Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Real Estate

Inside Real Estate (Jan 7th, 2020)

1. A roundup of real-estate predictions for 2020 from multiple sources reveals that the biggest challenge for the industry will be inventory scarcity. The Washington Post compiled forecasts from the National Association of Realtors,, Redfin, Zillow and National Association of Home Builders — among others — and found that they shared a consensus. While the U.S. is currently enjoying a historically low unemployment rate, low interest rates and an overall strong economy, it will be a supply shortage that threatens the market in the new year because there isn’t enough new construction planned. - WASHINGTON POST

2. Small-investor real estate funds — known as nontraded real-estate investment trusts — are back. They’re essentially “micro” investments of at least $2,500 that make the industry accessible to a broader population that wants to put their money to work in real estate but can’t afford to buy properties. While these have been around for decades, they previously faced heavy criticism for excessive fees and poor disclosure. Now “big-name” investment firms are making these funds popular again by fixing those problems and putting these back in the public focus. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

3. Soaring rents in Tuscon, Arizona are forcing children to leave their schools, as families are being priced out of their neighborhoods. Some children have had to leave school abruptly and move to more affordable areas that are zoned to different schools. Two school districts in particular,  Tucson Unified and Amphitheater Unified, have been hit hard by evictions. The average monthly cost for a rental unit in Tucson has risen by more than $50 per month in the last year. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

4. For the first time since 2011, rents in some parts of central Austin have stabilized, according to a local market analyst. Austin broker and founder of Apartment Pros Thomas Ingle says that development is catching up to the immense demand that the city has seen in recent years. He explains that while some people are concerned that high-priced new constructions will increase nearby rents, they could actually be helping. "The reality is the more places there are, even the nice ones, the more availability there are," says Ingle, who advises prospective Austin tenants to lock down affordable units now, before tech giants — like Amazon and Apple — move in and generate more demand. - KVUE

5. Americans are increasingly moving out of New York; they're also migrating to Idaho. That's according to a study by national moving company Atlas Van Lines, which looked at migration patterns in the U.S. for 2019. Out of the 50 states, 26 are considered "balanced," meaning roughly the same amount of people are moving into as are leaving the state. Among those markets are Washington, D.C., and Ohio. Texas, which used to be balanced, is now an inbound state attracting more people. - FORBES

6. Another real estate agent is drawing attention with her creative marketing technique: a rap video that’s going viral. In it, Realtor Michelle Patterson parodies “Whatever You Like” by rapper T.I. on the $1.25 million property she’s listing in Portland, Tennessee. She’s also staged the house to include photos of a T-rex roaming through the interior. This form of real-estate marketing is gaining traction as brokers explore new ways to generate attention for their high-priced homes. - TENNESSEAN

7. A Bay Area investment group just bought another apartment complex in San Jose, California, where there’s a housing shortage. Commercial real estate expert David Sandlin said that "more jobs are being created in Silicon Valley than we can house here.” This is driving up the price of existing homes in the area and making them more attractive to investors. PMI Waterford, a Pacific Urban Residential affiliate, purchased the 40-unit Sofi Waterford Park apartments for $194 million in cash on Dec. 20. - THE MERCURY NEWS

8. A historic Chicago mansion just hit the market for $4.2 million. Situated in Hyde Park, the 8,000-square-foot 19th-century estate has been renovated while maintaining its original charm. The brick-and-limestone house was designed by William Carbys Zimmerman, who has designed several prominent buildings throughout Illinois, including the University of Illinois. - CRAIN’S CHICAGO

9. Some large marijuana companies are turning to sale-leaseback transactions to raise money when financing is tight. They are selling off vast parcels of cultivation and then immediately leasing them back, so they become tenants and the new buyer (real estate investor) becomes their landlord. On Monday, home-goods store Bed, Bath & Beyond announced that it took the same path and yielded $250 million by selling 2.1 million square feet that they then leased back. - MBD

10. One of the priciest residential properties in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is back on the market, this time for $14 million. Situated at 11001 Highland Road, the "Pennington Mansion," is a Mediterranean-style estate with five bedrooms, a theater, gym, saltwater swimming pool and a custom, manmade lake. Built by Paula Pennington de la Bretonne in 2006, it last sold for $6 million in 2015. At that time it marked the highest-priced residential sale ever for that market, despite it having originally been listed for a whopping $18 million. - WBRZ

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.

Subscribe to Inside Real Estate