Real Estate Tech News



Real estate platform Compass raises another $370M on a $6.4B valuation en route to an IPO

Real estate platform Compass raises another $370M on a $6.4B valuation en route to an IPO

The real estate market regularly goes through ups and downs, but today comes big news for a startup in the space that has built a platform that it believes can help all players in it — buyers, sellers and those who help with the buying and selling — no matter what stage of the cycle we happen to be in. Compass — a company that has built a three-sided marketplace for the industry, along with a wide set of algorithms to help make it work — has raised a $370 million round of funding, money that it plans to use to continue expanding geographically (within existing markets in the U.S. such as New York, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, SF and LA and other areas), as well as for more tech and product development. Sources tell me that it’s also now eyeing up an IPO, likely sometime in the next 24 months.
Mortgage rates fall, reaching nearly three-year low

Mortgage rates fall, reaching nearly three-year low

Mortgage rates dipped slightly to a nearly three-year low because of concern about a potential global economic slowdown and some weak home sale news. According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.75 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount and are in addition to the interest rate.) It was 3.81 percent a week ago and 4.54 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate average declined to 3.18 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.23 percent a week ago and 4.02 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average dropped to 3.47 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.48 percent a week ago and 3.87 percent a year ago.
Virtual reality ‘Star Wars’ experiences move into malls as clothing stores go dark

Virtual reality ‘Star Wars’ experiences move into malls as clothing stores go dark

Let’s face it. People don’t go to the local mall just to walk around with friends, buy a pretzel and maybe see a movie, like they used to. Mall owners realize they need to bring in a new wave of entertainment venues to keep luring people in. So now escape rooms, places where you can pay to throw an axe at a wall and virtual reality experiences that make you feel like you’re on the set of a “Star Wars” movie are popping up at malls across the country. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which owns 32 properties in the U.S. including the Westfield World Trade Center in New York and Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, announced Thursday a deal with Utah-based virtual reality experience The Void. It said the two plan to work together to bring more than 25 VR spaces to URW’s malls in the U.S. and Europe.
Homeownership rate for black Americans drops to record low

Homeownership rate for black Americans drops to record low

The homeownership rate for black Americans fell to 40.6% in the three months through June, the lowest level in the Census Bureau’s quarterly data going back to 1994, according to a government report on Thursday. It was the smallest share recorded for black households since the 1950 decennial Census when it was 34.5%. The rate for black households in Thursday’s report dropped from 41.6% in 2018’s second quarter. It compares with a homeownership rate of 46.6% for Hispanics in the three months through June, which matched the year-ago number, and a 73.1% rate for white households, up from 72.9% a year earlier, according to the Census report.
US new home sales rise; prior three months revised down

US new home sales rise; prior three months revised down

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rebounded sharply in June, but sales for the prior three months were revised down, indicating that the housing market continued to tread water despite lower mortgage rates and a strong labor market. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday new home sales rebounded 7.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 646,000 units last month. May’s sales pace was revised down to 604,000 units from the previously reported 626,000 units. Data for March and April was also revised down. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for about 11% of housing market sales, increasing 6.0% to a pace of 660,000 units in June.
Amazon partners with Realogy, sending the real-estate brokerage giant’s shares soaring

Amazon partners with Realogy, sending the real-estate brokerage giant’s shares soaring

Realogy stock surged more than 25% in Tuesday’s premarket after it announced a deal with Amazon. The largest residential real estate brokerage company in the nation is partnering with the largest online retailer in the world in a strategy designed to boost sales for both. Realogy and Amazon will now offer TurnKey, a program that takes potential homebuyers through the Amazon portal and connects them to a Realogy agent. Once they purchase a home, they then get complimentary Amazon Home Services and products worth up to $5,000.
César Pelli, Argentine architect behind the Petronas Towers, dies aged 92

César Pelli, Argentine architect behind the Petronas Towers, dies aged 92

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - César Pelli, the Argentine designer behind the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, has died aged 92, state media and officials said on Friday, marking the passing of one of the contemporary architectural greats. Pelli, who grew up in Argentina and studied architecture at the University of Tucumán in the country’s far northwest, established himself as a visionary and educator, making a name for himself in the United States where his main studio was based.
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.
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