Inside Real Estate - January 14th, 2020

Inside Real Estate (Jan 14th, 2020)

Restoration Hardware CEO's new home / Proposed changes to EB-5 program / Childcare costs and rent

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1. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is pushing for a bill that would ease restrictions on the EB-5 program, which grants visas to foreigners who invest in some U.S. real estate deals. The proposed changes would allow foreign investors to await their visas in this country. It would also lower investment minimums outside of low-employment areas. Previous Judiciary Committee members criticized some of EB-5’s results, which include luxury real-estate developments in affluent communities like Midtown Manhattan, which go"against the spirit" of the program. In November, a federal rule made it more difficult for states’ favored developments to be prioritized and to return the program to its “original intent” of job creation and business stimulation. Experts say this new bill by Graham would “effectively nullify” those updates. - WALL STREET JOURNAL  

2. Real estate brokers on Monday announced that the iconic Hilton San Jose downtown San Jose, California, has been sold for $117.55 million. The seller was China-based Han’s Holdings Group, who purchased the facility for $87.3 million in 2017, according to Atlas Hospitality Group. The buyers remain undisclosed. The Hilton San Jose is an 18-story tower at 300 Almaden Blvd. that features an 18,000-square-foot events venue, business lounge and the Affinity Restaurant & Bar. It’s undergoing a renovation that began last year. - MERCURY NEWS

3. The cost of childcare — $715 per month — is rapidly growing closer to the national median rent of $899 per month, a report from Freddie Mac shows. Since 1993, housing expenses have risen by 14 percent when adjusted for inflation, and childcare has spiked by 49 percent in the same time. This particularly hurts low-income families. Data shows that families with children under the age of 15 who make less than $1,500 end up spending roughly 40 percent of their incomes on childcare alone. This has also negatively impacted women in the workplace. “Women’s labor force participation, after rising from 1985 to 2000, has been declining since 2000, coinciding with an uptick in the rate of growth in child care costs,” Freddie Mac wrote. - HOUSTON CHRONICLE

4. Home-sharing platforms, including VRBO and Airbnb, seem to be “making parts of (Washington, D.C.) more expensive for long-term residents,” according to a research paper from University of Maryland student Zhenpeng Zou. The doctoral student said he found a “2.24 percent price inflation of single-family housing" on average, but it was higher in some tourist-popular neighborhoods. He explains it's "mild" when compared to markets like Boston or New York City. Airbnb denies that it is causing home prices to rise. The company blames restrictive zoning for the rise in real-estate prices. - WAMU

5. Tenants at a complex in Brooklyn are suing landlord Rubin Dukler for rent overcharges. More than 20 residents at the Crown Heights apartment complex said that in 2002, there was a rent-freeze order at their building that banned rent increases only until necessary repairs were completed. However, they say Dukler hiked rents for all tenants anyway. In 2019, Dukler was named among the 100 "worst" landlords in the city in a New York City Public Advocate ranking. - THE REAL DEAL

6. Veteran Hollywood comedian Pauly Shore just listed his Hills West property for $9.5 million. Built in 1959, the remodeled house features landscape panoramas from the ocean to the mountains and even downtown LA. It boasts a dry sauna, swimming pool and terraces. Shore reportedly bought this house for $1.15 million in 1996. Rick Hilton of Hilton & Hyland is among the list agents. - LA TIMES

7. Private properties guarded by Spectrum's home security division will soon be left with inoperable equipment and cameras, as the company said it will discontinue its surveillance services as of Feb. 5, 2020. The company is offering its customers discounts on similar services from its former competitors (like Ring). However, there is no current plan to make their products — which have already been installed in numerous homes — compatible with external programs. Nor will they offer refunds or rebates for those goods. - THE VERGE

8. Boston's thriving life-sciences industry is creating more high-paying jobs, which is enriching the housing market in the city, Curbed reports. Boston's emerging role as a leader in science is luring international companies, especially those who want to work with nearby universities and research facilities. Thanks to the nature of the industry, people working in these fields must stay in the area to allow their research and products to develop. While the average Massachusetts home is priced at $71,000, the average life-sciences employee earns a $123,600 salary. - CURBED BOSTON

9. Young professionals who often move for work are using furniture-rental companies to facilitate their transfers. Startups like Feather and Fernish lease out stylish items — like a $1,100 love seat for $46 per month, or a $980 bench for $41 per month — that have been described as a “step up from Ikea.” Critics of renting from these companies say these furnishings end up costing more than if they'd been purchased outright on sale. But National Consumer Law Center senior counsel Margot Saunders said leasees should "recognize that they are paying for the convenience of renting.” - ASSOCIATED PRESS

10. The CEO of RH — formerly known as Restoration Hardware — just closed on a $37 million Beverly Hills Post Office property. The 11,000-square-foot mansion features a smart gym, home theater with stadium seating and formal gardens. It was built as a spec house by former Northrop Grumman CEO Kent Kresa, who collaborated with architectural designer Tim Morrison. The sleek, contemporary estate sits on nearly an acre of land. - 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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