National Cheat Sheet: Facebook launches ad product to compete with Zillow, Blackstone-Starwood merger creates biggest landlord in the US … & more

Clockwise from top left: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Jonathan Gray of Blackstone and Barry Sternlicht of Starwood, construction work in Ohio.
Clockwise from top left: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Jonathan Gray of Blackstone and Barry Sternlicht of Starwood, construction work in Ohio.

From TRD New York: Facebook debuts advertising service for brokers that competes with Zillow

This week Facebook debuted an advertising product geared towards residential real estate brokers, in what some experts interpret as a move to seize the turf of online listings portal Zillow. Even though Facebook and Zillow recently partnered to put Zillow ads on Facebook, the social media network also launched “Dynamic Ads for Real Estate,” which allows brokers to advertise to customers who have perused listings on their sites, GeekWire reported. [GeekWire]

Blackstone, Starwood merger will create largest single-family landlord in the US

Blackstone Group and Starwood Capital Group announced the merger of their rental companies this week, the Wall Street Journal reported. The firms combined oversee 82,000 rental properties in 17 metro areas nationwide. The new company — using the name of Blackstone’s rental arm, Invitation Homes — will be the largest single-family home owner in the country, two times larger than its closest competition, Texas-based American Homes 4 Rent. [TRD]

Mortgage closings now require zero in-person contact

Last month, Chicago-based couple Peter and Patty Mueller refinanced their home with a $290,000, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage remotely, using a notary in Virginia and a lender in Michigan. The transaction was completely remote and fully digital. While previously the physical presence of a notary was required to close a mortgage, the online notary service Notarize, which “bridges all necessary parties to the transaction,” facilitated the deal, the Wall Street Journal reported. The online notary authentication required the Muellers to answer personal questions and hold photo identification and a written signature up to a web cam. [TRD]

The construction labor shortage is getting worse

The number of open construction jobs rose from 163,000 in May to a seasonally adjusted 225,000 in June, but employers will be hard pressed to fill them. Construction job openings in June accounted for 3.2 percent of total employment, as compared to 2.3 percent in May. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the labor shortage across the country can be blamed, in part, on the 2008 recession that caused construction workers to leave the workforce without returning. The Trump administration’s efforts to stall immigration may further exacerbate the construction worker shortage. [TRD]

Millennials are depending less on FHA loans to purchase their first home

As the youngest generation enters the housing market, their dependency on government loans from the Federal Housing Administration has decreased, according to Ellie Mae’s monthly Millennial Tracker report. In the month of June, only 32 percent of home loans that closed for millennials were FHA loans, and they averaged  about $173,000. In the same month, 63 percent of millennials closed conventional loans in the amount of about $205,000. [Housingwire]

Warehouse landlords are looking to turn dying malls into warehouses

As e-commerce kills the big-box retail industry, the online giants and logistics companies are looking to reclaim the malls that they put out of business. Warehouse landlords are starting to repurpose the empty storefronts by using them to house stock for delivery companies, according to the Wall Street Journal. In Randall, Ohio, Amazon is considering Randall Park Mall, which closed in 2009, as a potential fulfillment center. Similarly, FedEx repurposed Big Town Mall in Mesquite, Texas as a 340,000-square-foot distribution center. [TRD]

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WeWork raises even more money, buys out a Singapore co-working company

Co-working giant WeWork has raised another $500 million for expansion into Asia following a round of Series G funding earlier this year landed the company a valuation of about $20 billion. In a separate deal, WeWork also bought out the Singapore co-working company Spacemob, though WeWork wouldn’t comment on the size of the deal. The company is also reportedly in talks to rent a building in the nightlife district of Hong Kong, Lan Kwai Fong. [TRD]

Major developers are getting on board with co-living 

Once the province of Brooklyn hipster types, co-living has been embraced by major developers like the Durst Organization. The real estate firm recently completed a 10-story Manhattan property, Frank 57, which features three-bedroom units that include bathrooms with doors that indicate whether they are occupied. Units in the property cost $6,200 to $7,200 per month — or about $2,067 to $2,400 per person — the Wall Street Journal reported. PMG’s new division, PMGx, built co-living spaces in Chicago, and has plans for 5,800 more apartments, some of which will be co-living spaces. [TRD]

Major Market Highlights

The Douglas Elliman-Teles deal could make the New York-based firm a major West Coast player 

Last month, New York-based Douglas Elliman acquired Beverly Hills-based residential brokerage Teles Properties, and the deal is about to close this week. In 2016, Teles had sales revenue of about $3.4 billion. In the past, Elliman made small, strategic acquisitions in places like Aspen, Brooklyn, Sagaponack, and Delray Beach, but Elliman’s chairman Howard Lorber will likely pay between $15 and $20 million for the L.A. brokerage. [TRD]

Median home prices in Seattle and the Northwest jump 20 percent 

A July report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service indicated that the median home price in some parts of the region jumped as much as 20 percent in July. The average home price increased about 9 percent according to the data taken from 23 counties in and around the state of Washington. While inventory increased from this time last year, demand in the area still exceeds the supply of homes, the report stated. [Housingwire]

Trump attorneys fight back in Jupiter Golf Club lawsuit

The Trump Organization attorneys announced that they would appeal a court ruling from earlier this year concerning the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter in South Florida. The February ruling from U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra required the Trump Organization to pay a total of $5.76 million to 65 plaintiffs — golf club members who resigned their membership from the club but were barred from entering the facility while awaiting the refunds of their deposits. Previous club rules allowed resigned members to utilize the facilities during this period. When Trump purchased the club in 2012, he assumed liability for $41 million in refundable deposits. [TRD]

Airbnb paid out $400K to New York lobbyists in the first half of 2017

Short-term rental startup Airbnb spent a total of $404,200 on lobbying in New York in the first half of 2017. The New York Daily News first reported that they gave $345,593 directly to powerful lobbyists in Albany, making it one of the biggest spenders in the state capitol. The Hotel and Motel Trades Council, a rival to Airbnb, spent $127,855 on lobbying in New York over the same period.  [TRD]