National market report

Snapshots of real estate news from around the U.S.

Jun.June 01, 2015 07:00 AM
Phoenix residents are fl ocking to new housing in the center parts of the city, rather than the suburbs.

Phoenix residents are flocking to new housing in the center parts of the city, rather than the suburbs.

Phoenix

Interest in high-density urban housing in Phoenix’s center has exploded in the past year. New construction on infill sites and the replacement of old houses with new ones has driven prices in the most desirable central districts up by as much as 36 percent, with smaller but still impressive rises nearby, the Arizona Republic reported. Meanwhile, demand for homes in quieter, more peripheral areas has softened. The shift has been fueled in part by young families seeking the best school districts, and by retirees and second-home buyers looking for convenient access to urban amenities, freeways, and the desert. It also reflects a nationwide trend of moving closer to city centers in lieu of the suburbs.

Milwaukee

National investors are pumping cash into Milwaukee’s industrial property market. Amazon.com and U-Haul are among the firms that recently inked large property deals in the area, along with real estate firms like New York’s Ashley Capital, an industrial property investor and developer. Vacancies are down to 4.86 percent, from 6.45 percent a year ago and 9.75 percent in 2008, BizTimes Milwaukee reported. Rents jumped 10 percent over the past two years, with further growth expected. The activity reflects a shift by U.S. firms into secondary and tertiary markets in response to the flood of international investment driving up prices in the nation’s largest cities.

From left: Baltimore and San Francisco

From left: Baltimore and San Francisco

Baltimore

After the recent unrest in Baltimore focused negative attention on Maryland’s largest city, its burgeoning property market may come as a surprise. Baltimore leads the nation in house flipping profitability. A study by research firm RealtyTrac found that resellers in Baltimore earned an eye-popping 94 percent return on investment on a total of 258 transactions in the first quarter of 2015. Other markets hard-hit by the bust, including South Florida, Detroit and Tuscon, were also near the top of the list for returns on flipped properties. Nationally, flip transactions made up 4 percent of all single-family home sales, down from 6.7 percent a year earlier, with activity concentrated in markets like those above that combine available inventory, affordability and demand.

San Francisco

Off-market sales now make up over a quarter of San Francisco residential transactions. More sellers than ever, especially at the high end of the market, are choosing not to list their properties on the Multiple Listing Service, seeking privacy and less personal involvement in the sales process. Off-market “pocket” listings aren’t new, but their use sharply increased in recent years, to the point of creating “a second market,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The strength of San Francisco’s residential market has ensured that many off-market sellers have nonetheless been able to close at market or near-market prices. 

New Orleans

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie listed their 7,654-square-foot, five-bedroom home in the French Quarter for $6.5 million. The extensively renovated 1830s mansion, with some of the work done by Pitt himself, comes complete with Venetian plaster walls, pool, guesthouse, elevator and parking for two cars.

Las Vegas

Controversial boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr. bought a 3,142-square-foot two-bedroom penthouse apartment on the 55th floor of the Palms Place Hotel and Spa overlooking the Las Vegas Strip for $1.81 million. The unit features a telescoping glass wall in the living/game room and an infinity-edge spa extending off the balcony.

Chicago

“The Internship” star Vince Vaughn again dropped the price on his five-bedroom penthouse in the storied Palmolive Building on Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast. The 12,000-square-foot triplex, which once housed Hugh Hefner’s Playboy office, now lists for $13.9 million, down from its original price of $24.7 million.

Washington, D.C. 

Former “Meet the Press” moderator
David Gregory
listed his five-bedroom, six-bath home in Wesley Heights for $2.5 million. The 5,200-square-foot estate features vaulted ceilings, a two-sided gas fireplace, flagstone patio, child’s playhouse, and kitchen designed by Fabiola Martens with quartz countertops and Porcelanosa flooring.


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