is now Ten-X, Playboy Mansion for Sale

Posted on in Economy, FHA, Government, GSE, Housing, Industry, Mortgages, TV Appearances

Everything you need to know to stay ahead of your competitors

January 11, 2016

Welcome to another week filled with what promises to be global market volatility. Hold on it promises to be a bumpy ride, with few reports due on the Housing and Mortgage markets. One silver-lining from the down markets may be that the Fed will not increase rates as fast as some feared, but it certainly may be a bad time to peek at your 401k.

Here are the stories you’ll be talking about today: is now Ten-X … “The Future of Real Estate” has rebranded as Ten-X, marking the company’s transition into an online marketplace where buyers, sellers, and the agents and brokers who represent them can easily and efficiently buy and sell high quality residential and commercial real estate. The company also announced plans to introduce new transaction platforms in March that will give sellers the option of choosing to transact either using an online auction or a more traditional non-auction process online.

The company, which has facilitated the sales of over 200,000 residential and commercial properties totaling over $35 billion since 2007, began as a disposition platform for distressed assets. In recent years, has migrated towards higher quality, non-distressed assets. Over 60 percent of the commercial properties brought to sale in 2015 were traditional, high quality assets, including an office complex in Manhattan Beach, Calif., that sold for $96 million – the largest online transaction ever. Under the new brand, the company will feature three transaction platforms: Ten-X Commercial; Ten-X Homes, which will feature traditional, move-in ready residential properties; and, which will continue to feature properties for residential real estate investors.“Today’s announcement represents something far more significant than a name change,” said Ten-X Chief Executive Officer Tim Morse. “Our move to the Ten-X brand reflects our evolution into a marketplace for a much broader range of residential and commercial property types, and our expansion into new technology solutions that empower buyers, sellers and real estate professionals alike. Our vision is to make buying and selling real estate ten times better for everyone involved.”

“As real estate moves online, we are committed to providing buyers, sellers and real estate professionals more of what they need to transact successfully,” said Morse. “Ten-X offers a proven platform, a simplified process, and the information and tools that allow everyone to confidently buy and sell real estate online.”

>Ten-X CEO Tim Morse is scheduled to unveil more and be interviewed on:

-CNBC 11:30 AM ET

-Wall St Journal Video 2:00 PM ET

-Bloomberg TV 6:30 PM ET

>Collingwood Group Media is proud to have worked with Ten-X to make these interviews happen.

>>>The Collingwood Group’s Brian O’Reilly Featured in:<<< DS News: 30 Top Executives Tell You The Future Compliance: by BRIAN T. O’REILLY President, The Collingwood Group, LLC
As we approach 2016 and begin to assess how the coming year is likely to unfold for the housing finance industry generally and Collingwood clients specifically, we look at the world through three lenses: economic, political and regulatory. On the economic front, 2016 is likely to be a somewhat tougher year than 2015. As regards total estimated mortgage loan originations, the analysis of both GSE’s and the MBA are pretty consistent in their estimates of single family loan originations in the range of $1.4 trillion. That represents a decrease of about 10% from projected 2015 origination volumes. These total origination estimates generally assume a modest increase in interest rates from current levels, a slight expansion in underwriting credit criteria, continuing improvement in the labor market and consumer confidence and an overall increase in single family housing starts. Perhaps the most significant element in these estimates, however, is the continuing shift to a purchase-centric market. By some estimates, refinances may account for as little as 30% of total originations in 2016. If that estimates holds, refinances as a percentage of total loan originations will be nearly 30% lower than 2015 levels. This will likely result in continuing consolidation among independent mortgage lenders – particularly those that have been slow to adjust to decreasing refinance volumes. The political outlook in this highly polarized pre-election period likely means the industry is in for more of the same inaction that characterized 2015. An increasingly lame duck administration, a divided Congress, a Republican House under new, largely untested leadership, and an election year, generally are not conditions that result in significant legislative initiatives. Thus, barring a black swan event, what little legislative action does occur will likely be designed to score political points against the opposition party and not to achieve long-term legislative progress. And for that reason, housing finance – no longer the hot button issue it was during the crisis – likely will not be high on the legislative agenda in 2016.Given the absence of strong Congressional leadership pushing for regulatory relief, we anticipate little change on the regulatory front in 2016. Thus, the industry will continue to be heavily focused on regulatory compliance, which will remain a significant factor in overall origination costs. The regulatory enforcement environment will also likely remain largely unchanged in 2016 – where the industry can expect that FHA False Claim enforcement actions will continue but with a sharper focus on independent, non-bank mortgage lenders.

Another Volatile Week Ahead for Stocks

The stock market — off to its worst start to a year ever — experienced more volatility Friday as stocks failed to hold on to an early rally after the release of a strong jobs report and a 2% rebound in Chinese stocks provided a brief respite to a turbulent week that has raised fear levels around the globe.

Wall Street got a big sentiment boost when the government reported that the U.S. economy created 292,000 jobs in December, way above the 200,000 estimate. Job gains were also revised up 41,000 in November and 9,000 in October. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 5% in December for a third straight month, but the major market averages still closed lower.

CNBC: China stock swoon could boost US real estate

Chinese investors purchased $8.6 billion in U.S. commercial real estate assets in 2015, according to CBRE, a global real estate services and investment firm. That does not even include real estate development, in which Chinese are also investing in a very big way. China still ranks second behind Canada in this race, but it nearly quadrupled its play in just one year. As China’s economy and stock market spiral, will that help or hurt U.S. real estate?

“Volatility from China is the new normal, and the sooner we get used to it the better. At the same time, a certain amount of volatility isn’t all a bad thing as global instability often leads to more foreign capital flows to the safe havens, notably London and the U.S,” said Spencer Levy, CBRE’s head of research for the Americas.

The U.S. is now well-positioned to reel in foreign investors, thanks to recent changes in tax law. Last month, President Barack Obama signed into law a provision that waives taxes imposed on foreign pension funds under the 1980 Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). In addition, these funds can now buy up to 10 percent of a U.S. publicly traded REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust), without falling under FIRPTA; the limit had been 5 percent.

“The current volatility in China has underscored for Chinese investors the importance of diversifying their investments into the U.S. and elsewhere,” said Sam Chandan, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “It does, however, raise the possibility of a policy intervention on behalf of the Chinese government that will limit capital outflow and roll back some of the liberalization at least temporarily.”

Bottom line: If China is not growing quickly, not creating a lot of capital, there is less money to export. China’s gains have been a boon to the U.S. in both commercial and residential real estate during the recent U.S. recession.

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Real Deal: Here Comes the China Money

Having ramped up its investment in global real estate markets over the past two years, Chinese insurance giant Ping An is set to invest “billions of dollars” in U.S. real estate over the next several years – with New York City set firmly in its sights. PARE U.S., Ping An’s U.S. real estate investment arm, officially launched late last year with Rick Singer, former head of global real estate at Salomon Brothers, as its chief executive. The new venture will handle “all of the [real estate] investing for Ping An in the U.S. going forward,” Singer told The Real Deal. “The purpose is to consolidate the decision-making and process of deal flow to a local basis, so that Ping An can be much more active in investing in the U.S.,” Singer said of the PARE U.S., which aims to differentiate itself from other Chinese forays into the U.S. real estate market through the “benefit of local expertise.” The firm will not only focus on development projects but other forms of real estate investment, such as structured debt deals, asset portfolios and even entity-level acquisitions. It aims to invest “billions of dollars [in the U.S.] over the next two to four years,” Singer said. “To move the needle with Ping An, it takes that.” Ping An’s U.S. real estate presence thus far has been outside of the New York market, having partnered, alongside fellow Chinese insurance giant China Life, with Tishman Speyer for a stake in the developer’s $500 million Pier 4 waterfront development in Boston.

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San Fran Examiner: How a tech slowdown could affect Bay Area housing

When dot-com stocks crashed in 2000, some predicted that Silicon Valley home prices — coming off four years of double-digit gains — would also tumble. And while there was a decline, it didn’t go far or last long.

“There was a period when prices were depressed; that’s when I bought my house,” said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. “I thought I never would be able to get in, then the market opened up.”

The home in Palo Alto was listed at “north of $1 million,” Hancock recalled. Six weeks went by, and when the home didn’t sell Hancock contacted the owners — who lived outside the Bay Area — and explained the dot-com crash. He got the house for $920,000.

Today it’s worth $3.4 million and Hancock said he feels guilty that he can afford such a house when “friends who are doctors, lawyers, highly trained people can’t get into this market.”

Ken Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at UC Berkeley, said tech is due for another correction, and that could open a window of opportunity for home buyers.

“The high-tech boom we have is unsustainable. Job growth is unsustainable. There will be, in the next three years, a correction. These unicorns (private companies valued at more than $1 billion) will have to cut jobs. That will have by far the most important impact” on the housing market. The only question, he said, “is whether it’s a minor decline or something more substantial.”

The 2001 decline turned out to be minor. From the fourth quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2002, the median Santa Clara County home price fell about 7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, said Christopher Thornberg, founder of Beacon Economics. But that was after it had doubled over the previous four years. “When you look at a graph, (the decline) looks like noise, it’s so small,” he said.

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Commercial Observer: Washington Beats Campaign Silly Season With New Tax Package

Last month, the president signed a promising tax and spending package into law, which extended some aspects of the tax law and tweaked others.

All of the 52 expiring federal tax code provisions were extended after having been passed by Congress and in turn signed into law by President Barack Obama; a majority of these changes are important to the real estate industry.

First and foremost, the final “tax extender” package included key measures that boost affordable housing, energy efficiency and leasehold improvements as well as reforms to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, a 1980 federal law that requires foreigners to pay taxes on the gains from real estate sales in the U.S.

The new provisions roll back punitive tax laws that discourage foreign investment in domestic real estate and infrastructure. They are “the most significant reforms of FIRPTA since its enactment in 1980,” according to Real Estate Roundtable President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff DeBoer.

The key FIRPTA changes include lifting ownership restrictions on a foreigner who has an interest in a publicly traded domestic real estate investment trust, so as to avoid foreign tax implications upon a sale of stock or capital gains dividends. Currently, the limit is 5 percent; that ceiling has now been raised to 10 percent, allowing for more foreign investment in domestic real estate. These changes are generally effective after the date of enactment, which was Dec. 18, 2015. The law now fully exempts “qualified foreign pension funds” and entities owned by them from FIRPTA. Collectively, these changes are designed to remove the barriers to foreign investment in U.S. real estate.

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NY Post: Macy’s Considers Adding Tower at NYC FlagShip Store

Manhattan’s Herald Square may be heading for a makeover.

Macy’s, looking for ways to profit from its massive and valuable real estate holdings, may consider putting a slender tower or two on the top of its famed 34th Street flagship, The Post has learned.

The tower, or towers, could be used for hotel rooms or offices.

A Macy’s spokesman didn’t dismiss the idea of adding towers.

“We will consider any and all ideas for all of our real estate assets in order to create shareholder value and enhance our operations,” a company spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.

To be sure, building a tower — or two — atop the Herald Square flagship is a long shot.

To do so, the department store — whose Big Apple flagship takes up nearly the entire block bounded by Broadway and Seventh Avenue and 34th and 35th streets — must get approval to be rezoned, real estate executives said. The store, they noted, is “overbuilt.”

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Dallas Morning News: Real estate agent helps bring down Mexican drug cartel

Federal authorities have dismantled the Dallas cell of a violent new Mexican drug cartel with the help of a Grand Prairie real estate agent who smuggled drugs for them, federal court documents show.

Agents say Oscar “La Momia” Soto-Cabezas was in charge of the Dallas and Atlanta, GA, cells of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

The cartel sells methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine throughout the U.S., using “numerous command and control elements” based in Mexico, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Experts call it the fastest-growing drug cartel in Mexico. It is based in the western state of Jalisco but has extended operations up to the Texas border.

The Jalisco cartel split from the powerful Sinaloa cartel in 2010. Since then, the group has engaged in mass executions of rival cartels and assaults on Mexican police and military. In April 2015, members of the gang ambushed state police security officers headed to the city of Guadalajara and killed 15 of them.

Soto-Cabezas remains a fugitive in Mexico, but more than a dozen cartel operatives have been convicted in federal court in Dallas of drug crimes, including the real estate agent, Nicolas Salinas.

Salinas, 36, worked closely with Soto-Cabezas and purchased a house for him in 2009 on Gibbs Williams Road in South Dallas to stash drugs, records show.

“At the direction of Soto-Cabezas, Salinas placed ownership of the residence in his name to avoid law enforcement detection,” court records said.

Salinas, a U.S. citizen, has been a licensed real estate agent in Texas for more than a decade, records show. His license expired in January 2014.

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Reuters: Playboy Mansion for Sale

The iconic Los Angeles mansion of Hugh Hefner, the founder of the Playboy empire, is being put up for sale for $200 million, Playboy Enterprises said, one of the highest asking prices for a private residence in the United States.

The Gothic Tudor-style mansion, which has an area of nearly 20,000 square feet (1,858 square meters) and boasts 29 rooms, sits amid five acres in Holmby Hills west of the city.

In addition to amenities such as a tennis court and a free-form swimming pool, the estate is home to the infamous Playboy grotto, which over the years served as the setting for some of Hefner’s most lavish, hedonistic parties.

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