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The latest news on Real Estate from Business Insider

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    With Manhattan real estate prices on the rise, a slew of major religious, cultural and government institutions — some of which are cash-strapped — are looking to offload properties in the five boroughs.

    While the trend is not new — The Real Deal first reported on it last September —the pace and urgency of sales has increased significantly lately, as prices for luxury housing in Manhattan have skyrocketed.

    Indeed, much of the churn is being driven by the high demand for residential condominiums, which has driven up the prices for all developable properties, said Michael Weiser, executive vice president of Manhattan-based commercial brokerage GFI Realty Services, who has worked with nonprofit and other institutions selling New York City buildings.

    “Organizations don’t need to be on whatever corner they’ve been on for the last 20 years to fulfill their mission,” he said. “They can turn [cash from a sale] into millions and millions in their endowment.”

    That is particularly true for nonprofits with swanky addresses, especially on Fifth or Park avenues. And those organizations are snapping up cheaper commercial condominiums Downtown, said Peter Hauspurg, chairman and CEO of investment sales brokerage Eastern Consolidated.

    The high ceilings and ornate interiors that many of these buildings are known for make them particularly attractive for adaptive reuse, Weiser said.

    Another factor fueling the trend is that the city and state governments around the country, including in New York, are cracking down on the tax-exempt status of some buildings owned by nonprofits, said David Blum, head of the real estate department at the Philadelphia-based law firm Montgomery McCracken. (According to data from the Urban Land Institute, nearly a tenth of landlords in New York City are exempt from paying into the tax base.)

    And a city Department of Finance crackdown between fiscal year 2012 and the current fiscal year 2014 booted roughly 1,000 nonprofits off the list of tax-exempt properties, saving the city nearly $31 million, according to the New York Post.

    This month, The Real Deal looked at which nonprofits are turning their bricks and mortar into cold hard cash.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been making headlines for selling chunks of their sizable Brooklyn holdings in preparation for a move upstate.

    The organization, which has been headquartered in Brooklyn Heights since 1909, owned 42 Brooklyn buildings before it began selling them off in 2004. And according to city records, it’s sold $425 million worth of New York City property since then — not including around $100 million of properties in contract, according to published reports. (By comparison, the organization’s new 253-acre campus in Warwick, N.Y., will cost an estimated $11.5 million to build.)

    According to a spokesperson for the Witnesses, 18 properties remain. Those properties include 25 Columbia Heights and a large parcel between Vine Street and Columbia Heights in the Brooklyn Heights area, as well as massive Dumbo site 85 Jay Street, which is zoned for residential development.

    The group’s $1 billion portfolio of buildings — which also includes holdings in the East Village — has been marketed variously by Massey Knakal, Cushman & Wakefield, and Eastern Consolidated.

    This past July, a partnership led by Jared Kushner’s Kushner Companies and Aby Rosen’s RFR Holdings announced that it was buying six Dumbo buildings totaling 1.2 million square feet from the Witnesses for $375 million. The industrial buildings will be developed into loft-style office space. The deal is set to be Brooklyn’s largest this year.

    Yeshiva University

    Colleges and universities have seen endowments dwindle since the recession, and some have started trading buildings in upscale Manhattan locations for larger or more up-to-date facilities outside of prime Manhattan.

    Yeshiva University, a modern orthodox Jewish institution, is a case in point. It began selling late last year, when an undisclosed developer bought the 18,000-square-foot 237-241 East 34th Street, a lecture hall, for $15.5 million. This past February, the school unloaded two more buildings, both office buildings in Midtown South between Fifth and Sixth avenues, for a combined $115 million.

    The following month, the school sold another two office properties to a partnership of ClearRock Properties and Juster Properties for $87.5 million. The duo is now planning to redevelop 9 East 38th Street and 14 East 39th Street into high-end office space, reports show.

    When asked if the university would sell additional sites, a spokesperson told TRD “there’s nothing we can discuss at this time.”

    Yeshiva’s properties and land are worth about $602 million, according to public tax filings. The filings also show a gift of $175 million in commercial real estate bequeathed to the school in 2011 by an unnamed benefactor, and note that the school is looking to the sell the properties — whose addresses are not given in records — as soon as possible.

    Continue reading at The Real Deal >>

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    michael jordan house1

    Michael Jordan failed to sell his extravagant Chicago home at auction on Monday, according to CNN. The auction was scheduled for last month but was postponed after potential bidders wanted more time. 

    To participate in the auction, bidders had to put up a bond worth $250,000.

    The 56,00o square-foot-compound went on the market in February 2012 for $29 million and failed to sell even after dropping the asking price to $21 million in January of 2013.

    Michael Jordan's spokesperson told CNN:

    "We are disappointed that the high bid in today's auction of Michael Jordan's residence in Highland Park did not meet the reserve price...we will be evaluating options for the property in the new year."

    The home is located in Highland Park,  just north of Chicago and features a full-sized NBA regulation indoor basketball court, 9 bedrooms, 15 baths,- and a putting green.

    Click here to tour the estate >

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Miami mansion with moat

    The housing market may be on the mend, but that doesn't mean it hurts to have a house with a little something extra to sell. 

    The owners of an all-purple house near London certainly got people talking.  

    With the help of property search site Estately, we came up with a list of quirky properties currently for sale across the U.S., including a Miami mansion with a moat and a converted church in Oregon.

    This Malibu shack comes with an underground system of tunnels.

    It may not look like much from the outside, but the thousands of dollars you sink into this property will actually buy you 40 acres in the Malibu Hills, prime real estate surrounded by state protected land on three sides.

    The previous owner dug a series of underground tunnels around the property, believing that Spanish gold was hidden there.  

    Address: 0 Mulholland Road, Malibu, California

    Price: $579,000

    Here's a crater-inspired oasis in the middle of the Arizona desert.

    This Arizona home is noteworthy for its largely circular architecture. The great room has a 20-foot beamed ceiling.

    The whole property sits on five acres, with a 75-foot negative edge pool and 5,840 square feet inside.

    Address: 8610 E Maverick Circle, Carefree, Arizona

    Price: $2.5 million

    This single-family home in Oregon used to be a church.

    This church-turned-home still features Cathedral ceilings and skylights. The updates include a lofted bedroom and office space as well as a Euro-style kitchen and a Japanese soaking tub and steam room in the bathroom.

    In addition to this place's cool look, taxes are frozen on the property through 2016.

    Address:2003 SE Larch Avenue, Portland, Oregon

    Price: $799,000

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    New York brownstones

    As more and more super-pricey luxury condo buildings rise above New York City, international buyers are bucking the trend and purchasing historic townhouses instead. 

    According The Wall Street Journal's Candace Taylor, more and more foreigners are looking into buying brownstones as secondary residences, opting out of the condos that have long been popular for this particular group. 

    Townhouses, many of which were built in the late 19th and early 20th century, can be difficult to maintain, and they don't have the services that make living in a doorman building is so convenient.

    However, there are some unexpected benefits to living in a brownstone. As demand for luxury condos grows, housing boards for those buildings have begun investigating potential buyers' financial background more than ever before. The privacy of a townhouse would be much more attractive to Europeans or other foreigners who are not accustomed to disclosing their finances. 

    "More and more, the tendency is to go toward a full townhouse purchase because they can be anonymous, and they can get all the space for a fraction of the price," Adie Kriegstein, an agent at CORE who recently represented a French family in the purchase of a townhouse on West 77th Street, said to the Wall Street Journal

    The numbers show that townhouses in Manhattan do tend to be slightly cheaper than luxury condos. For the third quarter of 2013, the average price per square foot for a townhouse was $1,144, compared to $1,379 for condos.

    And the most expensive condos are much pricier than the most expensive townhouses — condos at 15 Central Park West average at $5,487 per square foot, compared to $2,440 per square foot at the Harkness Mansion on the Upper East side. 

    Plus, there are plenty of ways to create a full-service experience in a brownstone, from hiring a property manager to installing a virtual doorman

    All of the buzz surrounding townhouses is starting to spread to historic walk-up apartments as well. 

    Data from real estate consultants Miller Samuel showed that the number of walk-ups sold increased by 64% over the last year, a huge jump compared to the 22% increase for apartments in full-service doorman buildings. 

    "There is a new generation of renters out there who don’t need a doorman, and want something unique and different," Jordan Sachs, president of residential brokerage firm Bold New York, told The New York Times. "Walk-ups can offer a wonderful combination of old prewar New York mixed with new design, and that can be hard to find in a cookie-cutter doorman building."

    SEE ALSO: 10 Hot US Housing Markets To Watch In 2014

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    home buyer real estate agent house tour

    In every homeowner's worst nightmare, a recent lawsuit alleges that two Coldwell Banker realtors in New Jersey kept potential buyers away from a vacant home so they could use it for their "sexual escapades,"according to writer John Petrick.

    Robert Lindsay, a former president of the Passaic County Board of Realtors, and another Coldwell agent named Jeannemarie Phelan were allegedly caught by hidden security cameras using the defendants home as a crash pad for their trysts.

    According to the suit: "Defendants Coldwell and Lindsay were engaged by [Richard and Sandra Weiner] to market and sell their home in Wayne, New Jersey. Instead, Lindsay and Phelan, through Lindsay’s illegal and dishonest acts, used the Weiners’ home as their play pad to have sexual relations in the Weiners’ bedroom, among other places in the home," writes.

    The suit also reportedly says that the agents listed the home way above its market value at $650,000 to keep it on the market (and vacant) for longer. Their alleged month-long affair lasted for over a year until January 23, 2012 when Sandra Weiner happened by chance to see the real estate agents on the camera feed, and called the police, reports.

    "The police opened the door to the house and found Lindsay pulling up his pants," the suit reportedly states. "Lindsay lied to police by telling them that he was there to prepare the house for an open house. … Instead, Lindsay and Phelan were at the house to have sex." 

    "Immediately after learning of the allegation of improper behavior at the property by two independent contractors in January 2012, we ceased our affiliation with the agents," Hal Maxwell, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, told

    SEE ALSO: 11 Unusual Homes You Can Buy Right Now

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    pierre penthouse martin zweig

    The penthouse of New York City's Pierre Hotel hit the market for a record $125 million in late April.

    But the property, which belonged to late investor Martin Zweig, has yet to find a buyer, and recently had its price slashed by 24% to $95 million, according to The New York Daily News.

    Zweig initially listed the apartment for $70 million in 2007 but later pulled the listing; he died in February.

    The apartment encompasses three floors and was originally the hotel's ballroom.

    The 16-room spread is listed with Sotheby's International Realty.

    The apartment is a triplex, taking up floors 41, 42, and 43 of the Pierre.

    It formerly housed the famous hotel's ballroom, and "the living room is considered the most magnificent privately owned room in the world," according to the listing.

    There are 16 rooms in total, including five bedrooms.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    chris brown

    Chris Brown has listed his three-bedroom, four-story Hollywood Hills home for $1.92 million, according to Zillow.

    It's a fairly typical bachelor pad, with black floors and countertops, plus blue neon exterior lights that gives it a distinct nightclub feel. 

    The house used to have some more distinguishing features, however. After neighbors complained that graffiti creatures on the house's walls were just too scary, Brown was ordered to repaint the front of his home. 

    "There are lots of babies, lots of children, and they're literally frightened. It's like devils on the wall — big scary eyes and big scary teeth, and just the whole vibe is not what we're used to,"a neighbor said to the Los Angeles Times in May. 

    The murals were painted over in July, though Brown claims that it was only because he is trying to sell the house. 

    The house is more than four stories and has eerie blue lighting at night.

    The living room has some more of those creepy graffiti monsters the neighbors were complaining about.

    The kitchen's design plays it safe with black floors and countertops.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    paul allen private island

    Microsoft cofounder and billionaire tech investor Paul Allen has finally sold his 292-acre private island off the coast of Washington, according to the listing on Redfin (via Curbed Seattle).

    Allen had reportedly tried to sell the island for years, first listing it in 2005 for $25 million and dropping the price to $13.5 million in 2011.

    The final listing price for the land was $8 million, though a final sale price and buyer have not yet surfaced.

    The property, Allan Island, is named after a Navy hero and not its former owner, according to the Examiner. The island is accessible by private plane or boat, and while it has a log caretaker's cabin, it has no main house—though there are plenty of scenic spots on which to build one.

    A bird's eye view of 292-acre Allan Island.

    It sits off the coast of the city of Anacortes, Wash., near Skyline Marina between Burrows Bay and Rosario Strait.

    There's a log caretaker's cabin, but no main house.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    reese witherspoon california homeAfter more than a year on the market, actress Reese Witherspoon has sold her Ojai, Calif. home at a $816,500 loss, according to real estate blogger The Real Estalker.

    Witherspoon listed the ranch in Sept. 2012 for $10 million, just weeks after it appeared on the cover of Elle Decor.

    She later dropped the price to $5.9 million, but the still-unknown buyer bought it for just $4,983,500, according to The Real Estalker.

    That's far less than the $5.8 million Witherspoon paid for the home when she bought it in 2008 from designer Kathryn Ireland, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The home has nine bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

    Meredith Galante contributed to this post.

    Welcome to Libbey Ranch. The home was built in 1923.

    The ranch is Mediterranean-style, designed by the famed Wallace Neff.

    Actor/director Harold Ramis of "Ghostbusters" owned the home before Ireland and Witherspoon, respectively.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    As more and more luxury construction projects crop up at the southern end of Central Park, the corridor along 57th and 59th Streets has, without a doubt, earned its "Billionaire's Belt" nickname

    But a new report from the Municipal Art Society of New York warns about the long shadow these new developments will potentially cast on Central Park, the city's most treasured green space. 

    "Based on the shadow studies MAS has produced, it is clear that the existing regulations do not sufficiently protect Central Park, nor do they provide a predictable framework for guiding development,"the report reads. "Quite to the contrary, the existing regulations are producing buildings that have caught the public off guard and have surprised regulators. A re-appraisal of the zoning around our key open spaces is needed to ensure that, as New York continues to develop, we are carefully considering the impacts of growth."

    Among the offending skyscrapers are current developments at 157 W. 57th Street, 111 W. 57th Street, 217 W. 57th Street, 432 Park Avenue, 53 W. 53rd Street, 220 Central Park South, and 43 E. 60th Street, the report says.

    MAS provided side-by-side photos of Central Park that compares today's view to what it will look like when current development projects are completed. new skyline

    According to the MAS report, the skyline is changing for a number of reasons. For one, most of these super-tall skyscrapers are being built as-of-right, meaning that they are not required to undergo an environmental assessment or public review.

    "Consequently, many people are unaware that the cluster of buildings described in this report will be some of North America’s tallest and that no city agency is examining how these buildings will affect the environment,"MAS writes. "The views from across New York City are being remade without the level of discussion which should be required for changes of this scale to take place."

    Outdated zoning laws make it easier for developers to work around regulations meant to control the height of these buildings. One technique is building empty floors, which don't count against the floor area limits and allow the structures to rise higher than would be possible otherwise. 

    These taller buildings will create much longer shadows, the report warns. The rendering below shows the path of the shadows across some of the park's most popular attractions.

    shadow map

    Here are some maps that compare today's shadows with what the park will look like once the current development projects are completed. Shadows cast by 217 W. 57th Street, which is slated to become America's tallest residential building, are projected to be about three-fourths of a mile long during the fall months. 

    sept 21st shadows

    And this is what it could look like during the winter. By the late afternoon, much of the park will be covered in shadows, according to the MAS report. 

    Dec 21st shadows

    "It’s time to re-examine the underlying zoning, height, and setback rules — rules that govern the shape of buildings — and the amount of density permitted in order to protect any further deterioration of Central Park or other critical open spaces,"the report concludes.

    SEE ALSO: These Pictures Taken From The Tops Of New York City's Skyscrapers Will Give You Vertigo

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    pierre penthouse martin zweig

    New York managed to shatter several real estate records in 2013, a banner year for condominium sales and ambitious residential developments. Here’s a recap of the barriers broken over the last year.

    Priciest NYC listing and largest home
    This year was designed to demolish records for the most expensive apartment listings in New York City history, it seems.

    A whopping 62,000 square feet of space at storied co-op building River House, long in use as a private club, a five-story private home that came on the market in October and became the city’s priciest listing ever with a $130 million price tag. Listed by Brown Harris Stevens superbrokers Kyle Blackmon and John Burger, the digs at 447 East 52nd Street would include an 82-foot swimming pool, tennis court, screening room, wine cellar, full spa and gaming room.

    But the River House property wasn’t the first to set a record this year. In fact, the listing unseated the penthouse at the Pierre, which the late Martin Zweig’s widow Barbara Digan Zweig first listed in April for $125 million (the price was later cut to $95 million), as well as hedge fund founder Steve Cohen’s One Beacon Court penthouse, listed for $115 million in April. And Steven Klar’s triplex penthouse at CitySpire at 150 West 56th Street in Midtownreturned to the market with the same $100 million price tag as before, but with Klar marketing the home himself instead of going with a broker. Previously, the condominium was listed with Douglas Elliman’s Raphael De Niro.

    Development: New York City’s largest apartment building
    A 40-story tower at 606 West 57th Street, to be developed by TF Cornerstone, is slated to become the city’s largest apartment building by units upon completion, with a total of 1,189 rentals.

    Designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, which also dreamed up the Westin Times Square Hotel and the Bronx Museum of Arts, the building is set to include 42,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a 500-car garage.

    However, an alternative plan, calling for only 848 units and a 285-room hotel, plus more than 60,000 square feet of retail space, would not quite make the bar for a record, according to the environmental impact statement filed with the city.

    Country’s priciest office tower
    Chinese real estate developer Zhang Xin’s family, along with Brazilian banking magnate Moise Safra, picked up a 40 percent stake in the General Motors Building at 767 Fifth Avenue this summer, valuing the office property at about $3.4 billion – the highest in the country.

    The building takes up a full block across the street from the Plaza Hotel between Fifth and Madison avenues and 58th and 59th streets, with the Apple store located at street level. The sale closed on May 31, with Zhang’s relatives and the Safra family’s New York-based investment arm Safra & Co. purchasing the stake through an entity dubbed Sungate Trust. Zhang is the founder and CEO of development firm Soho China, which is based in Beijing.

    City’s priciest townhouse listing
    A 40-foot-wide townhouse at 12 East 69th Street on the Upper East Side is asking $114 million, and with that price tag is the most expensive townhouse yet to come on sale in New York City. Listed by Paul Anand and Gabriella Dufwa of the Corcoran Group, the 19-room home was built in 1883 and sprawls across 20,000 square feet of interior space and has 2,500 square feet of outdoor space. A three-tiered roof, heated indoor saltwater pool and limestone façade are among the luxury property’s other perks.

    Most expensive Downtown condominium sale
    Though the penthouse at 56 Leonard in Tribeca is in contract for $47 million and Walker Tower’s penthouse in Chelsea is in contract for more than $50 million, the penthouse at 18 Gramercy in Gramercy Park currently holds the record for the highest price ever paid for a Manhattan apartment south of 59th Street. Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexanderpicked up the digs for $42 million following Zeckendorf Development’s refashioning of the building into 16 luxury condos. The cheapest is currently on the market for $14.7 million.

    Tallest building in the U.S.
    The Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 1 World Trade Center was officially named the country’s tallest building in November, according to a ruling from the height committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international body that ranks the height of buildings. The Lower Manhattan tower’s 1,776-foot height was hotly debated: Some thought the number owed to its 408-foot steel mast, which detractors called an antenna, rather than a part of the structure of the building. But the Council on Tall Buildings ultimately decided it was a “spire,” and thus part of the building’s architecture. One World Trade unseats the 1,450-foot Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower.

    Most expensive listing in the U.S.
    The Copper Beech home and estate in Greenwich, Conn., remains the most expensive residential listing in both the greater New York City region and the entire country, despite a$50 million price chop in September to $140 million. Rumors have been swirling that an interested buyer is in the midst of negotiations to buy the home, which belongs to timber mogul John Ruddey. But industry observers continue to snicker that the property remains wildly overpriced.

    The 12-bedroom, 15,000-square-foot mansion dates back to the 1890s, and the estate also boasts a 75-foot heated pool, 4,000 feet of water frontage and two offshore islands.

    Brooklyn’s priciest listing
    Booming Brooklyn, increasingly home to property prices that go toe-to-toe with their glitzy Manhattan counterparts, is now home to a townhouse asking $16 million, located at 177 Pacific Street – a record for a single-family listing in the borough.

    Several other listings are hot on its heels, with a house at nearby 104 Willow Street asking $12 million (said to have once housed Truman Capote, it held the record last year for the most expensive Brooklyn listing), as well as the 50-foot-wide Tracy Mansion at 105 Eighth Avenue asking $15 million and a seven-bedroom pad at 45 Montgomery Place with a $14 million price tag.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    leonardo dicaprio beach house

    More than a year after he listed his Malibu beach pad for $23 million, Leonardo DiCaprio has sold the property for $17.35 million, significantly under the initial asking price, according to Zillow.

    He had also attempted to rent out the beachfront home, seeking $150,000 a month for a lease shorter than six months and $75,000 a month for longer leases, real estate website Trulia reported at the time.

    This is one of two homes the "Wolf of Wall Street" actor owned in Malibu. He bought it in 2002, paying $6 million.

    The house is on prime Malibu real estate.

    With amazing beach access.

    And an awesome beachfront deck.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    paul mccartney nancy shevell

    Sir Paul McCartney did some Christmas real estate shopping this week, according to The New York Post, which is reporting that he and his wife Nancy Shevell were spotted checking out a 4-bedroom condo on Fifth Avenue. 

    The condo has expansive Central Park views and classic prewar design details, like marble bathrooms and a cozy mahogany library. 

    The 3,335-square-foot unit has been on the market since October 2012, but it's seen a $500,000 price cut before reaching its current $12.9 million listing price. 

    The floor plan is beautifully open, and there are plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of Central Park and the Reservoir.

    The spectacular views of Central Park just can't be beat.

    Coffered ceilings give the formal dining room an elegant touch.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    for sale sign flag america home

    Home prices are rising in the Sun Belt and most big cities. Everybody talks about rising housing prices as a good thing, but it’s not so great for people trying to buy a house.

    Part of the reason housing prices have taken off? Investors. Some from other countries, some from Wall Street. They've snapped up homes at bargain prices, then rented them out.  Investor interest sparked bidding wars in housing markets, which Anthony Sanders saw first-hand when he bid on a house in the Virginia suburbs of Washington several years ago.

    “I just happened to have one Chinese investor literally arrive at the house at the same time I did," he says. "And we almost had a foot race to the door. Fortunately, I’m faster.”

    Sanders knows a thing or two about the housing market. He teaches real-estate finance at George Mason University, and says the bidding wars are producing bubbles in the hottest housing markets, like Los Angeles, San Diego and Charlotte.   

    “That’s where the bubbles are forming," he says. "They’re old bubble cities, that are re-bubbling.”

    Sanders’s fast footwork got him the house, by the way.

    Economist Svenja Gudell, the director of economic research at Zillow, watches housing bubbles carefully. Because lenders stopped making shaky loans, and the bubbles are confined to the most expensive cities, Gudell doesn't expect another housing crash.

    Plus, more houses are on the market. Fewer people are underwater – owing more than their houses are worth -- so they’re selling.  “You have more banks selling their foreclosures and you have more people freed from being underwater," she says. "So supply will increase.”

    Gudell says as housing supply increases, prices will cool, and expects home values to rise 3 to 5 percent in 2014, as opposed to 2013's 7 percent.

    Patrick Newport, a housing economist with IHS, agrees that prices won’t go up as much this year. His prediction? "A [housing] slowdown in 2015, and then going forward, prices growing maybe one or two percent above the rate of inflation.”

    That's about the normal rate of growth, according to Newport. Low enough to banish housing bubbles — and housing bidding wars.

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    Ellison Mt Olympus 2

    Megan Ellison — a producer of "Zero Dark Thirty" and "American Hustle," as well as the daughter of software mogul Larry Ellison — had a whirlwind year in real estate. 

    After offloading three properties in the desirable Bird Streets neighborhood of the Hollywood Hills for $46.75 million, Ellison has scooped up another modern mansion in Los Angeles' Mt. Olympus neighborhood. She paid a reported $20 million for the home, plus $10 million for some surrounding land, according to real estate blogger The Real Estalker.

    Designed by architect Richard Schwarz and built in 1990, the home has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, two guest apartments, heated balconies, a pool and a grotto. It also played home to Lou Ferrigno in the movie "I Love You, Man," and was the backdrop of a 2013 holiday car commercial for Infiniti.  

    Ellison's new mansion sits in the Mt. Olympus neighborhood of the Hollywood Hills.

    A private street leads to the house.

    Inside the gates, there's parking for 25.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    one57 rendering night

    Closings have begun at Extell Development’s One57, and at least one early buyer is hoping to make a significant chunk of change by offering a one-bedroom condominium for sale.

    Power broker duo Brenda Powers and Elizabeth Sample of Sotheby’s International Realty are marketing the 39th-floor pad, at 157 West 57th Street. The apartment is a rare find among trophy condos, Power said, and the owner is looking to either sell the unit for $6 million or rent it out for possibly $18,000 per month.

    The apartment belongs to Tao Liu, who is based in Shanghai, according to city records filed today. Liu paid $3.56 million for the apartment in April 2012; the deal closed last month, the deed says. The unit was priced at $3.5 million — a slight 3 percent increase over the initial asking price in September 2011 — or $3,333 per square foot, according to documents Extell filed with the New York Attorney General’s office, which The Real Dealobtained in July. The new price clocks in at about $5,700 per square foot.

    “At 80 Columbus Circle, for example, there are only three one-bedrooms, and here at One57 there are only three,” Powers said, referring to one of the condo towers at the Time Warner Center. “And, it has park views. You can’t find a one-bedroom with park views — normally, when these buildings are designed, the one-bedrooms always face the back.”

    A spokesperson for Extell was not immediately able to provide comment. Liu could not immediately be reached.

    The condo came on the market just before the New Year, and Power said they already have an interested home seeker, though that person has not yet decided whether to buy or rent. A buyer is preferred, she said.

    The 1,050-square-foot home, on a lower floor (One57′s lower 30 levels are occupied by a Park Hyatt hotel), boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, a gourmet kitchen and bathroom with a marbled shower and separate tub.

    The unit is currently the duo’s only listing in the building, though Powers said they hope to have more.

    Extell marketed the 1,004-foot-tall building in-house, with Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group advising on marketing.

    Other buyers in the building include a Bill Ackman-led investor group that purchased the so-called Winter Garden penthouse for more than $90 million, and Chinese parents who snapped up a condominium unit for their child who is currently a toddler.

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    Porsche Design Tower Miami Exterior

    It's no secret that Miami has long been an epicenter of luxury living for celebrities and billionaires. Luxury condo developments are springing up all over the area, and the housing recovery is going strong throughout the state. 

    The 60-story Porsche Design Tower is no exception, and now it's attracting billionaires at rapid speed. 

    Though it won't be ready for move-in until 2016, 22 billionaires (2% of the world's total) have purchased units there so far, according to the Atlantic Cities. And they're going fast — 80% of the 132 units are already under contract, representing a whopping $624 million in sales. 

    Like many of the other luxury condo developments in Miami-Dade County, the Porsche Design Tower has some crazy amenities, including a movie theatre, spa, and plunge pools on almost every balcony.

    The tower's most distinctive feature, however, is clear from its name. Three car elevators will bring billionaires and their luxury vehicles straight to the door of their condo, allowing them to park their cars in a "sky garage" connected to each unit.

    The building is a collaboration between South Florida-based Dezer Development and Germany's Porsche Design Group, whose $214 million loan is the largest that's been approved for a major construction project in the Southeast since the recession. In fact, it's nearly 30% larger than the previous largest post-recession construction loan. 

    The developers provided us with some renderings of the project. 

    The tower will be 60 stories tall, rising 650 feet on the shorefront of Sunny Isles Beach.

    Forget valet — this tower has a one-of-a-kind car lift system.

    Residents can drive straight into the lift, without even having to worry about interaction in the lobby.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Chameleon house mallorca

    If James Bond decided to build an ultra-modern nightclub in his secret hideaway, this home in Mallorca, Spain is what it would look like. 

    The 26,867-square-foot mansion — known as the "Chameleon Villa"— takes swank to another level. It comes complete with crisp white interiors, colorful LED lights, and a bumping sound system that mimic the atmosphere of a highly exclusive club. 

    According to the listing, the house itself is divided up into three different buildings: The first acting as the main residence, the second as a fitness center, and the third as lodging for party guests. 

    It's listed with Sotheby's International Realty. Price is available only on request. 

    Welcome to the Chameleon Villa.

    Dramatically perched on a cliff overlooking Son Vida, Mallorca, the all-white "Chameleon Villa" might be a bit of a misnomer.

    You can park your car out front.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Zillow Seattle Footprint tiny apartments

    Think your place is small?

    These small spaces will put your 500-square-foot studio to shame. Small spaces are trending in real estate these days, and these folks are grabbing the bull by the horns.

    Here are 24 of the smallest homes we could find, from all over the world. They're on roofs, on wheels, and in backyards.

    They may make you feel claustrophobic, but their owners have found them to be quite livable.

    Know of an even smaller living space? Let us know in the comments.

    New York City will get 370-square-foot micro apartments.

    Size: 250 to 370 sq. ft.

    Location: New York, NY

    Last January, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally revealed the design of thestudio apartments that will be no more than 370 square feet.

    These apartments would be an affordable housing solution for young professionals and will be able hold a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and sleeping area.

    The affordability is debatable, however, as the micro apartments will still cost between $940 and $1,700 a month to rent.

    This 330-square-foot apartment in Hong Kong transforms into 24 different room combinations.

    Size: 330 sq. ft.

    Location: Hong Kong, HK

    Gary Chang, an architect in Hong Kong, turned his family's tiny 330-square-foot tenement apartment into a sleek and efficient living space with 24 different room combinations, including bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and even a guest bedroom area.

    So, how does he do it? Chang installed a number of sliding panels which he can move around the space to reveal hidden areas and storage. It's a system he calls the "Domestic Transformer."

    San Jose is also getting its own 300-square-foot micro apartments.

    Size:300 sq. ft.

    Location: San Jose, Calif.

    In August 2012, the San Jose Department of Housing built a development of 42 affordable single-room-occupancy apartments, each one 300 square feet or less. Designed by Studio E Architects, each unit measures about two parking spaces and includes a full kitchen, a bathroom, and a combined living/sleeping area. 

    There is a long wait list for one of these studios, but at a price of $650 a month, the wait may well be worth it.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    khloe and lamar house of the day

    In light of news that Khloe Kardashian has filed for divorce from NBA player Lamar Odom amid allegations of drug abuse, it should come as no huge surprise that their mansion in Tarzana, Calif. is now for sale, according to celebrity real estate blog The Real Estalker.

    The 8,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style home has seven bedrooms, nine baths, and a fairly large pool area. It's located at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Mulholland Park area of Tarzana, a quiet San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles. 

    The custom-built house may seem familiar to fans of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and "Khloe & Lamar"— the family filmed scenes for both reality shows here. 

    It's listed for $5.5 million with Ewing & Associates Sotheby's International Realty. 

    Enter an ultra-private gated driveway that leads to a front door shaded behind palm trees.

    Inside, a staircase with wrought-iron railings leads from the foyer to the second floor.

    The master suite has a fireplace, sitting area, terrace, and three walk-in closets.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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