Hackers Steal $1 Billion

Hackers have stolen almost $1 billion from real estate

D.C.: Sales of preowned homes rose 2.5% in May from the prior month to an annual rate of 5.34 million, according to the NAR. The national median sales price was up 4.8% to $277,000 reflecting the strongest monthly pace of growth since August 2018 and marking the 87th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Herndon: Texas led the nation in real estate development in 2018, according to the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. With almost $26 billion in direct project spending, the Texas building sector put more than $62 billion into the state’s economy and supported more than 400,000 jobs. Texas was ahead of New York, Tennessee and California on impact in each state.  

DFW: Building projects, including apartments and offices, has begun to slow in North Texas, according to Dodge Data and Analytics. Their chief economist predicts a 2% decline this year and flat nationwide, followed by a 4% construction decline in 2020. Also forecast is a decline in nationwide
single-family home building, down 3% in this year and next. Multifamily starts will fall 5% this year and 14% in 2020. In Texas a 17% drop in new multifamily building is forecast this year. One booming sector is data centers, with $10 billion in construction started nationally in 2018. In Texas, Google is investing $600 million in a data center in Midlothian. Microsoft has started a $400 million data center in San Antonio. DFW ranked fourth nationally in 2018 in data dollar investment.  

Atlanta: From 2015 to 2017, business email compromise attacks (BECs) on real estate increased 1,110%, according to an FBI Internet Crime report. BECs are a form of phishing with a hacker posing as a trusted correspondent to obtain sensitive information, including financial data. Often real estate transactions involve companies with no shared history and with deadlines adding stress and preventing thorough vetting. Phishers often prioritize organizations new to a robust real estate market or have low levels of cybersecurity. Hackers also prowl social media sites for information and context about a person or group. In 2017, hackers stole $969 million from home buyers and real estate companies. In 2018, BECs specifically targeting the real estate industry stole around $150 million.  

NYC: More than one of ten homes sold in the U.S. last year went to investors and speculators, reports the Wall Street Journal. In the bottom third of the market, the ratio was one of five. Involvement of private equity firms, speculators and ibuyers has hit all time highs in data this week from CoreLogic. Ibuyers; such as OpenDoor, Zillow Offers and Keller Offers; buy homes with cash for a fee, often backed by their own mortgage companies. They were less than 2% of investor purchases last year. Biggest markets for investor buys were Detroit, Philadelphia and Memphis, where home prices are still low enough for investors to profit by rental. Investors bought nearly half the starter homes in Philadelphia and about 40% of lower-priced homes in Detroit.  

Mountain View: Google is committing $1 billion to address affordability housing issues in the San Francisco area. The city is among the most expensive places in the world to live. The effort will include the re-purposing of $750 million of company-owned land from commercial to residential use on which around 18,000 units will be built across all income levels, not yet defined, near its Mountain View headquarters. Google will also create a $250 million fund for loans and other types of financing for developers to help them preserve affordable housing and build 5,000 new below-market rate units. Google’s housing initiative coincides with growing its footprint in the region. It is building a new campus in its hometown, Mountain View, which received a commitment from the company to build affordable housing as part of its expansion. Google is also talking with San Jose for a potential new campus that would bring 20,000 employees to the city.  

Palm Beach: A five-acre estate of 37,000-square feet with 13 bedrooms and 210-feet of water frontage is under contract for over $100 million, which would set a record for the most expensive single-family home sale in the wealthy Florida town. The current record was set in 2008 by the $95 million sale of Donald Trump’s Palm Beach home to a Russian billionaire. Both properties are close to the Trump Mar-a-Lago resort.  

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