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Inside Real Estate (Dec 17th, 2019)

1. Home foreclosures in the U.S. have hit a 20-year low, according to new data from CoreLogic. At the end of the third quarter of this year, less than 4 percent of homeowners nationwide were delinquent on their home loans. As of September, less than 1 percent of U.S. mortgages were in foreclosure, CoreLogic reports. Experts say a “strong labor market” and “prudent underwriting practices for mortgage origination” are to thank for the positive loan performance in recent years. - DALLAS MORNING NEWS

2. Starting Jan. 1, all new-construction homes in California must include solar power capabilities. New residences — both single-family houses and multi-family buildings that are three stories tall or shorter — will be required to include solar panels or be “powered by a larger solar array somewhere else.” The California Energy Commission — acting under the administration of former California Gov. Jerry Brown — formally approved the measure in 2018. The new building ordinance is the first in its class in the U.S. Existing dwellings will not be required to adhere to the policy. - SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL

3. Following four sluggish years for real estate stocks, 2019 welcomed better returns thanks, in part, to lower interest rates, according to the Wall Street Journal. Eleven months in, these stocks were returning better than 20 percent. The best-performing sector for real-estate investment trusts (REITs) has been warehouses, many of which have been used as fulfillment centers to accommodate the retail shift to e-commerce. REITs that own apartments have been the second best-performing category. Not too surprisingly, mall landlords have taken the biggest hit this year. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

4. Prominent New York City real estate figure Burt Resnick has died at 83. Resnick is best known for helming real estate firm Jack Resnick & Son — which was founded by his father. He’s been credited with growing the firm into a massive office-development powerhouse, erecting both commercial and residential towers that occupy millions of square feet in New York City. Most recently, he refinanced the Hudson Square space that will house Google offices. - THE REAL DEAL

5. Homebuilder confidence in new, single-family homes has soared to the highest point since June 1999. In December, this sector grew by 5 points to 76 points; sales grew by 7 points. Confidence in the builder market has increased 5 points in the Midwest and 3 points in the West. Experts say this “housing rebound” has been encouraged by a smaller home inventory, a strong labor market and low mortgage rates. Sales, buyer traffic and expectations have all increased for homebuilders. - CNBC 

6. The former housing director for the Pierce County Housing Authority in Tacoma, Washington, has been accused of stealing millions of dollars in public funds. Cova Campbell and her husband, Mark, in August were accused of diverting more than $4 million in public dollars to their private accounts. That amount has now increased to nearly $7 million that they allegedly stole from the agency, which is responsible for providing affordable housing to low-income residents in that city. Washington officials say this is the “ largest misappropriations case on record for a local government” in that state. - KCPQ

7. A tiny home village that houses formerly homeless veterans in Savannah, Georgia, is adding a healthcare facility. Clinic J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care is renting a structure in the community that will offer “primary care, behavioral health services, and nutritional education” to “anyone” who visits. While there’s a trend toward tiny-house neighborhoods hoping to solve homelessness in major metros, this new addition could also become part of the nationwide trend. - WSAV

8. Those looking to procure a mortgage on a vacation house may have to put down a heftier down payment or pay more in property taxes and interest rates, Realtor explains. That’s because since vacation homes are typically vacant for a portion of the year — or leased to temporary guests — they’re considered riskier than families’ main homes. There’s also an added risk of a homeowners’ finances being “stretched too thin over two mortgages.” All this points to higher premiums for those looking to invest in a vacation property. - REALTOR

9. Former Lakers star Jerry West sold his Hayward, California, home for nearly $1.6 million. The 3,500-square-foot Bay Area estate is situated on one-third of an acre in a country club community. The stone-and-stucco structure was originally listed at $1.68 million. Compass’ Lily Do and Morton Mah were the listing agents; Nhut Nguyen — also of Compass — represented the buyer. - LA TIMES

10. Apartment communities are expanding their health-conscious amenities to include wellness features like green spaces, making healthful meals easily accessible and holistic architectural features. That's according to Robert Pinnegar, the CEO of the National Apartment Association. This lifestyle movement has marked a shift for apartment complexes since early 2018, when complexes began taking note of the trend. Now new buildings are incorporating some of these components as a standard.  - WASHINGTON POST

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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