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Inside Real Estate (Dec 3rd, 2019)

1. Decreased volatility is boosting the mortgage sector, which has now sustained gains for the longest stretch of time since 2017, according to Bloomberg. November marked the third consecutive month of excess returns versus treasuries. This kind of market stability helps mortgage investors because it decreases the probability that a homeowner will opt to refinance a loan. These improvements are expected to continue into 2020, since “excess returns for mortgage-backed securities” are typically stronger in the first half of the year. - BLOOMBERG

2. This year was one of the most expensive on record for renters in San Francisco, Curbed reports. Over the summer, the median price of a single-bedroom apartment hit an annual peak of $3,720. In November and December, the city saw a year-over-year increase in average rent for a one-bedroom apartment. The current figure stands at $3,490, which isn’t bad: the last time this number dipped below $3,500 was in June 2018. - CURBED

3. One the other side of the country, Boston is also seeing major rent hikes. In central parts of the city, the median price of a one-bedroom home increased by 5.4 percent year-over-year. The new median is $2,530 per month. The cost of a two-bedroom, however, soared by 8.5 percent to $2,930. Nationally, rents have ticked upwards by approximately 2.5 percent year-over-year to $1,237 for a one-bedroom home and $1,480 for two-bedroom units. Boston claims the No. 3 spot on a national ranking of most expensive U.S. cities for renters. It follows San Francisco and New York City, respectively. - BOSTON GLOBE

4. A new program at UC Berkeley offers students the option of affordable housing by moving them into a university retirement community. Berkeley Home Match aids both growing populations — senior citizens and millennials — by having them share the costs of ultra-pricey Bay Area rents. To qualify for the project, homeowners should be university retirees or live in senior living facility Ashby Village, while students should be enrolled in a graduate program or serve as a post-doc scholars. Homeowners receive resources to interview potential live-in students, and candidates obtain information about neighborhood security and renters’ best practices. So far, the program — for which 24 homeowners and 62 students applied in the last cycle —has been successful in cutting costs for both demographics. - BERKELEYSIDE

5. Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is another intergenerational housing project that will merge elder-younger populations. In mid-2020, the private university is predicted to break ground on a $40 million housing complex that will accommodate aging nuns and college students who are single moms. It is anticipated to create more than 50 assisted-living units, 90 two-bedroom units for senior nuns and roughly 16 to more than 20 dorms for single mothers who attend Mount Mary, as well as their children. - MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

6. Grammy-winning singer The Weeknd reportedly spent $21 million on a 8,215-square-foot condominium along Los Angeles' prestigious Wilshire Corridor, Variety reports. If it closes at that sales price, it will be among the most expensive condos to sell in LA. The luxury unit also comes with up to $6,800 in monthly common costs for the building. The modern penthouse offers stunning panoramas from its 22nd-floor viewpoint, including mountains, ocean and city skyline vistas. The building also boasts a saltwater swimming pool and spa. - VARIETY

7. ICYMI: Vox Media-owned real estate blog Curbed is shutting down several city sites, including Washington, D.C., Seattle, New Orleans and Philadelphia. Curbed covers real estate happenings around various U.S. metros, from commercial real estate deals to residential markets and prospective city plans. The New Orleans site ceased publishing at the end of November, but it’s still unclear when other sites will permanently shut down. While there’s been no official explanation for these shutdowns, a Curbed spokesperson said its Austin and Boston sites will be expanding their coverage. - THE WRAP

8. More than 11,000 residents of Canadian County, Oklahoma, received erroneous, pricey property tax bills in the mail. The mistake happened when Core Logic Tax Service made a tax bill-processing mistake that prompted the county to send out bills to "mortgage holders who have their property taxes escrowed with their monthly mortgage payments.” Canadian County Treasurer Carolyn Leck is asking anyone who escrows property taxes to disregard those notices. - KOKH-TV

9. Commercial real estate prices in Traverse City, Michigan, saw a temporary boost following a marijuana dispensary lottery. The May 2019 drawing randomly selected 13 retail medical marijuana license recipients — out of more than 70 applicants —  in Traverse City. In the months following the drawing, commercial properties surrounding the city center began selling above market value; these are presumably some of the entities that were drawn in May. Most of the transactions were all cash, since most of the local banks avoid financing marijuana companies. - TRAVERSE CITY BUSINESS NEWS

10. A tiny house on wheels that has visited nearly 40 states and 16 national parks could be the most-traveled tiny house on the road in the world. Owners Christian Parsons and Alexis Stephens travel the nation in their 130-square-foot home and document their journey on video series Tiny House Expedition, which is also how they earn a living after leaving their jobs for the roadie life. - 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.

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