National market report

Boston

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed a lawsuit against a Boston-area real estate firm for allegedly using discriminatory advertisements on the website Craigslist.com, according to Legal Newsline. Eastern Property Management Group stands accused of posting four separate ads on the listing site that were allegedly discriminatory toward families with young children or those receiving Section 8 assistance. The ad said that an apartment being advertised may “have lead paint so if you have young children under 6 years old or are on Section 8 this will not work for you,” according to Coakley’s office. The Attorney General’s office claims this constitutes discrimination — landlords can’t dissuade potential tenants from pursuing an apartment based on race, religion, gender, familial status, national origin, disability or because the person is a recipient of public assistance, according to federal law.

Dallas

Sales of existing homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth market saw an 18 percent uptick in May month-over-month, according to the Dallas Business News. The region saw 7,119 existing homes sold, marking the largest amount sold in a single month so far this year. But it’s not all good news; some industry experts have suggested that the increase in sales is closely linked to the first-time homebuyer tax credit, since many contracts on homes bought in April, before the credit expiration, likely closed in May. James Gaines, a real estate economist with Texas A & M University, said that pending sales are likely to decline in the tax credit’s wake. “Expect September, October and especially November numbers to look really bad by comparison,” Gaines said. “Ironically, mortgage rates under 5 percent don’t seem to be making much difference.”

Los Angeles

The sale last month of a Los Angeles-area office building could mean good things for the commercial real estate market there, which has been struggling in the downturn. Los Angeles-based real estate investment group Kilroy Realty Corp. entered a contract in June to purchase a 271,600-square-foot office tower, 2211 Michelson Drive, in nearby Irvine, for $103 million, according to the Orange County Business Journal. When the $380-per-square-foot deal is completed, it will mark one of the priciest office deals made in the greater Los Angeles market since the financial downturn.

A new city law intended to limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles has spawned an unlikely commercial real estate specialty. An initiative that took effect last month aims to shut down hundreds of Los Angeles-area distribution shops, in the hope of confining the marijuana stores to industrial areas, far away from the vicinity of children and residential neighborhoods, according to Reuters, which reported that roughly 1,000 shops are currently in operation. As a result, Linda Kaye, a longtime commercial real estate specialist in the area, has launched a new program to help marijuana dispensaries relocate — 420 Commercial Real Estate. “We’ve already found locations for eight clinics,” Kaye told the Los Angeles Daily News. Kaye claims to have an intimate knowledge of the new city regulations that will help her clients find legal space.

Miami Beach

Values for existing real estate in Miami Beach fell around 12 percent in 2009 on a year-over-year basis, according to a report from Condo Vultures released last month. The total assessment for existing real estate product in the city is $21.9 billion, a drop from $24.8 billion in 2008, according to the report, which is based on the most recent projected values from the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser. The values — which do not include new projects under construction — are used to assess property taxes that must be paid by April 2011.

The Miami Beach Community Development Corp. has picked up the failed 35-unit Neptune Beach condo conversion at 1632 Meridian Avenue in Miami Beach for $5.7 million, according to a report from Condo Vultures based on Miami-Dade County property records. The 1925 three-story Art Deco building is located one block south of Lincoln Road’s pedestrian mall and had been in the hands of private lender Pinetree Partners since March 2009, when it was acquired in a deed in lieu of foreclosure from developer Neptune Premier Holdings. The city agency’s bulk buy comes out to a price of $162,000 per unit, or $443 per square foot — 19 percent off the original asking price of $200,000 per unit when the developer first put the condominium on the market. None of the units were ever sold.

Nashville

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New data shows the bankers in the “Athens of the South” have reason enough to sing the blues. Nashville-area banks have $210 million worth of foreclosed properties on their balance sheets, according to the Nashville Business Journal. Tennessee’s capital saw its foreclosure rate climb to 1.49 percent in April, up from 0.95 percent in April 2009. Even so, the greater Nashville region is faring better than the rest of Tennessee, according to the Nashville Business Journal. Statewide, lenders have seen a foreclosure rate almost three times the national average.

New Orleans

The city purchased a 16.5-acre parcel of land in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans last month, according to an announcement from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office. The $3.8 million land purchase is part of the city’s planned 3.1-mile linear park, set to stretch from the French Quarter on the east side of town, northwest to Canal Boulevard. The project, known as the Lafitte Greenway, is also utilizing long-abandoned areas of land in the city, according to the mayor’s office.

Palm Beach

The $18.5 million sale of singer Jimmy Buffett’s home at 540 S. Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach led the town’s priciest sales for the year, according to MLS data compiled by Condo Vultures. The sale of Buffett’s home, which was never listed, was recorded in Palm Beach County Circuit Court to a Delaware company with offices in New York. The five-bedroom, nine-bathroom home built in 1925 had been appraised at $23.3 million and, like all of the top five sales for 2010, sold after March 3, a sign the market has been picking up in the second quarter. All of the sales were single-family homes. “We’ve just had more activity now, as far as real buyers making real offers, than we had in February,” said Jeffrey Cloninger of Jeffrey A. Cloninger & Associates. Coming in second on the list was the $13.5 million sale of 822 South County Road, which was sold on April 12.

Philadelphia

Developer Jonathan Rose Companies and a community advocacy group, Asociacíon Puertorriqueños en Marcha, are pushing to build a $48 million mixed-use project on a site adjacent to Temple University, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. The planned 200,000-square-foot development would include 164 mixed-income apartments, a 25,000-square-foot parking garage, 30,000 square feet of retail space and a community center. The five-story project must get approval from city officials, and developers need the site to be rezoned. The area is currently designated for industrial development.

San Francisco

Real estate is rebounding in the city, spurred in part by a strengthening tech industry, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. First-quarter condo sales jumped 50 percent year-over-year, according to real estate research firm Terradatum, while the median home sales price rose 5.4 percent to $685,000. Edward Glaeser, a Harvard University economist, said that a confluence of favorable conditions is helping encourage a residential comeback in the Bay Area. “San Francisco has conditions of very restricted supply and lots of things that can push demand: an attractive climate, innovative economy and high quality of life,” Glaeser said. A better job market can’t be hurting, either: San Francisco saw 1,200 new jobs crop up between February and April this year.