5 Must-Read Real Estate Articles of The Past Week

There are so many real estate articles out there — and so little time! For busy investors looking to take a quick reading break, look no further than our list of recommended reading for the week. From advice and investment tips to market reviews, we’re highlighting the stuff that’s really worth your time.

So sit back, and take a break. These were the 5 Must-Read Real Estate Articles of The Past Week:

Zillow to acquire Naked Apartments for $13M

By E.B. Solomont via The Real Deal

In a move that will boost its presence in New York City, Seattle-based Zillow Group said today that it agreed to buy the rental platform Naked Apartments for $13 million in cash.The deal, which is expected to close in the next few weeks, gives Zillow a second brand in New York City along with StreetEasy, which the real estate giant acquired for $50 million in 2013.With Naked Apartments, a platform that connects nestseekers with brokers and landlords, Zillow is gaining a hyper-local rental database to complement StreetEasy’s sales focus. The deal is “natural strategic fit” for both StreetEasy and Zillow, Susan Daimler, StreetEasy’s general manager and vice president of Zillow Group New York, said in a statement. She said Zillow would continue to grow both brands “under one roof.”Naked Apartments, which calls itself the city’s largest rental-only platform, lists available apartments along with subway information, market data and agent reviews. In 2013, Naked Apartments launched “Showings on Demand,” a feature that allows renters schedule an apartment viewing with the tap of a button.Co-founded by CEO Joe Charat and CTO Jay Signorello, Naked Apartments launched in 2010 with 13,000 listings. Following the acquisition, Charat will lead the company as general manager and Signorello will remain CTO.The acquisition by Zillow “will give us the resources to innovate faster, to grow and expand our business,” Charat said in a statement.

TD Bank Ups NYC Real Estate Game

By Matt Egan via Commercial Observer 

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Some bankers chase the sexy deals that grab headlines, but push the envelope of common sense. Gregg Gerken and Roy Chin, backed by the culture of a conservative Canadian lender, play by a different, more cautious set of rules. Quietly, their disciplined approach has turned TD Bank into a major player in New York City real estate.

Mr. Gerken, TD’s head of U.S. commercial real estate, and Mr. Chin, regional director for commercial real estate in New York, didn’t quadruple TD’s New York real estate book since 2010 by recklessly leaping headfirst into luxury condo deals with breakeven prices that would make their bosses in Toronto blush. Yet, they also didn’t transform TD’s real estate business by avoiding risk altogether.

Back in 2010, as the more established banking giants were still licking their wounds from the financial crisis, Mr. Gerken and Mr. Chin pounced. They had a secret weapon: TD Bank was one of the only major banks in the world that didn’t suffer writedowns in the subprime mortgage market. That means Mr. Gerken and Mr. Chin had the firepower to step into the chasm that had formed in the New York real estate business.


By Tania Anderson via Bisnow

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The DC region is in transition, with the federal government making up less of the local economy and the private sector picking up the slack. That’s how Delta Associates CEO David Weisel (above) kicked off Transwestern’s Trendlines event last night at the Ronald Reagan building. A few more big nuggets: The national economy performed well with 2.6 million new jobs added in 2016 and fewer unemployment claims. Home prices continued to grow more modestly—5.4% in the largest Metro areas. David predicts that the Federal Reserve will do a few moderate interest rate increases, but only if the economy continues to show strength. There’s some uncertainty, driven by global and political developments, although whoever takes over the White House has very little impact on commercial real estate, says David. The federal debt is expected to grow and the overall US economy is expected to continue moderate growth, with slower growth in 2017 and the risk of a mild recession in the next three years.

The week in real estate market reports

By Kyna Doles via The Real Deal 

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.28.35 PMCommercial real estate sales hit $511 billion in 2015 and unlike Manhattan, Brooklyn is seeing rising sales prices even as inventory grows.
Q4 2015 Manhattan new development: MNS
Sponsor sales were up for most Manhattan neighborhoods during the fourth quarter. Gramercy Park saw the largest median price per square foot increase, while prices in the Upper East Side took a major downturn compared to the prior quarter. Read the full report here.
Q4 2015 Brooklyn new development: MNS
Williamsburg and Crown Heights recorded the most new development sales in the final months of 2015. Despite overall sluggish sales for Brooklyn, the borough’s median sales price and median price per square foot were up over the previous quarter. Read the full report here.
Q4 2015 Residential sales and rentals: StreetEasy
Manhattan and Brooklyn reached record-high sales prices in the final quarter of 2015. A reduction in inventory boosted sale prices in Manhattan, while Brooklyn maintained a growth in inventory and rising prices. Read the full report here.

New Plans to Unmask Secrete Buyers Rattle Real Estate Power Players 

By Alexei Barrionuevo via Curbed

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.34.40 PMDuring the heady years of Manhattan high-end real estate, one dirty little secret was that buying a condo in a pre-construction development was an easy way for buyers to avoid scrutiny.

A wealthy buyer who had cash knew that a new development had yet to form a condo board, which meant fewer questions about the buyer’s identity and source of funds. It fell to developers to ask those questions, and to press lawyers to provide proof that the buyer wasn’t using ill-gotten gains.

Amid a buying wave—like the one Manhattan saw over the past five years—not every developer was willing to rock the boat, despite potential liability. “It was a no-questions-asked” environment, one prominent high-end Manhattan broker recently said.

The new condo development loophole is just one way in which the real estate transaction system had become all too opaque. Wealthy buyers, both in the United States and abroad, have also widely used limited liability companies, or LLCs, to shield their identities, mostly for privacy reasons, but also to avoid scrutiny back home.

Did you like these articles? What were your favorite articles this week?

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