Real Estate Tech News



First American Financial exposed 16 years’ worth of mortgage paperwork, including bank accounts

First American Financial exposed 16 years’ worth of mortgage paperwork, including bank accounts

Brian Krebs has revealed that a company that primarily works in real estate insurance has left as many as 885 million records exposed on its website — going back to 2003. First American Financial Corp’s big mistake should have been obvious to anybody who would have given a second thought to security. If you had the URL for any document on its website, you could simply add or subtract one to a number in the URL to access another document. Given the type of business this company is in, those records include incredibly private information. Krebs spoke with Ben Shoval, who brought the exposure to his attention and who says the documents potentially included “Social Security numbers, drivers licenses, account statements, and even internal corporate documents if you’re a small business.”
U.S. Opens Antitrust Probe of Real Estate Brokerage Industry

U.S. Opens Antitrust Probe of Real Estate Brokerage Industry

U.S. antitrust officials are investigating potentially anti-competitive practices in the residential real estate brokerage business, with a focus on compensation to brokers and restrictions on their access to listings. The probe was detailed in a civil investigative demand, which is akin to a subpoena, issued by the Justice Department to CoreLogic Inc., which provides real estate data to government agencies, lenders and other housing-market participants. The U.S. residential real estate industry has long faced criticism that it stifles competition among brokerages, protecting agent commissions that are higher than those paid by sellers in many other countries. In 2008, the Justice Department reached a settlement with the National Association of Realtors, a trade group, that was designed to lower commissions paid by consumers by opening the industry to internet-based brokers.
The Latest: PM May resigns, won’t lead Britain out of EU

The Latest: PM May resigns, won’t lead Britain out of EU

The Latest on Brexit and Britain's political crisis (all times local): 8:15 p.m. Theresa May has ended her failed three-year quest to lead Britain out of the European Union, announcing that she will step down as Conservative Party leader June 7 and triggering a contest to choose a new prime minister who will try to complete Brexit. May says Friday in a speech outside 10 Downing St. in London, that "I have done my best" before acknowledging that it was not good enough. She struggled to contain her emotions and her voice broke as she expressed "enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love."
Existing-home sales fall for the second straight month in April

Existing-home sales fall for the second straight month in April

The numbers: Existing-home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual 5.19 million rate in April, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. That was 0.4% lower than March and 4.4% lower than a year ago. What happened: Sales of previously-owned homes have been choppy recently; following a big surge in February, they retreated in March. For April, the MarketWatch consensus was for a 5.35 million selling pace, not a decline. The median selling price in April was $267,300, a 3.6% annual increase. At the current pace of sales, it would take 4.2 months to exhaust available supply, well below the 6-month threshold that’s traditionally been considered a marker of a balanced market. Properties stayed on the market for an average of 24 days in April.
kea invests in Livspace, a one-stop platform for interior design based in India

kea invests in Livspace, a one-stop platform for interior design based in India

Fresh from raising $70 million last year via big names including Goldman Sachs and TPG Growth, Livspace, an India-based startup that offers a one-stop-shop for interior design, has lured yet another marquee investor: Ikea. The startup said today it has taken an undisclosed investment from Ingka Investments, the VC arm of Ikea parent Ingka Group, which operates 90 percent of Ikea’s retail footprint. Livspace CEO and co-founder Anuj Srivastava declined to provide a figure for the deal, but he told TechCrunch that the stake involved is a minor one while there is no plan to bolt a larger round on to this investment. Deal Street Asia first reported news of the deal.
Amazon Unveils Rendering, New Details For First Phase Of HQ2 Project

Amazon Unveils Rendering, New Details For First Phase Of HQ2 Project

The first phase of new development at Amazon HQ2 is beginning to take shape.  Amazon, in a blog post Thursday, released a rendering and description of the first two new office towers it plans to build at its National Landing campus.  The tech giant said it filed development plans for the first phase this week. The plans call for two towers reaching 22 stories with 2.1M SF of office space and 50K SF of new retail space. ZGF Architects designed the Phase 1 buildings, which are planned to achieve LEED Gold certification. 
NY congressional delegation fights back against Trump family separation rule in public housing

NY congressional delegation fights back against Trump family separation rule in public housing

New York lawmakers are pushing back at what they see as the Trump administration's new family separation policy for public housing. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson announced last month that he was ratcheting up paperwork requirements to prove legal residence in the country, and ending a policy that allows legal residents to let close, undocumented relatives live with them. Under the old rules, a family just had to tell the government if one of its members was not eligible for assistance, and benefits for that person would be cut.
Zillow To Expand Controversial Home-Buying Business To 20 Markets Including Los Angeles, Austin And Miami

Zillow To Expand Controversial Home-Buying Business To 20 Markets Including Los Angeles, Austin And Miami

In its first-quarter earnings report out Thursday, Zillow Group showed stronger-than-anticipated growth in the home-buying business it launched last year. The program, known as Zillow Offers, has been met with skepticism by Wall Street and housing economists, but the Seattle-based company clearly sees the model as its path forward. Zillow purchased 898 homes and sold 414 in the first three months of 2019. Revenue from the homes segment was $128.5 million, with a pretax loss of $45.2 million. Zillow ended the quarter with 993 homes in inventory, worth approximately $325 million. By comparison, from April 2018—when the home-buying program launched—through December 2018, Zillow purchased 686 homes and sold just 177, generating $52 million in revenue and losing $27.2 million.
Purplebricks boss moves out as expansion scaled back

Purplebricks boss moves out as expansion scaled back

The low cost online estate agency said it was to leave its Australia business behind and review its operations in the US, admitting it had attempted to grow the firm too quickly and made a series of mistakes. It said that Mr Bruce, who founded Purplebricks with his brother Kenny in 2014, was to be replaced by chief operating officer Vic Darvey with immediate effect. A company source suggested that Mr Bruce was leaving as he had taken the firm as far as he could. He retains an 11% shareholding.
Grupo Zap Introduces I-Buyer Model To Reignite Brazil's Real Estate Market

Grupo Zap Introduces I-Buyer Model To Reignite Brazil's Real Estate Market

Online firm Grupo Zap is chasing a billion-dollar opportunity by introducing the instant home buyer (i-buyer) model in Brazil, with plans to nearly double its workforce and enhance data analytics capabilities to support the new business. With Grupo Globo, one of Latin America's largest media conglomerates as a majority shareholder and the likes of Monashees and Kaszek Ventures as backers, Zap owns the two largest real estate marketplaces in Brazil and provides a range of data-driven services to the industry.
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