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Inside Real Estate (Jan 2nd, 2020)

2. Los Angeles home sales in 2019 topped out at $150 million for a Bel Air mansion that was once listed at $350 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The massive transaction happened later in the year: Univision founder A. Jerrold Perenchio "Chartwell" estate sold to media heir Lachlan Murdoch  in December. It ranks among the most expensive residential sales ever sold in the U.S. Overall, more than 30 individual properties sold for more than $20 million each. - LA TIMES

3. A roundup of commercial real estate developments in Austin includes major sports facilities, a new medical center and a 46-story luxury hotel-apartment hybrid. Among the largest forthcoming projects is “Project Charm,” Amazon’s 3.8 million-square-foot distribution space rising in Pflugerville, an Austin suburb. It will be situated on a 94-acre parcel at 2000 E. Pecan Street. Another highlight is the University of Texas at Austin’s $130 million basketball arena that will be named Moody Center for its benefactor, the Moody Foundation. - AUSTIN BUSINESS JOURNAL

4. An attorney for real estate magnate Robert Durst confirms that the billionaire authored an infamous note left at a murder crime scene 20 years ago. Durst is accused of killing his friend Susan Berman at her Los Angeles home in 2000 — just days before she was scheduled to meet with police regarding the 1982 disappearance of his first wife. Durst will stand trial next month. His attorney, Dick DeGuerin, maintains that his client is innocent despite having penned the suspicious letter. Durst's family runs a $4.4 billion real estate industry headquartered in New York. He was bought out of the privately-owned business for $65 million in 2015. -  ASSOCIATED PRESS

5. A couple who owns a homebuilding company in Fairfield, Montana, pleaded guilty to tax evasion after constructing a mansion for Larry Wayne Price Jr., the former vice president of Signal Peak Energy. James and Timilynn Kisling admitted to not paying $320,000 in taxes but avoided reporting more than $800,000 in profits on the estate. Price himself has previously found himself in hot water: In 2018, he pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering. He also reportedly lied to federal investigators, after he staged his own abduction. - FAIRFIELD SUN TIMES

6. Baltimore has licensed less Airbnb-style rentals than they anticipated since 2018. That year a new ordinance took effect that limited the number of properties homeowners can offer on home-sharing platforms. It also required that hosts register with city officials and imposed a 9.5 percent tax for the short-term rentals. Locals had until 2019 to register their rentals with the city, but only 125 licenses had been issued as of Dec. 25. - BALTIMORE SUN

7. Environmental experts advise homeowners to look at state incentives and average year-round weather before deciding whether to buy or rent solar panels. A Pew survey conducted in December showed that the majority of Americans have or plan to install panels. While buying is preferable, some states offer the option of renting, which could save homeowners up to 40 percent on electric bills. The benefit of that route is that companies will maintain and repair panels. Whatever the decide, they should install soon because a federal tax credit for these will expire after 2021. - CBS

8. Late music icon David Bowie's west Hollywood condominium is renting for $5,900 per month. Located in Los Angeles' famed Granville Towers, the 1,553-square-foot condo offers scenic panoramas, two bedrooms and amenities offered by its historic setting. The 1930s building has also been home to Marilyn Monroe. - REALTOR

9. Singapore's famed collection of buildings will welcome sustainability efforts and accommodate space constraints, according to a CNN article that showcases some of that city-state's distinctive structures. Among the notable creations is the Jewel at Changi Airport, which just debuted in 2019. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the retail complex boasts the world's tallest indoor waterfall as well as a glass-bottom bridge. - CNN

10. Actress Michelle Pfeiffer and her husband, producer David E. Kelley, just sold their $22 million Woodside, California, mansion. The pair's Bay Area property was previously listed for just under $30 million in 2018. It features an ivy-covered facade, library, media room and onsite equestrian facility and tennis court. - VARIETY 

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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