Beverly Hills Homeowner Scores $83 Million Loan to Expand Mansion

May 10, 2021
Suzanne Woolley, Tom Maloney & Benjamin Stupples - Bloomberg

It’s very L.A.: Dream big and borrow big.

Byron Allen, a former comedian and television host who’s now an entertainment mogul, is borrowing as much as $82.8 million tied to his Beverly Hills mansion, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

Canary Wharf May Scrap Planned Office Skyscraper for Apartments

May 3, 2021
Olivia Konotey-Ahulu - Bloomberg

The main landlord in London’s Canary Wharf financial district is considering scrapping plans for a new office skyscraper and building a 60-story apartment tower instead.

Canary Wharf Group is consulting with local authorities about the potential for building around 700 homes at its 1 Park Place site that would be purpose-built for tenants, according to an application on the Tower Hamlets council website. The firm had won initial permission in 2015 for a one million square foot office building, the equivalent of two Gherkin skyscrapers.

Housing Starts in U.S. Soar After Winter-Related Setback

April 26, 2021
Olivia Rockeman - Bloomberg

U.S. housing starts rebounded sharply in March to the highest since 2006, exceeding forecasts and indicating residential construction is getting back on track after a winter storm-related setback.

Residential starts jumped 19.4% last month to a 1.74 million annualized rate, according to government data released Friday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 1.61 million pace. Applications to build also climbed.

U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Increased Slightly in April

April 19, 2021
Payne Lubbers - Bloomberg

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders improved in April as strong demand helped offset concerns about rising material costs and supply chain issues.

A gauge of builder sentiment rose to 83 from a March reading of 82, the highest in two months, National Association of Home Builders data showed Thursday. The figure was in line with the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Palm Beach County Mansions Scooped Up in Hot Pandemic Market

April 12, 2021
Alex Wittenberg - Bloomberg

Florida’s Palm Beach County hasn’t lost its luster with wealthy homebuyers.

Purchase contracts for single-family houses priced at $10 million or more surged 306% in March from a year earlier, the biggest gain since the pandemic started, appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate said in a report. For condos priced at $5 million or more, deals jumped 392%.

How Biden Can Build Back Better by Investing in Homes

April 5, 2021
Kriston Capps - Bloomberg

U.S. President Joe Biden just signed into law the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion relief package and his first major piece of legislation. The administration has signaled the next stimulus will focus on infrastructure — but it will have to tackle more than just better bridges and highways.

Infrastructure improvements need to start at home, according to climate advocates and industry executives. More specifically, they see residential investments as the key to jobs, equity and public health — fulfilling the president’s pledge to “build back better.” Grid weatherization, building efficiency upgrades, low-income energy assistance and rebates for retrofits should serve as the engine for the next infrastructure package, according to a new report from the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank, and the Evergreen Collaborative, a climate change advocacy group. They plan to offer lawmakers a suite of detailed policies and options to consider as they craft new legislation.

The Housing Boom That Never Ends Already Wiped Out All the Short-Sellers

March 29, 2021
Ari Altstedter & Kevin Orland - Bloomberg

In December, Aaron Moore bought an unremarkable three-bedroom house in the Toronto suburb of Brampton and, after throwing on a fresh coat of paint and laying down new hardwood floors, put it right back on the market.

In March, he found a buyer. The price tag: C$810,000 (about $649,000), a stunning 28% more than he had just paid.

Varde Partners Bets on Housing Market Boom in Sun Belt Suburbs

March 22, 2021
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

Varde Partners is investing more than $250 million to fund development of single-family homes in Arizona, Florida and Texas in a bet on Sun Belt suburbs.

With historically low mortgage rates driving a housing rally during the pandemic, Varde is putting money into the real estate market through a trio of transactions as Americans shift away from coastal cities in a search for larger properties.

U.S. Homebuilders Urge Biden to Help Ease Sky-High Lumber Costs

March 15, 2021
Marcy Nicholson - Bloomberg

The biggest U.S. homebuilders group urged the Biden administration to help increase lumber supply, saying record-high costs threaten to price potential home buyers out of the market and curb construction.

The administration needs to remove import tariffs on Canadian lumber and urge producers to boost output, the National Association of Home Builders said Friday on its website. In November, the U.S. Department of Commerce reduced its duties on Canadian softwood lumber by more than half to 9%.

Surprise U.S. Existing-Home Sales Gain Caps Best Year Since 2006

March 8, 2021
Olivia Rockeman - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes increased unexpectedly in December, capping the best year for the housing market since 2006 as historically low mortgage rates helped power demand.

Contract closings rose 0.7% from the prior month to an annualized 6.76 million rate, according to National Association of Realtors data released Friday. The figure topped all but one estimate from economists in Bloomberg survey that had a median of 6.56 million.

U.S. Housing Starts Rose to Fastest Pace Since 2006 in December

March 1, 2021
Reade Pickert - Bloomberg

U.S. home construction starts rose in December to the best pace since late 2006 as builders responded to the robust demand for single-family housing.

Residential starts climbed by 5.8% to a 1.67 million annualized rate, according to government data released Thursday. That topped all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists that had a median forecast of 1.56 million and compared with an upwardly revised 1.58 million rate in November.

The Housing Market Boom Gets Another Boost From Biden

February 22, 2021
Conor Sen - Bloomberg

For years following the Great Recession, households faced a number of financial hurdles hindering their ability to buy a home. The three biggest were: a weak labor market that didn't give workers enough income to purchase a house; elevated levels of student loan debt; and high apartment rents that prevented prospective buyers from saving money for a down payment.

Mr. Sen may be contacted at

This Chart Should Assuage Fears of a Housing Bubble

February 15, 2021
Peter Coy - Bloomberg

American housing is often lumped in with Bitcoin and Tesla Inc. as a bubble market. True, prices have risen sharply. The median sales price of a previously owned single-family house in the U.S. reached $314,300 in December, up 93% in 11 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. But this chart shows that the force behind the price rise is a supply shortage, not a speculative frenzy.

Congress Establishes the 4% Floor to Support Affordable Housing

February 8, 2021
Kimberly C. Moore - Gravel2Gavel Construction & Real Estate Law Blog

Legislation signed into law on December 27, 2020, fixed the rate for the 30% present value low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), which had dropped to a historic low of 3.07 in 2020, at 4% (the 4% Floor). Congress hopes that the 4% Floor will increase the supply of affordable rental housing in 2021 and beyond by reducing the need for other types of financing and subsidies for qualified LIHTC projects.

The LIHTC program, which was enacted as part of the 1986 Tax Reform Act, subsidizes the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income tenants. The program accounts for approximately 90% of all such housing created in the United States today. According to HUD, an average of almost 1,400 projects and 106,000 units were completed annually between 1995 and 2018. The LIHTC program is by far the largest federal program supporting the creation of affordable rental housing.

Ms. Moore may be contacted at

Biggest U.K. Home Builder Says Housing Market Is Resilient

February 1, 2021
Olivia Konotey-Ahulu - Bloomberg

Persimmon Plc, the U.K.’s biggest housebuilder, said the long-term outlook for the country’s housing market remained resilient despite the economic gloom and latest national lockdown.

The firm delivered its upbeat assessment as it reported full-year revenue of 3.33 billion pounds ($4.6 billion) in a trading update Wednesday. While that was slightly down on a year earlier, it beat analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Why Finding Workers Is Getting Harder for U.S. Homebuilders

January 25, 2021
Arianne Cohen - Bloomberg

As industries go, residential construction in America has largely weathered the pandemic thanks to steady demand and low interest rates. Worksites nationwide are humming with good, paying jobs at a time when 1 in 8 workers are receiving unemployment checks. So why on earth are some construction firms complaining of a labor shortage?

U.S. construction is sprawling, employing roughly 5% of the nation’s workforce (7.3 million employees) at some 680,000 firms, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The industry is essentially its own economy, building hundreds of billions of dollars worth of structures each month. It’s true that many parts of the sector are hurting because of the pandemic. But in others, there’s actually too much work to go around.

Lennar Targets 2 Billion for Major Single-Family Rental Push

January 18, 2021
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

The U.S. homebuilder Lennar Corp. is making a big push into single-family rentals, targeting a new set of customers at a time when surging prices threaten to push homeownership out of reach for many.

The Miami-based company is laying the groundwork to develop thousands of rental houses, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The firm is seeking to raise $2 billion for the initiative, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Eases From Record, Remains Robust

January 11, 2021
Henry Ren - Bloomberg

U.S. homebuilder confidence eased slightly in December to the second-best level on record following the prior month’s peak, signaling that low mortgage rates are still giving the industry a major boost.

A gauge of builder sentiment slipped to 86 from November’s reading of 90 that was the highest in records back to 1985, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Wednesday. The figure was below the median forecast of 88 in Bloomberg’s survey of economists.

U.S. Housing Starts Rose For a Third-Straight Month in November

January 4, 2021
Olivia Rockeman - Bloomberg

U.S. new home construction rose more than forecast to a nine-month high in November, highlighting the strength of a residential housing market that’s been supported by strong demand amid low interest rates.

Residential starts rose 1.2% to a 1.547 million annualized rate from an downwardly revised 1.528 million a month earlier, according to government report released Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1.535 million pace.

Million-Dollar Homebuying Soars With U.S. Rich on Shopping Binge

December 29, 2020
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Wealthy Americans, largely untouched by the recession and eager for more living space, have been on a homebuying binge.

Demand for million-dollar homes is growing faster than any other price tier in the pandemic-driven U.S. housing boom. In October, applications for mortgages larger than $766,000 jumped 59%, the biggest gain for all segments measured by the Mortgage Bankers Association. By comparison, the increase for mortgages from $150,000 to $300,000 was 13%.

Toll Brothers’ Home Orders Soar in Rally for Luxury Sales

December 21, 2020
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Toll Brothers Inc. reported better-than-expected order growth, a sign that homebuyers rushing to the suburbs during the pandemic are fueling a boom in luxury sales.

  • Purchase contracts for the three months through October, jumped 68% from a year earlier to 3,407, the builder said in a statement Monday. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 3,237. It wasn’t enough for investors, however -- the shares fell in late trading.

World’s Top Lumber Firm Sees Homebuilding Surge Going Strong

December 14, 2020
Marcy Nicholson - Bloomberg

Strong homebuilding activity in North America will mean tight wood supply and demand for several more years, according to the top executive of the world’s largest lumber producer.

“In the next five years, we see housing starts continuing to be strong and an industry that will be working hard to keep up with demand,” West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Ray Ferris said Wednesday in a phone interview.

Homebuilder Confidence Hits Another Record on U.S. Buying Boom

December 7, 2020
Prashant Gopal - Bloomberg

Homebuilder confidence in the U.S. jumped in November, hitting another record high as buyers swarmed sales offices to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history.

The gauge of builder sentiment rose to 90, the highest in data going back to 1985 and up from 85 in October, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Market index released Tuesday. It was third straight month of record-high readings and beat the median forecast of 85 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Unexpectedly Rise to Highest Since 2005

November 30, 2020
Henry Ren - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly rose in October to the highest level in almost 15 years, extending a housing market boom fueled by record-low mortgage rates and buyers’ desire for properties in the suburbs.

Contract closings increased 4.3% from the prior month to an annualized 6.85 million, the strongest pace since November 2005, according to National Association of Realtors data released Thursday. The October rate exceeded all economists’ forecasts in a Bloomberg survey, which had a median estimate of 6.47 million.


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