Inside Real Estate - February 7th, 2020 |

Inside Real Estate (Feb 7th, 2020)

NY eliminates broker's fees / High earners choosing renting over buying / Most expensive home sold in DC / 'Ghost kitchens' boosting CRE

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1. Renters in New York City are no longer required to pay broker's fees. New York state passed an ordinance that forbids landlords from forcing prospective tenants to employ brokers — who help to negotiate deals — and pay a fee for their services. That cost, paired with a security deposit, application fee, and credit-check fee, is making the renting process increasingly expensive in one of the nation's top real estate markets. Officials believe this move could help make more housing accessible to NYC residents. Critics of the measure say this will unnecessarily penalize hard-working Realtors. - CNN

2. High-income people are increasingly choosing to rent over homeownership, according to a new report from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. In the 55 to 64 age segment, renters increased by 4.2 percent from 2004 to 2018; by 2018, 23 percent of high-earning (more than $75,000) people chose rentals. Vacancy rates for apartments are down nationwide. - JCHS

3. The growth of “ghost kitchens” — where food is prepared for delivery or pickup instead of onsite dining — is spurring commercial real estate growth. Dubai-based operator Kitopi has amassed $60 million in a new funding round and has plans to open 150 outposts around the globe. It works by accepting orders for dining establishments, preparing meals as directed by the restaurants, and coordinating with third-party delivery companies to ship out orders. So far, Kitopi has 100 restaurant clients and more than 30 ghost-kitchen locations. - BISNOW

4. The most expensive home to sell in the Washington D.C. area is a $45 million estate at 40 Chain Bridge Road. Dubbed "The Falls," the home once belonged to AOL co-founder James Kimsey. Overlooking the Potomac, this towering dwelling sits on more than three acres of land. Its main house features a "custom library, a wine cellar, a 3-D media room, a 30-car underground garage, and a workout room in the main house." Outside, an infinity pool, tennis court, and a terrace round out the impressive property. Perhaps the centerpiece of this residence: it has a separate guest house that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. - WASHINGTONIAN

5. Commercial real estate in Houston could take a hit, as the oil industry faces another challenging year. Currently, oil prices are at their lowest level in more than a year. This will mean less demand for office space, since some oil companies are already laying off employees. While Houston is anticipated to add more than 40,000 new jobs in 2020, it will lose 4,000 in the oil-and-energy market. Other industries — like health care, hospitality, and government — should help grow that city’s economy, but they will not necessitate the level of square footage that larger oil businesses typically require. - HOUSTON CHRONICLE

6. New European VC A/O PropTech — which will invest in technology companies that focus on real estate — officially launches on Friday. The startup's investors, which include some large European real estate companies, collectively hold residential, commercial and hospitality assets.  "With regards to the geographies, we focus primarily on companies which are targeting markets where we can be impactful, so you will find that most of our investments are in Europe, but can extend to US or Israeli companies that are scaling in our core European markets," PropTech founder and CEO Gregory Dewerpe said, - TECHCRUNCH

7. After nearly a decade with his rustic Aspen, Colorado, getaway, Lance Armstrong is hoping to unload the 5,800-square-foot mansion for $14.5 million. In 2019, Armstrong welcomed Architectural Digest into the property, where readers could spot an impressive art collection with works by Banksy and Kehinde Wiley. While those art pieces don’t come with the house, the price does include views of the Aspen and Tiehack mountains. Inside, there’s a wine cellar, home theater, and bunk-lined gaming room. - REALTOR

8. The most significant commercial real estate transaction of 2019 in Baton Rouge was the sale of The Millennium at Towne Center for $49.7 million. Illinois-based Inland Real Estate Group of Companies purchased the complex at $180,087 per home from Thompson National Partners. Built in 2007, the Millennium features 276 residential units and nearly 11 acres. As of the time of sale, 95 percent of the structure was occupied. While this deal topped the list, it’s the smallest sale price to claim the No. 1 place in the last four years. - BUSINESS REPORT

9. A woman in Virginia Beach, Virginia, has been sentenced to two years in prison for reportedly stealing more than $130,000 from a real estate company. The victim was her employer, the Gallery of Homes Real Estate. Gallery of Homes Real Estate allegedly defrauded the company, which “offers real estate brokerage and property management services,” while working as a bookkeeper there. - DAILY PRESS

10. One of the most prominent development firms in the southeast, The Lutgert Cos., is building a new headquarters in Naples, Florida. The three-story Class A professional center situated south of Pine Ridge Road at 4850 U.S. 41 is expected to be completed before the end of the year. Lutgert Cos. Vice President Erik Lutgert said: “With its ideal Naples location, our new professional center is poised to become one of the area’s finest business addresses.” - BUSINESS OBSERVER 

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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