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Inside Real Estate (Dec 20th, 2019)

1. A new study says four Bay Area cities are among the weakest housing markets in the U.S. Housing website RealtyHop analyzed more than 300,000 home listings to determine which are the strongest cities for residential real estate based on the median change in asking prices. It determined that metros in this part of the country are going through a correction period after hitting astronomical median home prices — a whopping $1.4 million in San Francisco alone. “A homebuyer making median income would have to spend over 60 percent of income on the home,” the study reports. The strongest housing market is in Gilbert, Arizona, and the weakest is in Detroit, Michigan. - THE MERCURY NEWS

2. WeWork may have faced a tumultuous year, but it still managed to top a ranking of 2019’s biggest real estate tech funding rounds for the third consecutive year at $6.5 billion and $5 billion, according to The Real Deal. The shared-workspace company is now in a precarious position after CEO Adam Neumann stepped down and its IPO was postponed indefinitely. Home trade-in platform Knock and flexible workspace startup Knotel ranked in second and third, respectively. - THE REAL DEAL

3. Speaking of WeWork, among The Wall Street Journal's top stories of the decade is WeWork’s purchase of a Manhattan property on Nov. 4, 2011. This marked the expansion of the now-embattled company and marked the starting point for “rolling the dice of ‘co-working.’” By 2014 the company had grown to eight cities and more than 20 outposts before its explosive growth kicked off on in 2015 and continued until earlier this year, when its valuation problems and corporate governance issues arose. - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

4. The necessity and difficulty of obtaining private land in Texas is slowing construction of President Trump’s border wall. Homeland Security department Customs and Border Protection still doesn't own a large swath of land needed for the wall’s proposed plans. It’s unlikely that the 450-mile stretch expected to be complete by next December will come to fruition due — in part — to disorganized property records and homeowners’ resistance to sell their land. President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has now been tasked with expediting its completion.  - NPR

5. A comparison of $600,000 homes in Ohio, Vermont and Virginia illustrates how far home-buying budgets can stretch depending on the region. That price tag affords buyers a historic Greek-Revival, 8,502-square-foot estate on nearly an acre of land in Cincinnati. In the rural setting of Langrove, Vermont, that same list price offers a 19-acre parcel with a 1991 Cape Cod-style residence. As for Richmond, Virginia, that will only buy a 2,986-square-foot home situated on a 0.09-acre lot. - NEW YORK TIMES

6. With rents rising — as millennials and Baby Boomers alike opt to lease — now could be a good time to buy an investment property. USA Today offers six tips to help you determine if now is a good time to become a landlord, which includes learning the state and local laws. For instance, investor Paul Pant explains: “In some states, a security deposit has to be in a separate account than rental money. A lot of landlords don't know that. A lot of states require that owners pay interest on the security deposit.” Another strong recommendation is to have six months of money saved in the event of a surprise maintenance disaster. - USA TODAY 

7. ICYMI earlier this week: 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

8. A Hollywood power couple just purchased a $15.3 million Beverly Hills estate. Renowned restaurateur Jeff Klein and movie producer John Goldwyn now own a 7,782-square-foot home from seller — and fashion icon — Georgiana Treivush. The elegant villa features motorcourt, ultra-private entrance and a serene, 0.59-acre setting with a swimming pool and spa. Klein and Goldwyn currently own 1927 hacienda-style property in Beverly Hills Post Office that's known for its rich celebrity history. - VARIETY

10. As for what to avoid in your house, Forbes lists the trends that will be stale in the new year, including neutral tones and all-white kitchens. Another curious style that's sure to become outdated: singe-use spaces. Functionality will reign supreme in the new year, which means multi-use rooms — like an office that doubles as a game room — will be what magazines are touting for 2020 design. - FORBES

Year-end wrap up: Check back next week for a roster of the year's biggest real estate stories. It includes the record-long government shutdown that ushered in 2019, a timeline of WeWork's roller-coaster year, the rise of iBuyers and what we learned for home buyers and sellers along the way. 

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, Inside staff writer.

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