Texas Gov. Rick Perry Rents Home, Taxpayers Foot the Bill

This is a story about what I call America One versus America Two. In America One, only a very small fraction of the millions facing the prospect of losing their homes to foreclosure are actually helped by the Obama administration's mortgage modification programs. While in America Two, a fat-cat politician (well, OK, so... Continue Reading »

Gulf Coast Real Estate Threatened by Oil Spill

Five years after the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, real estate players are predicting that BP's oil spill has the potential to hinder the Gulf Coast more severely than that epic storm. "This will be 100 times worse," says Christine Weber, a real estate agent near Biloxi, Miss., who says she can already smell the fumes... Continue Reading »

Goldman Sachs Tries to Make Its HQ Disappear

You know how when you were a kid, and you maybe did something you shouldn't have done? But you had to go back to school the next day, so you really hoped and wished and prayed that somehow, magically, you would be rendered invisible to your fellow classmates when you walked into the room? That you wouldn't be noticed? That... Continue Reading »

Chicago Real Estate Rescue? A Piece of Cupcake

Forget about unrest in Athens, or whether some idiot broker might have sold billions instead of millions of shares -- helping to send the stock market into a thousand-point plummet. This is the story of how a cupcake, or in this case, cupcakes, may breathe new life into Chicago's real estate and rental markets. There is... Continue Reading »

Cuba Real Estate: Si (for Golf!)

Think of Cuba, and what comes to mind? Castro? Of course. Revolution? Naturally. Political prisoners? Certainly. Exploding cigars? Sure. ( I still love those handy CIA smokes.) But what if I said: "Golf courses by foreign real-estate developers"? Would you think I had slipped on a banana and hit mi cabeza? I didn't. At... Continue Reading »

Jumbo Mortgages: Bigger Is Better, Again

JUMBOS are back! I thought I'd use all caps for JUMBO to sort of, you know, emphasize the bigness of the news and, frankly, to get your attention. Now, since this is a real estate/housing-oriented site, JUMBOS obviously refers to jumbo mortgages. CitiMortgage, the mortgage finance arm of Citigroup has announced that... Continue Reading »

Virtual Property Rights: Real Estate's Ridiculous Final Frontier

It apparently isn't enough that people all across America are losing their real homes to foreclosure because their real jobs have vanished. Now, we have people going to court suing over virtual-property rights. You heard me. They are suing over real estate that doesn't even exist except in cyberspace and, apparently, the... Continue Reading »

Remodeling Won't Help You Unload Your Crummy Home

What do Americans do best? Why, shop and spend lots of money fixing up our homes, of course! If a new survey is correct, we the people are about to do both during the rest of this year. That is, provided we have jobs and an income. American Express says 62 percent of homeowners it recently surveyed intend to spend more... Continue Reading »

Home Tax Credit: All Smoke and Mirrors?

The conventional wisdom has it that the soon-to-expire government tax credit for home purchases was a success. After all, it drove people back into the real estate market and helped to ignite a fire under a still-nascent recovery. But suppose the conventional wisdom is wrong? Suppose it was all really smoke and mirrors?... Continue Reading »

House Flipping in South L.A.: That's So Right!

Like many parts of the nation, but especially here in Southern California, the neighborhood known as South Los Angeles is pockmarked with foreclosed properties, the result of aggressive subprime lending. But unlike some other parts of town, house flipping just may save South L.A. from what would otherwise be a bleak... Continue Reading »

Real Estate iPhone App 'Layar' vs. the Classifieds

It's amazing how this technology works: Spread out before me on a single, neat page is a whole list of available nearby homes and condos, and even rental apartments. Is it on Layar, one of the latest so-called "augmented reality" mobile phone apps? Are you kidding? I'm using the L.A. Times classified section on-line. ... Continue Reading »

Larry King Wants His Real Estate Back in Divorce

Often when couples split a big point of contention is -- who gets the house? In the case of CNN talk show host Larry King, he apparently used real estate in a desperate attempt to save his faltering marriage to wife number seven. According to TMZ, King actually transferred all his prime real estate -- including a Beverly... Continue Reading »

New Foreclosure Risk: Big, Bad Raccoons

Foreclosures can devastate entire neighborhoods. In addition to leaving people homeless, foreclosed houses that sit empty often fall into disrepair, posing safety risks, lowering property vales and decreasing a community's tax revenues. Now, add a new problem to the list: giant raccoons. In Chicago, where there have been... Continue Reading »

The HELOC Bust: Next Problem for Big Banks?

Say it ain't so. If a prediction from a leading research firm turns out to be accurate, three of the country's biggest banks are poised for colossal losses of up to $30 billion -- this time because of their exposure to home-equity loans. The research firm, CreditSights Inc., says that Bank of America, Wells Fargo and... Continue Reading »

Detroit's Donald Trump Is Buying Up Small Lots Across the City

It's good to have cash and a shrewd ability to spot a deal in a downturn. Just ask Manuel Moroun, a businessman who has become the Detroit area's biggest private landowner. Moroun owns an estimated 600-plus parcels of real estate scattered across Michigan's Wayne County, which includes the city of Detroit -- much of which... Continue Reading »

Apartment Rentals Are Cheap, and Getting Cheaper, In SoCal

Attention bargain hunters: It's a great time to move to Southern California. Sure, the weather's great this time of year - but then, it always is. An even better reason is that apartment rents are falling fast. In the coming year, rents are expected to decline by as much as 3.5 percent in Los Angeles County and 2.4 percent... Continue Reading »

Cambodia Opens Real Estate Market To Foreigners

Have you been hankering to buy real estate in Cambodia? OK, maybe not. But you may want to give it some thought now that a new law allows foreigners for the first time to purchase real estate in the impoverished Southeast Asian country. Those in the know already know that some investors have long gotten around the... Continue Reading »

Apple iPad Real Estate Apps Are Here!

They're here!!!! Yes, Apple's new iPad has finally arrived, but I'm talking about the real estate apps for the iPad that are already available from Zillow, ZipRealty and others. While pundits debate the merits of the latest mobile marvel from Apple, one thing is clear: the iPad's big touch screen is perfectly suited for... Continue Reading »

Manhattan Apartment Sales Surge

It always helped to have lots of money to buy Manhattan real estate, perhaps now more than ever. Residential real estate sales skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2010 -- there were 2,384 transactions in the first three months of 201o, double the number for the first quarter of 2009, according to a report by Prudential... Continue Reading »

Tampa Homes Get Doggy Treatment

When the housing market finally improves in this country, is a lot more poo in the streets all we really have to look forward to? That particular reward came along with a booming housing market in downtown Tampa, Florida. Buyers have snatched up condos and rental units in recent months, after prices were pummeled by the... Continue Reading »

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