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Inside Real Estate (Nov 14th, 2019)

1. Mortgage applications spiked last week, as borrowers predict that rates have already hit their lowest point since they're beginning to rise again, CNBC reports. Mortgage application volume rose by nearly 10 percent from the previous week. Refinance demand — which is the most susceptible to minor rate fluctuations — soared by 13 percent from last week and by 188 percent from last year. Current 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have already increased to 4.03 from 3.98 percent.  - CNBC

2. A report from the California Association of Realtors says residents must typically earn a salary of $127,000 in order to afford buying a median-priced — $613,470 — single-family residence in Los Angeles. The median income for household in that city is $69,000 per year. Experts say it’s still possible for someone earning less than that to comfortably afford a house if they have their finances in order, or if they consider townhouses or condominiums. Orange County home shoppers should make at least $162,000 per year to afford dwelling in that affluent area. The national average income necessary for most single-family homebuyers is $54,800. - NBC

3. Throwback Thursday: Remember that house listing that touted a fully equipped “sex dungeon” in its basement earlier this year? It's now a full-time BDSM rental. And it’s staying occupied, according to homeowner Vince Marie who said the Philadelphia-area space is booked for at least the next six months. It was originally listed for sale in February for $750,000, when it went viral after listing agent Melissa Leonard chose to showcase the space as is, without making it more… neutral for prospective buyers. "I felt like this is the house—and I should just sell the house the way it is," she said. Marie decided to take a more creative route for her suburban house after she saw the attention it was garnering. REALTOR

4. A Florida pastor is auctioning off his 11,000-square-foot Panama City Beach mansion on Dec. 5. Markus Bishop, the former pastor at Faith Christian Family Church in Panama City Beach, admits that his estate will require some extensive and pricey repairs after it was damaged by Hurricane Michael. Fisher Auction Company vice president Francis Santos describes it saying, "You've got tennis, volleyball, basketball, game rooms. There's a living room, dining room, family room, den, office, it goes on and on.” To bid on the property, a $50,000 cashier's check will be required, and the house must be closed on within 30 days. It’s reserve is $2 million. - WJHG

5. Another expansive mansion that will also be going to auction is in Texas. NBA star Jermaine O’Neal’s Southlake, Texas mansion was previously listed at $11.49 million but never found a buyer. The eight-bedroom, 16,477-square-foot dwelling sits on more than five acres of land about half an hour away from Dallas. The property features a bowling alley, gym, theater, swimming pool, basketball court and a six-car garage. Caroline Summers of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty and Concierge Auctions are collaborating on the auction that’s currently scheduled for Dec. 15. - DALLAS MORNING NEWS

6. SeaWorld on Tuesday celebrated its Sesame Place San Diego groundbreaking at what will be the second Sesame Place theme park in the U.S. — the other one is in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania. Currently slated for a spring 2021 debut, Sesame Place San Diego will replace Aquatica San Diego in Chula Vista, California. When it opens, the 17-acre park is expected to offer an amphitheater, parades, family-friendly rides, water slides, and interactive experiences. - KNSD

7. More than a quarter of U.S. tenants say they have trouble affording rent, and at least 66 percent claim they have had to make sacrifices to cover their monthly dues, according to new data. The majority of survey respondents said they attempt to save money by cutting back on social outings, as well as by finding side jobs for supplemental income. More than 9 percent said they've postponed medical treatments to pay for rent, and at least 11 percent of people say they've cut retirement savings to afford housing. Roughly 75 percent of Generation Z renters opt to make monthly budget compromises for the sake of housing. - YAHOO FINANCE

8. The federal government just updated a South Florida rule that requires shell companies making all-cash purchases above $300,000 to reveal the people involved in the transaction. However, it is easing these requirements when it comes to publicly traded companies. Those types of entities will not have to disclose names. A branch of the U.S. Treasury Department — Financial Crimes Enforcement Network —updated its 2016 “geographic targeting order,” which was implemented to prevent money laundering. But some argue that this new move will allow money launderers to simply opt for public companies through which to operate as a way to circumnavigate the 2016 order. - MIAMI HERALD

9. Kenya's coastal properties are drawing attention as the area is currently a buyers' market after a 10-year boom went bust in 2016. The New York Times highlights a nine-bedroom, 4,844-square-foot Galu Beach house listed at $1.5 million. Apart from its unique architectural features — including a central atrium with a reflecting pool — the house embraces that region’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle with several entryways that lead to its exterior. According to the Times, a luxury single-family house in Kenya can start at $500,000. In place of property taxes, “international buyers are allowed to own property only on a 99-year leasehold tenure,” which would be roughly $1,000 per year on a home like this. - NEW YORK TIMES

10. A former Maxwell House Coffee Plant that was transformed into a luxury complex in Hoboken, New Jersey, is launching to the public. The luxury tower at 1000 Maxwell Place has maintained some of the building’s historic, industrial features to enhance the design of the space, as well as to pay homage to its prior iteration. The units, which vary from 670- to 1,579-square-feet, can be purchased with a rooftop terrace which offers city panoramas and a view of the Manhattan skyline. - JERSEY DIGS

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.

Edited by Inside Dev and Inside Deals editor Sheena Vasani.

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