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Real Estate

In Marker. More on Medium.


Making sense of what’s going on in the red-hot housing market

Real estate. It’s on everyone’s minds. At least it certainly feels that way. Everywhere you turn, there’s an article about home prices soaring to record highs, a tweet about someone getting outbid on a home they offered 10% above ask, or a video trying to make sense of the market right now and if one should get involved. Anecdotes have prevailed in these uncertain times. It’s a bubble! Home prices have increased 25% in our market, and it’s going to pop like 2008. We’ve all heard or uttered these words in the past several months.

There’s talk of bubbles and…


The institutionalization of real estate and the rise of ‘placeless’ places

Many of America’s towns and cities could charitably be described as boring. New development, that is. America is home to an incredible diversity of regional architectural and planning styles. We cherish what makes each of these places special, traveling far and wide to take in their idiosyncrasies and beauty. But somewhere along the way, we stopped building according to local traditions. Over the last 70 years, America hasn’t put its best design foot forward.

It would be disappointing enough to fail in gracing a land as physically beautiful as the US with the built companions it deserves. But it’s downright…

No Mercy No Malice

The notorious co-working giant is the beneficiary of the ongoing remote work revolution

Real estate is an awesome gig.

For starters, the supply of fertile land (urban centers) is finite, but the source of demand keeps growing (more people/capital moving to cities). On top of that, we’ve granted real estate development such favorable tax treatment that it is nearly immune from taxation. Even Donald Trump, arguably the worst business person in U.S. history, made money in real estate development, despite the serial failure of the underlying business. As one tax law expert put it, the real estate industry “thinks of the tax code as a basket of goodies to feast on rather than…

Number Crunch

The housing market in second-tier cities is heating up

A Number Crunch logo alongside the text “43% The increase in home prices in Detroit over the past three months. Source: Bloomberg Businessweek” next to an illustration of two houses on a pink background.
A Number Crunch logo alongside the text “43% The increase in home prices in Detroit over the past three months. Source: Bloomberg Businessweek” next to an illustration of two houses on a pink background.

43%: That’s the increase in home prices in Detroit’s urban neighborhoods over the past three months—nearly four times the rate of less densely populated areas, according to an analysis of Redfin data by Bloomberg Businessweek. The urban housing market is booming nationwide, with prices rising 15% in the same time period. Real estate prices in densely populated areas are rising slightly faster than those in suburbia.

That’s a shift from between May and December of last year, when urban home prices were consistently lagging behind their suburban counterparts as many Americans deserted cities with a high cost of living, like…

Number Crunch

Maybe some more gold plating will help them recover

21%: That’s how much the value of Trump-branded properties in Manhattan fell during Donald Trump’s presidency, according to New York City real estate data firm UrbanDigs, as reported by Curbed.

Manhattan real estate values across the board have fallen by an average of 9% during the same period, with most of that drop occurring during the pandemic, meaning Trump properties have lost more than twice as much value as other Manhattan real estate. …

Number Crunch

2020 was the year of the Zoom-only home purchase

63%: That’s how many home buyers made an offer on a home in the past year without seeing the property in person, breaking the previous record of 45% set in July, according to a survey of 1,900 home buyers commissioned by the real estate brokerage Redfin.

One in 10 prospective home buyers are now requesting live-video tours with Redfin agents compared to less than 1% of buyers who made remote tour requests before the pandemic. Monthly viewings of 3D walk-throughs have also soared by a staggering 563% since last February.

Home buyers are flooding the market in hopes of a…

Last month, Patrick Sisson wrote in Marker that Compass is building a residential brokerage with the valuation of a tech giant. For months, the splashy real estate startup backed by SoftBank sparked much speculation about when the company would go public amid a pandemic-induced booming luxury real estate market. The wait is now over: The company filed confidentially to go public on Monday and submitted a draft registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The size of the offering has not yet been reported, but Compass was last valued at $6.4 …

That’s Dickson Despommier, PhD, professor of microbiology and author of the book The Vertical Farm, quoted in a story by Laura Marie in Future Human. Despommier discusses the promise that…

What We’re Reading

Some of the great articles on Medium that we’ve been reading and talking about. Happy reading (and highlighting)!

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky momentarily found himself at a loss for words on Bloomberg TV when host Emily Chang reported shares were set to trade at $139, more than double the IPO’s price of $68. The home-rental company closed its first day with a mind-boggling $100.7 billion market cap. Mario Gabriele broke down the company’s S-1 filing earlier this week in Marker, and it’s a testament to how far the company has come. “Next time you have an idea and it gets rejected, I want you to think of these emails,” Chesky wrote on Medium after posting screenshots of rejection…

The high-tech real estate startup boasts SoftBank backing, a $1.6 billion war chest, and plenty of skeptics. Now it’s cashing in on the pandemic real estate boom.

“None of us knows how long this crisis will last,” pleaded Robert Reffkin in a letter to Nancy Pelosi and her Republican counterpart Kevin McCarthy in March. Reffkin, CEO of real estate startup Compass, was urging Congress to include independent contractors like real estate agents — some 2 million of them in the United States, according to the National Association of Realtors — in its economic stimulus package. In his plea, Reffkin cleared up any misconceptions about the professionals: They were entrepreneurs and small business owners who represent the backbone of the U.S. economy, personify the American dream, yet typically…


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