Real Estate Tech News



Fifth Wall Raises Largest Real Estate Venture Fund to Date

Fifth Wall Raises Largest Real Estate Venture Fund to Date

Real estate-focused venture capital firm Fifth Wall has closed what it’s calling the largest real estate venture fund raised to date—having secured $503 million in commitments that it plans to invest in real estate technology, or “proptech,” companies. The new fund is more than double the size of the three-year-old venture capital firm’s first fund, which closed at $212 million in 2017. But interest in the burgeoning proptech market has only grown since then, and Fifth Wall raised capital for “Fund II” from more than 50 limited partners (LPs) in 11 countries—most of whom are institutional commercial real estate owners, operators and investors seeking to increase their exposure to potentially game-changing technologies.
WeWork Co-Founder Has Cashed Out at Least $700 Million Via Sales, Loans

WeWork Co-Founder Has Cashed Out at Least $700 Million Via Sales, Loans

WeWork Cos. co-founder Adam Neumann has cashed out more than $700 million from the company ahead of its initial public offering through a mix of stock sales and debt, people familiar with the matter said—an unusually large sum given that startup founders typically wait for the IPO to monetize their holdings. Mr. Neumann, who is chief executive of the shared office-space giant and remains its single largest shareholder, over several years has sold some of his stake in the company and borrowed against some of his holdings, the people said.
Zillow sues Kentucky over access to real estate records

Zillow sues Kentucky over access to real estate records

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Zillow, the Seattle-based real estate data company, is suing Kentucky and six locally elected Property Valuation Administrators over access to public information about real estate. The six county PVAs named in the lawsuit want to charge Zillow up to $39,079 apiece for copies of their tax rolls listing information about every real estate parcel in the county, such as its owner, sales price history and tax value, according to the lawsuit. Zillow, an advertising business, taps property tax records and other sources to provide free information on its website about residential real estate, such as its “Zestimate,” or estimate of a home’s market value.
Zillow Offers expands to Portland, its first Pacific Northwest market for direct home sales

Zillow Offers expands to Portland, its first Pacific Northwest market for direct home sales

Zillow Group is set to start buying houses in the Pacific Northwest for the first time. Zillow Offers, the service that lets customers request cash offers for their homes directly from Zillow on its website, kicks off Monday in Portland and Vancouver, Wash. As Zillow has made instant offers the centerpiece of the business, it has expanded to 12 markets across the country, with plans to grow even further. “Sellers across the country have shown that they are looking for an easier, less stressful way to sell their home,” Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman said in a statement. “We’re excited to launch our first market in the Pacific Northwest today, giving potential home sellers in Portland and Vancouver the certainty and transparency they want when selling their home. Zillow Offers provides a seamless transaction experience, helping sellers move on to the next step in their life.”
The Masses Are Drawn Toward Funds Chasing Real Estate Tax Breaks

The Masses Are Drawn Toward Funds Chasing Real Estate Tax Breaks

The wealthy masses are starting to bet their money on a new U.S. tax break after more than a year of indecision. The latest data point: Bridge Investment Group announced Tuesday it has $509 million that it is deploying in projects in opportunity zones. The money was gathered from about 500 investors, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing the private fundraising. The minimum investment was $250,000, but average check size was closer to $1 million, the person said. The new fund shows that 18 months after Republicans pushed through a tax overhaul with generous incentives to invest in low-income communities, money managers are indeed having some success enticing large numbers of clients to pool cash for qualifying projects.
Realogy slams Compass with explosive suit

Realogy slams Compass with explosive suit

Compass — the $4.4 billion Softbank-backed brokerage that’s shaken up the real estate landscape over the past seven years — was hit with an explosive and wide-ranging lawsuit Wednesday by a key rival accusing it of price-fixing and collusion, “predatory” poaching and unfair business practices. Realogy, in a 68-page complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court, alleges the firm routinely engages in “illegal schemes to gain market share at all costs and to damage, or even eliminate, competition.” In stark terms, Realogy details its main rival’s modus operandi for attracting agents with astronomical splits and navigating non-competes in what it says is “predatory recruiting and poaching” practices. 
China tightens curbs on property firms raising money offshore

China tightens curbs on property firms raising money offshore

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Friday it is tightening restrictions on property companies seeking to raise funds offshore, in its latest move to reduce potential financial risks. The country’s state planner said any new offshore bond issues by real estate firms must be used only to replace medium- and long-term offshore debt maturing in the next year. “This rule has a powerful regulatory impact,” said Yan Yuejin, a research director with Shanghai-based property services firm E-House China R&D Institute. “In other words, property developers are now restricted from using overseas debt to repay domestic debt, to replenish liquidity, and to acquire land.”
Stearns Lending declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Stearns Lending declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Just nine months ago, Stearns Lending was very much in growth mode, acquiring an equity interest in Citywide Home Loans, rolling out new loan programs and acquiring other new lending channels. But the tide appears to have turned as Stearns is now facing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Stearns Holdings, the parent company of Stearns Lending, announced Tuesday that it is launching a “comprehensive financial restructuring plan” that will see the company reorganized through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to the company, the plan is being conducted in agreement and coordination with Blackstone, the private equity giant that acquired a majority stake in Stearns Holdings back in 2015.
Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi List Oceanfront Contemporary

Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi List Oceanfront Contemporary

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, two of Hollywood’s most prolific ultra high-end house flippers, have put their oceanfront estate in Carpinteria, Calif., up for sale at $24 million, a 29% increase above the $18.6 million the property mad couple paid for the one-plus acre spread not even two years ago. Long owned by prominent L.A. developer Robert F. Maguire III but seized in foreclosure and purchased by DeGeneres and de Rossi from the bank, the property is co-listed with Compass broker Suzanne Perkins and Riskin Partners Group at Village Properties.
American Dream mega-mall announces opening date

American Dream mega-mall announces opening date

The American Dream mega-mall will open October 25, according to an announcement from developer Triple Five. The entertainment and shopping complex -- located at the Route 3-New Jersey Turnpike interchange in East Rutherford -- will open its doors on a Friday in the fall after many delays. "We know that the community has been eagerly awaiting the launch of this incredible global destination” said Don Ghermezian, President of American Dream. “We have a one‐of‐a‐kind property that will reshape the way people think about entertainment, theme parks and shopping.” The Ghermezian family operates Triple Five Group, which also owns The Mall of America in Minnesota -- currently the largest mall in the country. When American Dream opens, it will be the largest mall in America at roughly 3 million square feet.
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