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Inside Real Estate (Dec 12th, 2019)

1. Real estate agents surveyed by Business Insider reveal which 15 cities they believe will grow in popularity in the 2020s. These include Austin; Greenwich, Connecticut; Philadelphia; Las Vegas; Scottsdale, Arizona; Columbus, Ohio, and more. The experts also predict a wave of millennials will move to Columbus and Baby Boomers will be eyeing Leland, North Carolina for retirement. - BUSINESS INSIDER 

2. The most expensive home ever sold in California — and second priciest in the U.S. — has sold for $150 million reportedly to Rupert Murdoch's son, Lachlan Murdoch. The stately Bel-Air mansion known as “Chartwell” was previously listed for $350 million. The 26-room residence is situated on 10 manicured acres of land, which also features a 75-foot swimming pool, pool house and guest house. Among its notable amenities: a 40-car, subterranean garage with an attached "secret" underground tunnel. The only sale that tops this one, nationally, is the $238 million New York City condo that hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin bought earlier this year. - VARIETY

3. Throwback Thursday: Remember Boston’s famed spite house, known as “The Skinny House” because it looks like a slight, sliver of a structure wedged between two large residential buildings? The curious 10-foot-wide, 30-foot-long home sold mere months after it hit the market at nearly $900,000. 

Local legend has it that two brothers inherited the plot of land in Boston while one was away at war. The brother who was in Boston built a massive property on the parcel, leaving little space for his sibling. Upon the soldier’s return, he is said to have erected this narrow house out of spite, to obstruct his brother’s bay views and sunlight. - BOSTON MAGAZINE

4. An investigation confirms that a seven-building apartment complex in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I previously reported on has been contaminated with asbestos. Formerly known as the Pine Creek, the Parks Edge complex has been evacuated, and it's unclear when residents will be able to return. Some tenants have complained that it's a particularly difficult situation because of the holidays. One woman said her kids have "lost their Christmas toys" because they must find a new home. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, asbestos has been linked to cancer and mesothelioma. It was banned in 1989 but can still be found in some older buildings. - CBS

5. Economists say now is a good time to buy a house because the Federal Reserve has indicated that it won't raise interest rates anytime soon. This means first-time homebuyers can currently afford to buy a more expensive property than they thought. While concerns of an impending economic slowdown circulate, today’s current low interest rates and strong job market have made buying more attractive to entry-level home shoppers. - USA TODAY

6. Home-loan refinancing propelled total mortgage applications by 9 percent this week, a 146 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The number of people refinancing has been consistently strong this year and has encouraged mortgage application growth by nearly 4 percent compared to last week. Meanwhile, mortgage applications for buying a home dipped by 0.4 percent this week but remained 5-percent higher year-over-year. - CNBC

8. Get to know prominent commercial real estate developer Lisa Dilts. The Florida-based businesswoman — who is a principal at consulting agency Compspring LLC  — has amassed an impressive portfolio of major deals in central Florida, including a 24,000-acre project that’s projected to continue through 2055. She notes that trust is a major component in her business development: “The majority of our work is word of mouth and client referrals, and we do not take that lightly.” - ORLANDO BUSINESS JOURNAL

7. People are expected to move away from ultra-pricey metros and into midsized markets in the new year to avoid overpriced rents and mortgages, Realtor reports. The real estate site offers its roster of U.S. markets that will become hubs for new residents seeking affordability. They include: Boise City, Idaho; Rochester, New York; McAllen, Texas and Tucson, Arizona. - REALTOR

9. A new startup is allowing renters to buy a home at small portions at a time, which would eliminate mortgages. Los Angeles-based Fleq will buy your dream home and sell it back to you in shares. The size of the shares depend on how quickly you want to pay off the home and own it in full, and how much you can afford at any given time. Fleq profits by charging rent, which decreases as tenants purchase larger shares of the property. When a house is paid in full, Fleq then reportedly hand over the title. The new owners will have never paid a down payment or needed a home loan. - YAHOO FINANCE

10. Mohawk Valley Health System will break ground on a $480 million hospital in Utica, New York. The proposed 672,000-square-foot, 10-story hospital could accommodate nearly 400 beds, as well as an emergency department. Construction is expected to begin soon and be complete by 2023. - WRVO

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 Sheena Vasani, a staff writer at Inside.com.

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