Inside Real Estate - December 16th, 2019

Inside Real Estate (Dec 16th, 2019)

Public encampments litigation / 2019's top 3 must-see celeb homes / High-priced land and schools

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1. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal case that would make it illegal to sleep and camp in public spaces. The move comes after several people sued Boise, Idaho after it ticketed them for sleeping outside in city areas. Some organizations say ticketing homeless people only worsens their plight and the housing crisis. On the other hand, some argue that  public encampments have “spawned crime and violence, incubated disease, and created environmental hazards that threaten the lives and well-being both of those living on the streets and the public at large.” - NPR

2. The Low Income Housing Institute in Tacoma, Washington will oversee the launch of a new community of 22 tiny homes dubbed “micro-shelters." These will house 35 people. It is an initiative that has excited some who view it as an innovative way to help tackle homelessness. This is because some believe it will help house homeless people who currently camp at a city park, an issue that is increasingly receiving attention nationwide as I reported on in today's first story.  - KOMO 

3. Many of New York City's prominent landlords are busy refinancing properties instead of seeking funding for new purchases with the exception of a few major dealmakers, The Real Deal reports. Related Companies boasted the four biggest transactions of the year, including the launch of its $25 billion neighborhood at Hudson Yards. Related secured a $1.4 billion loan to construct an expensive condominium building at the buzzy new development. Tishman Speyer and Moinian Group also claimed spots on this year’s ranking of major NYC deals. - THE REAL DEAL

4. The high cost of real estate in Washington D.C., paired with a burgeoning charter-school system, has fueled some leasing conflicts and created a facility shortage. The city's government leased a building to a nonprofit organization — Building Pathways — that then subleased it to a public school, Excel Academy. However, Building Pathways is required to lease to a charter school, and since the traditional school system took over Excel Academy, D.C. Public Schools must now find a new home for the all-girls public school before the 2021-2022 academic year. That’s not an easy feat in a city where property values are high priced and still rising. - WASHINGTON POST

5. Preservationists and a church congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina, are expressing outrage over the sale of a historic African American church that will be converted into new condominiums. The structure, built in 1927, has in the past traded hands with new owners that vowed to preserve its architectural integrity, but the buyer — which remains anonymous — is expected to make major structural changes in order to make it suitable for condos. This project highlights the ongoing trend of transforming former houses of worship into housing units. - WBTV

6. Phoenix ranks No. 2 in the nation for Veterans Affairs home loan usage, according to new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. At 16,567 loans per year, the state saw an increase of 64 percent over the last five years. Nearly 50 percent of all VA purchase loans in 2019 were used by Generation Z and millennial buyers. Chris Birk, Director of Education for Veterans United Home Loans said: “Younger veterans and service members are fueling the continued growth of this historic loan program.” - ARIZONA BUSINESS MAGAZINE

7. Real estate is among the four sectors — including fintech, insurance and automation — that are closing out 2019 with a burst of activity, Crunchbase explains. Earlier this month, investors infused more than $5.2 billion into U.S. startups, including a tech-enabled real estate brokerage, Compass. That company has already poached some major metros' highest-earning real estate agents. Other agencies that saw a boost of capital include some property management software businesses. - CRUNCHBASE

8. Home sales in Dubai are rising as prices plummet, consultants at Cavendish Maxwell announced on Monday. Despite November’s near-record high number of transactions, Dubai home prices hit a nearly 7-year low. Mansion Global explains that “local developers have overbuilt beyond what buyers can absorb,” which has resulted in intense competition and “price concessions.” Some experts predict that Dubai will continue on this path at least until Expo 2020, a World Expo that will be hosted by Dubai in October 2020. That even could help to re-energize its sales. - MANSION GLOBAL

9. Cosmetics industry entrepreneurs Sheree Ladove Funsch and Dan Funsch are hoping to sell their Hidden Hills, California, mansion for nearly $30 million after buying it for $16 million less than two years ago. The couple’s 12,000-square-foot house is being called a “flip,” although it’s unclear what renovations they’ve completed at the compound. The 1.22-acre parcel includes three standalone structures, as well as an off-street motor court. - VARIETY

10. Speaking of high-profile properties, Realtors has rounded up what it says are this year’s must-see celebrity homes. These include Alicia Keys’ purchase of the ultra-modern steel-and-glass “Razor House,” which is a $20.8 million mansion overlooking the Pacific. Bette Midler’s New York City penthouse also demands attention; listed at $50 million, the 14-room unit features a large entertaining space and a 13-foot library. Rounding out the top three is Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen’s Boston-area estate that hit the market for nearly $40 million in August. - REALTOR

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, staff writer at

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