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

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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 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 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


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!

About Author

Allison Leung

A career writer, editor and blogger, Allison serves as the Director of Content for In the past, she has channeled her passion and curiosity for all things real estate into her jobs by working in real estate law and heading a blog about real estate market trends. Don’t ask about her dog, Ace, unless you want to see approximately 500 photos of his (adorable) face.


  1. Why “finally” reached pre-crash levels. No one disputes that pre-crash prices were inflated into a bubble. In easy English that means the prices were too high (regardless of comps). Why should we wish for prices to be too high again. If it takes a long time to “recover” (another poorly-chosen word), the natural appreciation of time might keep real estate prices anchored to their fundamental values. The last thing we should want is a relapse of the sick pre-crash fever.

    • Allison Leung

      Hi Katie:

      Thanks for your input.

      The word “finally” is not to say that we’re hoping prices creep back up to artificially high levels, but in order to move past the unprecedented decline of 2006 and 2007, we will inevitably need to exceed median prices achieved over 10 years ago at some point. Median home prices from 1968 to 2004 show an average yearly increase of 6.4%. While we could debate about whether prices today signify another risky situation, it’s impossible to say whether we’re in another bubble (although the cycle will likely correct itself at some point, to some degree). Increasing prices do pose issues (high prices edge many would-be buyers out of the market, as mentioned in the article), and markets have showed varied levels of strength at this point, but I don’t think we have exactly the same warning signs as we did during the subprime mortgage crisis.

      I don’t see where I used the word “recover” in the article above, so I can’t speak to that.

  2. Peter Mckernan

    Great article and insight on the current markets, and it is very interesting with the information regarding LLCs and foreign investors. I agree with Paul about how Dallas/TX has increased to a very high amount. Many different investors have moved capital into those markets over the past couple of years since margins were small in California.

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