Real Estate News Roundup: U.S. Treasury Cracks Down on Money Laundering, Uber Cofounder Unveils Real Estate Project

Real Estate News Roundup: U.S. Treasury Cracks Down on Money Laundering, Uber Cofounder Unveils Real Estate Project

3 min read
Allison Leung Read More

Join for free and get unlimited access, free digital downloads, and tools to analyze real estate.

Summer is in full swing, and while certain markets have leveled off, many areas across the country are still seeing significant growth and skyrocketing home prices. What else is noteworthy in real estate?

Let’s jump right in.

Home Prices (Finally) Reach Pre-Crash Levels

CNN Money reports that home prices are up 9% from one year ago, at a median of $231,000. This price represents a 1% increase over the previous median high of $228,000 in July 2005.

While interest rates remain low, the rising home prices — especially in places like Tampa, FL (up 20% from a year ago) and Boulder, CO (up 19%) — are edging many would-be buyers out of the market. In fact, buyers not requiring financing, making up 27.5% of home and condo sales in the second quarter of 2016, were at the lowest level seen since the end of 2007.

Uber Cofounder Unveils New Real Estate Project

Uber cofounder and CEO of Expa Studios Garrett Camp has just launched Expa’s new endeavor, a startup called Haus.

Aimed at digitizing and organizing offers from buyers in an attempt at greater transparency for all parties involved, Haus will focus entirely on the buying and selling of residential property. Says Camp, many sites and apps are focusing on the process of finding real estate, but there are few attempting to revolutionize the process of making and accepting offers.

Often, real estate brokers and agents work with many forms of physical paper — from faxing documents to signing them in person. Camp’s goal is to take the excessive paperwork and opacity out of the process by using a streamlined software that clearly shows each offer and its details in an easy-to-understand format. Most notably, this would give all interested buyers the opportunity to view each and every offer.

Buying a Rental Property

Related: BiggerPockets Real Estate Investment Market Index: The Best (and Worst) Major Markets for Real Estate Investors, 2015

Critics have raised possible issues to this method — such as whether buyers might be driven away when they see a bidding war happening or conversely, whether some buyers might not present as high of a “best and final offer” when they see that offers are sluggish and low.

Said Haus GM Sarah Ham of these allegations, “We think the openness will create a more efficient market and that the number of offers and price will ultimately be dependent on demand. Bidding wars are a common, almost accepted, part of the real estate process today. But with our approach, buyers know where they stand. Buyers will know what they need to offer to make their offer competitive, but they also won’t negotiate against themselves.”

For more information, check out TechCrunch’s article here.

The 20 Hottest Real Estate Markets for July 2016

Realtor.com has released its list of the 20 hottest real estate markets for the month of July, based on the number of days homes spent on the market and the number of listing views on realtor.com. Per their data, they found July 2016 to be the “hottest” July in a decade — with properties spending a median of 68 days on the market and the estimated 500,000 new listings for July failing to keep up with the demand from buyers.

The top 5 markets included:

  1. Vallejo, CA
  2. Dallas, TX
  3. Denver, CO
  4. San Francisco, CA
  5. Stockton, CA

To check out the full list, head over to realtor.com.

denver-map

U.S. Treasury Cracks Down on Money Laundering in Real Estate

The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that it plans to expand the order governing all-cash sales of high-end homes via shell companies in an attempt to eliminate money laundering schemes.

Related: Breaking News: Newbie Flipper Makes Disturbing Discovery That It’s Not Like on TV

Back in March, they mandated that all transactions involving anonymous LLCs dealing in all cash disclose the names of the people behind the LLCs in Manhattan and Miami. The newest announcement expanded the list of cities affected to include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco (and surrounding counties), San Antonio, all of New York City, and counties surrounding Miami.

This new order will take effect August 28th and will continue for six months. The Treasury hopes that it will discourage buyers — especially foreign buyers — from laundering money through U.S. real estate.

While some fear this new requirement will result in slowed transactions in the cities affected, others don’t think it will make much of an impact due to many buyers simply not caring about anonymity and others bypassing the order by wiring transfers.

Still, sales of luxury real estate in the markets affected by the original order (Manhattan and Miami) have been in decline — although it is impossible to say whether the order was the main reason.

What do you think about the Treasury’s new order? Are you seeing rising prices in your market?

Let me know what you think about this (and any other news) in the comments!