National Cheat Sheet: Fed’s interest rate hike raises Trump Org’s borrowing costs, US housing market slowdown could continue … & more

Trump Org faces extra $1M in borrowing costs from higher interest rates
The Federal Reserve irked President Donald Trump by raising interest rates for the fourth time in 2018 — and the increase could saddle the Trump Organization with an extra $1 million in borrowing costs, Bloomberg reported. An analysis by the outlet found that the company’s cumulative costs from interest rate hikes has been $6 million since Trump entered the White House in January 2017. The move by the Fed will also increase debt service payments that the Trump Organization must pay on around $340 million worth of variable-rate loans taken out to pay for the Trump National Doral golf course outside Miami and hotels in Chicago and Washington, D.C., according to Bloomberg. [TRD]

Report: US housing market cooldown could carry into 2019
The country’s housing market will continue to cool next year, according to a new Redfin report. The second half of 2018 saw a slowdown in home price growth after several years on the rise, and it’s possible that prices could sink below 2018 levels and into negative growth for the first time since 2011, Redfin said. The report predicts West Coast cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle will be most affected by the slowdown. Higher interest rates, meanwhile, could push lenders to seek out buyers with lower credit, including first-time homebuyers and individuals with lower salaries. [TRD]

Malls are turning to pop-up shops in an effort to revive business
Malls that have been struggling to compete with online retailers are warming up to the idea of leasing out space to pop-up shops, Bloomberg reported. Macerich, one leading mall landlord, has been offering 180-day pop-up leases to online retailers through a program called BrandBox. Amazon has also been setting up pop-up stores in malls, with Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s hosting pop-ups in their own stores. The trend has been a positive one for malls that have lost anchor tenants such as bankrupt Sears and Toys “R” Us, Bloomberg reported. [TRD]

Casting agency seeks “beach junkie” brokers for new TV show
A new reality show focused on the luxury real estate world is searching for beachfront brokers to join its cast. The as-yet-unnamed and unscripted series is searching for “young, attractive” real estate agents who consider themselves “beach junkies” in seaside towns across America, including Miami, New Jersey and Southern California. Uptight, uppity brokers need not apply, said Jennifer Sternberg, whose company, Squeaky Wheel Casting, is carrying out the search. “They don’t want anyone snooty — just laid-back beach people,” she said. [TRD]


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Doyenne of New York City’s retail scene dead at 73
A renowned retail broker who described herself as the “Queen of Retail” passed away suddenly at 73 on Dec. 23. Faith Hope Consolo, who chaired Douglas Elliman’s retail division, reportedly died of a heart attack. Elliman CEO Dottie Herman called Consolo a “fearless leader and skillful negotiator and a dear, dear friend.” Consolo represented some of New York City’s biggest landlords, including Donald Trump, Harry Helmsley and Larry Silverstein, and found spaces in Manhattan for high-end retailers such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Versace. “She beat the boys in retail commercial storefronts,” said Steven James, who heads the New York division for Elliman. [TRD]

Malibu home fit for a Bond villain hits the market at $14M
Prospective buyers seeking a home in Malibu have a chance to snap up one that looks like it’s been lifted from a James Bond movie. English businessman Gavin Cain is selling the Harry Gesner-designed, post-modern mansion as Ravenseye for $14 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. The 4,500-square-foot abode has 25-foot-tall vaulted ceilings, massive windows with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and a living room with stone floors. The home, designed for late playwright Jerome Lawrence, who saw a previous abode on the property destroyed by fire, was built to be earthquake and fireproof. [TRD]

Feds accuse Illinois broker of running a $23M Ponzi scheme
A real estate broker based in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois, allegedly used the money she pocketed from a $23 million Ponzi scheme to pay for jewelry and vacations, said the local U.S. Attorney’s office. Michelle Labra, the owner of Aurora-based Labra Group Realtors, allegedly took in millions of dollars from more than 25 investors between 2009 and 2015, then lied to them when they inquired about their returns. At one point, Labra claimed the IRS had seized them, which wasn’t the case. She has been charged with three counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to authorities. If convicted, Labra faces up to 65 years in federal prison. [TRD]

Mark Cuban snaps up Laguna Beach home with ocean views
Dallas Mavericks owner, entrepreneur and reality television star Mark Cuban has shelled out $19 million for a new home in Laguna Beach, the Orange County Register reported. Cuban bought one of 13 private residences on the Montage resort grounds, according to the outlet. His 7,900-square-foot home at 3 Montage Way has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, views of the Pacific Ocean, a media room, wine cellar and movie theater. The home took a price chop, having listed for around $26 million in January, but was still one of the most expensive deals the Montage resort grounds have seen. John and Tyler Stanaland of Villa Real Estate had the listing, and Tim Smith of Coldwell Banker represented Cuban, whose purchase came amid the sale of his Landmark Theatres chain to real estate developer Charles Cohen. [TRD]

Zillow expands its ‘Zillow Offers’ program to Dallas
Zillow Offers is headed to Dallas, Inman reported. Beginning in 2019, homeowners in the city will be able to use Zillow’s program, which provides online quotes for all-cash offers to prospective sellers. The tech giant’s most recent expansion means that Zillow Offers is now in nine markets across the U.S., including Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Zillow has also set its sights on Houston, Raleigh and Riverside, California. The program “has helped thousands of consumers reduce the stress and uncertainty that typically go along with selling a home,” Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman said. [TRD]

DC suburb’s $1.4B Brookfield project will include a Wegmans
Brookfield Properties is bringing a $1.4 billion mixed-use development to the Washington, D.C., suburb of Reston, Virginia, the Commercial Observer reported. Popular supermarket chain Wegmans will anchor a portion of the project known as Halley Rise, which will include 1,500 residential units, as well as 1.5 million square feet of office space and 250,000 square feet of retail space, according to the outlet. The developer, whose parent company closed in early December on its $6.8 billion acquisition of Forest City Realty Trust, acquired the office park back in 2006. [TRD]