Inside Real Estate - January 17th, 2020

Inside Real Estate (Jan 17th, 2020)

Home loans for retirees / 'Little Women' mansion listed at $2.5M / Realtor's political billboards

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1. Some lenders are finding creative ways for retirees to obtain home loans. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act ensures that people can't be rejected based on age. So lenders are helping elderly loan seekers qualify by using their monthly fixed-income sources as salary; allowing the use of investment portfolios to qualify; creating distribution from IRAs or 401(k)s. Statistics show that 10 percent of mortgages each year are for borrowers aged 65 and older. As a last resort for older applicants, some lenders will also consider stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

2. Some San Antonio residents are facing rising rents but not earning higher wages, according to a study by the Texas Tribune. Similar trends have been noted in other major Texas cities, including Dallas and Houston, which saw rents spike by 18.7 and 16.1 percent, respectively, from 2008 to 2018. However, San Antonio is different in that their median incomes only grew from $25,718 to $36,959 in the same period of time. The city currently has one of the worst poverty rates in the U.S. - TEXAS TRIBUNE

3. A new report names Zillow CEO Rich Barton the "most powerful person in real estate this year." That's the verdict for this year's Swanepoel Power 200, a ranking by consultants at T3 Sixty. Zillow's iBuying platform — which lets people buy and sell their homes directly to and from Zillow — is changing the home-buying system. At No. 2 is Gary Keller, co-founder and CEO of Keller Williams. At No. 3 is was Ron Peltier, executive chairman of HomeServices of America, who last year claimed the top spot. Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman ranked No. 4; that company has also launched an iBuying platform similar to Zillow's. - HOUSINGWIRE

4. A real estate agent is spending $10,000 on advertising using politically geared billboards that center on a hot-topic issue in the community. Anthony Gucciardo, who is based in Latham, New York, is advertising with signs in Albany, New York, that read: "Let's keep NY safe. Repeal Bail Reform." On the first of the year, the state enacted bail-reform legislation that would restructure the cash bail system so that it wouldn’t unfairly punish people who can’t pay punitive fines. However, in the first few weeks of 2020, it’s resulted in several anti-Semitic hate crimes in which criminals assault people, are arrested and released, then repeat the behavior just days later. Critics say it doesn't deter criminals enough. - TIMES UNION

5. In the last quarter of 2019, condo prices in Boston skyrocketed by a whopping 87.5 percent in a year-over-year comparison. That's according to a Douglas Elliman report released on Thursday that also shows some areas of the city even saw prices double from October to December.  The median price of luxury condos in the city are $5.25 million. In the quarter immediately preceding it (July to September), the median was $4.25 million. Douglas Elliman points to three major closings — the One Dalton, Pier 4 and EchelonSeaport developments — as a major source of that upturn. Though the brokerage adds that rises are still rising dramatically even without those three big deals. - MANSION GLOBAL

6. The Colonial-style mansion used in "Little Women" hit the market at $2.5 million. The new movie adaption from Greta Gerwig is garnering high praise from some of the movie industry's toughest critics. Among its cast members is the Theyer Estate, a 55-acre mansion in Lancaster, Massachusetts, roughly an hour from Boston. Built in 1903, the 47-bedroom, the 22,000-square-foot estate has — in the past several decades — been used as a Catholic retreat and a wellness center for celebrities. It was originally built for horticulturist Bayard Thayer, Boston Magazine reports. Just three years ago, it was listed at roughly $5.4 million. - REALTOR

7. The owner of a ski resort in Colorado surrendered her property to a lender to avoid foreclosure, but the lender — Granby Prentice LLC — said it wouldn’t be enough to cover its $62 million debt. Last week, the lender filed suit, asking a judge to begin judicial foreclosure proceedings. Situated in Grand County, Colorado, Marise Cipriani's 5,000-acre resort has been operating for 25 years. She had hoped to transform it into a $600 million business. If the Grand County judge agrees with the lender, it will be sold at auction. - COLORADO SUN

8. Among D Magazine's top real estate stories of 2019 is Uber's decision to house its Dallas headquarters at The Epic II. That puts it in the Deep Ellum part of the city, which it is transforming to an "office submarket with an abundance of walkable amenities." Experts predict this will turn the area into a less of a nightlife hub and more of a 24-7 destination with retailers, apartments, event spaces and more. Uber is expected to occupy a 471,000-square-foot building when it opens in 2022. - D MAGAZINE

9. Several outlets are now predicting that Amazon CEO Jef Bezos just bought his neighbor’s mansion in Washington, D.C. The $5 million 4,785-square-foot house in the Kalorama area is across the street from his $23 million dwelling that formerly housed the Textile Museum. According to Variety, public records seem to indicate that he may be the buyer, which would make sense. His Textile Museum home is undergoing renovations that could last years. - VARIETY

10. Famed photographer Douglas Friedman calls a minimalist structure home in Marfa, Texas, desert arts hub. He told Architectural Digest: "Having grown up in New York City, a nice Jewish boy, the idea of living out on the land was incredibly appealing." The 10-acre property is also home to a collection of Brett Douglas Hunter sculptures. - ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

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, staff writer at Inside.

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