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Inside Real Estate (Nov 18th, 2017)

An investigation by ABC News has found that Waypoint Homes, one of the largest landlords for single-family home rentals in the US, has amassed a large number of tenant complaints. Investigations began over a year ago in Tampa, Florida and expanded to the national level with claims of slow repairs, poor living conditions, and quick evictions throughout. The news comes just as the merger of Invitation Homes and Starwood Waypoint Homes completes, making it the largest single-family home portfolio in the US. – ABC NEWS

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Housing starts bounced back in October, hitting a one-year high. Housing starts were up by 13.7 percent over the previous month to an annual rate of 1.29 million, the highest level since October 2016. September's sales pace was also revised upward. Groundbreaking slowed in the South in September due to the two large hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, that hit Texas and Florida. Single-family home starts were up 5.3 percent in October but fell in the Northeast and West. Housing starts in the South were up by 17.2 percent in October, and single-family construction saw its highest rate since 2007. Builders continue to struggle with finding affordable places to develop, the high price of lumber, and an ongoing shortage of construction workers. – REUTERS

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Airbnb has acquired Accomable, a platform that specializes in sourcing accessible places to stay for those with disabilities. The Accomable site will be wound down and incorporated into Airbnb. Srin Madipalli, co-founder of Accomable and his team will focus on making Airbnb more accessible for everyone. Airbnb is creating new guidelines for hosts starting with better guidelines for designating properties that are wheelchair accessible. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Also this week, Airbnb picked up adtech company, AdBasis. – TECH CRUNCH

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A $2.5 billion mixed-use project is being planned for Sayreville, New Jersey. The development being proposed by North American Properties and PGIM Real Estate may be the largest mixed-use project in New Jersey history. It has been named Riverton and will be built on a 418-acre brownfield site along the Raritan River. It will include one million-square-feet of retail, office space, a hotel, and 2,000 residential units. The remediation of the site will need to be finished before construction can begin and North American Properties plans to break ground during the second quarter of 2018 with total completion slated for 2021. – NJ BIZ

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SL Green Realty has announced the sale of a Manhattan office building for $305 million. The 36-story building in the Plaza District is nearly fully leased and has 305,000-square-feet of office space. Current tenants include Element Capital, F5 Networks, HCC Indemnity Guaranty, LibreMax Capital and MKP Capital. SL Green acquired the property in May 2010 for $193 million and listed it for sale last month. The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2018. – REAL ESTATE WEEKLY

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A former LA Times printing plant in Costa Mesa, California has sold for $65 million. The 24-acre site with the existing 339,063-square-foot LA Times building was in the early stages of being turned into a creative office complex to be known as “The Press.” The purchase is a joint venture with SteelWave LLC, a company which owns the property next door. That property is a 180,000-square foot office complex called the Hive that includes offices of the Los Angeles Chargers. – OC REGISTER

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The real estate community continues to rally in the wake of House Republicans passing the H.R.1 - Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Many feel that the combination of the lowering of the mortgage interest deduction cap, the scaling back of property tax deductions, and the increase in the restrictions for avoiding being taxed on housing profits will have many Americans reconsidering whether or not housing is their best investment. In places where property taxes are high such as New York and California, Republicans voted against the bill.

“By threatening the value of the largest asset held by most Americans, these changes will hurt the middle class by lowering household wealth,” said Granger McDonald, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. The concerns come at a time when building confidence is on the rise. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for November reached its highest levels since March and its second-highest level since July 2005,

“It’s disappointing to see this legislation move forward, but the real work to shape this debate is just getting started. Realtors® will now look to the Senate as we make our case that the tax reform proposals pending before Congress overwhelmingly remove the tax incentive to purchase and own a home in America,” said National Association of Realtors® President Elizabeth Mendenhall. On Friday, the Senate Finance Committee approved its tax plan which preserves the existing mortgage interest deduction levels.

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HOT PROPERTIES OF THE WEEK

Plans have been revealed for the $100 million+ condo planned for the Crown Building in New York City. In October, Aman Resorts announced the creation of a hotel New York’s first Aman hotel in the Fifth Avenue building. The hotel will take up floors four through ten, offering 83 rooms, a three-story spa, jazz club, and members’ club, and restaurants. The 11th floor and up will be turned into 20 Aman residences include the five-story penthouse which has not been given an official price but is expected to list in excess of $100 million. The residence will include both indoor and outdoor pools, a piano lounge and gallery, wraparound terrace, two kitchens, and a game room. The master suite will take up one floor of the unit and the top floor will include the indoor pool, lounge, and steam room. – THE REAL DEAL 

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A Tudor mansion in Surrey, England once owned by John Lennon is for sale for £8.9 million ($11.7 million). The six-bedroom residence known as Kenwood was built in 1913 and sits on 1.5 acres in the St. George's Hill Estate. Lennon bought the estate for £20,000 back in 1964 and lived in the home until 1968 and wrote many of the songs for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album at the property. The home was most recently on the market for £13.75 million in 2014. – THE SPACES

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Hedge funder Barry Rosenstein has listed his home in the Hamptons for $70 million. Rosenstein set a record in the US when he purchased a waterfront mansion for $137 million. Now that his new house is ready for occupancy, he is listing his previous East Hamptons home which he purchased in 2005 for $19.2 million. Rosenstein tore down the existing cottage on the 1.5-acre site and replaced it with a modern seven-bedroom home designed by Rick Cook of CookFox Architects. The property includes a long lap pool, a two-bedroom guest cottage, and a separate garage with office. – WSJ

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