Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Real Estate

Inside Real Estate (Aug 12th, 2019)

Hello Inside Real Estate readers,

Today's edition turned into a bit of a mortgage Monday with several stories that highlight trends occurring in the mortgage landscape. My question to you: do you think low-interest or no-interest home loans would help boost home sales in the U.S.?  Hit reply to share your thoughts.

Have a productive week!
Deidre 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

1. Mortgage rates in Denmark have dropped so low that they are now zero or belowthe first time in Danish financial history that rates have been at this level. One bank, Jyske Bank, has a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage with a negative interest rate, meaning that the borrower would essentially pay back less than they owed over time. Other banks are offering loans that have no interest. Current 30-year rates are around 0.5 percent. While the idea of having a mortgage rate with no interest sounds exciting, it's a sign of a slow economy and it could also prompt a housing bubble. In the U.S., lower rates have led to refinancing but haven't spurred a major increase in sales. Negative rates are not likely to occur in the United States although it has been a subject of debate lately.— MARKETWATCH
 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

2. Curbio, a startup that helps home sellers fund renovations, has raised $7 million in a Series A round. Curbio manages projects for homeowners and doesn't receive payment until the home is sold. It helps minimize renovation time as well as increasing the eventual sale value of the home. The company is active in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and other areas along the East Coast. It plans to use the funds for expansion, and says it will complete over 1,000 renovations in 2020. Real estate brokerages, including Redfin and Compass, are also starting to offer renovation services for sellers. — HOUSINGWIRE

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

3. Mansion Monday: Your own trading floor. I've covered luxury real estate for 15 years and in that time, I've seen just about every possible amenity. Giant movie theaters, dog spas, humidors, giant aquariums, infinity pool, — been there, done that. Today's property has all of that plus something I haven't seen before: a trading floor. The home of Neil Schneider, a trading-obsessed retired nephrologist has a financial center with a trading computer, 10 monitors and an LED news ticker built into the wall. The NY Post reports that the wood-paneled room is served by two internet providers so that if one goes down the second one kicks in. 

The six-bedroom home was custom built by Schneider and has Intracoastal waterway frontage. The home has custom woodwork, hand-painted detailing and wrought-iron staircases. The outdoor architecture has a loggia overlooking an infinity-edge pool. The Schneiders are also throwing in one more amenity, a stretch limousine with a satellite television and most of the furnishings. It is listed for $12.99 million.  — NY POST
 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

4. Austin's City Council meeting on Thursday showed just how fractious real estate debates can be. Seven people were arrested for disrupting the council meeting to object to the Domain on Riverside project and five people were arrested earlier that day for protesting the same proposed development. The developers are planning 4,700 residential units, 600 hotel rooms, 4 million square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of medical space and 435,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The project received preliminary approval and will be discussed during another meeting on August 22. During the same meeting, the council raised the hotel tax rate to the maximum allowed by the state to finance an expansion of the convention center. — KVUE

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

5. The changes in zoning rules around the country to allow for accessory dwelling units are creating a variety of opportunities for entrepreneurs. Rent the Backyard is a new startup in California's Bay Area that builds a studio apartment in your backyard and then helps you rent it out. The owner of the property gradually gains equity in the dwelling over time and gets a share of the rent. If the housing design looks familiar, it's because Rent the Backyard is working with modular home builder Node, which we covered in last week's Tiny House Tuesday. The founders of Rent the Backyard say that homeowners can make around $10,000 a year for renting their backyard. The first units are expected to go up soon. — APARTMENT THERAPY
 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

6. One U.K. finance company is stretching the limits of how old you can be and still obtain a mortgage. Together, a company that offers both commercial and personal mortgages, now offers loans that go as far as a borrower's 85th birthday. More and more people are seeking loans later in life due to job changes or divorce. Some loans are as short as three years. Even though people may have the income to repay a mortgage, lenders can be hesitant to lend to those over 65. Other lenders are offering retirement income only mortgages which allow older borrowers to get a loan even if they are no longer employed. — PROPERTYWIRE 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

7. The Federal Court of Appeals has overturned a previous ruling that allowed the U.S. government to seize control of a $1 billion skyscraper in Manhattan. Approximately 60 percent of 650 Fifth Avenue — also known as the Piaget building — is owned by the Alavi Foundation which has been accused of money laundering. In 2017, the lower court ruled that Bonyad Alavi violated U.S. sanctions against Iran because of a chain of ownership that included an affiliate of Bank Melli Iran. The Department of Justice had planned to sell the 36-story building and give proceeds to victims of bombings and other attacks linked to Iran.— LAW.COM

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

8. Morty, a cleverly named mortgage marketplace, has raised an $8.5 million Series A funding round to fuel its continued expansion. The service is available in 34 states and allows homebuyers to select from a variety of lenders and automates much of the pre-approval process. Morty also promises a faster closing time than average. Aimed at first-time homebuyers, Morty simplifies the mortgage process and make it easy for potential buyers to understand all the elements that contribute to acceptance or rejection. — FORBES

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

9. The value of Canada's building permit stats for June surprised analysts by dropping by 3.7 percent from one year ago to $8.01 billion Canadian ($6.06 billion U.S.). Analysts had forecast a gain of 1.5 percent. Multi-family dwellings fell by 6.7 percent according to Statscan. Permits were down in six Canadian provinces, with Alberta seeing the largest decline. Alberta has faced an oversupply of homes and prices have declined, causing building to slow. — REUTERS

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

10. Former 'Million Dollar Listing L.A.' star and Malibu real estate agent Madison Hildebrand was the latest victim of a Dubai scam. Hildebrand was offered $300,000 to speak at a conference including first-class air travel and a stay at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. The way the scam works is that the company transfers the money and then cancels it. Per the terms of the contract, then Madison would need to pay the money back. Real estate agents are familiar with a variety of wire fraud activities including fake escrow instructions.  — CBS LOS ANGELES
 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Written and curated by Deidre Woollard. Deidre has a background in real estate public relations and runs the largest Facebook group for real estate press opportunities. Tips welcome at deidre@inside.com.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

  • Email gray

Subscribe to Inside Real Estate