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The latest news on Real Estate from Business Insider
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    Jared Kushner

    • Cadre, a real estate startup partly-owned by presidential senior adviser Jared Kushner, is seeking an investment of at least $100 million from a private fund backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
    • Cadre was reportedly approached by SoftBank Vision Fund, a Japanese conglomerate which receives much of its funding from Gulf governments. 
    • Questions have been raised about Kushner and his business dealings with foreign entities.

    A real estate startup partly-owned by presidential senior adviser Jared Kushner is seeking an investment of at least $100 million from a private fund backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Sources familiar with the plans told Bloomberg a senior executive at Cadre, which was co-founded by Kushner, recently met with representatives of SoftBank Vision Fund, a Japanese conglomerate which receives much of its funding from the Saudi and UAE governments. 

    The technology investment fund claims investors such as Apple, Foxconn, Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison, and Qualcomm. Nearly half of its $100 billion is financed by the Saudi government's Public Investment Fund, Bloomberg said. At least $15 billion has been invested by the UAE sovereign wealth fund. 

    According to the report, Cadre officials said Kushner doesn't play an active role in the business, and sources close to the discussions said Softbank approached Cadre with investment plans. 

    Still, Kushner reportedly has stakes in the parent company that owns Cadre, valued between $5 million and $25 million, according to his updated financial disclosure last year.

    The discussions are especially sensitive as Kushner's and his family's business dealings with foreign entities have been called into question. 

    Kushner Companies took out four loans from Israel's largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, which is currently under investigation by the US Department of Justice.

    Kushner himself has a close personal relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and has been instrumental in securing deals between the US and Saudi Arabia. He reportedly leaked classified information to the Saudi crown prince, who is said to have secretly boasted about having Kushner under his control.

    In March, House Democrats called for an FBI probe into Kushner's personal ties to the Saudi royalty. Officials from several other countries, including China, have also bragged about having influence over Kushner.

    Kushner Companies has also been linked to troubled Chinese insurance fund AnbangSpecial counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating contact between Kushner and foreign investors, particularly his links to Anbang.

    SEE ALSO: Top Trump fundraisers who sought to negotiate $1 billion in business deals with Middle East princes called Jared Kushner a 'Clown Prince'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Tina Brown: Why Melania Trump is the best aspect of the Trump presidency

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    • Paula Pant and her husband had a combined income of $63,000 when they bought their first property together in Atlanta.
    • They used the rent paid by the occupants to cover the mortgage, and spent a year saving up for their next home. 
    • Now, they own a condo in Las Vegas, a triplex building in Atlanta, and four single family homes.
    • They redecorated the properties themselves and proceeded to rent them out. Last year they earned $125,618 in rent.

    When Paula Pant was 27 years old, she and her future husband Will were paying $400 a month for a single bedroom in a triplex apartment building in Atlanta, sharing a kitchen and bathroom with three other roommates they'd met on Craigslist. Finally, they decided to buy a place of their own, taking about a year cobble together the down payment.

    But a starter home was not in their future.

    Instead, they paid $225,000 for the apartment building across the street, which was almost identical to the one where they were already living. When they moved in, their roommates came too. The rent the couple collected was enough to cover their housing costs, allowing them to live for free.

    "A lot of our friends were living in places with granite countertops," says Pant. "All we were thinking about was being as frugal as possible."

    Seven years later the move has paid off. Pant (now 34) and Will (now 38), no longer live in that first apartment building. But they still own the three units — along with five other properties they've bought along the way.

    Pant, who came to the U.S. from Kathmandu in Nepal as an infant, says the properties provide her with enough extra income that she's been willing to forego the security of a 9-to-5 job and pursue passion projects like her blog and podcast.

    "I don't have a sister who lives in the U.S. whose couch I can sleep on. I don't have grandparents or uncles," she says. "For me knowing there's a safety net is really important."

    With home prices in many cities at or near record highs, the idea of becoming a homeowner — much less a landlord — can seem beyond the grasp of many millennials. Indeed, home ownership for those in their 20s and 30s is lower than it's been in decades.

    But Pant's example shows, with careful decision and, of course, some real sacrifices owning a home (or a few homes) can be an attainable goal.

    Skip cable — and expensive cities

    Pant and her husband were lucky to graduate from college with little in the way of debt. They both went to state schools and worked various jobs to help defray the cost. But they also had a thrifty lifestyle. When they bought their first home, she was working as a freelance writer, while her husband had a regular 9-to-5 job at a transportation company. Together they earned $63,000. In addition to paying just $400 in rent, Pant says she drove a 15-year-old car, skipped cable, and rarely spent on items like clothes.

    It also helped that they lived in Atlanta, where the median home price is $205,000, about $40,000 less than the U.S. median. With their roommates now covering the mortgage of their first home, Pant says it took a year of saving (and getting up the nerve) to buy their second home for just $21,000.

    The property was in foreclosure and in an unfamiliar section of the city where foreclosures were common at the time. Paul says she spent hours in the neighborhood, walking the streets and eating fried pickles at a local fast-food shop, until she was comfortable with the location.

    Once the couple bought it, they spent their weekends fixing it up. While Will had acquired some home repair skills working construction jobs in college, the couple mostly figured it out as they went, watching YouTube videos to pick up tips. It wasn't always easy.

    "Every weekend from Friday afternoon until late Sunday we spent at the property," Pant says. "I remember feeling like my 20s were slipping away. I wanted to have a weekend."

    Eventually, the work paid off. In addition to the original triplex, Pant and her husband own four single-family homes and a condo in Las Vegas where they now live. While the couple pays a management property company to oversee a few of the properties, others they take care of themselves with the help of a long-time contractor. Some weeks, Pant says, she spends little or no time managing the buildings, other weeks it's just short of a full-time job.

    Pant discuses her finances in detail on her blog. Last year, she says the rental properties brought in $125,618. After expenses like mortgages and taxes, she and her husband were left with $43,200 to supplement her husband's salary and her earnings as a blogger and podcast host. Despite the occasional indulgence (she recently bought a car), Pant says she and her husband save as much of that as they can, hoping to expand their real estate mini-empire.

    Forget the Joneses

    Pant's parents came to the U.S. with little but their suitcases. While many of her adult friends grew up in leafy suburbs surrounded by stores like Starbucks and Panera Bread, Pant lived in a less affluent neighborhood with gas stations and mom-and-pop shops.

    When it came time to buy her own home, Pant says the lack of pretension became an unlikely advantage. "I felt at home in the neighborhoods where my friends who grew up in Starbucks neighborhoods might not have felt at home," she says.

    Her background has also made her cautious about a potential trap that ensnares many other ambitious real estate investors: debt. While Pant and her husband do have modest mortgages on several properties, they prefer to pay in cash. While borrowing more aggressively might have allowed them to expand more quickly, it would also add risk – and a lot of stress. Pant says that would negate the reason she wanted to own them in the first place: to be financially secure enough ditch a nine-to-five job.

    "Nepalese immigrant culture is very debt averse," she says. "Sometimes I look back a few years and think, 'If we had borrowed as much as we could then, just imagine how much we would have now.' But we have enough. To have a financial safety net without anxiety – to me, it was worth it."

    SEE ALSO: Being a wedding guest is expensive — here's how to save money when you have multiple to attend

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Ian Bremmer: Why the American dream doesn't exist anymore

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    toronto canada night

    • Toronto, one of last year's hottest real estate markets, is cooling down fast as shown by the April sales-to-new listings ratio. 
    • Greater Toronto and its suburbs saw the biggest decline with a ratio of 46.4% in April, down 36.18% from last year year.
    • Canadian markets are shifting to regain balance. 

    Last year’s hottest real estate markets, are this year’s fastest cooling ones. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) numbers show the majority of markets saw the sales-to-new listings ratio (SNLR) decline significantly in April. There were a few markets that are seeing the ratio rise, almost all located East of Toronto. The fastest cooling markets were around the Greater Toronto region.

    Sales-To-New Listings Ratio (SNLR)

    The sales-to-new listings ratio (SNLR) is the indicator that CREA uses to determine a buyer’s or seller’s market. When the SNLR is between 40 and 60 percent, the market is considered balanced. Above the range is a seller’s market. This is when sellers can start demanding more concessions, like higher prices. Below the range is a buyer’s market. This is where buyers can start demanding more concessions, like lower prices. Over the past ten years, Canadian markets have averaged 53.4%. Last year’s numbers were irregular for the whole country.

    The indicator is helpful, but it’s not perfect. When the indicator is moving quickly (fast rising or falling), the “buyer’s” or “seller’s” labels may not apply. Sometimes the indicator makes a brief pit stop in the range, before heading to where it needs to be. It’s a great indicator, but it should be your starting point for investigating market trends – not your conclusive evidence. That said, let’s look at the numbers.

    Canadian Real Estate Markets With The Fastest Rising SNLR

    The regions with the fastest rising SNLR are all East of Toronto. Ottawa is the fastest rising market with a SNLR of 67.6%, up 17.16% from last year. Halifax has the second fastest rising SNLR with a ratio of 60.7%, up 14.96% from last year. Montreal is in third with a ratio of 65.9%, up 14.01% from last year. These markets did have a big jump, but all three of them barely climbed into seller’s market territory.

    Canadian Real Estate Sales-To-New Listings Ratio – April 2018

    The ratio of sales to new listings for Canadian real estate markets with more than 500 sales in April 2018.

    Canadian Real Estate Sales

    Greater Toronto Real Estate Markets Have The Fastest Falling SNLR

    On the flip side of the market, Greater Toronto and its economic suburbs experienced the biggest declines in SNLR. Toronto led the pack with a ratio of 46.4%, down 36.18% from last year year. Niagara did slightly better with a ratio of 62.8%, a 29.2% decline from last year. Hamilton saw the third largest drop with a ratio of 60.4%, a 28.94% decline. The concentration in the region is likely to have a stronger impact on the region’s economy.

    Canadian Real Estate SNLR Percent Change – April 2018

    The percent change of SNLR for Canadian real estate markets with more than 500 sales in April 2018.

    Canadian Real Estate SNLR Percent Change

    Canadian markets are shifting to restore balance across the country. Markets with the fastest rising SNLR, didn’t enjoy the massive sales volume the year before. These markets are just entering into seller’s market territory, and starting to warm up. The markets with the fastest declining SNLRs are located in regions that were overheated last year. The movements are largely expected, but that won’t stop people from being surprised.


    SEE ALSO: The surging dollar could push oil prices off a cliff as soon as next year

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Ian Bremmer: Why the American dream doesn't exist anymore

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    GettyImages 860230628

    • Barbara Corcoran recently made the point that bitcoin is perfectly suited to the real estate market.
    • According to Corcoran, the attraction of bitcoin is the privacy it permits the buyer and seller, cutting out the middleman.
    • However, she admits she will personally be refraining from investing in cryptocurrency due to its associated risks.

    Think buying and selling homes for bitcoins sounds like a fad? To Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran, it sounds like the future.

    "It makes great common sense," Corcoran said in a recent interview with MONEY. "I'm being very optimistic because, as a long-term play, it's perfectly suited for real estate transactions."

    Bitcoin's involvement in real estate is uncommon, but not unheard of. Properties have reportedly been sold for cryptocurrency from Texas to Manhattan, and there are currently 140 units for sale or rent on Zillow that mention Bitcoin in their listings. Corcoran, who sold the New York City real estate agency she founded for $66 million in 2001, says bitcoin home sales will only become more common in the future.

    Why? "It's peer-to-peer, with no central anything, and that's why it's so powerful," Corcoran says. Such transactions, she explains, allow buyers greater privacy. "The main idea is to eliminate the middle guy."

    In fact, Corcoran predicts bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will eliminate the need for banks.

    "I really don't expect banks to be around 10 years from now unless they change their model," Corcoran says. "I don't see why it's going to be needed if bitcoin does what I believe it's going to do."

    Not everyone believes cryptocurrency will catch on in the long run. Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett called bitcoin "probably rat poison squared," while Vanguard's Jack Bogle has warned investors to "avoid bitcoin like the plague." And, while Corcoran is optimistic about cryptocurrency in real estate, she says the concept does face some challenges.

    For one thing, in a peer-to-peer crypto-sale there's no insurance or appraisal, she says, which makes people uncomfortable. And then there's the cryptocurrency's notorious volatility.

    "I could agree, this week, that that unit is worth $3 million," Corcoran says. "If, by next Thursday, the bottom falls out and [the bitcoin] is worth $2 million, that $3 million agreement is useless."

    And there's one reason Corcoran says she's personally staying away from cryptocurrency.

    "I lose my credit cards at least once a week, I lose my cell phone once a month," Corcoran says, "and I can't even imagine being like that guy in England, what did he lose, $127 million because he lost his private key code?"

    Still, Corcoran believes cryptocurrency will survive these bumps in the road — and anyone who says otherwise is "guarding the old guard."

    "That, to me, is the death knell of an old business," Corcoran says. "The big guys that control the marketplaces are always the last guys to see the train coming."

    SEE ALSO: My husband and I bought our first rental property on a combined income of $63,000 — and now we earn over $100,000 in rent a year

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Ian Bremmer: Why the American dream doesn't exist anymore

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    real estate agent

    • The housing market underperformed in April, with existing-home sales more than 6% below the market potential. 
    • Some fear that as interest rates rise under a more aggressive Federal Reserve, the housing market will continue to hurt. 
    • But the driving force behind the increase are healthy economic conditions that are favorable to consumers.

    In April, the housing market continued to underperform its potential. Existing-home sales were 6.5 percent below the market’s potential for existing-home sales, according to our Potential Home Sales Model. Lack of supply remains the primary culprit. The inventory of homes for sale in most markets remains historically low, yet demand continues to rise as millennials further age into homeownership.

    “Understanding the resiliency of the housing market to a rising mortgage rate environment puts the likely rise in mortgage rates into perspective – they are unlikely to materially impact the housing market.”

    One reason housing supply remains limited is because the majority of existing homeowners have 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages with historically low rates. Now that rates are rising, they are hesitant to sell their homes because there is less incentive to sell. If they sell, they would lose the low mortgage rate they currently have and replace it with a higher rate and a more expensive monthly loan payment. As mortgage rates rise further, more existing homeowners will become rate-locked into their current homes.

    Given April’s 30-year, fixed mortgage rate of 4.47 percent, the market potential for existing-home sales at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) is 5.99 million. The early estimate of the annualized rate of existing-home sales in April was 5.60 million, so the market is underperforming its potential by an estimated 392,000 (SAAR) sales.

    Surprise – Rate Increases of 25 or 50 Basis Points Have Little Impact on Market Potential

    But, what may happen if mortgage rates increase another 25 or 50 basis points? According to our Potential Home Sales Model, if the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage increases another 25 basis points, market potential for existing-home sales would fall by 11,500 sales. If the mortgage rate increased by 50 basis points, the market potential for existing-home sales would fall by 23,000 sales. While both increased rate scenarios reduce the market potential for existing-home sales, the reduction is small compared with the overall market potential for existing-home sales – almost 6 million sales.

    Understanding the resiliency of the housing market in a rising mortgage rate environment puts the likely rise in mortgage rates into perspective – they are unlikely to materially impact the housing market. While interest rates may rise, the driving force behind the increase are healthy economic conditions that are favorable to consumers. The healthy economy encourages more homeownership demand and spurs household income growth, which increases consumer house-buying power. Mortgage rates are on the rise because of a stronger economy and our housing market is well positioned to adapt.

    Screen Shot 2018 05 24 at 2.15.52 PM

    April 2018 Potential Home Sales

    For the month of April, First American updated its proprietary Potential Home Sales model to show that:

    • Potential existing-home sales increased to a 5.99 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR), a 0.7 percent month-over-month decrease.
    • This represents a 60.6 percent increase from the market potential low point reached in February 2011.
    • The market potential for existing-home sales increased by 1.9 percent compared with a year ago, a gain of 114,000 (SAAR) sales.
    • Currently, potential existing-home sales is 1.29 million (SAAR), or 17.7 percent below the pre-recession peak of market potential, which occurred in July 2005.

    Market Performance Gap

    • The market for existing-home sales is underperforming its potential by 6.5 percent or an estimated 392,000 (SAAR) sales.
    • The market performance gap decreased by an estimated 39,000 (SAAR) sales between March 2018 and April 2018.

    What Insight Does the Potential Home Sales Model Reveal?

    When considering the right time to buy or sell a home, an important factor in the decision should be the market’s overall health, which is largely a function of supply and demand. Knowing how close the market is to a healthy level of activity can help consumers determine if it is a good time to buy or sell, and what might happen to the market in the future. That is difficult to assess when looking at the number of homes sold at a particular point in time without understanding the health of the market at that time. Historical context is critically important. Our Potential Home Sales Model measures what we believe a healthy market level of home sales should be based on the economic, demographic and housing market environments.

    About the Potential Home Sales Model    

    Potential home sales measures existing-homes sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate based on the historical relationship between existing-home sales and U.S. population demographic data, income and labor market conditions in the U.S. economy, price trends in the U.S. housing market, and conditions in the financial market. When the actual level of existing-home sales are significantly above potential home sales, the pace of turnover is not supported by market fundamentals and there is an increased likelihood of a market correction. Conversely, seasonally adjusted, annualized rates of actual existing-home sales below the level of potential existing-home sales indicate market turnover is underperforming the rate fundamentally supported by the current conditions. Actual seasonally adjusted annualized existing-home sales may exceed or fall short of the potential rate of sales for a variety of reasons, including non-traditional market conditions, policy constraints and market participant behavior. Recent potential home sale estimates are subject to revision in order to reflect the most up-to-date information available on the economy, housing market and financial conditions. The Potential Home Sales model is published prior to the National Association of Realtors’ Existing-Home Sales report each month.

    SEE ALSO: GOLDMAN SACHS: Stock traders should consider a bold strategy designed to help them fight back against market turbulence

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How a $9 billion startup deceived Silicon Valley

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    • Prices of US houses and condos surged 6.5% in March compared to a year ago.
    • The index is now nearly 8% above the peak of the housing bubble in July 2006. 
    • The jump comes from mini housing bubbles that are forming in cities across the country.

    Some beautiful spikes too.

    Prices of houses and condos across the US surged 6.5% from a year earlier (not seasonally-adjusted), according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index for March, released today. The index is now 7.8% above the crazy peak of “Housing Bubble 1” in July 2006 just before it all came apart, and 48% above the trough of “Housing Bust 1”:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.06.21 PM

    Real estate is local though prices are heavily impacted by national and global factors, including monetary policies and offshore investors who consider “housing” in the US an asset class and perhaps also escape route. These local and global factors inflate local housing bubbles. When enough local housing bubbles come together at the same time, even as some housing markets remain calm, they turn into a national housing bubble. See chart above.

    That last housing bubble — “Housing Bubble 1” in this millennium — wasn’t some state of calm that the US needed to return to. It was the definitive housing bubble that then collapsed and helped bring the global financial system to the brink.

    The Case-Shiller Index is based on a rolling three-month average; today’s release is for January, February, and March. The index, based on “home price sales pairs,” compares the sales price of a home in the current month to the last transaction of the same home years earlier. The index, which incorporates other factors and uses algorithms to arrive at a data point, was set at 100 for January 2000; so an index value of 200 means prices as figured by the index have doubled.

    So here are the most splendid housing bubbles in major metro areas in the US:


    The Case-Shiller home price index for the Boston metro jumped 1.2% from the prior month, to a new record, and is up 5.8% from a year ago. Note that little dip in the chart late last year, when prices made a feeble effort at a seasonal decline. During Housing Bubble 1, from January 2000 to October 2005, the index soared 82% before dropping. It now tops that crazy peak by 14.7%:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.07.42 PM


    The Seattle metro index spiked 2.8% from the prior month to a new record. Late last year, it had experienced the first monthly declines since the end of 2014, now left behind as seasonal blips. The index soared 13.0% from a year ago and is now 27.4% above the peak of Housing Bubble 1 (July 2007). Note the historic spike over the past two months:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.08.32 PM


    The index for the Denver metro spiked 1.4% from prior month, the 29th relentless increase in a row. It’s up 8.6% from a year ago, and is up 53% from the crazy peak in July 2006:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.09.22 PM

    Dallas-Fort Worth:

    The Dallas-Fort Worth metro index rose 0.7% from a month earlier, its 50th monthly increase in a row, and 5.8% from a year ago. Since its peak during Housing Bubble 1 in June 2007, the index has surged 45%:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.11.04 PM


    The Case-Shiller index for the Atlanta metro, after a brief seasonal flat spot late last year, rose 0.8% from a month ago and 6.2% from a year earlier. It now exceeds the peak of Housing Bubble 1 in July 2007 by 4.9%:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.12.02 PM


    The Portland metro index, which had been flat for five months last year, has now risen four months in a row. The index is up 1% from a month ago, 6.7% from a year earlier, and 22% from the peak of Housing Bubble 1 in July 2007. It has ballooned 127% since 2000:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.13.14 PM

    San Francisco Bay Area:

    The Case-Shiller home price index for “San Francisco” includes the counties of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo, a large and diverse area consisting of the city of San Francisco, the northern part of Silicon Valley (San Mateo county), part of the East Bay and part of the North Bay. The index spiked 2.1% from a month earlier and 11.3% from a year ago. It’s up 37% from the totally crazy peak of Housing Bubble 1, and 162% since 2000:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.13.57 PM

    Los Angeles:

    The Case-Shiller index for the Los Angeles metro rose nearly 1% for the month and 8.1% year-over-year. Between January 2000 and July 2006, the index had skyrocketed 174%. The crash was nearly as steep, as the chart below shows. The index now exceeds the peak of the housing insanity in 2006 by 1.6%. So a big round of applause. The Case-Shiller data for neighboring San Diego is very similar.

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.14.44 PM

    New York City Condos:

    Case-Shiller’s index for condos in New York City rose nearly 0.6% from a month ago and is up 3.4% from a year ago. From 2000 to February 2006, the index had surged 131%. But even during the subsequent bust, its decline was halted when QE kicked in, and along with it the bonuses on Wall Street. Then global investors arrived again, and by 2012, it was once again party time. The index is now 19% above the peak of Housing Bubble 1, having surged 176% in 17 years:

    Screen Shot 2018 05 30 at 1.15.32 PM

    The acceleration in many markets of this home price inflation might well be a reaction to mortgage interest rates that have surged and are scheduled to surge more, as the Fed continues to raise rates “gradually” and as it continues to unwind QE. So households may be rushing to lock in the current rates – and thereby also locking into their own budgets the current prices of Housing Bubble 2.

    SEE ALSO: US economy's growth revised lower as consumer spending slows

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How a $9 billion startup deceived Silicon Valley

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    St. Louis home $1 M

    • Million-dollar listings have become commonplace in the US real estate market.
    • But when you compare the cost-per-square-foot for million-dollar listings across the country, you'll find very different results.
    • In Tampa, Florida, $1 million will fetch more than 5,000 square feet, while the same priced home in New York City buys less than 900 square feet.


    Million-dollar listings once heralded true luxury for Americans who could afford it, but now more than 4% of all homes across the 100 largest US metros are worth at least $1 million.

    Still, how much space seven figures will buy in different parts of the country ranges drastically. A million dollars could fetch buyers as little as 846 square feet in New York City and as much as 5,392 in Tampa, Florida. 

    That's according to our friends at Trulia, who rounded listings in the $1 million range for the 25 largest metros in the US by population to find out how home sizes compare. 

    Below, check out what a million-dollar listing looks like around the US, ordered from lowest to highest cost per square foot.

    SEE ALSO: What a $500,000 home looks like in 25 major cities across America

    DON'T MISS: Many millennials are itching to become homeowners — here are the 17 best cities to put down roots

    Tampa, Florida

    Listing price: $999,000

    Square feet: 5,392

    Price per square foot: $185

    Newark, New Jersey

    Listing price: $979,000

    Square feet: 4,885

    Price per square foot: $200

    Baltimore, Maryland

    Listing price: $989,900

    Square feet: 4,570

    Price per square foot: $217

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Toronto home sales plunged 22% in May compared to a year ago, to 7,834 homes.
    • Housing costs in the city had been soaring, with the Home Price Index up 32% in 2017 from a year earlier.
    • The irony is that “housing affordability” is fundamentally impacted by prices and interest rates.

    Average price of single-family house plunges 13%, or by C$160,000 from peak. Sales of homes priced over C$1.5 million collapse by 63%. Condos still hanging on.

    Housing in the Greater Toronto Area is, let’s say, retrenching. Canada’s largest housing market has seen an enormous two-decade surge in prices that culminated in utter craziness in April 2017, when the Home Price Index had skyrocketed 32% from a year earlier. But now the hangover has set in and the bubble isn’t fun anymore.

    Home sales plunged 22% in May compared to a year ago, to 7,834 homes, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). It affected all types of homes, even the once red-hot condos:

    • Detached houses -28.5%
    • Semi-detached houses -29.4%
    • Townhouses -13.4%
    • Condos -15.5%.

    It was particularly unpleasant at the higher end: Sales of homes costing C$1.5 million or more plummeted by 46% year-over-year to 508 homes in May 2018, according to TREB data. Compared to the April 2017 peak of 1,362 sales in that price range, sales in May collapsed by 63%.

    But it’s not just at the high end. At the low end too. In May, sales of homes below C$500,000 – about 68% of them were condos – fell by 36% year-over-year to 5,253 homes.

    The TREB publishes two types of prices – the average price and its proprietary MLS Home Price Index based on a “composite benchmark home.” Both fell in May compared to a year ago.

    The average price in May for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) fell 6.6% year-over-year to C$805,320, and is now down 12.3%, or an ear-ringing C$113,000, from the crazy peak in April 2017.

    There are no perfect measures of home prices in a market. Each has its own drawbacks. Average home prices can be impacted by the mix and by a few large outliers – but over the longer term, it gives a good impression of the direction. The chart below shows the percentage change in average home prices in the GTA compared to a year earlier:

    Screen Shot 2018 06 05 at 2.38.13 PM

    The TREB’s proprietary Home Price Index is based on a “composite benchmark home” and strips out the impact of changes in mix and large outliers that may afflict the average price. And the HPI Composite Benchmark fell by 5.4% year-over-year.

    All home types except condos experienced year-over-year price declines in the HPI, with detached homes also getting hit the hardest:

    • Detached houses: -10.2%
    • Semi-detached houses: -8.5%
    • Townhouses: -4.3%
    • Condos: +8.3%

    The inventory of homes for sale rose by 13.2% in May compared to a year ago, to 20,919 active listings. At the rate of sales in May, this worked out to a supply of 2.7 months, up from 2.3 months in April and from 2.1 months in March. The average days-on-the-market before the home was sold or before the listing was pulled without sale jumped to 20 days in May from 11 days a year ago.

    With some irony, the TREB cited a survey, conducted between May 18 and May 22 in the GTA, that found that concerns about “affordability” — surprise, surprise! — ranked high among a lot of people:

    Among 9 listed issues (health care, government spending/balancing budget, taxes, housing affordability, energy costs, economy, transportation/traffic, environment/climate change, enhancing social programs), 25% of GTA residents rank housing affordability in their top two most-important issues for the Ontario election campaign;

    69% agree (35% strongly/34% somewhat) that a party’s platform on housing affordability will influence who they vote for on election day.

    The irony is that “housing affordability” is fundamentally impacted by prices and interest rates. Interest rates have come up a tiny bit from historic lows and remain historically low. But prices have surged for two decades. What will make the Toronto housing market more affordable for many people would be a substantial decline in prices. So if the TREB wants to enhance housing affordability for folks in Toronto, it should advocate for policies that will bring down home prices – of the kind that the government has been implementing – and not advocate against them. But advocating against them is precisely what the TREB, as real estate lobbying group, has been doing with a passion for a year.

    Chicago’s rents are in free-fall, Washington DC’s rent suddenly plunge, New York’s rents fall to third place. But rents soar in Southern California and other parts. Bay Area and Seattle are “mixed.” 

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    Hong Kong

    • A single parking space in Hong Kong that was bought for $430,000 less than a year ago was just resold for $760,000.
    • A local couple initially bought the spot in the luxury Ultima complex in 2017 and resold it nine months later for nearly double that, setting a new property world record. 
    • Hong Kong continues to break property records, and the Ultima complex now tops of the list of most expensive places in the world to park a car.

    A single parking space in Hong Kong that was bought for $430,000 less than a year ago was just resold for HK$6 million ($760,000), setting a new property world record. 

    The parking space at the luxury Ultima project located in the Kowloon district was initially bought in September 2017 by a local couple for HK$3.4 million ($430,000), according to land registry documents seen by the South China Morning Post

    Nine months since buying the space, the couple just resold the spot for HK$6 million ($760,000), turning a HK$2.6 million ($330,000) profit. 

    The 16x8 foot parking spot equals out to roughly HK$44,444 ($5,600) per square foot, nearly three times the average per square foot of a residential property in Hong Kong, which is one of the priciest places in the world

    "The development is in a luxury residential area. The residents have a lot of cash and simply do not care about a few million dollars when a flat there costs about $12.7 million (HK$100 million)," Sandia Lau, a director at Centaline Property Agency, told the Post. "Their convenience is more important." 

    Ultima now tops of the list of most expensive places in the world to park a car. In April, a car space in the complex was rented out for HK$10,000 ($1,274) a month, making it the city’s most expensive rented car park. The Ultima project has only 370 car spaces for its 527-units, which caused the prices of parking spaces to increase substantially.

    Hong Kong has broken several world records as the price of real estate continues to skyrocket. In November, two of the most expensive apartments in Asia sold for a combined HK$1.16 ($149 million) to a single buyer.

    SEE ALSO: Hong Kong is so expensive that a single parking space just broke a property record

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    Project Milestone netherlands 3D printed homes

    • A Dutch city will be home to the world's first habitable 3D-printed homes.
    • Five concrete homes will be constructed in Eindhoven as part of a collaboration between Eindhoven University of Technology and various partners.
    • The first house built through Project Milestone will be single-story but the team eventually hope to build houses up to three stories tall using the construction technique.

    The world's first habitable 3D-printed homes are to be built in the Dutch city of Eindhoven - a move which developers hope will help transform the construction industry.

    The five concrete houses will be created later this year as part of Project Milestone, a collaboration between Eindhoven University of Technology and various partners who will ensure the houses meet living standards and be occupied.

    "The project is the world's first commercial housing project based on 3D concrete printing," a spokesperson for the university said. "The houses will all be occupied [and] they will meet all modern comfort requirements."

    It is not the first time a house has been 3D-printed, although all previous attempts have been prototypes or part of research projects.

    Project Milestone netherlands 3D printed houses

    The first house built through Project Milestone will be single-story but the team eventually hope to build houses up to three stories tall using the construction technique.

    Initially, parts will be printed at the university but the intention is to shift the entire operation to the construction site.

    The group behind the latest construction project previously printed the world's first 3D-printed concrete bridge, which is currently used by cyclists in the Dutch village of Gemert.

    The team said that the precise nature of 3D-printing means less building materials are wasted during the construction process, while also making it easier to customise houses to meet individual wishes.

    "3D printing of concrete is a potential game changer in the building industry," a spokesperson for Eindhoven University of Technology said.

    "Besides the ability to construct almost any shape, it also enables architects to design very fine concrete structures. Another new possibility is to print all kinds, qualities and colours of concrete, all in a single product."

    SEE ALSO: Designed for a community of tech elites, these tiny homes are 3D printed, run by Tesla batteries, and cost $250,000

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    Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman

    • Online real-estate brokerage Redfin faces growing competition from venture-backed rivals.
    • But CEO Glenn Kelman says those companies shouldn't underestimate him or his team, saying they are "wild, freaking animals."
    • Kelman's bravado aside, the growing competition comes as the company's losses are already growing as its tries to diversify its business.

    Glenn Kelman may look like a nice, even ordinary guy. But he'll have you and everyone else know that when it comes to business, he's an animal.

    Kelman is the CEO of online real-estate brokerage Redfin. His company, which went public last year, has been seeing increasing competition of late in the form of venture-backed real estate startups, including Knock, Door, and Amne.

    Not long ago, he met the head of one of his competitors and asked the exec why he thought he could beat Redfin.

    "I think we're going out-hustle you because we want it more than you do," the competitor said.

    That set Kelman off.

    "It was like an atom bomb dropped down my throat and exploded," he said in a recent interview with Business Insider.

    With his bachelor's degree in English from the notoriously liberal University of California at Berkeley, and his dad-like V-neck sweaters, Kelman may have an assuming background and appearance. But he's determined that no one is going to out-compete him or Redfin.

    "I think he had no idea what kind of savage beast master he was dealing with," Kelman said.

    He continued: "We are wild, freaking animals. You can't sell more houses for less money any other way. You've got to fight and claw for it."

    Redfin's losses are swelling as it tries to grow and diversify

    Of course, Redfin's going to need more than just Kelman's bravado to survive and thrive. Even as the company's competition is intensifying, it's already struggling to build a profitable and sustainable business.

    Last quarter, its loss swelled from the year-ago period even as its revenue grew, thanks in part to shrinking gross margins — the difference between its revenue and its direct costs for offering its services. And its stock price is off 36% percent in the year-to-date after missing Wall Street's earnings expectations.

    Redfin has made a name for itself — and gained market share — in part by offering lower commissions than traditional real estate brokers. The company also prides itself on paying high salaries to its brokers in an effort to attract the best ones.

    But some of Redfin's competitors are offering even lower commissions, which could potentially lead to a damaging pricing war.

    The company has started to diversify its business by buying and selling houses directly to consumers rather than just serving as a broker and by offering mortgages.

    "I worry all the time that we're losing too little money or too much, that we're investing too much in growth or not enough," Kelman said. "But I also feel very confident that investors are getting their money's worth.

    "This company is busting its butt to make customers extremely happy."

    SEE ALSO: WeWork has raised $6.1 billion and pioneered the co-working movement — but it increasingly looks like it doesn't understand commercial real estate

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    china real estate

    • Chinese investors will put $1.5 trillion into assets abroad over the next decade.
    • About half of that will likely go into foreign property, often in the US, Canada and Australia.
    • Home prices have soared under foreign buying pressure, and politicians are finally admitting it.

    The “waterbed effect” of money flows.

    Top residential real estate brokerages in the US have been promoting US homes to investors in China for years. Brokerage firms in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries have done the same. Commissions are at stake! They have set up units in China and are partnering with Chinese real estate portals, such as

    Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, a subsidiary of HomeServices – the second largest residential brokerage in the US – entered the fray belatedly a year ago with a marketing agreement with “to syndicate all of its franchisees’ residential listings.”

    And not just in the trophy cities on the coasts, but all of Berkshire’s listings, anywhere.

    One of the properties it offers on today is this mansion on 8387 Ford Road, Superior Township, Michigan:

    Screen Shot 2018 06 08 at 10.13.07 AM

    Scrolling down the page of any of these listings reveals four red buttons that lead to the crux of these deals for Chinese investors (so-so translations below):

    Screen Shot 2018 06 08 at 10.14.13 AM

    • Top left: Guide on how to buy a house in the US.
    • Top right: Guide with maps of school districts and housing around the “top 100” universities.
    • Bottom left: Guide for obtaining a US investor immigrant visa EB-5
    • Bottom right: Guide on how to apply for study abroad.

    And these brokerage firms in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries are doing expos and conferences in China to lure investors to make the leap. This massive marketing effort in China by these firms has worked like a charm. predicts, according to the Wall Street Journal, that Chinese investors will plow $1.5 trillion into assets abroad over the next decade, with about half of that going into foreign property.

    The exact number of investors in China that have piled into these housing markets is still nebulous, despite some efforts locally to collect data on it. But home prices have soared under this buying pressure of foreign money, and now, after years of denying it, politicians are no longer denying it.

    At first, the inflow of Chinese investor money was great and awesome. But then it turned the local markets into full-blown housing bubbles that began threatening local economies. So various levels of governments in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere – but notably not yet in the US – have created policies to tamp down on this incoming flood of money that distorts the market. Here’s a flavor:

    • June 2016: The Australian state of New South Wales, where Sydney is, unveiled a 4% tax on foreign home buyers.
    • July 2016: The Australian state of Victoria, where Melbourne is, raised its tax on foreign home buyers from 3% to 7%.
    • July 2016: The Canadian province of British Columbia, where Vancouver is, introduced a 15% tax on foreign home buyers.
    • April 2017: The Canadian Province of Ontario, where Toronto is, announced a laundry list of measures, including a 15% tax on purchases by non-resident foreign investors.
    • July 2017: Disappointed with the results, New South Wales doubled its foreign buyers tax to 8%.
    • October 2017: New Zealand’s government unveiled plans to block foreigners from buying existing homes.
    • February 2018: Disappointed with the results, British Columbia raised its foreign buyers tax from 15% to 20%. It also imposed a levy of 0.5% of the property value (which will increase to 2% in 2019) on homeowners who don’t pay income tax in Canada, thus targeting non-resident investors.

    All these measures produced very mixed results. Home prices are now sinking in Toronto and Sydney, but continue to rise in Vancouver and other cities. If there are ways to get around some of these policies, local facilitators will help Chinese investors find those ways.

    These governments “are still at the trial-and-error stage,” Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow, told the Wall Street Journal. “They are trying to figure what works and what doesn’t.”

    And there is what Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson – who, after 10 years in office, announced that he won’t seek reelection – calls the “waterbed effect of capital flooding wherever taxes are lowest and regulation is weak.” When one area tries to tamp down on the influx of foreign money, the flow simply goes somewhere else. In Canada, this is partly due to the lack of coordination between federal, provincial, and municipal governments, he told The Journal.

    “It’s a complex challenge between regulating offshore investment, local real-estate practices and addressing housing supply within cities, all in sync,” he said. “The reality is that interventions take time and aren’t wholly predictable.”

    House price bubbles aren’t like stock market bubbles. People don’t have to live in stocks. But they do need to live in homes. When homes get perverted into a global asset class, all kinds of things happen, including that new supply from construction can’t meet the sudden surge of financial demand from investors who might never live on those homes. Just like stock market bubbles, housing bubbles deflate. But unlike stock-market downturns, housing-market downturns wreak havoc on the real economy on a very local basis.

    In Australia, foreign buyers accounted for 10% to 15% of homes under construction and account for about 5% of total residential sales. But the share of foreign buyers reached about a quarter of new-built condos in Sydney and Melbourne, according to estimates by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

    “Many foreign buyers come from China, seemingly around three-quarters,” explained RBA’s head of financial stability, Jonathan Kearns, to an Australia-China property conference last November.

    The package of policies were starting to have a visible effect by last November: “Purchases of new properties by foreign buyers have eased over the past year, reportedly because of stricter enforcement of Chinese capital controls and tighter access to finance for foreign buyers,” Kearns said.

    In terms of new developments, investors in China purchased about $1.5 billion in residential building sites in 2017, amounting to about a third of Australia’s total building sites, according to real-estate company Knight Frank, cited by The Journal.

    Among signs that Chinese investors have backed off in Australia, there’s the “waterbed effect,” with foreign money flowing to where there is less regulation: found, according to The Journal, that the US and Canada have lost their spots at the top of the list for Chinese buyer inquiries, replaced by Malaysia and Thailand.

    In Toronto, the average selling price of a single-family house plunged 13% in May, or by C$160,000, from the peak in 2017. Sales of homes priced over C$1.5 million collapsed by 63%. 

    SEE ALSO: Some of America's top CEOs are freaked out about Trump's tariffs

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    queen elizabeth christmas speech

    • The royal family owns private residential houses as well as castles and palaces across the UK.
    • They also own famous landmarks like the Savoy Hotel and the Ascot Racecourse.
    • Many of them have been in the royal family for hundreds of years.

    Queen Elizabeth isn't just a monarch — she's a real estate mogul, too.

    The royal family owns property across the UK valued at an estimated $18 billion. The queen receives 25% of the the Crown Estate's revenues to spend on maintaining her properties as well as her official work.

    From palaces to private homes, here are 11 properties that the royal family calls their own.

    Buckingham Palace — London, England

    Buckingham Palace is the administrative headquarters of the ruling monarch— in other words, the queen's office. 

    Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms total, including 19 State rooms, 52 bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.

    It opens to the public for tours every summer as well as for a limited time during December, January, and Easter.

    Click here to see more of Buckingham Palace's lavish Christmas decorations.

    Sandringham House — Norfolk, England

    Queen Elizabeth inherited Sandringham House from her father in 1952. It's a private residence on an 8,000 hectare-estate owned by the royal family.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    golf course

    • Golf courses that aren't in use anymore could be great building cites for real-estate developers.
    • They're open for development by nature, surrounded by wealth, and therefore in demand. 

    With about 10 million less golfers than there were circa 2002, the question of what to do with hundreds of acres of former courses has revealed something of a dilemma.

    Former golf courses are arguably the best sites for new housing developments; as City Lab puts it, they are surrounded by wealthy communities with good schools and, likely, solid job opportunities, but neighbors don’t seem open to the idea.

    Most old golf courses, perhaps because they’re zoned commercially, end up being developments with a mix of office, retail and hospitality components or parks.

    “The main variable blocking new housing on old golf courses might be old-fashioned NIMBYism,” writes Nolan Gray for the publication, as he describes the various housing projects that have been canned due to local opposition. One such project was a 154-unit development for seniors in the Boston suburb of Lynfield.

    SEE ALSO: Tesla surges after Elon Musk says the first 'full self-driving features' are coming in August (TSLA)

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    Marc Lore Tribeca penthouse apartment

    • Walmart's CEO of US e-commerce, Marc Lore, has reportedly purchased a penthouse in an ultra-luxury building in Manhattan for $43.8 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
    • The building is known for being an enclave of celebrities due to "paparazzi-proof" features like a lower-level parking lot protected by iron gates.
    • The move comes as Walmart focuses more on city dwellers with its e-commerce operations, like the recently announced initiative Jetblack, a personal-shopping service targeted towards "time-strapped urban parents."

    Walmart's head of US e-commerce, Marc Lore, reportedly just splashed out for a large slice of Manhattan real estate.

    Lore recently paid $43.8 million for a penthouse in 443 Greenwich Street, a luxury development in Tribeca, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that cited two sources familiar with the deal. The penthouse is one of eight in the building, and each carried a high price tag.

    The building has become something of a haven for celebrities thanks to it its "paparazzi-proof" features, which include a lower-level parking garage and interior courtyard. The building has reportedly attracted celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Justin Timberlake. 

    Lore's planting roots in New York City shouldn't come as much of surprise. The startup he founded,, is located just across the river in Hoboken, New Jersey. Walmart bought for $3.3 billion in 2016. Lore then took on the role he plays now as head of Walmart's US e-commerce operations, which has focused more on cities lately.'s focus on urban millennials and Walmart's New York launch of its $600-a-year personal-shopping service, Jetblack, are just a few examples of how the retailer is thinking seriously about courting customers who live in big cities. In 2017, Walmart also acquired Bonobos, which is based in New York and has a largely city-based clientele.

    A spokesperson for Walmart declined to comment on Lore's reported purchase.

    Let's take a look around the building:

    Sarah Jacobs contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.

    SEE ALSO: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are reportedly 'unhappy' with their 7,000-square-foot Washington, DC home and are looking for something bigger — here's where they're currently living

    Welcome to 443 Greenwich Street, an ultra-luxury development in Manhattan's swanky Tribeca neighborhood.

    Built in 1882, the building was originally a book bindery. Today, it's a landmarked building with 53 residential condominiums, including eight penthouses.

    The building has played up its privacy-oriented features to attract buyers looking to lay low. Those features include a lower-level parking garage and a valet stand that's protected by iron gates.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    cerro gordo ghost town

    • Cerro Gordo, an abandoned mining town in Lone Pine, California, that looks straight out of Westworld is currently for sale for just under $1 million.
    • It boasts nearly 300 acres of land, historic buildings, many of which are being restored, and a history that's both violent and rich in economic growth.
    • The ghost town perfectly captures the essence of the Wild Wild West, frozen in time.

    In some wild news from the Wild Wild West, a historic ghost town in Lone Pine, California, is for sale for just under $1 million.

    A 19th-century mining town, Cerro Gordo boasts more than 300 acres of land and 22 buildings, many of which are being restored — and maybe a ghost or two, considering the town's violent history dating back to the 19th century. 

    Established in 1865, Cerro Gordo was once the largest producer of silver and lead in California and helped spur economic growth in Los Angeles. The abandoned settlement is basically a history lover's dream.

    "For those looking to acquire a piece of American West, Cerro Gordo is for you," reads the real estate listing, held by Jake Rasmuson of Bishop Real Estate

    The deserted land of Cerro Gordo looks like something straight out of Westworld. See for yourself in the photos below. 

    SEE ALSO: 30 photos of abandoned amusement parks around the US that will give you the chills

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    Cerro Gordo is a 19th-century mining town set in Lone Pine, California, in the Inyo Mountains on 300 acres of land. It's currently for sale for $925,000.

    Source:Mental Floss

    It has 22 structures on site, comprising 24,000 square feet of buildings including a historic hotel, bunkhouse, saloon, chapel, museum, and the Belshaw bunkhouse. Many of the buildings are being restored.

    Source:Mental Floss, Ghost Town for Sale

    Even artifacts are included.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    LA mansion

    • A Los Angeles mansion just went on the market for a potentially record-breaking $135 million.
    • The mansion sits on 5-acres and totals 38,000 square feet.
    • The property includes a full indoor basketball court, 155-foot infinity pool, and parking for 80 cars.

    Los Angeles real estate is known for over-the-top homes with expensive price tags — and one of the newest listings is no exception.

    A 5-acre property in the Beverly Hills-adjacent neighborhood of Beverly Crest just hit the market for a record-breaking $135 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. The home is located on top of a mountain, providing a picturesque canyon view.

    The home was purchased for $22 million just two years ago by developer Gala Asher of Dream Properties in LA. He remodeled the home to include a 5,000-square-foot master suite, indoor basketball court, sports lounge and bar, and a 155-foot infinity pool (the biggest in LA). Coldwell Banker's Ginger Glass holds the listing.

    If sold for its asking price, the home would shatter LA real estate records by $25 million. The current record holder for highest sale price in Los Angeles County is Hard Rock Cafe founder Peter Morton, who sold his Malibu beach house for $110 million earlier this year.

    Scroll down to see the property and all it has to offer.

    SEE ALSO: Inside Los Angeles' most expensive apartment rental — a two-story penthouse with a heated rooftop pool and a $100,000-a-month price tag

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    The mansion sits on a 5-acre lot and comes with a 155-foot-long heated infinity pool, 10-car garage, two private tennis courts, and a guest house.

    Source: Coldwell Banker, Curbed

    It's located in Beverly Crest's Wallingford Estates and can only be accessed through two private and gated streets.

    Source: Coldwell Banker, Curbed

    Originally, the property was occupied by a home modeled after a French chateau. It was upgraded to include a 5,000-square-foot master suite and seven additional bedrooms.

    Source: Coldwell Banker, Curbed

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    housing construction california

    • Changes in the pace of building permits and housing starts can tell us a lot about the future supply of homes available in the housing market.
    • Building permits have increased 8% since a year ago, and housing starts rose more than 20%.
    •  The gap between housing supply and demand may narrow significantly soon.

    Closing the Housing Stock Gap

    Today’s Census Bureau report sends an optimistic message about the housing market. Building permits increased 8.0 percent since this time last year, while housing starts rose 20.3 percent. The year-over-year increase in housing starts tells us that an increase in new housing supply is on the way. The pace of housing completions, at a 1.29 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR), is particularly important as it brings new supply that can offset current housing shortages.

    Housing demand has significantly outstripped supply since 2007, but that gap seems to be closing. We estimate that nearly a million households were created from April 2017 to April 2018, adding to the demand for housing. Helping meet that demand were the 873,000 new housing units completed – the net number of units completed when accounting for single-family dwellings, apartments, manufactured homes and obsolescence. This leaves a shortage of just over 150,000 units today, representing an almost three-year low in the gap between housing supply and demand.

    Looking back, the United States entered the economic crisis with a surplus of housing. That surplus reached its peak of nearly two million units in 2004, which put downward pressure on prices. Due to the large surplus, building slowed substantially and inventory began naturally lessening. Once inventory was substantially reduced, however, building did not increase in time to meet new demand and the pendulum swung the other way. By September 2016 the nation had a housing deficit of nearly 800,000 units – the widest gap between housing completions and household formation in the past 18 years. In that context, the current shortage of 150,000 units represents a major improvement in closing the housing stock gap and meeting the growing demand for shelter.

    New supply added to the housing stock continued to impress in May with a 10.4 percent year-over-year increase in completions. As builders start work on additional housing, we will inch closer to balancing inventory with demand. But with millennials entering household formation age and baby boomers living longer and more independently than ever, builders will remain under pressure to keep up with the growing demand.

    Screen Shot 2018 06 20 at 1.37.14 PM

    May 2018 Housing Starts

    For the month of May 2018, the new residential construction report shows that:

    • The number of building permits issued, a leading indicator of housing starts, increased by 8.0 percent year over year.
    • Housing starts increased by 20.3 percent, compared with a year ago.
    • The stock of housing units authorized to be built increased by 8.2 percent, and the number of housing units under construction increased by 5.3 percent on an annual basis.
    • The number of completed homes, which is additional new net supply added to the housing stock, increased by 10.4 percent compared with a year ago.

    Chief Economist Analysis Highlights

      • The annual increase in permits, housing starts, and completions signals relief from the housing shortage and sends an optimistic message about the housing market.
      • In May, the overall pace of housing starts, at 1.35 million units, is a 5.0 percent increase from the previous month. Based on the less volatile three-month moving average, the volume of total residential (single- and multi-family) housing starts is 18,000 more than April 2018, and 167,000 units higher than a year ago.
      • Housing starts are an important source of future supply as the housing market continues to face a supply constraint problem. (The supply constraint was discussed in our Real House Price Index (RHPI)).
      • An estimated seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.29 million housing units were completed in May, representing a 10.4 percent increase from the May 2017 figure of 1.16 million – a modest, yet important, step toward producing enough housing to meet market demand.

    What Insight Does Monthly Housing Start Data Provide?

    Housing starts data reports the number of housing units on which construction has been started in the month reported, providing a gauge of future real estate supply levels. The source of monthly housing starts data is the “New Residential Construction Report” issued by the U.S. Census Bureau jointly with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The data is derived from surveys of homebuilders nationwide, and three metrics are provided: building permits, housing starts and housing completions. Building permits are a leading indicator of housing starts and completions, providing insight into the housing market and overall economic activity in upcoming months. Housing starts reflect the commitment of home builders to new construction, as home builders usually don't start building a house unless they are confident it will sell upon completion. Changes in the pace of housing starts tells us a lot about the future supply of homes available in the housing market. In addition, an increase in housing starts can lead to increases in construction employment, which benefits the overall economy. Once the home is completed and sold, it generates revenue for the home builder and other related industries, and is added to the housing stock.

    SEE ALSO: California's housing market has reached a boiling point, and a typical home costs $600,000

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Rob Lowe Estate

    • Rob Lowe and his wife Sheryl are selling their 10,000 square-foot estate, listed for $47 million with Sotheby's International Realty.
    • It's in Montecito, California, the area hit with mudslides earlier this year that killed at least 17 people. 
    • The home sits on 3.4 acres of land and has views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby Santa Ynez mountains. 

    "Parks and Recreation" actor Rob Lowe and his jewelry designer wife Sheryl are selling their 3.4-acre estate in Montecito, California, for $47 million, according to a new listing from Sotheby's International Realty.

    The couple bought the land, near Santa Barbara, in 2005 and designed the home from the ground up, recruiting an architect, interior designer, landscape architect, and even a feng shui master. It was inspired by the Virginia countryside where the famous actor grew up and was featured on the cover of Architectural Digest in November 2010. 

    The couple is selling the home because their children are grown and have moved out, they said in statement.

    Earlier this year, the Montecito area was hit with recurring mudslides that destroyed hundreds of homes and resulted in more than a dozen deaths, but Lowe's estate was unharmed, partly due to its elevation. The neighborhood is home to many celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jeff Bridges.

    Below, take a tour of the $47 million estate.

    SEE ALSO: A mountaintop mansion with an indoor basketball court and parking for 80 cars just went on the market in Los Angeles for a whopping $135 million

    DON'T MISS: The 35-year-old billionaire president of In-N-Out Burger is selling her California mansion for $19.8 million — here's a look inside

    Actor Rob Lowe and his wife Sheryl listed their Montecito mansion with Sotheby's International Realty for $47 million. They bought the land back in 2005.

    Source: Sotheby's International Realty

    They completed the home in 2009. It was the vision of architect Don Nulty, interior designer David Phoenix, landscape architect Mark Rios, and feng shui specialist David Cho.

    Source: Sotheby's International Realty

    The estate sits on 3.4 acres of land and totals 10,000 square feet of living space, offering ocean and mountain views. "I always wanted that house where everybody wants to go," Lowe told Architectural Digest.

    Sources: Sotheby's International RealtyArchitectural Digest

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    anthony di iora

    Anthony Di Iorio made his fortune as an early adopter of hot cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum. 

    Now, the cryptocurrency billionaire is spending some of his cash on two video game-inspired real estate projects in Toronto. 

    Di Iorio recently purchased two spaces in Toronto. One is a 15,000 square foot office space for his blockchain company Decentral, and the other is a three-story penthouse which will serve as both his home and an experimental private event space — and which cost him $21 million.

    Di Iorio's plans for both spaces are extremely unconventional. At the office space, in particular, he's bringing a sci-fi fantasy to life with holographic receptionists, "moving walls," and secret tunnels, where remote controlled Aston Martins zoom underfoot beneath glass floors.

    Here's a glimpse of Di Iorio's vision for his futuristic office and his gorgeous new home:

    Decentral's new office is located near Lake Ontario's waterfront in Toronto.

    The office isn't ready yet, but we got to see some renderings of what Decentral plans for its office to look like when it's all done. When you first enter the office, you'll be greeted by a hologram receptionist and four different concealed doors.

    The hologram receptionist will ask a question, and how you answer determines which door will swing open. They haven't decided yet what that question will actually be, but the company likes the idea.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider