776,000 California Homes at Risk from Fires

Report puts 776,000 Southern California homes at extreme risk

D.C.: The Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate annual report ranks Austin first nationally for overall real estate prospects for 2020. The report says transaction activity in Austin is above normal for a market of its size. Austin’s challenges include traffic and housing affordability pressures, ranking sixth in homebuilding prospects. DFW ranked sixth in overall real estate prospects and ninth in homebuilding. DFW’s challenges were K-12 educational offerings, infrastructure, mass transit supply and overall cost of investment. Dallas captured 4.4% of total U.S. transactions the past three years, and 4.2% YTS in 2019, the third-highest nationally after Manhattan and Los Angeles. DFW growth to the outer perimeter keeps land costs down but challenges the downtown areas development as 24- hour or even 18-hour urban centers.

NYC: Owners of certain residential properties can no longer shield their identities using anonymous LLCs. A new law requires LLCs involved in real estate transactions in the state to disclose identities of all owners, managers and agents associated with the company. The law is limited to properties containing one to four units and disclosures only need to be made in joint tax filings, which are not public. In 2018, a report by The Real Deal showed that 7,319 deals in New York’s five boroughs in the first half of the year involved an LLC. Luxury real estate had 72% of condo sales, about $10 million involved an LLC, up 20% from 15 years ago. A proposed law would require corporations and LLCs to disclose their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.  

LA: The recent CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Report says the current string of Southern California wildfires puts 776,000 homes at an extreme risk of being damaged with a reconstruction cost value of $221 billion. Homes within the Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego metro areas have 42% of their residences at high-to-extreme wildfire risk. In 2018, 8,767,492 acres of land across the country burned, the sixth highest in history. Texas burned 569,811 acres. Three Texas metro areas were included in the report. Austin was #5, with a high-risk residence count of 53,984, San Antonio was #11 with 30,696 homes and Houston at #15 had 36,004 at risk.  

San Francisco: As rents increase and urbanization has intensified, developers are responding with smaller apartments. According to CoStar, vacancy rates for the smallest one bedroom units have dipped below those for medium and larger units, a reversal from earlier in the decade. The average unit completed last year was 941 SF, 5% less than 10 years prior. RentCafe said smaller unit demand is strong in major metro areas with high rents and renters wanting urban areas had to sacrifice square footage to do so. New apartments in San Francisco Bay will average about 440 SF for a two-bedroom unit. In Seattle, an influx of micro-units has the smallest average size at 711 SF. In Long Island City in the borough of Queens in New York, a recently completed complex has 466 units, 169 of which are split into 422 SF co-living bedrooms.  

NYC: Central Park Tower has topped out at 1,550 feet, making it the tallest residential building in the world. The building will house Nordstrom’s flagship store and 179 residences ranging from two to eight bedrooms, with 1,435-square feet to more than 17,500-square feet. The apartments begin on the 32nd floor. Units begin at $6.9 million for a two bedroom.

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