year," Deutsche Bank's Goldman said.

    It's not just REITs, though

    Amazon may also have contributed to the heightened demand for real estate, as its foray from e-commerce to physical stores, including the purchase of Whole Foods in June, has underscored the enduring necessity of bricks and mortar — even for internet companies. 

    "If you look at the Amazon and Whole Foods acquisition, it's being perceived by many as a validation of the need to marry bricks and sticks with tech platforms," said Stephen Tomlinson, a partner and top real estate M&A lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis. 

    Industrial real estate transactions have also thrived in 2017, contributing to record deal levels.

    "As a whole, industrial — if you look at the public companies, if you look at the private markets — the industrial space has been very hot," said Goldman, mentioning that there were "two massive deals" sold to Chinese investors.

    Those deals:

    Consolidation has increased globally as industrials seek the capacity necessary to house and distribute products at a  global scale. 

    "That is to a large degree a function of the impact of technology and its connection to logistics businesses," Tomlinson said. "That is a business where scale and global footprint are perceived to be important."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    nobu ryokan

    • Larry Ellison, Oracle's founder and former CEO, has an extensive real estate portfolio.
    • His holdings include multiple homes in Malibu and Lake Tahoe, as well as mansions in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. 
    • He also owns 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

    Oracle founder Larry Ellison is no stranger to the real estate market — he's been called"the nation's most avid trophy-home buyer" and has all but taken over entire neighborhoods in Malibu and the Lake Tahoe area. 

    When asked by CNBC in 2012 why he would buy more homes than he could possibly live in, Ellison referenced his love of art. 

    "I'm going to start these art museums that are basically converted homes, and I have one for modern art, and I have one for 19th-century European art, and one for French impressionism,"Ellison said to CNBC. "I've got Japanese. I own a home in Kyoto, Japan actually on the temple grounds in Nanzenji that is going to become a Japanese art museum. So, a lot of them are museums." 

    Though his 2012 purchase of the Hawaiian island of Lanai has been his largest overall investment by far, he's made a number of blockbuster purchases over the last two decades. 

    SEE ALSO: Tech billionaire Larry Ellison just bought a historic Lake Tahoe casino that once belonged to Frank Sinatra

    DON'T MISS: These will be the biggest design trends in American homes in 2018

    In 1988, Ellison paid $3.9 million for a William Wurster home in San Francisco's swanky Pacific Heights neighborhood, a popular area that's now home to other tech moguls like Mark Pincus, Jony Ive, and Trevor Traina. Several news outlets reported Ellison planned to buy the home next door for $40 million, but the sale never happened.

    Source: Curbed SF 


    His home in Woodside, California, modeled after a 16th-century Japanese emperor's palace, is worth an estimated $70 million. The 23-acre estate took nine years to design and build, and it was completed in 2004.

    Source: SF Gate


    He also owns a historic garden villa in Kyoto, Japan, which was reportedly listed for $86 million, though the price he actually paid is unknown.

    Source: SF Gate, Japan Property Central

    Pictured: Nanzen-ji Temple, which is right near Ellison's estate

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    rosenstein house

    • Hedge-fund manager Barry Rosenstein put his Hamptons beach house on the market for $70 million.
    • The property covers 13,623 square feet and has seven bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms, a guest cottage, and a lap pool.
    • Rosenstein broke the record for the most expensive home ever sold in the United States when he paid $137 million for another Hamptons property in 2014.


    Three years after buying the most expensive home in US history, hedge-fund manager Barry Rosenstein is putting another of his homes on the market for $70 million. Located in the Hamptons, the home was purchased by Rosenstein for $19.2 million in 2005, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    Rosenstein founded the hedge fund Jana Partners in 2001. The fund has invested in Whole Foods and Blue Apron, among other companies. In 2013, he paid $137 million for a home in East Hampton — a purchase that remains a record in the United States.

    While it won't break any real estate records, Rosenstein's $70 million property is still quite luxurious. Take a look at what it has to offer.

    SEE ALSO: A 20-year-old YouTube star just bought a $6.9 million mansion — take a look inside

    The home covers 13,623 square feet.

    Source: Douglas Elliman Real Estate

    If the home sells for its listed price, Rosenstein stands to make a profit of more than $50 million. He bought it for $19.2 million in 2005.

    It has a total of seven bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Foreign buyers aren't the cause of skyrocketing real estate valuation, rather they are a symptom of the real cause: speculation. 

    Foreign buying numbers for Toronto and Vancouver real estate are going to spike soon. The registry will likely be hammered with higher numbers, and climb at a rapid rate. This will look like the non-resident speculator tax, and China’s capital controlsare starting to fail, but that’s likely not the case. Most of these units about to hit the registry were bought months, and possibly years ago. Canadians are about to be bluffed because not even government officials understand the flaw with their method of data collection. Here’s the problem, and why the numbers are going to soar. Even though an increase in foreign buying is very unlikely here.

    Foreign buyers

    When I think of a foreign buyer, I think non-productive speculator. Someone that sits in another country and buys property through an agent. Someone who will likely never see the property. Basically, urban land bankers. These buyers add additional pressure to housing stock, and pocket the profits on flips overseas, paying very few local taxes. Unfortunately, that’s not how the numbers are tallied. They also include immigrants, and people with work visas as well.

    Most Canadians don’t have an issue with immigrants, and people on work visas in Canada. After all, they pay taxes and contribute to the local economy. The government gives these people a break. For example, Ontario offers a rebate to people becoming permanent residents, or have attended school for more than two years. Even though these people get a rebate, they’re still counted in the foreign buying numbers, due to how the numbers are collected. Let’s quickly discuss how that process works.

    How foreign buyer numbers are born

    When a person falls in love… with their money. Kidding. Foreign buying numbers are created when a non-resident registers a property transfer. When a non-resident hands over their property transfer tax forms, they also have to file a form for a non-resident speculator tax. Yes, even if they’re eligible for a rebate. This pumps the foreign buyer numbers higher than the actual tax that will be collected. Speculator numbers are reported higher as a result.

    There’s also one more issue that may come from this method, one that makes it seem like numbers are going to climb just a year after a non-resident tax was passed in Vancouver. This issue is a result of how pre-sale condo construction works.

    Foreign buyers and condo pre-construction

    It’s probably one of the worst kept secrets that Toronto and Vancouver condo pre-sales are heavily marketed overseas. Many scalp the assignments, selling them back to locals for 10s of thousands in profits. Yet these numbers are never included in foreign buying numbers because they never register land, the buyer of the assignment does. Some units are held through registration however, and these are the ones that count towards our foreign buying numbers.

    Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 2.48.44 PM

    Over the past two years, the median length of time construction has taken is over sixteen months in Vancouver. This means quite a few foreign buyers that will be hitting the registry, bought well over a year and a half ago – at least. Knowing this, and the current number of units currently under construction, it’s going to appear that foreign buying is skyrocketing. Especially when contrasted with a significant decline in sales volume in resales.

    Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 2.49.08 PM

    Remember, people want you to think that foreign buying is the primary driver of prices. Foreign buyers do contribute to price increases, but they’re a small part of the bigger issue – speculation. Locals are under the impression that home prices only go up, providing massive liquidity for any speculator that has more capital. This disproportionate focus tends to blind buyers, to the point where they don’t want to understand numbers, and they become highly susceptible to manipulation. This will be very likely the reality in the coming weeks, as the numbers get misread by media.

    SEE ALSO: Canadian real estate prices drop the most in 7 years — led by Toronto

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Barbara Corcoran

    • Barbara Corcoran is a real-estate mogul and a "Shark Tank" star.
    • Corcoran's ex-boyfriend and ex-business partner left her for her secretary in the 1970s.
    • The ex told her she'd never succeed without him.
    • That helped motivate Corcoran to launch her own real-estate company and become wildly successful.

    "You know," Barbara Corcoran's ex-business partner and ex-boyfriend told her soon after they split up, "you'll never succeed without me."

    Anyone else might have felt those words sting and then, eventually, brushed them off. But for Corcoran, "It just hit me in the gut and I felt that fever in my body like, 'I'll be damned if you ever see me not succeed.' I felt like I would kill not to let that thing happen."

    Four decades later, Corcoran is a real-estate mogul and a star investor on the ABC series "Shark Tank." That is to say, she's more than proved that ex-boyfriend and ex-business partner wrong.

    On an episode of Business Insider's podcast, "Success! How I Did It," Corcoran told US editor-in-chief Alyson Shontell how her relationship with that ex-boyfriend, Ramone Simone, changed her life.

    Corcoran was a waitress at a diner when she met Simone. Early in their relationship, Simone suggested she go into real estate. Corcoran worked as a receptionist at a real-estate agency; Simone suggested they start a real-estate company together.

    He gave her $1,000 and said she could take 49% of their business, which was called Corcoran-Simone company.

    Seven years later, Corcoran told Shontell, Simone came home and announced — surprise! — he was going to marry Corcoran's secretary. 

    After the breakup, Corcoran took a level-headed approach to dissolving the Corcoran-Simone company. She told Shontell: "I put the rules down. I said, 'This is how we're going to end the business. You picked the first person [her secretary]. I'll take the second.' We divide our receivables, we divide our cash — the little we had."

    Corcoran was savvy about starting the Corcoran Group

    When Corcoran was starting her real estate company, she placed her very first business advertisement in The New York Times. She asked her old boss at the real-estate agency if she could have one of his listings to advertise. It was the apartment next to the super's, and it had an L-shaped living room with a small bedroom, "like every other apartment in New York."

    Corcoran wanted to make her ad stand out. And so she asked if she could put up a fake wall in the living room and wrote: "1 BR Plus Den: 340." 

    She told Shontell, "It fit on one line, right margin, and I probably got 80 phone calls that next morning. … Within the first two days I had a check for $340."

    Corcoran sold The Corcoran Group years later for about $70 million in 2001.

    Perhaps the sweetest revenge she exacted on Simone right after the breakup? She told Shontell:

    "I moved two floors above him in the same building. I went immediately to my landlord to ask for a new lease on another space and it was a tough market. He happily gave it to me and it was cheaper than my other lease by a few hundred dollars a month. And I loved getting out of that elevator with Ramone Simone and his new wife every day and saying, 'Sorry, I'm going up.'

    "Stupid ego lifts that you do in life, right! But somehow that made a difference. If I was below him, psychologically it would not have been good."

    SEE ALSO: Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran reveals how getting dumped for her secretary and sending 1 gutsy email helped turn her into a business mogul

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 'Shark Tank' star Barbara Corcoran: How I went from a 10-kid household and more than 20 jobs to become a real estate mogul

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    Chip and Joanna Gaines

    When Chip and Joanna Gaines— now the stars of HGTV's hit home-renovation show "Fixer Upper"— returned from their two-week honeymoon in 2003, they were met with some harsh realities.

    Their New York City vacation left them "basically out of money," forcing them to move directly into a vacated house they'd been renting out to college students back in Waco, Texas, they write in their new book "The Magnolia Story." The house smelled of rotting food and desperately needed new flooring and paint, so the newlyweds got to work. While Chip was a seasoned pro at renovation, Joanna was just discovering her passion for design.

    The pair now run Magnolia Homes, a real estate, renovation, and design company, transforming run-down properties into character-rich homes for families in the Waco area.

    But as their post-honeymoon disaster indicated, the path to success wasn't easy. Chip and Joanna found themselves in deep financial trouble on numerous occasions, including one incident where Joanna had to empty the cash register at her retail shop to bail Chip out of jail, and another where the couple found themselves $100,000 in debt after starting a large residential-development project in the wake of the financial crisis.

    Time after time, they were able to move beyond the hardships.

    "Jo and I don't quit. We don't quit, we never give up. Failure is not an option, losing is not an option. We fight and we have fought through some really tough, challenging times," Chip told Business Insider in a recent interview.

    Chip believes the pair share two qualities that keep them moving forward.

    "Somehow, even though we we're so different, so wildly different, the two things that were our common denominators ... we both love to work. We're passionate about what we do, we love waking up in the morning and giving it our best bet," Chip said.

    "And the second thing is, we hate to lose. When we woke up some mornings, realizing we don't have the money to pay back some of these debts that we had accumulated over the years, we realized we were going to have to be very creative, very quickly, and really fight for this. We didn't want to quit, we didn't want to declare bankruptcy — some of those things were just literally not options for us," he said.

    "And here we are, at a place that we're really proud to say 'Look, we're really proud of some of the accomplishments we've made.'"

    In addition to Magnolia Homes, the couple now owns several small businesses under the Magnolia brand, including a retail shop, bakery, furniture line, paint collection, and a "Fixer Upper"-style bed and breakfast. The Gaines' book, "The Magnolia Story," debuted October 18 and chronicles the growth of their small business empire.

    Watch more from the Gaines' interview with Business Insider below:

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Chip and Joanna Gaines fixer upper

    If you hadn't heard much of the term "fixer upper" before a few years ago, you can thank Chip and Joanna Gaines for launching it into the mainstream.

    Since 2013, the Gaineses have starred in one of HGTV's most-watched home improvement shows, aptly called "Fixer Upper."

    The couple announced earlier this week their show will conclude after its fifth season airs this fall, much to the disappointment of the show's obsessive fan base. By the end of their run, Chip and Joanna will have completed nearly 80 on-screen "dream home" renovations in Waco, Texas.

    For many featured on the show, working with Chip and Joanna gives them more than their dream home — they also clinch a good investment.

    When it's time for the big reveal at the end of each episode, Chip guesstimates the new value of the home, after the purchase price and renovation costs. "You're upside right on this thing almost $30,000," Chip tells a satisfied client who sunk about $272,000 into a property in one episode. "Not only did you pick a beautiful house, but I think you made a great investment."

    In a small town like Waco, where the median list price is just under $180,000, that's something to celebrate. But in the off-camera world of real estate, the outlook isn't as bright.

    In fact, when the housing market imploded nearly a decade ago, over-zealous real estate investors may have played a big part, according to a new working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). That's in sharp contrast to the typical narrative blaming Americans with bad credit who bought homes they couldn't afford. Through an analysis of anonymous mortgage data, the NBER found that it was actually wealthy and middle-class investors — who bought cheap properties in smaller markets, fixed them up and sold them for a profit until the financial crisis struck — who defaulted on their loans en masse.

    Just a few years into the economic recovery, HGTV introduced the Gaineses, who have inspired countless Americans to dive back into real estate and invest in fixer uppers of their own.

    Fixer Upper big reveal

    Shows like "Fixer Upper" make it look easy. Every episode has the same formula. The Gaineses visit three homes with their clients, who come armed with an "all-in budget" to cover the purchase of the home and the various renovation costs, which Chip estimates seemingly on the spot. Improvements almost always include updating countertops, floors, and cabinets, and expanding rooms.

    After they purchase the house, construction gets underway. There may be a hiccup here or there that requires the client to fork over an extra couple thousand dollars, but it never derails the project (as far as the viewer can see).

    The client in the episode mentioned above bought his home for $169,000, which left him with a renovation budget of $103,000. Though most of the clients featured on "Fixer Upper" have a renovation budget in the mid-five figures — thanks to remarkably low purchase prices — that's a far cry from reality.

    A 2016 analysis from Zillow Digs found the average fixer upper was listed for 8% below market value, saving buyers just $11,000 to complete renovations before they break even.

    Still, fixer uppers can be a cheaper way to come into homeownership: Buy a run-down, albeit livable, house on the cheap and slowly but surely make improvements without draining your savings account.

    "Fixer uppers can be a great deal, and they allow buyers to incorporate their personal style into a home while renovating, but it's still a good idea to do the math before making the leap," Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist, said.

    "While an 8% discount or $11,000 in upfront savings on a fixer upper is certainly a good chunk of change, it likely won't be enough to cover a kitchen remodel, let alone structural updates like a new roof or plumbing, which many of these properties may require," Gudell said. When you're left with barely enough cash to cover renovations, the chances of earning a good return on investment are slim to none.

    "Do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?" Joanna asks during each episode's opening credits. Guts are one thing, but finances are another.

    Although a few "Fixer Upper" alum have been able to capitalize on the show's popularity — like one couple who listed their home for about 10 times the area's median price per square foot— the average house-flipper doesn't have that luxury.

    In the real world, the true cost of a fixer upper may not be worth the potential treasure.

    SEE ALSO: Million-dollar ZIP codes are on the rise — and it could spell trouble for America's homeownership rate

    DON'T MISS: 20 of the best US housing markets for investing in real estate

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    rudes mansion

    • Designer Jeffrey Rudes is selling his Los Angeles mansion for $45 million.
    • He paid $8.2 million for the property in 2011.
    • The amenities include a pool, spa, wine room, home theater, and tennis court.

    While he was never able to live there himself, designer Jeffrey Rudes is selling a Los Angeles mansion he owned for $45 million. He and his ex-wife, Terre Jacobs, planned to move their family into the home at some point, but after their divorce, those plans were scrapped, according to the Wall Street Journal. Rudes created the luxury denim brand J Brand in 2004 and currently runs the Jeffrey Rudes menswear label.

    Take a look at his luxurious L.A. mansion, which has the amenities of a four-star hotel.

    SEE ALSO: A hedge fund manager who invested in Whole Foods just put his $70 million Hamptons beach house on the market — take a look inside

    Rudes bought the property for $8.2 million in 2011.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal

    The property's main house is around 13,400 square feet.

    It has seven bedrooms that wouldn't look out of place in a luxury hotel.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    hong kong real estate property mount nicholson

    • Two units in a Hong Kong luxury housing development are the most expensive in Asia, selling for a combined $149 million. 
    • Rising prices and mega-million dollar apartments mean middle-class families have to compete for subsidized housing in one of the world's most expensive cities.
    • Less than a tenth of Hong Kong's land area is zoned for housing.

    Properties in Hong Kong are among the priciest in the world, and a pair of fancy apartments in the city have now been crowned the most expensive in Asia. 

    Two units in a luxury housing development at The Peak sold this month for a combined HK$1.1.6 billion ($149 million) to a single buyer, South China Morning Post reported

    An unidentified buyer paid $76.8 million for a 4,579 square-foot apartment and about $71.7 million for a 4,242 square foot apartment, according to Wheelock Properties which oversees sales at the property.

    The second property, at HK$132,000 per square feet, is Asia's most expensive residence in terms of cost per square-foot.

    Hong Kong is a city of stark contrasts. According to UBS, it is the world's most-expensive city for apartments but, at the same time, the average living space is just 150 square-feet per person.

    The average skilled worker would need to earn a salary for 20 years in order to afford a 650 square-foot apartment in the city center. 

    Wealth inequality: The middle-class struggle

    On the same day that news about Asia's most-expensive apartment came out, Hong Kong authorities said they received applications from 88,000 families vying for 620 available subsidized homes, a record high since sales of subsidized housing resumed in 2013.

    The apartments, which are sold for 30% below market value, were developed by not-for-profit public housing provider Housing Society.

    Subsidized housing programs were paused in 2002 to boost property prices, which have continuously spiked in recent monthsAccording to the South China Morning Post, Housing Society chairman Marco Wu Moon-hoi said the imbalance between property supply and demand in Hong Kong is “serious” and “very worrying.”

    Hong Kong is the second-wealthiest city in the world, with fiscal reserves of more than HK$900 billion, but less than one-tenth of its land area is zoned for housing.

    According to the Post, Wu said that The Housing Society, Hong Kong’s second-largest non-profit public housing provider, has "the resources and capacity" to create more subsidized units, but is not able to do so without more land allocations. 

    SEE ALSO: Hong Kong's 20-square-foot 'coffin homes' reveal the terrifying scope of a housing crisis

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    house family homeowners

    • The rise in US house prices since the recession has created a market favorable for sellers.
    • In more than half of the country's largest metros, homes are worth more today than before the recession, according to Zillow's October housing market report.
    • Nationally, home values rose 6.5% over the past year to a median of $203,400.


    For the 15th consecutive month, US home values have increased by at least 6%, according to Zillow's October housing market report.

    That's double the annual rate of appreciation of a "normal" market, says Svenja Gudell, Zillow's chief economist.

    Compared to October 2016, the median home in the US gained $12,500 in value as housing inventory remains low and demand surges. What's more, in over half of the country's largest metros, homes are worth more than they were before the recession.

    "We are in the midst of an inventory crisis that shows no signs of waning, impacting potential buyers all across the country," Gudell said.

    "Home values are growing at a historically fast pace, and those potential buyers want to get in the market while they still can," she continued. "But with homes gaining so much value in just one year, buyers – especially first-time buyers – have to set aside more and more money for a down payment just to keep up with them."

    Some West Coast markets have seen huge gains. The median home value in San Jose rose 12.3%, or $118,200, since last October, according to Zillow. San Jose's median home value is up to $1.08 million.

    In Seattle, the metro with the second-biggest gains, home values rose 11.7% year-over-year to$457,700.

    Ultimately though, lower-valued homes nationwide are experiencing the largest increase in value, according to Zillow, gaining 8.4% over the last year. The median for homes valued in the bottom third of all homes nationwide is now $118,200. Meanwhile, the typical home value in the top-third rose only 3.8%, to $358,900.

    SEE ALSO: Millennials are abandoning the suburbs for a new kind of neighborhood — see inside

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    Join the conversation about this story »

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    housing puerto rico

    • The global housing market is showing signs of weakness.
    • Home prices have been falling in parts of the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia.
    • We compiled a list of the nine housing markets around the world that saw the biggest price drops, according to The Global Property Guide.


    The global housing boom appears to be slowing down.

    Parts of the Middle East, Latin America, New Zealand, and parts of Asia saw house prices fall or slow down earlier this year, according a quarterly analysis by Global Property Guide, which compiled and analyzed the property-price performance of the world's big economies.

    We put together a list of the nine markets that saw the biggest house price drops based on year-over-year, inflation-adjusted prices as of the second quarter in 2017, according to Global Property Guide.

    SEE ALSO: 27 cities around the world where expats are happy, rents are affordable, and jobs are plentiful

    9. Greece

    "Greece's decade-long housing market bust is not yet over," the report from Global Property Guide said, noting that house prices in Athens, the capital, have been falling since 2008.

    Home prices in Greece fell 2.53% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017, after falling by 1.55% in 2016.

    8. Thailand

    The property market in Thailand is starting to slow down.

    Home prices in Thailand fell 2.80% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017, after climbing by 4.29% in 2016.

    7. Singapore

    "Singapore's housing market is still weak," the report said, adding that it saw a 15th consecutive quarter of tumbling home prices.

    Home prices in Singapore fell 3.23% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017, after falling by 2.16% in 2016.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Wolf of Wall Street Tribeca Mansion

    • Alan Wilzig is the inspiration for a character in "The Wolf of Wall Street."
    • He's been trying to sell his Tribeca townhouse for years.
    • The home recently had its price chopped by another $1 million.

    Alan Wilzig, the real-life inspiration for a character in "The Wolf of Wall Street," is having a hard time getting rid of his New York City home.  

    Wilzig's Tribeca mansion has been on the market since 2014, when it listed for $44 million. It was later offered for $24.885 million and is now up for sale again for $18.75 million, down from $19.75 million in its fourth price chop. 

    Each time the townhouse gets relisted, its staging gets more and more tame. Many of its more eccentric features have disappeared and it's now more of a typical space in line with the surrounding area.

    The 6,500-square-foot townhouse has a 2,200-square-foot roof deck, backyard, three bedrooms, and an attached multipurpose garage.

    Wilzig inspired the character who introduced Leonardo DiCaprio's character to his future wife in a pool-party scene in the 2013 film. 

    Jane Powers of Douglas Elliman now has the listing.

    Megan Willett and April Walloga contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.

    SEE ALSO: These 22 whiskeys just won the highest honor at an international spirits competition

    Entrepreneur and semiprofessional race car driver Alan Wilzig is selling his townhouse for $18.75 million.

    It's a spacious, 6,500-square-foot mansion with plenty of amenities.

    It also has 3,000 square feet of outdoor space.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    michael jordan house

    • A celebrity owner isn't necessarily enough to sell a home. 
    • Some celebrity-owned homes have sat on the market for years.
    • Michael Jordan, for example, has been trying to sell his Highland Park, Illinois mansion since 2012.

    While an association with a celebrity seems like it would help a home sell more quickly, that doesn't seem to always be the case. 

    According to Redfin, homes owned by celebrities tend to spend 36 more days on the market than other homes, and they typically sell for less than what the seller had originally asked for. 

    It could be that these homes have price tags that only a celebrity-sized paycheck could cover — or, it could just be that the draw of a star power is not as strong as it would appear. 

    Either way, we've rounded up eight celebrity-owned homes that have languished on the market — some of them for several years at several different price points.

    SEE ALSO: No one wants to buy this $18.75 million townhouse owned by a real-life 'Wolf of Wall Street'-er

    50 Cent's Connecticut mansion

    50 Cent first listed his 50,000-square-foot home in Farmington, Connecticut, for $18.5 million in 2015. In the fall of that year, he lowered the price significantly, to $8.5 million, after he had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

    He again lowered the price, this time to $5.995 million, in 2016, and the price has remained the same since. 

    The home is totally over the top, with "21 bedrooms, 25 bathrooms, an indoor pool and hot tub, a substantial night club, an indoor court, multiple game rooms, a green screen room, a recording studio," among many other opulent features, according to the Douglas Elliman listing.


    Matt Lauer's Sag Harbor estate

    Matt Lauer is having a hard time offloading his home in the Hamptons. Horiginally listed for $17.995 million in July 2016. He cut $1 million from the listing price in September 2016, and now it's asking $14.9 million.

    The 8,000-square-foot home sits on top of a 25-acre private lot. The home was built in a stunning traditional style with plenty of space for entertaining guests and a backyard pool to lay out by. 


    Steve Cohen's mansion in the sky

    Billionaire hedge funder Steve Cohen has been seeking a buyer for his Manhattan duplex penthouse since 2013.

    It's had a number of different listing prices: $115 million, $98 million, $82 million, $79 million, $72 million, $67.5 million, and now, $57.5 million. 

    The 9,000-square-foot space has five bedrooms and six baths. Cohen is an avid art collector, and the home has a dedicated gallery to put his pieces on display.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    realtor home inspection

    • If you're planning to sell or buy a home, there are some key things you should know before hiring a real estate agent.
    • You don't always need a real estate agent to sell your home, but if you do hire one, commission is usually negotiable.
    • Big agencies aren't always better — sometimes the smaller ones are more likely to negotiate and provide better customer service.
    • You should also know that inspectors might not tell you everything about the home you're interested in buying.

    In 2016, close to 5.5 million homes — including single-family dwellings, townhouses, and condos — were sold across the country. In nearly 90% of those transactions, the buyer, the seller, or both used a real estate agent. In fact, just 8% of the houses sold in 2016 were for sale by owner (FSBO).  

    So if you're planning a move, you're probably also planning to hire a real estate agent. Before you do, there are a few key things you need to know that agents may not want to tell you. 

    1. You don't need to hire a real estate agent to sell your house

    If you're willing to research pricing and can take great pictures, you can have great success selling your home yourself. If the housing market is hot, you may not even have to do anything other than invest in a "for sale" sign and sort through the offers that come flooding in. 

    For most FSBO listings, you'll need to get your house onto the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the big database buyers and agents use to find homes for sale. Flat-fee services such as FSBO or US Realty allow you to get your house listed on the MLS without a real estate agent, but you'll need to offer a commission for the buyer's agents. 

    If you're selling a house yourself, know what it's worth. Underpricing it means leaving money on the table, but a home priced too high may never sell. Even if you lower the price later, you won't reach as many potential buyers, since you'll miss that new-home buzz. 

    2. You can avoid a commission if you bring your own buyer

    So you're signing your contract with a seller's agent tomorrow, and your neighbor's friend or cousin's boss has already taken a look at the place. Once you sign the contract, if the boss makes an offer, you'll have to go through your agent, right?

    Not so fast. Before you sign with the agent, disclose in writing any legitimate potential buyers who've already expressed interest. If a disclosed buyer decides to complete the purchase, you don't have to go through the broker — or pay the broker's commission. 

    3. Commission is almost always negotiable

    Sellers pay commissions to both their own agent and the buyer's agent. The accepted industry standard is a 6% commission, split between the two agents. But just because each agent wants 3% doesn't mean each should get it. In fact, more than 80% of sales are closed without the seller's paying 6% in today's marketplace.

    When hiring an agent to sell your home, you may be able to negotiate a lower fee just by asking, especially if you're willing to use the same agent both to sell your current home and to buy your next one. Negotiating is often easier on higher-priced homes. And if Redfin is in your market, it offers an effective 4.5% commission and rebates part of the commission to buyers. 

    Sellers should have a discussion about commission before signing a contract and should let a preferred agent know if a better deal is on offer to see if the agent will match it. If a buyer is interested in a home but the buyer and seller are a few thousand dollars apart on price, agents involved in the transaction may also be willing to discount their commission to make a deal. 

    house hunting for sale

    4. That open house — it's not for you

    You know the open house you spent all day cleaning for so your house would be pristine? It probably didn't make any difference in attracting buyers or selling your home.

    Just 9% of buyers in 2014 found the homes they purchased through a yard sign or open house, and this number is declining as more buyers turn to the internet to find homes. 

    So why do agents host open houses? Most of the time, visitors consist of neighbors or people casually looking. Real estate agents can hand out their cards and drum up new business for themselves, using your house as the backdrop for their own marketing efforts. 

    5. Small agencies can be just as good as big ones

    Big real estate agencies have brand recognition and substantial marketing budgets, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're the best or only option.

    Big agencies are typically less willing to negotiate on commission than small ones, and agents may get a smaller share of commission, giving them less incentive to work hard to sell for the highest price. Agents at big agencies may also be under a lot of pressure to meet sales goals, which means they may be stretched too thin to give your home the attention it deserves. 

    A smaller boutique agency sometimes provides better customer service — and the internet has leveled the playing field so that many small agents can market your home just as effectively as big ones. The key is to not be blinded by brand names and to interview several agents to find one you feel good about — but also to make sure any agent from a small brokerage is a qualified full-time real estate agent if you go that route. 

    Seven in 10 buyers and and 74% of sellers only contacted one agent about their transaction in 2016, which means the majority may have missed out on finding an agent who was the perfect fit. Interview agents from brokers big and small, and compare marketing plans to find the best agent for you. 

    6. Your home inspector might not tell you everything

    Most homebuyers rightly insist on a pre-sale examination by a licensed home inspector of any house they're looking to buy. However, the Internet is full of inspectors claiming they've been pressured by agents not to be too thorough in the inspection process.  

    Many inspectors learn quickly that if they want to be hired, they can't afford to alarm buyers by listing every problem. Worse, some unscrupulous agents may partner with inspectors they know will overlook big problems and raise only little issues.  

    If you're buying a home, research independently to find a highly rated inspector whom you can count on to bring up termite problems, that speck of mold in the attic, or other serious issues that could affect your desire to buy

    realtor buying house balcony

    7. The contract you're signing has some fine print

    Real estate brokers generally provide the contracts for buyers and sellers involved in a transaction. If your contract is coming from your broker, look carefully for a disclaimer of promises. This disclaimer may state that you're going through with the sale as a buyer without any reliance on verbal statements from real estate agents or sellers. Of course, in reality, you have little else to rely on. 

    To make sure your contract doesn't involve a waiver of rights — and that it contains clauses to protect you — consider hiring a lawyer to look over the agreement. Your home is probably your biggest investment, so paying a small fee to ensure a fair contract is worth it. 

    8. Getting the best price may not always be the top goal

    Real estate agents get paid more if your house sells for more, so they'll work hard to get the best price — right?

    Maybe. But if an agent can sell your home in a month at a lower price point and move on to the next transaction, it may not be worth his or her effort to spend a few extra months on marketing and showings just to boost your bottom line. Agents may also prefer higher volume, even at the expense of price, because of the risk that transactions could fall apart. 

    Agents may even behave unscrupulously by bringing you an offer from an unrepresented buyer and "forgetting" a competitive bid that came in from a buyer's agent. While an agent could lose his or her license for such a misdeed, discovering the unreported offer can be difficult and there are agents willing to take the risk if they can double their commission. 

    9. Buyers and sellers can check for misconduct

    Real estate agents must be licensed and should provide their license number. You should check with the state to determine if an agent has been disciplined for any misconduct. 

    In New York, for example, there's a searchable online database where you can input an agent's license number, or search by name, city, or county. Most states have similar search features, and you should absolutely check the record of any agent you're thinking about hiring. Choosing an agent without a record means reducing the chances of bad advice — or of a problem like an agent who doesn't bring all your offers.

    Find the right agent — if you plan to hire one at all

    While real estate agents undoubtedly have industry secrets, that doesn't mean all agents are bad. FSBO homes tend to sell more quickly, but they often sell at lower prices than homes sold with an agent's help.  

    To decide if you need an agent, consider whether you're willing to put in the extra time and effort to research prices, list or find homes yourself, and figure out how to close the transaction without professional help.

    If you're not eager to navigate the world of FSBO real estate transactions on your own, research your agent carefully to find someone who will look out for your interests in one of the biggest transactions of your lifetime. 

    SEE ALSO: 5 things I wish I'd known in my 20s before owning a house and having kids

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    park city utah

    Owning a vacation home is a hallmark of the 1%.

    While most Americans will shell out hundreds of dollars a weekend for hotel rooms or home rentals in the most popular ski towns, the richest of the rich can afford to put down roots. recently published a list of the most expensive ski towns in the US and how much it would cost to buy a home there this winter season.

    The site started with a list of more than 300 ski resorts and then located the nearest town or city in those areas, eliminating any with less than 50 homes for sale and including only one city per state.

    Below, check out 10 of the most expensive ski towns to buy a home this season, with prices ranging from $598,000 to over $2 million.

    SEE ALSO: 16 of the most luxurious ski resorts to visit this winter

    DON'T MISS: One of the best times to get travel deals all year happens the week after Thanksgiving

    10. Stowe, Vermont

    Median listing price: $598,000

    9. Sun Valley, Idaho

    Median listing price: $622,000

    8. Mahwah, New Jersey

    Median listing price: $658,000

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    vanna white mansion

    • A mansion once owned and occupied by Vanna White is on the market for $47.5 million.
    • It has eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a gym, pool, mini spa, and vineyard.
    • Nearby homes are owned by Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, and Sylvester Stallone.


    A $47.5 million Los Angeles mansion once occupied by "Wheel of Fortune" host Vanna White and her ex-husband, George Santo Pietro, is on the market, according to Mansion Global. The couple lived in the home until they were divorced in 2002. Pietro has been renting it out since then.

    The mansion is located in Beverly Park — a high-end gated community with homes owned by Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, and Sylvester Stallone — and features a pool, mini spa, and private vineyard.

    Take a look inside.

    SEE ALSO: A luxury fashion designer is selling his stunning LA mansion with 20 bathrooms for $45 million — take a look inside

    White and Pietro purchased the five-acre property for an undisclosed sum in the early 1990s.

    While the lot was originally empty, they built a 14,554-square-foot home on it in 1997.

    Source: The Agency

    The two-story foyer features multiple staircases.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Stanley Druckenmiller Connecticut estate

    • Wall Street billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller has sold his Greenwich, Connecticut home. 
    • It sold for $25 million after listing for $31.5 million.
    • Druckenmiller was formerly an exec with Soros Fund Management.

    Billionaire trader Stanley Druckenmiller, formerly a top investment strategist to George Soros, has sold his palatial Greenwich, Connecticut, estate for $25 million, according to the Real Deal.

    That price is merely $2 million above the price he paid for it in 2004. It's just the third Greenwich sale above $20 million this year, listing agent Leslie McElwreath of Sotheby's International Realty told the magazine.

    The estate has 12,238 square feet of living space and eight bedrooms in total. It sits on nearly 20 acres and is technically three lots combined into one.

    Druckenmiller and his wife sold the home because they don't get enough use out of it, McElwreath said.

    Druckenmiller is the former president of Duquesne Capital Management, which he founded before joining Soros Fund Management.

    SEE ALSO: A hedge fund manager just put his $70 million Hamptons beach house on the market — take a look inside

    The estate, known as Sabine Farm, was built by publisher H.J. Fisher in 1910.

    After Druckenmiller and his wife bought the estate in 2004, they renovated the mansion.

    The home has 12,238 square feet of living space.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    people at 15 central park west

    • 15 Central Park West has been called the most powerful address in the world.
    • Important people, from celebrities to Wall Street CEOs, have owned units in the building. 
    • Some have since sold their homes for eye-popping amounts.

    There are plenty of legendary addresses in New York City, but 15 Central Park West stands out. The ultra-luxury condominium on the corner of West 61st Street and Central Park West has been home to a long list of bankers, celebrities, and assorted bold-faced names, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Denzel Washington.

    Author Michael Gross, who published a history of the condo called "House of Outrageous Fortune" in 2014, calls it the world's most powerful address. Unlike many of New York's history-filled apartment buildings — especially its main rival across the park, 740 Park Avenue — 15 Central Park West is a relative newcomer.

    Completed in 2008 by developers Arthur and William Lie Zeckendorf, it offers a ridiculous array of amenities to New York's moneyed elite, including an in-house chef, a lap pool, and a private screening room.

    Julie Zeveloff contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.

    SEE ALSO: Meet the richest person in 33 countries around the world

    15 Central Park West took three years and about $1 billion to construct, including the cost of the land. It was an immediate success, ringing up $2 billion in sales. Even today, the building continues to break real-estate sales records.

    Source: "House of Outrageous Fortune" by Michael Gross 



    Robert A.M. Stern, the architect of 15 CPW, was inspired by the great New York apartments of the 1920s, not today's glassy towers. The building has two sections with 201 units in total, as well as a formal driveway.

    Source: "House of Outrageous Fortune" by Michael Gross

    Other amenities include a library, private restaurant, three-lane lap pool, and health club with private massage rooms and yoga area.

    Source: "House of Outrageous Fortune" by Michael Gross

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    millennial group concert

    Big cities like New York and Washington DC have always attracted young people looking to get their start.

    But factors such as rising real-estate prices and high job competition have sent millennials searching for other places in the United States to call their home.

    We compiled the cities and towns that millennials have moved to in droves over the past few years, using data from personal finance company SmartAsset, real-estate analytics firm RCLCO, and mortgage software firm Ellie Mae

    Here are the places you'll find booming millennial populations:

    SEE ALSO: I spent 3 months living in Alaska — here are the 7 things people always get wrong about America's biggest state

    Charlotte, North Carolina

    The millennial population of Charlotte, the biggest city in North Carolina, grew by nearly 11,000 in 2015, the latest year for which there is data.

    Seattle, Washington

    Seattle gained more millennials than any other city on the west coast, adding about 10,000 to its population in 2015.

    Oakland, California

    About 7,500 more millennials moved to Oakland in 2015 than left the city, according to SmartAsset.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    atherton silicon valley housing 8899

    From the looks of it, Atherton could be any ritzy suburb in America.

    But it isn't anywhere. Atherton is an idyllic town located on the San Francisco Peninsula, where even modest homes go for millions of dollars. With a median list price over $9.6 million, it is the most expensive zip code in America, according to a new ranking by Forbes.

    "Atherton is the epicenter of Silicon Valley money and it only has ultra-high end properties,"said Michael Simonsen, CEO of Altos Research (which partnered with Forbes on the ranking).

    It's no surprise that tech billionaires — including Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, former HP CEO Meg Whitman, and Google chairman Eric Schmidt — come home to Atherton's 94027. The town's prestige, privacy, and proximity to major tech companies draw ultra-rich homebuyers, who often pay all cash and bidhundreds of thousands of dollars above asking price.

    Here's what it's like inside Atherton.

    SEE ALSO: The next hottest housing market in America is this San Francisco micro-hood that's so obscure, most residents have never heard of it

    Atherton is a small, mostly residential town located about 45 minutes south of San Francisco and less than 20 minutes from the headquarters of Facebook, Google, and Tesla.

    Mega-mansions line nearly every block. Many homes have fences or landscaping that prevent prying eyes from looking in. Each lot feels like its own gated community.

    The median sale price in Atherton was $5.42 million in 2016, four times higher than that of San Francisco. That figure is highly conservative, according to local realtor Tom LeMieux.

    Forbes' ranking looks at the list price, rather than the sale price, and probably does not take into account off-market sales — which made up one-third of home sales in Atherton in 2015, LeMieux told The Almanac. Those deals are transacted through real-estate agents but are not publicly advertised.

    Despite their walls, Atherton estates still have an imposing presence from the street.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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