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Inside Real Estate (Apr 22nd, 2017)

The National Association of Realtors reported that March's existing-home sales rose 5.9 percent over last year making it the strongest sales month since February 2007. The median existing home price rose to $236,400, marking 61 months of year-over-year price increases. Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 5.8 percent from the previous month to 1.83 million existing homes available for sale but was 6.6 percent lower than a year ago and has dropped year over year for 22 straight months. – MARKETWATCH

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China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has announced that it has a goal of providing two million units of rental housing for low-income citizens this year. Rising real estate prices, especially in cities, have meant that many people have struggled to find housing. By the end of 2016, China reported that it had provided 11.3 units of affordable housing. – THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing Ocwen Financial, alleging that the loan provider failed borrowers during the mortgage servicing process. The CFPB says it has found evidence that Owen has engaged in misconduct and is guilty of multiple servicing violations including illegally foreclosing on homeowners. In a separate action, more than 20 state regulators issued cease-and-desist orders to Ocwen prohibiting the origination of new mortgage loans. Ocwen has said it will fight the CFPB lawsuit as well as the charges from individual states. – HOUSING WIRE

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Vacasa, a vacation rental management company, has announced a new version of its dynamic pricing system powered by machine learning. The company says that its yield management system earned homeowners an average of 34 percent more income than competitors in 2016 and that the new version will deliver even higher results by taking into account market rates, local events, home size, and more. Founded in 2009 and based in Portland, Oregon, Vacasa has raised $40 million in Series A funding. – TECHCRUNCH

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Manulife, the owner of the 41-story Crain Communications Building in Chicago, has put the property up for sale. The skyscraper, known for its diamond-shaped roof, could sell for as much as $132 million. Manulife purchased the building for $102 million in 2012 and spent $18.5 million in improvements. Crain Communications is the second-largest tenant in the property which is 76 percent leased. – CRAIN'S CHICAGO

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FivePoint, the developer behind San Francisco’s Candlestick project, will name nine streets after legendary Giants and 49ers. The nine recipients are: Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr; Joe Montana; Jerry Rice; Coach Bill Walsh; Carmen A. Policy; Ronnie Lott; Barry Bonds; Orlando Cepeda; and Juan Marichal. The planned development on the site of the former Candlestick Park includes a retail center, over 7,000 homes, a Film and Arts Center, a hotel, community services and nearly 110 acres of parks and open space. – CURBED SF

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IBM will move 600 employees to WeWork’s 800 University Place office space in Manhattan. The deal is part of WeWork’s Enterprise division which has been growing rapidly. Large companies account for 20 percent of WeWork’s membership and 30 floors at WeWork buildings. Other enterprise companies at WeWork include Sprint, Spotify, Salesforce, and Microsoft which announced last year it would offer space for 300 of its employees in New York City through WeWork. – THE REAL DEAL

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Gridics, a Miami real estate startup has announced a $1.1 million round of seed funding led by Dune Road Capital. The company’s patent-pending Zonar.City application seeks to streamline the city planning and approval process by automating zoning codes. Gridics also has developed a Market Intelligence app, now in beta, offering hyper-local market analysis, starting in the South Florida area. – FINSMES

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HOT PROPERTIES OF THE WEEK

Tommy Mottola, former CEO of Sony Music, and his wife Thalia have listed their Greenwich, Connecticut estate for $19.95 million. Mottola bought the property in 2010 for $2.85 million and spent three years building a Georgian-style mansion. The home is on 5.7 acres and has 12,300 square feet of space. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the 14th home that Mottola has bought and renovated. – LL NYC

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Marilyn Monroe’s final home is for sale for $6.9 million. The four-bedroom house in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles was built in 1929 and has a classic hacienda style. It was the only property Monroe ever owned; she bought the home in 1962 and lived there just six months before her death. It last sold in 2012 for $5.1 million. – LA TIMES

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Darlington, also known as the Crocker Mansion, is on the market for $48 million, making it one of the most expensive properties for sale in New Jersey. The owner, Ilija Pavlovic, paid $8.88 million for the home in 2008. The estate was built for George Crocker, son of railroad magnate Charles Crocker, between 1902 and 1907. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 58-room home sits on 12.5 acres and has been updated with a spa, a massage room, a theater room, a tennis court and an outdoor swimming pool. – LL NYC

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