Inside Real Estate - October 31st, 2019

Inside Real Estate (Oct 31st, 2019)

Cannabis at luxury open houses / Sinkhole displaces 16 condos / Where NYC home sales dropped the most

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1. The “new generation” of luxury listing open houses include cannabis samplings in place of traditional refreshments. Realtors are embracing the new marketing gimmick in states that have legalized recreational marijuana use because they say it attracts prospective homebuyers and agents who might have otherwise stayed home; they also believe it appeals to an untapped high-end buyer demographic. Not all US metros embrace the concept, however, including New York City, where one agent said it’s not “a call for action so much as a call for Doritos.” Although the west coast has proven to be more receptive. It’s also been complicated by the recent vaping industry health hazards: some deaths have been reported in connection with vaping. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

2. The New York City neighborhoods where sales fell the most in 2019 include the Garment District, SoHo, TriBeCa, Dumbo and Prospect Heights in the top five, respectively. The New York Times lists the 20 neighborhoods that saw the steepest declines in median sale price between the third quarter of 2018 and the third quarter of 2019. It found that Manhattan's newest enclave, Hudson Yards, currently boasts the highest median sales price of just under $5 million in Q3 2019. Before that, TriBeCa held the title for being the city's priciest neighborhood. - NEW YORK TIMES

3. Starting in January, Washington homeowners will face a tax that rises based on a home's sales price. This new “mansion tax” will apply to even non-mansions: tax rates will more than double for properties that sell above $1.5 million, from 1.28 to 2.75 percent. Dwellings that close at more than $3 million will be taxed at 3 percent. The state follows New York in implementing the controversial new tax. According to CNN, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Vermont also levy what's being called a "mansion tax," which refers to a duty on homes that sell at or above a certain price point. - CNN

4. Austin rents spiked again, with one-bedroom units being the most sought after homes. The median price for a one-bedroom apartment is now $1,250 per month in October, a 3.3 percent month-over-month increase. For those looking in the greater Austin area, these suburbs are the most expensive: Georgetown and Cedar Park. These Austin outskirts are the most affordable: Round Rock and San Marcos. To compare, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Texas is roughly $954 per month, according to a report by rental site Zumper. - CURBED AUSTIN 

5. The Cleveland Cavaliers new assistant coach, Lindsay Gottlieb, is listing her Oakland, California, home for $1.3 million. That's likely because the former Cal Golden Bears women's basketball head coach will be making the move to Ohio for her new gig. She leaves behind a 4,210-square-foot, Mediterranean-style dwelling built in the 1920s. The historic house features views of the San Francisco Bay and intriguing architectural details, like its arched staircase which serves as the centerpiece of the foyer. - REALTOR

6. A former Uber executive is touting his 1-year-old startup Oliver Space as a custom service that furnishes homes for busy professionals who move frequently. Instead of being limited to furnished corporate apartments, those who move for business can now opt to live in a home of their choice and have this company outfit the place with furniture and decor from traditional retailers by providing clients with “mood boards” to fit their tastes. The company currently only serves the Bay Area. While it faces competition from other similar businesses — LA-based startup Fernish and two-year-old New York rental startup Feather — it hopes to eventually distinguish itself by creating Oliver Space-branded products that are unique to this company. - TECHCRUNCH

7. People living in 16 different Florida condominium units had to be evacuated due to a massive sinkhole that formed on the edge of one side of the building. Residents from the Royal Arms complex in Altamonte Springs, Florida, said they haven’t been given a timeline of when they’ll be able to return home. “There are ancient sinkholes in this area,” a structural engineer said, adding that they “have the process down” when it comes to repairing these. - WOFL (video)

8. A complex in London could serve as a model for affordable public housing concepts. Architect Peter Barber designed the structure in Newham — a borough in east London — that’s comprised of several three-story homes surrounding a central courtyard. Barber said immigrants from Eastern Europe who move to the area have helped construct the fortress-like homes, which employ ancient Roman techniques for construction instead of relying on pricey, contemporary pre-bonded brick panels. These create sturdy buildings that fit several compact homes using lower-priced materials. Some units are also low to the ground for those residents with poor health. - NEW YORK MAGAZINE

9. Zillow is showing new-construction home listings in Canada for the first time. The online real estate database has partnered with Canada-based North American land developer and homebuilder Brookfield Residential to include this new new niche home buying sector. New-build Canadian homes will now flow into Zillow’s home-searching feature and appear alongside search resale listings. Zillow says this is an attempt to bridge Canadian homebuilders to buyers. - ZILLOW

10. Business Insider is seeking luxury apartment building staff to share their unique tales from working among "America’s elite.” Anyone who works in reception, maintenance or “anywhere in between” can share what their days are like and how they’re treated. People can choose to remain anonymous. The outlet will follow up with an article compiling the stories from “behind the scenes” at upscale residential buildings. - BUSINESS INSIDER

Written and curated by Darla Guillen Gilthorpe. Darla writes for the Houston Chronicle, where she was part of its 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist staff. She was previously an editor at Vox Media site Eater and has had bylines in Elle Decor, SFGate and various other outlets. Follow her on Twitter here.

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

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