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#RETech Roll Call: Who’s representing consumers, delivering money-saving innovations & reforms?

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#BosRETech UPDATE: There are at least three events worth attending this week in #RETech, two in Boston and one beyond:

5/15-5/20/17: Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo — #NARMidYear

https://www.nar.realtor/midyear.nsf/

5/17/17: MIT’s #DesignX Pitch & Demo Night — Follow @MITDesignX

http://bit.ly/DesignXDemoNight

5/18-19/17: MIT World Real Estate Forum — Follow #MITWorldREForum

http://www.mitworldreforum.com

If anyone from #RE2020 is attending one or more of the above, would you like to debrief afterwards to develop a better understanding of trends and opportunities?

If so, what’s the best time to share updates with three real estate related MeetUps in Boston — #BosRETech, #RECALL or #DefendREBuyers?  VOTE for preferred MeetUp time or propose another option:

http://bit.ly/VoteREDebrfNARMIT (share via social media)

 

BACKGROUND

The National Association of Realtors hosts two major conferences annually: (1) A mid-year meeting in Washington, DC so they can exercise their political clout with legislative visits, and (2) A major convention in November that rotates in various locations (including the first time ever in Boston in November 2018.)

Because relatively few real estate professionals from Boston attend either event and local real estate press rarely attend, Real Estate Cafe has hosted post-event technology debriefings on and off over the past two decades. In the past, our audience was made up primarily of real estate agents, predominantly fellow buyer agents. Here’s a sample of a roundtable we hosted at Harvard’s Berkman Center during the first year of the Obama presidency in 2009:

http://bit.ly/DebriefDemo (share via social media)

 

CROWDSOURCING

With over 150 members, #BosRETech represents a broader mix of stakeholders and innovators both from would be disrupters and incumbents. If a handful of us attend one or more of the events above, iwhat would you like to know — are there specific trends, use cases, or new technologies you’d like us to look for at NAR’s Trade Expo, committee meetings, or networking privately with innovators? As in the past, @RealEstateCafe will be looking for new money saving applications and updating our existing best of breed list as #RE2020’s goal is to deliver billions in Consumer savings annually.

 

CROWDFUNDING APPEAL

Would anyone be willing to help crowdfund our costs, both travel and registration fees?

http://bit.ly/FundRECALL (share via social media)

 

CALL TO ACTION

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We’ve already missed two events important events, the Consumer a Federation of America’s annual Consumer Assembly and a weekend with Ralph Nader. Still, the headline above suggests that the Sleeping Giant if the Consumer Movement is waking up. Here’s what we’ve called to the attention of regulators locally:

http://bit.ly/MassAGOv3 (share via social media)

After reviewing the list above, hope real estate leaders, industry regulators as well as academic departments like MIT’s Center for Real Estate agree that consumer advocates and real estate reformers have an important role shaping the emerging real estate ecosystem that is consumer-centric. To help us cocreate that future, follow #RE2020 online or scan the working groups on:

http://RE2020.Loomio.org (share via social media)

Posted in #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders, Bidding wars, Blockchain, Consumer protection, Crowdfunding, Disrupt Real Estate, RE2020, Real Estate Bubble, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Savings & Rebates

#RECALL: Crowdfund effort to organize homebuyers, reform real estate

Breaking News: Legislature tables bill to disclose real estate commissions

In an age of transparency, the real estate cartel still plays by their own rules: commissions are tied (some would argue price fixed); offers are submitted in BLIND bidding wars, mega-brokers routinely engage in conflicts of interest, brokers hide pocket listings so they can collect double commissions but deny consumers basic rights (see language from bill in Colorado):

“[C]onsumers should be legally entitled to clear disclosure of the cost of the service for representation real estate agents”

Isn’t it paradoxical that transparency only goes in one direction in real estate? You won’t believe what predatory / predictive real estate business models know about your personal data and how they violate your privacy.

BACKGROUND:

Significantly, 2017 marks two 25 year anniversaries for real estate consumer advocates:

1. On October 28, 1992, Ralph Nader delivered his first speech on real estate; and

http://bit.ly/NaderAimRE (share via social media)

2. On December 2, 1992, real estate was called the “Sleeping Giant of the Consumer Movement” (12/2/92)

That’s why attending a Master Class for Citizen Action with Ralph Nader, which is being called a “once-in-a-lifetime weekend of learning and planning for action,” would be an extraordinary opportunity!

http://bit.ly/NaderCrowdFund (share via social media)

If you were among the 170+ people who commented recently on an opinion in the Boston Globe about Boston’s Broken real estate market, you know that’s true. You might even be wise enough to know that the real estate market is dangerously overheated again, which is why we’ve advised homebuyers to sit out the Spring market. That means there’s not enough money to meet regular expenses; not to mention these important upcoming events:

5/1-4: VRM Day / Internet Identity Workshop, Computer Museum in Silicon Valley;
5/11-12: Consumer Assembly hosted by Consumer Federation of America, DC;
5/17-19: Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo also in DC; ; or
5/18-19: MIT’s World Real Estate Forum here in Cambridge, MA.

Over the past 20+ years, Real Estate Cafe has self-funded those trips and hosted debriefings after attending real estate tech conferences around the country. This year, real estate consumer advocates are working closer to home. In recent weeks, we submitted at list of 10 issues to the Mass. Attorney General’s Office and a request for regulatory enforcement to Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs.

http://bit.ly/MassAGOv3 (share via social media)

To make progress, real estate consumers need a mobilization strategy; that’s the goal of attending the “master class” with Ralph Nader. In exchange for your financial assistance of at least $50, you’ll be invite to a small group debriefing; or private meeting if you stretch to $100. If you can double that, let’s collaborate on something special — a RECALL RoadTrip, #REonTap (Real Estate on Tap), or Defensive Homebuying seminar — to expand our coalition of real estate consumer advocates and educate / empower consumers.

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FLASHBACK:

It’s unlikely that any homebuyer will be dragged out of an open house but it IS likely that the industry will face its own United Airlines crises in the future. Which issue will trigger a headlines like these from 2008?

BusinessWeek:
Consumer Vigilantes / Memo to Corporate America: Hell now hath no fury like a customer scorned
http://bit.ly/ConsVig2008

New York Times:
Feeling Misled on Home Price, Buyers Sue Agent
http://bit.ly/Misled2008

NEXT STEPS?

If we develop enough momentum, let’s explore an event this Fall to mark the 25th anniversary of Ralph’s first speech on real estate. He warned change agents that buyer agency would be coopted; and regrettably, Nader was right. It’s time to right that wrong.

http://bit.ly/RESeedREv (share via social media)

Uncertain times invite collaboration and cash flow constraints require crowdfunding; can you help?  If so, please contact @RealEstateCafe or donate to one or both of these campaigns:

http://bit.ly/CrwdFndNaderClass (share via social media)

http://bit.ly/BidWars412v17 (share via social media)

Posted in #REonTap, Bidding wars, Consumer protection, Crowdfunding, Defensive Homebuying, Dual Agency Detective, Homebuyer Clubs, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Blockchain in Real Estate needs Consumer Focus to deliver #P2P Savings

03/24/17 ORIGINAL:  Looks like the Spring Meeting of RESO, an international Real Estate Standards Organization, will be doing some foundational work on blockchain in real estate and the PUID — Property Unique ID.  As you can see from the link and screen grab below, the morning of Wednesday, April 26 includes presentations by the Center for Realtor Technology and International Blockchain Real Estate Association (IBREA).

04/12/17  UPDATE:  If you visit the agenda shown below, you’ll see that the PUID update now includes Jon Mabe, VP- Engineering, Zillow Group, so that could be a significant sign that something REAL is happening.  What’s your take?

RESO_PUID_BlockchainRE

RESO BACKGROUND

RESO is made up PRIMARY of techies who work for real estate portals and Realtor-controlled Multiple Listing Services.  Originally founded by the National Association of Realtors, they appear to work closely with the Center for Realtor Technology (@CRTLabs).  As such, their perspective — and for some members, their explicit mission — is to keep real estate agents at the center of the real estate transaction.

If you watch this video from the founder of IBREA, you’ll hear him talk about the inherently disruptive nature of blockchain but them paradoxically say that his company is courting the largest publicly traded real estate companies in the world.

http://bit.ly/REBestBlocUse (Share via social media)

That raises questions about who’s looking out for consumers, ordinary buyers and sellers who can BILLIONS of dollars annually by #P2P transactions blockchain can enable.  This tweet addresses that potential and your thoughts are welcome:

http://bit.ly/REBlocP2PTwt (Share via social media)

If RESO is focusing on the listing side of the industry because so many member are MLS / Realtor-centric, can we bring consumers into the emerging real estate ecosystem by taking the lead on the demand side with blockchain-enabled #HousingID’s?

http://bit.ly/OpenHBuyerID (Share via social media)

Doesn’t the story in yesterday’s Boston Globe about Boston’s broken real estate market is getting worse make that need / opportunity more urgent?

http://bit.ly/REBrokenBOS (Share via social media)

CALL TO ACTION

Let’s use #RE2020 to aggregate and discuss real estate use cases that deliver savings to homebuyers and sellers after the MIT FinTech conference last week as well as the RESO meeting this week. If that’s also happening in other forums, please post links and development efforts our OPEN forum:

http://bit.ly/BlocRE2020  (Share via social media)

Posted in Blockchain, Consumer protection, Crowdsourcing, Discount real estate, Disrupt Real Estate, Housing policy, HousingID, RE2020, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends

Let’s poke fun at the Sleeping Giant of the Consumer Movement

Twenty-five years, one of the keynote speakers at the Consumer Federation of America’s annual Financial Services conferences, delivered words that still ring true:

“Real Estate is the Sleeping Giant of the Consumer Movement.”

Too little has changed over the past two and half decades but the good news is that real estate consumer advocates have regained a sense of momentum this Spring on at least three levels:

Local momentum

The founder of Consumer Advocates in American Real Estate, (CAARE) is doing media interviews on this effort to fight illegal kickbacks in Minnesota:

https://mn.gov/commerce/media/news/?id=284552

Digital momentum

Tonight, a handful of real estate innovators will gather with Mass. Legal Hackers team at Code of America / Code for Boston.  They could be formidable new allies who help unleash the potential of blockchain / smart contract to build real estate apps that are #FiduciaryFirst.

What’s at stake:  $110B, including $30B annually in real estate?

http://bit.ly/NextBlocRE202Up

Global momentum

The Founder of Trump University has given consumer advocates a global stage to amplify the warning, “The real estate industry was never as greedy and deceiving as it is today.”

http://www.massreblog.com/so-what-went-wrong/

And others are writing about how consumers and policy makers are pushing back worldwide.  We recommend following @BetterDwelling and others outing #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders

CALL TO ACTION

Want to get involved in efforts to reform the real estate industry and deliver billions in consumer savings?  Visit http://RE2020.Loomio.org and request access if you’d like to collaborate; or simply listen to the audio post above, and share your thoughts.  We’re particularly interested in humorous ideas to help the consumer protection / public awareness campaign we do annually between the Ides of March and April Fool’s Day to go viral.  Be sure to use #REFooled if you post anything you’d like others to see (if you’ve been househunting in Greater Boston, Cambridge and surrounding communities, you know why.

Fooled again?  Let’s use tech to reform real estate / BLIND bidding wars

http://bit.ly/REformFools (Share via social media)
Posted in #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders, Blockchain, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, Humor, Podcasts, RE2020, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Defensive homebuying in 2017: Can you future proof homebuying decisions?

As 2016 comes to a close, there is an uptick of activity on BostonBubble, a forum for homebuyers in Greater Boston that dates back to 2005. A self-described “lowly renter” is asking advice about homebuying in the New Year because of pressure he’s getting from relatives. Know anyone in a similar situation, or having similar conversations with your own peers about housing in a DysTrumpian era?

One renter adamantly wrote, “that parabolic up moves in prices in any market ALWAYS are an the tell of a coming crash.” We generally agree but submit that it’s more complicated than that; otherwise the “totally artificial housing market” (Robert Shiller’s characterization) would have turned down by now.  See why we thought that way during 4Q2013 via the empathy map above.

Housing Resolutions for the New Year

New Year’s is a time to look into the future, and there are numerous ways to do that. If you’re a “lowly renter” getting pressure to buy consider the following:

Short-term perspective: Rather than dismissing well-intended relatives, maybe you can ask for their empathy. Copy this Empathy Map on Google Drive, complete it and ask your relative, parent, spouse, whomever to do the same. Compare your perceptions of whether it’s a good time to buy, and maybe even share your responses here or offline in person:

http://bit.ly/EmpathyRE2017 (share via social media)

Long-term perspective: Despite the number of people in gig economy jobs, conventional mortgages are still for 30 years. Given that, read stories on the two links below:

Will half of jobs really disappear in the next 25 years?
http://bit.ly/FutureJobsShock (share via social media)

Future Proofing Homebuying Decisions

Wonder if mortgage lenders will begin rejecting or risk pricing loans based on the prospect that one’s livelihood will disappear before the end of their loan? Regardless, what impact will that have on housing expenditures (not just housing prices)?

Some say disruptive demographics will take housing down again before jobs begin to disappear. Greater Boston and New England already have a disproportionate percent of people over 60. Would you buy or sell a home in 2017 knowing that the next housing downturn will become more obvious by 2020? What are you doing to future proof your decisions?

http://bit.ly/SrSellOff  (share via social media)

As written in our previous blog post, there are already signs that the housing market is slumping. Anyone else fear that we could see another lost decade in housing? How does that influence your home buying strategy?

http://bit.ly/LostRE  (share via social media)

Meet Offline next week?

Regardless of whether you plan on buying in 2017 or hear warning bells, want to meet off-line to complete / compare housing Empathy Maps including our own from 4Q2013?  For those hoping to buy, want to learn more about “Defensive Homebuying”?

Contact us by calling 617-661-4046 or this form for more information.  We hope to host offline events, we call “Bubble Hours” over beer in 2017.  Follow #REonTap on @RealEstateCafe

http://bit.ly/REonTap (share via social media)

Posted in #REonTap, Bubble Hour, Buyer agent, Defensive Homebuying, Great Senior Sell-Off, Housing bubble, Housing forecasts, Real Estate Bubble, Seasonality, Timing the market

Castle Doctrine: Protecting real estate consumers in DysTrumpian era

 

The Consumer Federation of America, an organization that includes 300 groups, just finished their annual Financial Services Conference and the event begged the question, what is the future of consumer advocacy in a DysTrumpian era? This hard-hitting opinion in the Washington Posts asks if a Trump economy will teach kids to be “con men.”  Here’s what’s at stake:

“…big companies and moneyed interests [are] eager to fleece unsophisticated or shallow-pocketed borrowers, investors, consumers, workers and small-potatoes entrepreneurs.

To the untrained ear, Trump’s campaign rhetoric suggested he might be on board with Obama’s mission.

Trump spoke frequently of how the system was “rigged” against the little guy, and how — because no one knows the system better than Trump — he alone could un-rig it. But now that he’s heading into office, Trump has flanked himself with a fleet of anti-regulation, anti-consumer subordinates who appear hellbent on dismantling the Obama administration’s hard-won pro-little-guy protections.”

http://bit.ly/ConMen (share this URL via social media)

Who will protect consumers from the oncoming assault? Leading consumer advocates from non-profit and government agencies around the country gathered at their annual two-day event, and their concerns are reflected tweets using the hashtag #CFAFS2016.

One keynote and a break out panel​​ addressed the need to protect investors, particularly those saving for retirement, by preserving the hard-won “Fiduciary Duty” rule president-elect Trump is likely to repeal​.  Hoping to link a recent court decision protecting homebuyers from conflicts of interest, Real Estate Cafe asked what’s the best way to extend fiduciary reform into real estate in a series of tweets.

#RE2020:  Protect consumers, deliver billions in savings

To my knowledge, no real estate consumer advocates participated in the gathering but another panel addressed privacy and the abuse of personal data collected online.  That is one of the emerging issues in real estate, and creepy real estate apps get our nomination for “Stealth Story of 2016.”  Consumer advocates and tech innovators need to collaborate with conscientious Realtor groups, like the @CRTLabs, to extend #FiduciaryFirst principles to include the role of #InformationFiduciary.  As Doc Searls told that group, “Shelter is Privacy 101;” and his Castle Doctrine explains why managing personal data from smart homes and real estate transactions is a consumer’s right in an era of surveillance capitalism.

Let’s use the Boston Realty Party, our annual gathering(s) of real estate innovators and consumer advocates on (or near) the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, to reconnect and update perspectives on what real estate might look like by 2020, the end of Donald Trump’s presidency.  Scary thought, but the real estate ecosystem is already changing, the question is who will reshape the future? Want to use these links to try?

http://bit.ly/1st100RE2020

http://bit.ly/ShapeRE2020

To extend California’s landmark victory against dual agency, consumer advocates need to be involved in efforts by real estate insiders to update the agency disclosure form in Massachusetts. Anyone else alarmed that this meeting is being held at the Mass. Association of Realtors?  Classic example of the fox guarding the chicken coop?

What else will we see if we don’t organize to prevent a DysTrumpian future?

Tagged with:
Posted in Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, Dump Dual Agency, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM

Crowdsourcing insights into a slumping housing market in Boston

bostonbubble_links_2005-112316

December 11 will mark the 9th anniversary of joining http://BostonBubble.com, a forum for homebuyers to crowdsource insights during the real estate recession.  Over that period, Real Estate Cafe contributed over 100 posts, and two offer context for the current housing market.  Obviously, they were written pre-Trump, and one cannot underestimate the potential impact his presidency (if it is not overturned by the Electoral College) will have on the housing market.  Despite his celebrity status as a “real estate mogul,” he has NEVER developed a housing policy and his choice lead HUD, Dr. Ben Carson, has no housing experience.

Six months after warning homebuyers on BostonBubble of a changing housing market, October stats and recent headlines reveal that real estate sales and prices are falling in Massachusetts

http://bit.ly/MassREDipOct2016

http://bit.ly/RESlumpLinks

As interest rates rise, will 1Q2017 see a repeat of 1Q2016?   Time to exercise “Defensive Homebuying” strategies so you can save money, be proactive or simply sit out because there is too much uncertainty?  If you’re inclined to buy, here’s the case for bargain hunting this time of year:

http://bit.ly/WinterREBargains

FLASHBACKS: 

Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2016    Post subject: Prices down in 51 towns & suburbs in Metro Boston

Yesterday, Boston Globe ran a story on Peak Rents, today another indication that 2016 is turning point:

51 towns & Metro #Boston suburbs have begun 2016 on home price losing streak

http://bit.ly/MetroBosREDown

Anyone want to meet at Cambridge Common near Harvard Square or Joshua Tree in Davis Square to talk about the implications of these emerging trends, and whether it’s possible or wise to “time the market.”

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Know anyone who’s suffering from buyer’s remorse, wondering if they were manipulated into overpaying in the past two years? Will we see a “Bidding War Backlash” in the next 18 months and a repeat of regrets like those in 2008?

http://bit.ly/Misled2014

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Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2016

Rather than taking legal action two years from now, what’s the best way to be preemptive — calm bidding wars during the next 100 days?

My hypothesis: By mid-August, the pre-election pause will cool currently overheated areas expanding the count of communities with falling housing prices.

What’s your prediction?

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As the image above shows, comments on BostonBubble have dropped to a trickle and there haven’t been any updates on the news feed in four months.  So Real Estate Cafe is setting up a place to monitor REBubble 2.0 online and we’re eager to begin hosting informal “Bubble Hours” as part of our ongoing series of conversations over beer, aka #REonTap.  Our goal is to inform homebuyer clients by crowdsourcing insights from other buyers, and selected real estate professionals particularly other buyer agents. Similar crowdsourcing efforts a decade ago helped some clients save more than $100,000 off original asking prices.

Here’s what our Real Estate Bubble Map / wiki looked like a decade ago (unfortunately Platial.com went out of business so you’ll see repeated gaps), want to help us explore ways to track REBubble 2.0 this time?  Here’s what’s at stake:

MUST READ list of why Bubble 2.0 more dangerous than Bubble 1.0

http://bit.ly/Bubble2SF

Posted in "We" companies, #REonTap, Bubble Hour, Bubble map, Housing bubble, Market trends, Price reductions, Savings & Rebates, Seasonality, Sweetest Deals

Confront Candidates by Crowdsourcing Housing Questions for Next Debate

nprdebate_requote_092716

Without a question about housing or any mention of investigations and lawsuits related to Trump University, references to real estate were revealing in last night’s debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

When a reporter asked afterwards if there were any defining moments, a Clinton strategist didn’t need to spin. Donald Trump’s lack of empathy for millions of Americans who were devastated by the real estate recession was revealing.

So was his response to fair housing violations.  In an article entitled, Donald Trump’s first presidential debate confirmed he has no idea what he’s talking about, Vox wrote:

“Accused of practicing racial discrimination in his businesses, he says being sued by the federal government is ‘one of those things’ and even though he paid up, there was ‘no admission of guilt.’”

He repeated “no admission of guilt” twice as if that would absolve him from the truth.

The truth is that Donald Trump saw foreclosures as  an opportunity to exploit people.  “That’s called business,” was his dismissive response when Hillary Clinton exposed Trump’s greed.  So if he lashes out at Fed Chief Janet Yellen for creating another “big fat ugly bubble,”  he needs to be held accountable.  If elected President, which version of Donald Trump would develop policies to protect millions of homeowners if they go upside down again on their mortgages again?

Is that a far fetched scenario?  Not according to some housing market observers.  Real estate is cyclical and storm clouds are already forming according to the co-founder of Keller-Williams.  The next president will need an enlightened housing policy to address numerous problems:

1.  Rent burdens are unprecedented;

2.  Not a single county has enough affordable housing;

3.  The wealth and income gap between millennials and baby boomers is a time bomb (disruptive demographics);

4.  Today’s lack of inventory will be replaced by homes no one wants, (Great Senior Sell-Off);

5.  We have only one affordable housing unit for every three seniors who need it.

Housing is taking a larger and larger share of household budgets, so some prominent people argue that affordable housing should have been more prominent throughout the primary and presidential campaigns.  Rather than waiting for debate moderators to ask, maybe ordinary home buyers and sellers should crowd source our own questions.

Bernie Sanders fans want to start here?

Mr. Trump, you made your fortune through real estate but your father developed thousands of units for ordinary people.  What’s your vision for housing a generation of millennials who are watching investors and foreign buyers remove starter homes and affordable condos from the housing market?

What about real estate professionals?  Why aren’t leaders in the industry stepping forward to confront the candidates on housing as they did at the bottom of the housing recession?

Posted in #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders, Affordable housing, Consumer protection, Foreclosure Prevention, Housing bubble, Housing policy, Real Estate Bubble, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Tidal Wave of #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders or Virtual Town Hall Meeting?


If “Foreign buyers at Millennium Tower show that Boston is on a world stage,” is that was a good thing?  Apparently not, if you scan over 130 comments from Boston Globe readers:

http://bit.ly/BOSSpecuTower (share via social media)

Across the river in Cambridge, concerns about soaring housing prices were mirrored by 80 neighbor-to-neighbor comments after one member of NextDoor, a neighbor-only site, expressed concerns about “how many members of the “public [hearing on affordable housing]” were developers, and how few were residents and advocates.”

Despite shared concern about rising costs, the gap between the two threads revealed a hidden problem:  how little is known about the role foreign buyers are playing in the current speculative cycle and their short and long-term impact on affordability.  What we do know is that:

While some some developers are trying to limit sales to investors to protect resales, a marketing consultant told the Boston Globe:

“It’s a little bit like holding back a tidal wave at this point,” … “There’s a much bigger market out there than anybody has tested.”

MACRO IMPACT

Why should “ordinary people” care?  Global real estate speculation is not limited to luxury towers; and even if it were, two articles in the New Yorker begin to explain indirect social costs:

Real Estate Goes Global

http://bit.ly/GlobalRE_NYKr2014 (share via social media)

Why The High Cost of Big-City Living Is Bad For Everyone

http://bit.ly/HighCostCities (share via social media)

Others fear that the housing market is being driven by external or shadow demand; #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders and more could make Housing Bubble 2.0 worse than the one a decade ago:

Housing Bubble 1.0 vs. Housing Bubble 2.0 – The Culprit is “Shadow Demand” … Again!

http://bit.ly/ShadowREplay (share via social media)

Finally, our concerns about spiraling prices and research into unprecedented bidding wars were underlined by this recent article:

China Might Be Blowing a Gigantic Global Housing Bubble

“…going back to 2013, recall that the People’s Bank of China allowed Chinese companies to lend money in renminbi to their offshore branches without any limit and without any requirement for them to first notify regulators.

That essentially meant that companies could transfer money out of China without having to worry about capital controls. Home prices started increasing strongly around the world since around that year.”

How can we raise awareness about #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders?  Here are two idea starters:

IDEA STARTER 1: Host Virtual Town Hall

Groups in Vancouver are hosting an affordable housing rally at 2pm (5pm our time) on Saturday, September 17.  Should we revisit an earlier proposal to host a virtual town hall meeting to learn more about their devastating new 15% tax on foreign buyers?  Ideally, the virtual town hall meeting could include others cities negatively impacted by #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders like the Bay Area, Seattle, Toronto, and New York.

IDEA STARTER 2: Use humor to raise awareness about #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders

We’ve shared this idea with a number of insiders, and invite feedback on using LAUGHTivism to expose #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders. Should we play with the idea sometime over beer at one of our #REonTap sessions?

http://bit.ly/LaughRE (share via social media)

PRACTICAL NEXT STEPS

Bidding wars are blind, so unless someone spills the beans, first-time homebuyers may not know that they’ve been outbid by a foreign buyer.  However, if the same buyer or investor pool turns that purchase into an AirBnb unit, it may be easier to spot and:

  1. Report to public officials monitoring the problem or Cambridge Inspectional Services if the units violates the city regulations.
  2. If short-rentals violate your condo by-laws or threaten to undermine financing options and resales, report to your condo association.
  3. Finally, if you’d simply like to sound off about the problem, record a one minute sound bite using this link via lap/desktop or your smartphone.  We’ll share it with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s staff, as Congress is investigating whether “short-term rentals may be exacerbating housing shortages and driving up the cost of housing in our communities.”

Posted in #REonTap, #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders, Affordable housing, Bidding wars, Bubble Hour, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Housing bubble, Housing Justice, Real Estate Bubble

#SpeculatorsWithoutBorders extracting affordable housing from Cambridge

A controversial protest organized by Black Lives Matter Cambridge resulted in extensive media coverage and an open letter last week in the Cambridge Chronicle entitled, Fight for affordable housing in Cambridge is fight for black liberation. Unfortunately, the same publication rejected my comment so posting here and eager to share with City Councilors, various affordable housing committees, and Envision Cambridge — the $3.3M citywide planning process.

REJECTED COMMENT:

Encourage affordable housing advocates to look at the impact “external demand” and bidding wars are having on a daily basis in Cambridge; and as reflected in the bullet points in the attached above, the long-term implications of the globalization of real estate. As you can see from this announcement posted on a Cambridge real estate agent’s Facebook page, it’s no secret that Cambridge real estate agents are courting international buyers and investor pools:

http://bit.ly/SotheBGlobal

My sense, unverified at this point and potentially unverifiable unless policy changes are made, is that foreign buyers and investor pools are removing affordable housing (which they define as $500K starter condos) faster then they can be added to the housing inventory.

What can we learn from other cities about how to respond? Vancouver has imposed a new 15% real estate transfer tax on foreign buyers. Significantly, the tax does not come out of the sellers pocket or the developer’s proforma. As such, it essentially taps into Cambridge’s international appeal to raise funds to increase affordable housing.

Look into the future, and see the consequences if we continue to let #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders drive up prices and extract affordable housing opportunities:

http://bit.ly/GlobalSpecTax (share link via social networks)

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BOTTOMLINE: Add a 5th and potentially 6th bullet point to the list in the Cambridge Chronicle’s Guest Opinion?

5. Impose a buyer tax on foreign buyers, similar to Vancouver where international investors pay 15% on top of the sales price; or Singapore’s model: any investor / non-owner occupant pays a tiered buyer tax.

6. To calm the current speuclative cycle, declare a two-year moratorium on #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders, too?

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Posted in #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders, Affordable housing, Bidding wars, Consumer protection, Housing Justice, Investigative Reporting, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance
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