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Inside Real Estate (Dec 19th, 2019)

1. Single-family home growth is expected to increase by 10 percent in 2020 and exceed one million new homes in 2021, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group. This prediction comes after that sector of the market increased by just more than 1 percent this year. The estimated growth would mark a post-recession peak but would still be less than the annual hight of roughly 1.7 million single-family home starts in 2005. - CNBC

3. The rise of tech-driven automation in housing could unintentionally hurt vulnerable populations because algorithms tend to be biased, a Curbed report explains. For example, AI and tech systems could equate “living in a low-income neighborhood” with the “inability to pay rent,” and thereby reject an applicant without explaining specifically why the person was turned down for a rental or home loan application. There’s hope, however, since Curbed says these are typically due to programmers’ biases. A smarter human approach to tech could help make a more fair program. - CURBED

2. Phoenix is being called the hottest housing market of the year for its strong job market, affordability — despite its proximity to high-priced areas in California — and for its "dry, warm climate," Yahoo Finance says. While the city is synonymous with the housing market crash of 2009, an economist for the National Association of Realtors explains that it has "come back from the ashes" with home-price increases and a "fast recovery after a harsh downfall.” In addition to market appreciation, Phoenix’s rental market is also thriving: In October, rents in Phoenix posted a 6.8 percent year-over-year spike – more than double the nation's 3.1 percent increase. -YAHOO FINANCE

4. Rent control, WeWork's demise, Brexit and mass retail closures are among the top 21 major commercial real estate stories that defined this year, according to Bisnow. That outlet rounded up dozens of topics that rocked the market, beginning with the government shut down that ushered in the new year. From Dec. 22, 2018, to Jan. 25, 2019, the federal government was closed — a record-long stretch of time — which drew public housing concerns and confused balance sheets for commercial landlords, among other real estate woes. - BISNOW

5. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said the city and its surrounding region is at a "crisis point" when it comes to affordable housing. He emphasized the "building boom" Boston is experiencing but argues that what the city hasn’t seen is "income equality.” Walsh is calling on legislators to offer developers increased flexibility to build more affordable home units, explaining Boston officials must help solve the inventory shortage in that part of Massachusetts. The mayor is encouraging a home-rule petition that would require developers to either include "income-restricted housing” in new developments or pay a fee. - BOSTON HERALD

6. A Los Angeles housing structure that was to be used for young adults transitioning out of foster care has officially been shut down after the apartment building was linked to a murder and human trafficking activity, according to documents obtained by the LA Times. After the director of Children and Family Services, Bobby Cagle, learned of the murder investigation in late November, plans for the transitional dwelling were canceled. This left at least six youths — aged 18 to 21 — living in the building just three days to move. Eleven others at nearby apartments have also had to relocate. Cagle said they aim to “assure that all of our kids are placed in a location that is not conducive to them being engaged in criminal activity,” and guarantees that “no youth has been made homeless” as a result of these housing shuffles. - LA TIMES

7. Dubbed "Billionaires' Row," 57th Street in midtown Manhattan tops a Knight Frank ranking of luxury home markets with the most sales — 41 total— of properties priced at or above $25 million. At No. 2 on the list is Mount Nicholson Road in Hong Kong with 35 sales. Third and fourth on the roster are both in also in New York City: Central Park South and Park Avenue, respectively. - NEW YORK BUSINESS JOURNAL

8. A resolution to an uncertain Brexit deal could help strengthen the pound in the UK and encourage growth in the prime central London housing market. Minister Boris Johnson's plans to “get Brexit done” is comforting to real estate agents on both sides of the aisle who believe that “any deal” instead of continued uncertainty will promote buyer confidence. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

9. Best-selling author Dean Koontz just purchased an $11.6 million mansion in Irvine, California. The writer’s new 13,418-square-foot, Mediterranean-style villa features six bedrooms and eight baths. Outside, a stone patio accentuates the swimming pool and its half-acre setting. Built in 2009, the property was last listed in June for $12.89 million. - MANSION GLOBAL

10. A remarkable treehouse in Volcano, Hawaii, is on the market for $239,000. Constructed by celebrity treehouse builder Roderick Wolgamott — yes, really, he’s designed treehouses for Sting and Val Kilmer — the curious, elevated residence is drawing attention for its immersion in the Big Island’s jungle. It’s immersed, in fact, that it’s powered entirely by a generator. Be prepared to live off the grid if you make an offer on this property. - 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.

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