"The reason your neighborhood increasingly resembles a hometown mall is because somebody’s banker prefers it that way," writes Patrick Clark at Bloomberg.com. [more inside]
Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices - "The city had more housing starts in 2014 than the whole of England. Can Japan's capital offer lessons to other world cities?" (via) [more inside]
"The federal government should establish neighborhood anti-gentrification zones where vulnerable tenants could purchase their apartment buildings away from predatory landlords, according to a policy report revealed today by Democratic State Senator Adriano Espaillat."
Nova Alea is a small real-estate speculation game loosely modeled on the rent-gap theory. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. [more inside]
"So can you do demolition eviction and then evict the tenants and then not demolish the building?"Real Estate Vampires Plot How To "De-Tenant" Rent-Stabilized Brooklyn
"There’s nothing in there I can see that penalizes you for not demolishing the building," Itkowitz replied.
Property speculators own nearly 20 percent of all property in Detroit. Though their practices vary, speculation often changes the role and use of property in neighborhoods and communities. At its most extreme, speculation generates vacancy and abandonment. It is often a practice with minimal investment that hastening the deterioration of houses, commercial, and industrial buildings.
What you see here are the owners of multiple parcels of land in the city of Detroit.
What you see here are the owners of multiple parcels of land in the city of Detroit.
"The idea of owning a free-standing home on a quarter-acre block. It’s just not feasible."--The Guardian reports on the Death of the Great Australian Dream. [more inside]
Austin Powers-style Chicago condo untouched since the 1970s hits the market. It's got a little touch of Ron Burgundy and Brian Fantana in there too. A steal at $158,000. The listing at Zillow.
Art lovers take note: a sprawling villa once owned by the artist and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti is on the market. And if you have a few million to spare, the masterpiece could be yours. The eight-bedroom villa, located near Siena, was bought by the Renaissance master in 1549 and remained in the Buonarroti family until 1867 - more than 300 years after his death. The home, surrounded by the vineyards of Chianti and views of Tuscany’s rolling hills, could be yours for €7.5 million. [more inside]
Garth Turner, current real estate curmudgeon and former politician, makes his predictions for 2016. Some are genuine predictions, others not so much. Dear old Garth does this every year, with mixed results. (2014, 2013, 2012)
American House Prices. FIVE years after the house price crash that nearly took down an entire financial system, America’s property market appears to be in rude health: prices have appreciated by 17% over the past three years. But that statistic hides vast differences in housing markets across America The graphic gives valuation assessments for 25 major cities in the context of what has happened to prices over the past 35 years, and allows you to plot and compare them.
Living a Frontier Dream on the Outskirts of China’s Capital by Andrew Jacobs [New York Times]
Welcome to “Hometown America,” as Jackson Hole is called in Chinese, a mammoth real-estate venture that is an exacting pastiche of an American frontier town, albeit one with a wine-tasting pavilion, a spa and security guards dressed as park rangers, who salute every passing car. Modest entry-level homes sell for $625,000. Larger abodes — described by Jackson Hole’s developers as castles — have an attached vineyard and fetch nearly $8 million. The developer, Ju Yi International, says that more than 90 percent of the 1,500 homes have already been sold. Occupying more than a square mile of arid land in northeast Hebei Province, Jackson Hole has plenty of room to expand.
The four-bedroom/nine-bath house at 631 Parra Grande Lane in Montecito has been sold. Built on ten acres in 1906, El Fureidis--originally called Gillespie Estate or Gillespie Palace--is one of five homes designed by American architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. If you're not familiar with El Fureidis and its long and dignified history, here's a tour, and a video of an infamous owner's wedding.
Wanna buy a palatial 365-room Castle in the Florentine foothills - CHEAP? The bizarre castle and its 160-acre grounds, which have been left to ruin for the last several decades is being auctioned off at a starting price of just S20 million in an attempt to save the estate from private investors who are angling to turn it into a luxury resort if the price falls low enough. Google images here.
"The legal system is practically infested with cases about people who buy houses full of termites and find out too late. These are run-of-the-mill lawsuits that can turn on the wording of the contract and the jurisdiction the house was sold in. Stambovsky v. Ackley is basically the same, except ghosts." Sarah Jeong, writing for Motherboard. [more inside]
Real estate brokerage Marketplace Homes has begun using its ZipTours application to allow buyers to tour homes for sale in the Detroit area under the supervision of an agent video chatting on their smartphone. After providing photo ID and a facebook account, the buyer receives a code to open the lockbox and can tour the home with their remote agent. [Alt link for possible paywall problems]
Felix Salmon reports on the continuing saga of Cooper Union (previously on MetaFilter). With NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's recent intervention, the school appears ready to stop digging its financial grave, but blocks away, faculty, staff, and students believe a similar story is playing out with New York University's NYU 2031 initiative. The plan, described as "a real estate deal" in a private conversation with an NYU trustee, is the brainchild of controversial NYU president John Sexton. [more inside]
In the weeks after the Broaddus family purchased their dream home in Westfield, New Jersey they began to receive mysterious, threatening correspondences from a stranger calling themself "The Watcher". The stranger claims a special connection to the house, which has "been the subject of [their] family for decades." The letters went on to claim of a secret buried within the walls of the house, and that a "second coming" was imminent given an infusion of "young blood". The letters also claim that the sender was familiar with the previous owners of the home, and after some digging, the Broaddus family believes that to be true. They are now suing the former inhabitants for withholding this information during the sale of the house. [more inside]
...an interactive map that shows both the median rents in [some] New York City neighborhoods right now as well as their evolution in those areas over the last seven years—a period that has been marked by significant new developmentMapping New York Neighborhoods Hit Hardest by High Rents
When the refurbishment is complete, Witanhurst will have about ninety thousand square feet of interior space, making it the second-largest mansion in the city, after Buckingham Palace. It will likely become the most expensive house in London. In 2006, the Qatari royal family bought Dudley House, on Park Lane, for about forty million pounds; after a renovation, its estimated resale value is two hundred and fifty million pounds. Real-estate agents expect that the completed Witanhurst will be worth three hundred million pounds—about four hundred and fifty million dollars.
And no one knows who owns it.
And no one knows who owns it.
What you do when apartment hunting online, and what a lot of people do, I imagine, is you plug in your preferred neighborhood/price range/amenities/etc., and then out pops a long list of results that you further refine by imagining a very specific and very fictionalized narrative involving a version of yourself that isn’t necessarily true right now but could be true if you lived in apartment X. No, you’ve never wielded a wrench for any longer than the time it takes to pass it to your dad, but why couldn’t you fix a fixer-upper? Or be the kind of person to share one bathroom with six other roommates? Or live with a Ukrainian family that’s gone for five months out of the year, but whose kids you’re expected to babysit as per your new rental agreement?
Tuesday night, the Santa Monica (CA) City Council unanimously passed one of the most restrictive laws in the nation on short-term rentals. The ordinance (which strengthens and enforces laws already on the books) explicitly bans vacation rentals – rentals of 30 days or less where the primary occupant of the home or apartment is not present – while legalizing and taxing “home-sharing” – i.e. renting a couch, spare room or backyard cottage - providing at least one of the primary residents lives on-site throughout the stay. Santa Monica (pop. 92K) receives over 7 million visitors annually; Salvador Valles, the city's acting chief administrative officer for Planning and Community Development, estimates the number of available listings on home-share sites would go from 1700 to 300. The ordinance goes into effect June 15. [more inside]
With interest rates at an all time low (and likely to increase later this year), the spring home selling season should see plenty of new real estate listings. Many of those listings will feature terrible real estate photos (which has been covered before). It's amazing how good photography can make the difference in selling a house in 8 days versus 8 months. But with the rise of photo apps comes the worst thing to happen to property listing photos: bad HDR real estate photography.
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) has announced that he will resign from Congress. He has been recently been in the news for alleged ethics violations including a Downton Abbey office redecoration he didn't pay for, sketchy real estate deals, claiming 170,000 miles in reimbursement on a personal vehicle that he later sold with 80,000 miles on the odometer, and much much more! [more inside]
How Parks and Recreation Took Aim at Silicon Valley (Laura Hudson at Wired):
"Over the course of the season, Leslie remarks on how the character of the town has morphed since the arrival of Gryzzl, with juice bars, yoga studios, and pet hotels popping up across Pawnee. “Everything has changed. This town is going to be unrecognizable in 10 years,” she says wistfully. One episode revolves entirely around trying to save their perennial waffle hangout J.J.’s Diner; thanks to the surging housing market, the property has been bought out by a perfume magnate who plans to flip it for profit.[more inside]
"If that sounds reminiscent of the housing crisis that’s currently plaguing San Francisco—and displacing large numbers of long-time residents—it should. Rental prices in the tech hub city are currently in the highest the nation, with the median price of a one-bedroom apartment hovering at more than $3,400 a month. Meanwhile, local establishments like the Lexington Club (the J.J.’s Diner of lesbian bars) are getting sold to new owners."
Treading Water by Laura Parker [National Geographic]
Phil Stoddard, in his third term as mayor of South Miami, is one of the few politicians willing to talk about when that time might come... He drew a graph with three lines that show population, property values, and sea level all rising. Then abruptly, population growth and property values plummet. “Something is going to upset the applecart,” he says. “A hurricane, a flood, another foot of sea rise, the loss of freshwater. People are going to stop coming here and bail.”[more inside]
They Say Art Is Dead in New York. They're Wrong. – Alan Feuer, NYT (December 2014):
Somehow, in the last few years, it has become an article of faith that New York has lost its artistic spirit, that the city's long run as a capital of culture is over. After all (or so the argument goes), foreign oligarchs and hedge-fund traders have bought up all the real estate, chased away the artists and turned the bohemia that once ran east from Chumley's clear across the Williamsburg Bridge into a soulless playground of money.
Last year, the foremost proponent of this doomsday theory was the rock star David Byrne, who complained in The Guardian that artists, as a species, had been priced out of New York. This year, others joined him. The novelist Zadie Smith lamented in October, in The New York Review of Books, that the city's avant-garde had all but disappeared. The musician Moby wrote a comparable essay in February, describing how creative types are fleeing New York and referring to his former home, accurately but narrowly, as "the city of money." Just a couple of weeks ago, Robert Elmes, the founder of the Galápagos Art Space in Brooklyn, declared the indigenous "creative ecosystem" was in crisis — so, naturally, he was moving to Detroit.
House Crazy is a blog about weird and/or beautiful houses, like this "bizarre house-like thing in the [California] desert", this obnoxiously opulent ski chalet or thismagical San Francisco Victorian. There are also interesting articles on crime scene houses like the the House at Hex Hollow and the house where Sharon Tate was murdered.
A tip on a shady deed transfer involving a man who died in 1980 is continuing to uncover many other instances; an on-going nine-part (so far) investigation. [more inside]
So Notch loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimmin' pools, movie stars. [more inside]
Unfortunately, introducing children to classic works of literature won’t raise their abysmal test scores.... This is because standardized tests are not based on general knowledge. As I learned in the course of my investigation, they are based on specific knowledge contained in specific sets of books: the textbooks created by the test makers.[more inside]
The Public Advocate for the City of New York has released an interactive map, The NYC Landord Watchlist, which maps the city's most poorly managed buildings. The map uses data from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to list over 6,800 buildings across New York. You can search the map by address and by borough. If you select a property listed on the map you can view the number and type of violations it has received. [via]
CIRCA's "You Should Move to ..." series is a charming exploration of "beautiful, under-the-radar old house towns where big charm can be had for little cost." [more inside]
Need temporary housing? Want to live large for less? Showhomes matches high-end vacant houses for sale with people who have beautiful furniture and need temporary housing. If you are moving from one city to another, are building a home or simply want to live in a beautiful home for a fraction of what it would normally cost, consider becoming a Showhomes Home Manager. You can enjoy a Showhome as if it were yours while it remains on the market for sale. In exchange for keeping it clean and letting buyers view the home, you get dramatically reduced monthly fees.... [more inside]
In his new book Ciphers, German photographer Christopher Gielen (previously) reveals haunting images of our endlessly repetitive development through aerial views of American urban sprawl. [more inside]
The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May (1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler (1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]
[Special person A] took an [unbelievable number of weeks] paid leave from her job as a performance art archivist and digital [string of four arbitrary letters that suggest a marketing-related acronym] strategist to commit to the search. "It was scary," she whispered, "My apartment was well below market rate at $8,000 a month—how was I going to find what I needed on such a limited budget?"-Mad Libs: New York Times Real Estate Edition
In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class. Here's What $800 in Rent Gets You in 11 Major Cities [more inside]