Inside Real Estate - November 4th, 2019

Inside Real Estate (Nov 4th, 2019)

Apple pledges $2.5B for California's housing crisis / Real Estate startup Ribbon / Harry Potter house

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1. Apple is pledging $2.5 billion to aid California's current housing crisis. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release: “Before the world knew the name Silicon Valley, and long before we carried technology in our pockets, Apple called this region home, and we feel a profound civic responsibility to ensure it remains a vibrant place where people can live, have a family and contribute to the community.” The plan is intended to create a line of credit for very low- to moderate-income housing as well as offering mortgage assistance for first-time buyers. The homeless community in California is growing as housing costs continue to rise while inventory remains steady. According to NPR, California needs to build more than 3 million new dwellings by 2025 to keep up with demand in its most populous areas. - NPR

2. The average American homebuyer is spending more time living in their homes, which is restricting housing inventory for first-time buyers, according to a new study by brokerage Redfin. Each major U.S. metro varies when it comes to how long residents are staying put. Redfin’s study shows that people who live in Salt Lake CityHoustonFort WorthSan Antonio, and Dallas are keeping their properties for more than eight years longer in 2019 than they did in 2010. In Salt Lake City, the median home tenure in 2019 is 23.4 years, up from 14.7 in 2010. In that time, the median sales price in that city rose from $195,000 to $340,000, a 74.4-percent increase. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

3. The median sales price for a two-bedroom condominium in Manhattan is $1.515 million, an 8-percent year-over-year drop, according to a report from brokerage Douglas Elliman. That makes two-bedroom units — the most common size on the market in Manhattan — the largest discount among studio to three-bedroom units in the last quarter. Slowing sales among luxury residences are making the island a buyers’ market, although two-bedrooms are still out of reach for many New Yorkers, who earn a median household income of $79,781. The New York Times says a robust inventory, investor curiosity, increasing taxes and economic unpredictability are among the reasons for the slowing sales among ultra-luxury three- and four-bedroom apartments. - NEW YORK TIMES

4. An example of that decline in high-end housing sales: Actress Jennifer Lawrence is expected to take a loss when she sells her New York City penthouse. The “Hunger Games” star originally listed her Upper East Side residence for $15.45 million in July before dropping the price to $14.25 million. She closed on the property for $15.6 million in 2016. Compass Real Estate agent Martin Eiden told Realtor that a part of the problem is that this is a "lovely penthouse in a good building at an OK location," which doesn't necessarily stand out in the market. - REALTOR

5. Homebuying startup Ribbon, which purchases and holds homes for those pending mortgage approval and processing, is receiving $300 million in new funding. Ribbon works by buying properties on behalf of homebuyers who are awaiting financial processing. It leases the houses out to the buyers — as tenants — until they eventually become homeowners (once the finances are in order). The company has mostly been operating in the Carolinas, but this new influx of cash will allow it to expand to 20 markets across 10 states by 2020. Among its new investors is NFX, a private-capital firm partially helmed by Trulia founder Pete Flint. - HOUSINGWIRE

6. Washington D.C.’s Attorney General is collaborating with CoStar Group — which owns among other rental platforms — to impede discriminatory practices against those who receive public assistance. Online listings with certain keywords, including “no section 8” and “no vouchers," will be pulled from the site. While began this as a local measure, a spokesperson for its parent company said these particular filters will eventually be applied to listings across the country. D.C.’s AG said that roughly 15 percent of landlords in that market refuse to accept public housing vouchers, even though it’s illegal to discriminate against tenants based on their financial sources. - WTOP

7. Some landlords in Lagos, Nigeria, are demanding up to a year's rent in advance, which is making renting difficult for many young people to find places to live. Rentals in that city range from $5,000 to $40,000 annually for middle-to-high-income housing. So renters are now turning to “informal lending networks,” or to startups — like new online platform Fibre — that allow them to pay monthly or quarterly instead of 100-percent upfront. However, some landlords refuse to work with companies that pay out in installments, since they believe the possibility of default is too risky to consider. The current shortage of rental units on the market and the high price of land and construction in Lagos are also part of the reason it’s so expensive to rent there. - BBC

8. The proposal for a controversial 215-acre parcel in a "farm-themed community" will be on the San Diego City Council agenda on Wednesday after being denied three times already. Critics say that it would consume too much of the city’s remaining agricultural land, and that it would create too much traffic in the area. The last negotiation of the proposal was made in August, when the development company for the project, Integral, said it would build 585 homes instead of 1,000 — the original number — and that it would preserve an additional 37.5 acres as farmland. Integral also pledged $1.6 million to some agencies that work toward climate-planning initiatives. - SAN DIEGO TRIBUNE

9. Harry Potter fans can now sleep in the fictional character's on-screen childhood home. The "De Vere House" —  where Harry, James, and Lily Potter lived in the movies — has a bedroom listed on Airbnb for the average nightly rate of $142. The 14th-century house, which was partially rebuilt in the late 1920s is an eclectic Lavenham, England residence that is said to be haunted. The domicile has received bed-and-breakfast accommodation accolades, including the Five Star and Gold Award. It's situated in a medieval village with more than 300 protected historic landmarks - APARTMENT THERAPY

10. As part of her construction-science major, Texas A&M student Danielle Scott has nearly completed her own $19,500 tiny home that she'll transport to Seattle after graduation. Since the 28-foot-long dwelling is on wheels, it won’t be subject to property taxes in Texas or in Washington. Scott said she hopes her work and innovation in her community will inspire other women who delve into male-dominated fields. A&M has in the past three years aided architecture students in constructing similar structures for homeless people, since they’re relatively affordable to build, sustainable and low maintenance. - THE EAGLE

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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