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‘Shark Tank’ Star And Real Estate Expert Barbara Corcoran Discusses When Housing Prices Will Increase 

Barbara Corcoran is one of America’s largest public figures in the realms of commerce, finance and real estate. In a recent interview, she discussed when she believes the housing market will see another dramatic shift of increased home pricing.

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President Biden’s New Affordable Housing Plan 

The housing market in the US has been hitting historic lows within the past few years. Sales are slow, current homeowners are unable to move because they don’t want to lose the record low mortgage rates they got during the pandemic, and first-time homebuyers are finding starter homes to be less and less affordable. 

In a recent survey from Redfin, 53% of respondents stated that the housing affordability issues in the US will impact who they vote for in the next presidential election. The White House is aware of these potential impacts on the upcoming election, and President Biden is hoping to combat these issues with a new proposed housing plan. 

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According to reports from Forbes, Biden’s plan to make housing more affordable will involve rent relief, tax credits for homebuyers and sellers, and plans to develop 2 million homes as a means of addressing the housing shortage. 

Freddie Mac Housing Experts have estimated that the US is short about 4 million homes, so by adding 2 million the nation, home pricing and rent growth would slow down and affordability will improve. 

Mortgage rates have been fluctuating constantly since the pandemic especially. During the initial months of quarantining mortgage rates hit a record low, which increased demand and pricing. In 2022 and 2023, however, mortgage rates increased again, so existing homeowners who were able to lower their rates are now reluctant to sell. 

Biden’s new housing plan places a focus on first time homebuyers looking for their starter home, and those looking to move out of what once was their starter home. The proposed plan includes a one-year tax credit of up to $10,000, according to Forbes. This credit will ideally encourage homeowners to sell their first home to then free up that space for other first-time homebuyers. 

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It’s also been reported that another proposal from Biden would be a mortgage relief credit for first-time homebuyers in the middle-class. The credit would be up to $5,000 for two years, and would help make homeownership more accessible by reducing the buyer’s mortgage rate by over 1.5% points for two years, according to Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at Redfin. 

“This policy and Biden’s plan to provide down payment assistance for first-generation homebuyers would increase demand for homes. In places where the supply of homes has been increasing, such as Texas, there is enough capacity to meet increased demand. However, in places with limited supply, these credits would mostly lead to buyers competing for a limited number of existing homes and bidding up home prices,” Fairweather wrote for Forbes. 

Marshall Park, the Redfin market manager in Washington D.C., recalled how homebuyer tax credits, like the one being proposed from Biden, motivated more homebuyer’s to buy during Obama’s first year as president in 2009.

“Homebuyers who qualified definitely took advantage, and I recall a surge in demand and motivation to purchase while the tax credit was available,” said Park. “I do think that a homebuyer tax credit might bring more buyers into today’s market, but the main issue with the market right now is the lack of inventory,” Park stated.

 The biggest solution to helping the housing market will be the increase in supply and development of 2 million homes that Biden is planning on implementing. The presidential and congressional elections this year, however, will impact how much of that plan actually gets done.

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The Rise Of Hemp As An Environmentally Friendly Building Material For Housing 

Hemp, the non-psychoactive variant of cannabis, has been often used in holistic medicine and as a source for textiles and fabrics. Now, the natural material is being utilized as an environmentally friendly and economically friendly alternative to concrete for building.

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Most Expensive Home In The US Goes On Sale For $295 Million

The most expensive home for sale in the US has officially hit the market at a listing price of $295 million. The property is called Gordon Pointe, and is located in Naples, Florida, on the Gulf Coast within an enclave known as Port Royal. The property is also about 9-acres. 

The main house on the property is about 11,500 square feet with six bedrooms and the property has two other guest houses that are each over 5,000 square feet, making the combined total interior about 22,800 square feet. 

The three homes are located on a peninsula that has 1,650 foot waterfront with a private yacht basin and dock. 

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Co-listing agent Leighton Candler of Corcoran told CNBC that the value of the property isn’t based on the size of the three homes, but the privacy, beach frontage, and an opportunity for further significant development. 

“The property can accommodate more than 200,000 square feet of residential development, meaning the land has a ton of untapped potential,” according to the property’s press release.

“There can be eight waterfront homes on this property,” Candler added. 

The nine acres of land are made of contiguous lots. The first lot was initially purchased in 1985 by John and Rhodora Donahue. After the purchase of the first lot, the Donahues continued to buy up more and more of the peninsula until they owned the entire thing. 

Through these purchases, the Donahue’s created an exclusive, gated compound that’s almost entirely surrounded by water with a single private drive to avoid traffic. 

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“It gives you all the benefits of being on an island, but on Gordon Pointe your family can be secluded without feeling isolated,” Candler said.

Candler described that the T-shaped dock can accommodate six boats, and the Donahues constructed a private yacht basin that’s 231 feet by 50 feet and has a depth of almost 8 feet, something Candler says is a rare amenity that had to receive special approval by the US Army Corps of Engineers. 

The average listing price for properties in Port Royal is $24.1 million. Before Gordon Pointe, the highest-paid price for a home in Port Royal was for $45 million. 

“We did our best to price [Gordon Pointe] and we can defend that price all day long,” co-listing agent Dawn McKenna of Coldwell Banker Realty told CNBC.

McKenna also stated that the listing is already drawing significant interest since it first went live last Wednesday, and she’s booked eight in-person visits with prequalified buyers.

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Real Estate Developer China Evergrande Ordered By Hong Kong To Liquidate 

A Hong Kong court has ordered the world’s most heavily indebted real estate developer, China Evergrande, to undergo liquidation after the company failed to restructure the $300 billion it owed to banks and bondholders.

Luxury Retail Brands Have Been Spending Big On Real Estate 

Luxury retail brands like Prada have been spending large amounts to purchase real estate spaces in New York.

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45% Of Real Estate Agents Claim They’re Struggling To Pay Rent 

According to a monthly report from Alignable, 45% of real estate agents who own their firms stated that they’re struggling to pay their offices rent in the month of November. This is a 5% increase from October, and 10% higher than September’s data, citing a consistent increase. 

This data aligns with the attitudes of US homeowners as of late, as many who are wanting to move are currently waiting for the market to improve and constant high housing costs to decrease. Overall inventory for homes on sale is also the lowest it’s been in a very long time. 

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Corey Burr, the senior vice president at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, stated that these recent reports aren’t actually surprising. He discussed how recent interest rate hikes have been driving up mortgage rates and bringing home sales to a lull. 

“I think that the Federal Reserve has put us in this spot where they essentially froze up the residential real estate market by holding interest rates low for so long, and then increasing them so much so quickly. It’s created incredible distortions in our marketplace.” Burr says.

Burr also discussed that he’s been in the real estate industry for over 36 years, so he’s very experienced in following the ups and downs of the real estate market when you own a small business. 

“We are in a spot in the real estate cycle that is hardest for brokerages, particularly the smaller ones who have less market share, and who have fewer assets than the larger brokerages to ride out the storm,” Burr says.

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Prospective buyers are paying close attention to the market as well. High mortgage rates combined with an increase in buyers backing out of deals have led to a major decline in sales. 

Last month, pending home sales were down by 1.5% from September and 8.5% from last year, which is the lowest pending-sales figures according to the National Association of Realtors. 

Burr also mentioned that he expects the amount of realtors to decline across North America as the market continues to struggle, citing that over 60,000 agents left the industry in the first six months of the year. 

Some real estate data analysts are predicting that mortgage rates should decline within the next year. The National Association of Realtors economist Lawrence Yun predicted in early November that mortgage rates could reach between 6% to 7% by next spring and home sales could increase by 13.5% in 2024.

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Empty Bed Bath & Beyond Stores Are Hot Commercial Real Estate Opportunities

Commercial real estate retailers are seeing a major rise in available spaces due to the influx of empty Bed Bath & Beyond stores. 

When superstore retailers go out of business, other companies have the chance to take over the space for a faster turnaround due to its larger size. For example, Burlington Stores CEO Micheal O’Sullivan stated that some of their best stores were created “from carved-up Kmart or Sears locations.”

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Burlington has also already taken over 44 former Bed Bath & Beyond locations. According to CNN, this is the first holiday season in more than 50 years where there won’t be any physical Bed Bath & Beyond stores. The chain went out of business earlier this year, and closed its last 360 stores in what’s been referred to as the largest retail bankruptcies in years; 120 buybuy BABYs also closed down.

Overstock.com bought the Bed Bath & Beyond brand and transitioned it to relaunch exclusively online. The relaunch also included the famous 20% off coupons from the former retail giant. 

As the hundreds of empty Bed Bath & Beyond stores are continuously being auctioned off, the industry has realized how valuable these spaces are for real estate opportunities. 

According to CNN, Burlington, Michaels, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, Homegoods, and many other chains have already replaced old Bed Bath & Beyond stores. Some of the vacant spaces have even been taken over by recreational services such as pickleball courts, bowling alleys, and trampoline parks. 

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While the retail industry itself has been slowing down as of late, the vacant Bed Bath & Beyond locations are a hot ticket item for retailers and other developers due to an overall lack of big box store spaces to move into. In fact, there hasn’t been a major increase in new retail spaces since the financial crisis in 2008, CNN reports, especially with the rise in online shopping. 

“Bed Bath & Beyond spaces have been grabbed up swiftly at rents of up to 50% what Bed Bath & Beyond was paying. Landlords are taking advantage of the vacancies, with some dividing former Bed Bath spaces into smaller sizes,” said Brandon Isner, CBRE’s head of retail research for the Americas.

“There is little to no concern that any of the spaces will go vacant for long,” he said.

Kimco Realty, a real estate owner with 26 former Bed Bath & Beyond leases, said that “new leases were 38% higher than Bed Bath & Beyond rents.” 

“We have a very strong real estate team that has a lot of experience dealing with retail bankruptcies,” Burlington CEO Michael O’Sullivan said. “Many of our most successful and productive stores today were once upon a time Circuit City, Toys R Us, Sports Authority, Linens ’N Things.”

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Development Of Now Open Luxury Residential Tower In London Led To Discovery Of Shakespearean Theater

A new £750 million complex of 412 apartments in a 37-story development named ‘The Stage’ has officially opened in London. The project itself, however, initially made headlines during its development, when archaeologists discovered the remains of a 16th-century Shakespearean theater during excavations.

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What’s Happening With Governor DeSantis’ Ban On Chinese Homeownership In Florida?

In May, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a bipartisan law, SB 264, which banned certain Chinese nationals from buying property within the state as a means of avoiding “the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party in the state of Florida.” 

According to reports from NBC, a group of Chinese immigrants that are backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and additional civil rights groups, have been working to invalidate the new law, and the Justice Department even backed their effort in an official court filing this summer. The Justice Department stated that the law is unconstitutional, however, a judge ruled against that challenge back in August and settled with an appeal. 

Many workers within the real estate industry have stated their disdain for the law, claiming that it’s ambiguous and is fueling a major risk for discrimination against Chinese buyers. According to the law, sellers who violate the restrictions knowingly could face up to $1,000 in fines and one year in prison while Chinese nationals who buy property in Florida face up to 5 years in prison and even higher fines. 

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Khalid Muneer of the Greater Orlando chapter of the Asian American Realtors Association recently spoke to the media regarding the discriminations and difficulties this law created. 

“Are we supposed to be FBI agents investigating people and asking them all kinds of questions?”

A veteran Florida real estate agent, Frank Lin, told the media that his business has been cut in half due to the fact that he has to turn down clients to comply with the law. 

Additionally, Chinese nationals who already own property in Florida “are required by the new law to register with the state’s Commerce Department, but they don’t even have a form yet or place or website, so that’s confusing everyone. Failure to register by 2024 could trigger fines of up to $1,000 a day,” Lin said

According to a Florida Commerce Department spokesperson, “a hearing is set for this week over a proposed rule on the registration requirement, the agency is dedicated to implementing SB 264 as outlined in law.” 

Muneer spoke further on the discriminations that this law has created and the potential hostility it could create. 

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“If somebody comes in and is Asian-looking, you’re automatically going to start asking questions about where you’re from, which never used to happen.”

Many Asian American community members are viewing the Florida law as resembling xenophobic “alien land laws” of the early 20th century, which were later deemed unconstitutional. 

The restrictions of the law cover both commercial and residential properties and apply to all Chinese nationals who aren’t US citizens or permanent residents and/or already owning property in China. 

“If somebody comes in and is Asian-looking, you’re automatically going to start asking questions about where you’re from, which never used to happen,” said Khalid Muneer, founder of Jupiter Properties in Central Florida and president of the Greater Orlando chapter of the Asian American Realtors Association.

“Is this racism? Is this stereotyping? We are very well aware of the fact that we can have issues. We can be accused of discrimination. Some of [my] associates with heavily Chinese or Venezuelan clientele have seen a major, major drop in business,” Muneer said.

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In recent months, some of the realtors are afraid to deal with [Chinese nationals] because they are looking at getting prosecuted for ‘not doing their job.’ But then again, are we supposed to be FBI agents investigating people and asking them all kinds of questions?” Muneer continued

“The law is upending peoples’ lives.”

Florida in general receives about 23% of all foreign buyers throughout the US, the highest percentage of any state, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

NBC reported that five percent of Florida’s closed sales were to foreign buyers, according to a separate report from Florida Realtors. However, the bulk of Florida’s foreign buyers are Latin American, at 46%, and Canadian, at 24%. Among Chinese buyers, California is the most popular destination, drawing 33% of Chinese buyers to Florida’s 16%.”

“When you get a situation like this, where your main cash buyers are not allowed to buy, it does start hurting the market as well as sales agents who will depend on those sales for their living,” Muneer stated. 

Gregory Burge, an economist, said “ownership bans like Florida’s don’t make a lot of sense from an economic standpoint. Top talent coming from these nations would certainly involve families wanting to retain their citizenship in their home countries, and then facing the barrier of buying in Florida under the new law,” he said. “That could act as a negative factor for slowing economic growth.”