Category Archives: Real Estate News

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Should real estate agents drive around in fancy cars?

Ah, the fancy car.

The symbol of American success.

Power, stability, money, and if you work in real estate, probably completely unnecessary.

At least that


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Here

The California Attorney General worked hard to get the Golden State


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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Who

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

One month ago, HousingWire chronicled the downfall of Butler & Hosch, once one of the nation


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LRES names three new vice presidents of sales

LRES, an appraisal and REO management company offering property valuations, asset management and technology solutions for mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers, credit unions and private investors, announced the addition of three new vice presidents of sales.

Cory Schwarzschild, Jason Davis and Brandon Hawkins will join LRES and will be responsible for managing LRES


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NYDFS names Lawsky

The New York Department of Financial Services has found its replacement for its soon-departing superintendent, Benjamin Lawsky.

Lawsky is set to step down from his position as the head of New York


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FHA issues new reverse mortgage rules to protect spouses

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration announced changes to its reverse mortgage program designed to keep non-borrowing spouses in their homes after the last surviving borrower dies.

Earlier this year, the FHA released new guidance that allows FHA-approved lenders to delay foreclosure proceedings against non-borrowing spouses in the event of the death of the last surviving borrower.

Now, the FHA is expanding on those changes to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, with a new policy that allows lenders to proceed with submitting claims on HECMs with eligible surviving non-borrowing spouses and case numbers assigned before August 4, 2014 in accordance with the terms of the mortgagee letter.

Claims will be submitted by:

  • Electing to assign the HECM to HUD upon the death of the last surviving borrower, where the HECM would not otherwise be assignable to FHA solely as a result of the death of the borrower. (The Mortgagee Optional Election Assignment)
  • Allowing claim payment following sale of the property by heirs or estate
  • Foreclosing in accordance with the terms of the mortgage, and filing an insurance claim under the FHA insurance contract as endorsed

But by electing the Mortgagee Optional Election Assignment, lenders will be permitted assign an eligible HECM to HUD despite the death of the last surviving borrower and regardless of the loan


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Is a balloon mortgage ever worth it?

“Although not as popular as they were before the mortgage crisis, a balloon mortgage is still an option for homebuyers. These loans can be tempting, since they tend to come with lower interest rates and monthly payments than traditional mortgage loans. However, there are some potentially deal-breaking points you need to think about before considering a balloon mortgage for your next home purchase.”


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5 key points about the pending TRID upheaval

The expert minds at FBR Capital Markets got together and thinktanked the coming implementation of the TILA-RESPA integration; also known as TRID.

In an email to clients this morning, the team of financial services and real estate analysts drew 5 key points about what many in the mortgage lending industry expect to be a total upheaval of their operations.

But are mortgage lenders right to be so worried?

Well, yes, but FBR says it won


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Kentucky man to spend 12 years in prison for insane fraud scheme

A Kentucky man will spend the next 12 years in federal prison for leading a spectacularly massive scheme that involved defrauding the Internal Revenue Service of $53 million, bribing senior bank executives, the fraudulent purchase of an insurance company, and the defrauding of insurance regulators and an investment bank.

Wilbur Huff, 53, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $108 million in restitution for his role in a scheme that led to the first person being charged with stealing from the government


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Here are the hot job markets where rent is soaring

Moving to a city with a top job market is a great way to increase your financial standing, right?

Unfortunately, MadValorem has just released a study that proves the opposite could be true, at least if you are renting. And, they put out a graph (available below) to prove this point exactly.

After the housing crisis of 2008, many families had to sell their homes, according to the release that came with the graph. Not only did this increase the overall number of people renting but it also gave those same renters the freedom to move to places with better job markets, MadValorem claims.

Those families are able to move to better job markets, but it


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Sen. Warren responds to Jamie Dimon you-don’t-get-it swipe

One day after JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon took a swipe at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., saying that he doesn


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This 1 chart shows exactly where Americans are moving (and buying homes)

Interested in seeing where today’s Americans are packing up and relocating to? SpareFoot was, and that’s why they put together a statistical graphic of where the U.S. population is booming.

Here


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Homeowner, appraiser home value opinion gap widens

The difference between appraiser and homeowner perceptions continued to increase for the fourth consecutive month in May, Quicken Loans reports.

Appraiser opinions of home values were 1.15% lower than homeowner estimates, according to Quicken Loans


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Fewer homeowners underwater on mortgages in Central Ohio

Feverpitched

Some homeowners can’t sell their homes because they owe more than the homes are worth.

The negative equity rate in Columbus has fallen, according to a report released by Zillow, in another promising sign of improvement in the housing market.

The share of homeowners in the Columbus metro area who owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth fell to 15.7 percent in the first quarter, from 17.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 21 percent a year ago. Columbus represented the sixth-largest quarter-to-quarter improvement among the 35 most-populated metro areas.

Although that looks great on the surface, it


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Spread between mortgage rates, 10-year shows strong growth prospects

Mortgage rates hit a six-month high this week and the forecast is for 4.5% to be the new normal by the end of 2015, but what


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Ruma says Riviera project may mark last of big deals

Doug Buchanan

Developer Charlie Ruma at a Dublin Planning and Zoning Commission meeting about the


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Boomer building boom: Builders cater to next-gen retirees

Dan Trittschuh

National Church Residences CEO Mark Ricketts.

A fter 25 years of retirement busy with volunteering and painting in German Village, Norman and Donna Burns moved this January to a ranch-style


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Who wants to move to a retirement community?

Dan Trittschuh

Villa-style homes at First Community Village have one-time fees starting at $300,000 plus


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Zillow: Number of underwater borrowers falling, but many still in serious danger

The number of borrowers who owe more on their home than it


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Castle & Cooke Mortgage adds Jeff Norton as director of human resources

Castle & Cooke Mortgage, an independent mortgage lender, announced the addition of Jeff Norton as the company


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Mortgage modification scammers bilked homeowners out of millions

Three California residents are facing between 60 and 170 years in federal prison after they were convicted of running a nationwide mortgage modification scam that defrauded thousands of distressed homeowners out of millions of dollars.

Christopher Paul George, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga; Crystal Taiwana Buck, 40, of Long Beach; and Albert DiRoberto, 62, of Fullerton; were convicted for their roles in a scheme that offered phony mortgage modifications to thousands of financially distressed homeowners who lost more than $7 million when they paid for services, including loan modifications, that were never provided, according to a release from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

According to SIGTARP, George, Buck and DiRoberto were employees of a California-based telemarketing operation known under a series of names, including 21st Century Legal Services, Inc.

During an 18-month period that began in the middle of 2008, Andrea Ramirez, 47, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, operated 21st Century, which defrauded financially distressed homeowners by making false promises and guarantees regarding 21st Century


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WATCH: Bryce Dallas Howard cries over Home Depot

Star of Interstellar and Jurassic Park, Bryce Dallas Howard, has talent far beyond saving the entire world and engineering dinosaurs.

An article in Mashable, shares a video of the actress crying on command as Conan O


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HFSC hearing questions HUD

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro spoke on a wide breadth of issues during his hearing with the Committee on Financial Services, going from talking about homeless veterans one second to disparate impact the next.

The hearing, entitled,


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MBA nominates Colonial Savings

The Mortgage Bankers Association announced that it nominated J. David Motley, president of Colonial Savings, based in Fort Worth, Texas, and its divisions, Colonial National Mortgage, CU Members Mortgage, and Community Bankers Mortgage, to be its vice chair for the MBA


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Jamie Dimon doesn’t know if Sen. Warren understands banking

The relationship between Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. could be described in many words


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HUD wants to require ‘affordable housing’ in wealthy neighborhoods

MATT HOUSTON

Republicans contend the Department of Housing and Urban Development is trying to take


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Trending Thursday: Millennials, millennials, CFPB, millennials

Trending Thursday is a roundup of the stories shaping the week and what


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CoreLogic responsibly suspends employee involved in McKinney teen pool fracas

One of the women involved in the infamous McKinney teen pool incident is now confirmed to be an employee at mortgage data firm CoreLogic [CLGX].

But maybe not for long.

While her behavior during her private time is greatly in question, her employer tells me it is totally unacceptable. And they


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Down payments becoming more affordable for homebuyers

RealtyTrac said low down payment loans, with a loan-to-value ratio of 97 percent, accounted for 88 percent of home purchases from FHA loans in Franklin County.

Some are worried an increase in low down payments purchases could be risky, while others see it as a positive for the market as long as qualifying for mortgages remains stringent.


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?Developer gets Dublin’s OK for Riviera golf course transformation

Doug Buchanan

The Riviera golf course on Avery Road in Dublin is in line to be redeveloped into housing.

Developer Charlie Ruma has received Dublin City Council approval for redevelopment of the shuttered Riviera Golf Club more than 30 months after putting the property into a purchase contract.

Council passed three agenda items Monday related to the plan for 185 lots for luxury houses on the former golf course property. The approval follows a $7 million-plus contract that Ruma


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Traffic fears spur petition drive against Powell condo project

G2 Planning & Design

An example of a Harper’s Pointe condo coming to Powell.

A leader of a citizens


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PHOTO TOUR: A Muirfield masterpiece is the most-expensive home for sale in Central Ohio

The Muirfield Village home has a salt water pool and outdoor kitchen.

The most-expensive home on the market in Central Ohio these days sits on the sixth hole of Muirfield Village Golf Club, has power-controlled chandeliers that lower for cleaning and remote controlled draperies, and is heated by seven furnaces and cooled with seven air conditioners.

The home at 8401 Dunsinane Drive in Dublin is listed for sale for $4.975 million by Patricia Himes of Pizzuti Cos.

The Delaware County home was custom built by the Bob Webb Group of Lewis Center, designed by Stock & Stone Architects of Columbus, with interior design by Richard Geary of Miami.


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Dear housing industry, “Millennials want homes”

After an hour discussing the ins and outs of Millennials with housing


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MUST-WATCH TRAILER: Hollywood realistically tackles foreclosure crisis with ’99 Homes’

OK, so this is the official/unofficial launch for the official/unofficial Jacob Gaffney campaign to make 99 Homes the biggest blockbuster movie this year.

From Slate:

Set in Florida in the aftermath of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, the suspenseful drama stars Michael Shannon as real-estate shark Rick Carver and Andrew Garfield as the man that Carver kicks out of his home and then tries to make his apprentice.

Yes. This is a real movie that is definitely happening.

It opens Sept. 25 and, apparently, it was a big hit on the festival circuit.

So how closely does Hollywood mimic life?

Does the trailer below sensationalize the eviction process? Pretty much.

Does the trailer below fairly portray the eviction process during foreclosures? Well, pretty much.

Most people I speak to are more sensitive to the former homeowners, much more sensitive, but let’s face it: there are plenty of rogue elements out there.

But as Shannon states in the movie, rather matter-of-factly:


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TRID: Vital updates to your mortgage policies and procedures

One of the last requirements of the Dodd Frank Act still in front of the industry is the TILA RESPA Integrated disclosures (TRID).

I think all stakeholders will agree that the home loan process, which includes disclosures, has become increasingly complicated. Much of the complication has risen out of the unknown, the what-ifs and past and current behavior of the regulators and investors.

In a vacuum, disclosing could be relatively easy. By in a vacuum, I mean that only creditor fees and no other 3rd party fees or government taxes and assessments were required to be disclosed by the creditor.

I am still a little unsure how we got saddled with those requirements, when in fact, those assessments are part of a cash transaction as well.

Where is the culpability of the real estate agent? Oh well, I won


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The next president needs to speak up about housing right now

As the 2016 presidential campaign shifts into high gear, the candidates of both political parties must start speaking to the severe and growing problems in housing.

For far too long, these problems have been largely ignored by the mainstream media and neglected by Washington.

A housing focus has also been noticeably absent from our nation


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Housing in places like New York, San Francisco fail more than just the locals

Significant restrictions on housing polices in three American cities significantly curtailed the economic growth of this country in the last half-century.

That


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2 reasons the housing market is underacheiving

This graduation season, many an overachiever is excitedly entering the labor market with big expectations.

First a job, then a rental household, most likely with a friend or two, and eventually, a homeowner?

So, is the housing market also an overachiever this spring?

Not really, and here’s why at the moment the housing market is barely graduating.

In fact, one could argue it


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3 ways homebuyers can win bidding wars

A recent HousingWire article generated a lot of buzz on how homebuyers could winning bidding wars.

The biggest takeaway from the comments: everyone and everywhere is different.

Furthermore, some of the critics of the piece argued the tactics included in the article to win property bidding wars did not go far enough. Others, looking to add constructive comments wrote in letters to the editor.

One in particular, caught our attention with 3 ways to win a bidding war.

While there is not a perfect formula for how to win a bidding war, which is more likely than not to happen in today


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Here’s why quantitative easing means only the rich get richer

Arguably, the only groups in America that have truly benefitted from the weak, mismanaged, and ill-advised Fed policy known as


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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Is housing normal yet? Virginia to use eminent domain

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee is a quick look at the news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

The arrests of two of the three most powerful men in state government on corruption charges, former Speaker Sheldon Silver of the Assembly and Dean Skelos, the State Senate leader, may be New York


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Annaly CEO: Blame Fed policy for failed economic recovery

Wellington Denahan, CEO of mortgage REIT Annaly Capital [NLY] came out swinging in the investor conference call after reporting earnings yesterday.

Citing a recent report from the IMF, the outspoken exective railed against quantitative easing and the zero interest rate policy as working only to the detriment of average Americans.

In other words, if the folks at the Federal Reserve (she specifically names chair Janet Yellen and predecessor Ben Bernanke) are trying to improve the economic conditions of the average American


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Housing advice on Reddit is totally blowing up

Hey mortgage professionals, want to flex your mortgage knowledge in front of a massive audience for free?

Well, the Housing Flair on the personal finance subreddit is now starting to totally blow up. Blowing up from a mortgage industry engagement perspective, anyway.

It


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Freddie Mac CEO: Ready for legislative solution

Freddie Mac this morning reported its fourteenth quarter of positive earnings and the chief executive officer continues to believe the government-sponsored enterprise will move from strength to strength.

A new development, however, is that Donald Layton, who prefers to be called Don, said that Freddie Mac is prepared for any housing reform package that passes legislation.

While much is made of Corker-Warner,Johnson-Crapo and other attempts to finally return the GSEs to the private market, less attention is given to the disruption such lawmaking may have on the internal, day-to-day operations at the housing bohemoths.

In a conversation today, focused on the business operations at Freddie Mac, Layton said that Freddie Mac aligned operations so that


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5 things mortgage lenders need to do before TILA RESPA goes into effect

If you are in the mortgage lending industry, you


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4 things you need to know about new federal AMC regulations

Earlier this week six federal financial regulatory agencies issued a final rule that implemented the minimum requirements for state registrations and supervision of appraisal management companies. The rules outline certain minimum requirements each state must meet which include a variety of registry requirements and oversight controls.

The agencies indicated a state may elect to register and supervise AMC


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Dealing with one housing bubble at a time

For those who are skeptical about my belief that there is more bad news headed our way with respect to housing in America, or who criticize me for seeming to be so pessimistic along the same lines, I simply say, I don


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Do millions of Americans face impending housing peril?

For those who thought the “improving” economy and a favorable interest-rate environment would provide a much-needed boost for homeownership, yesterday


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Is this any way to run a mortgage market?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are especially vulnerable to losses from financial market volatility today because their existing capital cushions are extremely low. These Government Sponsored Enterprises or GSEs were the focus of the largest housing Federal bailout in history. Ironically, their lack of capital is a direct result of the Federal bailout deal and leaves them


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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: FHFA g-fee, PMI shift too much or too little?

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

The Federal Housing Finance Agencyannounced on Friday that it is leaving g-fees largely alone but it is revising requirements for private mortgage insurance companies that insure mortgage loans either owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Urban Institute Senior Fellow Jim Parrott took a look at the new fees and has written a short piece assessing these changes.

He concludes that with these moves and the contemporaneously announced changes to the eligibility requirements for mortgage insurers, the FHFA has managed to both better price their risk and pave the way for a more stable mortgage insurance industry, all without significantly impacting either the GSEs


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Hey Yahoo, 2005 called, and it wants its mortgages back

Yesterday, we tickered coverage from Yahoo (YHOO) about a homeless man who suddenly found himself in possession of just enough money to put a down payment on a home.

Here


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China Central Bank to Step Up Monitoring of Loan Default Risks

China’s central bank China’s central bank said Tuesday that it would strengthen its monitoring of default risk from loans to the property sector, local local-government financing companies and industries struggling with overcapacity.

In its first-quarter monetary report, the People’s Bank of China said Tuesday that it would aim to prevent these risks from spreading more widely through the financial sector.

Several smaller…


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Blackstone Seeks to Sell La Quinta

Blackstone Group LP, one of the biggest real-estate owners in the U.S., is preparing to sell billions of dollars of property, the latest sign that commercial property values are back to levels not seen since the economic downturn.

The private-equity firm has hired J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley to explore both a private sale and…


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Park Slope Mansion: Never a House Divided

After occupying a mansion at 105 Eighth Ave. in Park Slope, Brooklyn, since 1970, a school has closed and the building is up for sale for $25 million. Here, the dining room. ENLARGE
After occupying a mansion at 105 Eighth Ave. in Park Slope, Brooklyn, since 1970, a school has closed and the building is up for sale for $25 million. Here, the dining room. Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal
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Park Slope is primed to get a new mansion.

A Montessori school that made its home in a 50-foot-wide stone palace since 1970 has closed, making way for what could be the most expensive private mansion ever sold, not only in Park Slope but in all of Brooklyn.

The ambitious asking price is $25 million, double the price of Brooklyn’s most expensive home sale to date. That would buy a sprawling 10,000-square-foot house with fluted, neoclassical columns, huge bronze gates, lavish mahogany- and oak-paneled public rooms, stained glass, tall marble fireplaces and intricate, century-old plaster work and sconces.

In addition to cash, the property will require patience for many months or years of needed restoration work, not to mention the removal of scores of child-size desks and chairs, posters and artwork and even an above-ground swimming pool.

Jackie Bischof on Lunch Break shows us four unique properties in the New York metropolitan area, including a brownstone in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, two townhouses in Harlem and a townhouse in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. Photo: Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal.

Photos: A Historic Mansion, And Price, in Park Slope

Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal

Park Slope, on the western slope of Prospect Park, still celebrates its reputation as an unconventional, countercultural locale, even as real-estate values have soared over the past few years. Where else could a debate rage for years over a food co-op’s boycott of Israeli seltzer-water makers and paprika and olive pesto?

“We don’t need another mansion in this neighborhood,” said Helene Ince, who has lived in Park Slope since 1976, and has found that the adult children of many of her neighbors can’t afford to buy homes there. “Park Slope has gotten very wealthy. It is losing its flavor.”

But 100 years ago, mansions to rival those on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan were built in Brooklyn for industrialists and entrepreneurs along Prospect Park West and Eighth avenues, according to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Some were torn down in the 1920s, as city townhouses lost favor with wealthy families, who began moving en masse to the suburbs. Other mansions were subdivided and are now co-ops, condos or rental buildings.

ENLARGE

But the stone mansion now on the market at 105 Eighth Ave. has never been subdivided. It has had only three owners since the house was built in 1912, by Frank J. Helmle, the architect who also designed the Beaux Arts boathouse in Prospect Park and many bank buildings.

It was built for the founders of M. & J. Tracy, a company that operated tugboats, barges and other vessels in New York harbor, and continued to be occupied by members of the family through at least 1940.

Ownership was then transferred to the Knights of Columbus. In 1969, when a wave of gentrification in Park Slope was just beginning, Anil K. Sinha and his wife, Hannah, paid $95,000 for the building. They opened a Montessori School there the following year.

The brokers listing the house, Marc Wisotsky and Jackie Lew of Halstead Property, say the asking price


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In Marine Park, Lending a Hand Is Routine

Owner Greg Borruso behind the counter at Marine Park Hardware on Avenue S. ENLARGE
Owner Greg Borruso behind the counter at Marine Park Hardware on Avenue S. Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal
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Even after a huge swath of its neighborhood lost power because of Sandy, Marine Park Hardware on Avenue S in South Brooklyn was open for business. Shoppers stayed outside the store to avoid hurting themselves in the darkened aisles, but they could request items they wanted at the front door. Some lingered to chat with neighbors.

“I’ve lived here my whole life


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Remsen Street Townhouse Uses New Stoop to Conquer

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For homeowners Stephen Olsen and Cristina Delgado, the history of 42 Remsen St. in Brooklyn Heights has been like a picture puzzle that they have tried to piece together over time.

They first purchased the garden unit of the co-op building in 1984 and have since made three more purchases in the building and one sale, according to the couple and public records. They reside in a duplex in the building and have agreed, along with two other owners, to sell the building. It is listed for $10 million with Yolanda Johnson Vogelzang and Jeannette Floto of Corcoran Group.

 The living and dining areas with French doors at rear 42 Remsen St. in Brooklyn Heights. ENLARGE
The living and dining areas with French doors at rear 42 Remsen St. in Brooklyn Heights. Daniella Zalcman for The Wall Street Journal

In researching the home’s history, the couple discovered that the stoop of the brick townhouse had been removed in the 1920s when the then-owners connected 42 Remsen with the building next door, the family home of one of those owners. The result was a mansion estimated to be 20,000 square feet. In the 1950s, 42 Remsen was converted into a rental and then a co-op in the 1980s separate from the building next door.

Mr. Olsen and Ms. Delgado learned about the stoop removal and other details about the home after meeting with the daughter of the couple who joined the two buildings. Mr. Olsen’s research was supported by the Brooklyn Heights Association, which included the home in a 2009 historical tour.

“I like history and architecture,” says Mr. Olsen. “You just piece it together over time.”

The couple replaced the stoop in 2005. “It pulled the whole building together in a way you lose without the stoop,” says Mr. Olsen.

Family Histories Meet in Brooklyn Heights Home

The townhouse at 42 Remsen St. in Brooklyn Heights. Daniella Zalcman for The Wall Street Journal

They also have restored other original details in the home, such as the wood paneling around the fireplaces and the wooden beams in the ceiling. Their restoration of the stoop won them an award from the Brooklyn Heights Association, and also allowed them to put an internal staircase into their duplex and create a private entrance.

After two fires broke out in one of the tenant’s apartment six years ago, the couple took the lead on an 18-month renovation of the building that they estimate cost about $1 million.

Part of the renovation involved removing some walls and adding windows to open up space and increase the amount of sunlight in their duplex.

Mr. Olsen, 55 years old, is in real-estate finance and Ms. Delgado, 53, is a contemporary art adviser. Together with their son, they have each made their mark on the home


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Cape Cod Estate of Former Toy Executive Hits the Auction Block

A Dallas estate asks $24.9 million; A large Texas ranch formerly asking $44 million heads to auction; A Las Vegas home drops its price by 30% to $9.9 million, and a Cape Cod estate listed at $12.5 million hits the auction block. Candace Jackson has more on the News Hub.

An 8-acre Cape Cod estate owned by Jim E. Feldt, the former executive vice president of Toys “R” Us, will come up for auction next month. The home was previously listed for $12.5 million.

Located in Cotuit, Mass., the 8,000-square-foot, shingle-style waterfront home has four bedrooms and seven bathrooms, and was completed in 2008. The property includes an 80-foot-long pergola that connects to an adjacent carriage house with a guest suite. Inside the main house there are hand-painted, 100-year-old tiles, 200-year-old columns and reclaimed white-oak floors. The home has 18 antique chandeliers, a wine cellar and several fireplaces. There are two separate master suites, including one on the first floor and one upstairs with vaulted barrel ceilings.

Photos: Private Properties

A Cape Cod estate previously listed for $12.5 million hits the auction block. Jeff Thiebauth

Outside, an infinity pool overlooks the bay. The Feldts spent $1 million on landscaping and currently have two full-time groundskeepers on property, says Mark Troen, the chief operating officer of Sheldon Good & Co., who is handling the sale. They’ve decided to sell the property because they’re planning to relocate.

The sale is a sealed-bid auction with a bid-submission deadline of Nov. 28.


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Silicon Valley Versailles

By

Open House

320 Harcross Rd.

Woodside, Calif.

STATS: A 14,651-square-foot home, according to the owner, with seven bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms on almost 5 acres, coming up for auction without reserve Oct. 27 through Concierge Auctions. The house was previously listed for $21 million and later for $13 million. Property taxes in 2011 were $162,229.44.

Photos: Silicon Valley Versailles

A 1920s French-style home, previously listed for $21 million, is selling at auction without a reserve price. Concierge Auctions

DETAILS: Built in the 1920s in the style of a French ch


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Italian Villa-Style Home in Los Angeles Lists For $30 Million

Italian villa-style home in Los Angeles lists for $30 million. 2) A Nevada ranch goes on the market for $29.6 million. 3) A Sydney, Australia, waterfront estate asks $57.5 million. John Edwards has details on The News Hub.(Photo: Don Lewis)

The estate of W. Howard Lester, the late chairman and chief executive of Williams-Sonoma, has put his Italian villa-style home in Los Angeles’s Holmby Hills neighborhood on the market for $30 million, according to Mauricio Umansky, the listing agent and the founder and CEO of real-estate firm the Agency.

Photos: Private Properties

The estate of W. Howard Lester, the late chairman and chief executive of Williams-Sonoma, has put his Italian villa-style home in Los Angeles’s Holmby Hills neighborhood on the market for $30 million Don Lewis

The roughly 20,000-square-foot home has seven bedrooms and 13 bathrooms along with a home theater, a library, a wine cellar and a billiards room. The home theater has a barrel-vaulted, gold-leafed ceiling. There’s also a guesthouse on the 1.4-acre property, accessible via an arched brick bridge. There’s also a waterfall, fountains, a pool and a rose garden. The home is a few doors down from the Manor, the mansion racing heiress Petra Ecclestone bought last year for $85 million.

Mr. Lester, who bought Williams-Sonoma in 1978, died in 2010. He and his wife, Mary, bought the property in 2004 for $17.5 million through the Lester Family Trust. After the purchase, they embarked on a major renovation of the home, adding the movie-theater room, the wine cellar and the billiards room downstairs.

A Nevada Ranch Goes on the Market for $29.6 Million

A 740,000-acre ranch in Ely, Nev., has gone on the market for $29.6 million. The ranch, about three hours north of Las Vegas, is owned by oil industrialist Gary Sprouse, who sold the oil company he owned with several partners for $135 million in 1978.

Called Blue Diamond Ranch, the property has one main residence


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‘Real Housewives’ Cast Members List Home for $26 Million

On this week’s Private Properties, “Real Housewives’ cast members list home for $26 million; a home in East Hampton goes on the market for $25 million; and San Francisco philanthropists sell their Presidio Heights home. Lauren Schuker has details on The News Hub.

Adrienne Maloof, a cast member of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and her husband, plastic surgeon Paul Nassif, are putting their Beverly Hills, Calif., home on the market for $26 million, according to people familiar with the situation. They listed the property because they are divorcing and want to sell their family home, according to these people.

Photos: Private Properties

Adrienne Maloof, a cast member of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,’ and her husband, are putting their Beverly Hills home on the market for $26 million. Estella Sneider

Located in Beverly Park, the French ch


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A Private Sydney Harbor

By

Open House

3 Lindsay Ave.

Sydney, Australia

STATS: This 11,302-square-foot, five-bedroom, 3


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Historic Estate, Huge Price Tag

By

Open House

331 Greer Rd.

Woodside, Calif.

STATS: A home of about 9,000 square feet, with nine bedrooms and 8


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Longtime Parisian Home of Renoir Asks $9.9 Million

Renoir’s former home in Paris is listed for $9.9 million. Two owners of an Alphabet City townhouse decided to sell together, listing the full home for $12.4 million. Apple executive Jonathan Ive has bought a house on San Francisco’s Gold Coast for $17 million. Lauren Schuker has details on The News Hub. Photo: Jacob Elliott.

The longtime Parisian home of Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir has gone on the market asking


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A Frank Lloyd Wright House

By

Open House

259 Redwood Rd.

San Anselmo, Calif.

STATS: A 1,760-square-foot home with two bedrooms and two bathrooms on a lot that is just under 1 acre is asking $2.5 million. Property taxes in 2011 were $2,749, based on the original owners’ assessed value, but would go up to 1% of the assessed value of the home when it is sold, usually equal to the purchase price.

Photos: A Frank Lloyd Wright House

The owner built the house himself. Jean Von Trende

DETAILS: Known as the Berger home, this house was built in the 1950s from a design by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Robert Berger paid $15,000 for the design and then built the house himself, living in a rental down the street with his family while he built it in his spare time. One of his sons wrote to Mr. Wright and asked him to design a doghouse, which the architect did at no cost. Mr. Wright also designed furniture for the house. It is a classic Wright Usonian house, meant for middle-class families, with large stone walls, radiant heat and concrete floors, natural wood throughout and a large central fireplace. The house remained with the original owners, Robert and Gloria, who are deceased, and is now owned in a trust by their four children.

SELLERS: The house is being sold by the trust that Gloria Berger left her children when she died in 2011.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD: San Anselmo is a small town about 20 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County. With a population of just over 12,000, it has a quaint downtown with shops and restaurants and well-regarded schools.

WHAT WE PAID: According to tax records, the property is assessed at $138,551. Eric Berger, trustee of the estate, said it is difficult to say exactly what his father paid because it was built over so many years.

WHY WE’RE SELLING: The four siblings are all established in their own homes and no one wanted to live in the house.

WHAT WE’LL MISS: Eric Berger said he’ll miss the ability to see his father’s workmanship in the rock walls, ceilings and other details.

WHAT WE WON’T: The house consumed so much of his father’s time. “Every vacation he worked on the house,” Mr. Berger said. “The house was always what he was doing.”

COMP: A similar-size home down the hill sold in June for $790,000. A larger Wright-designed home is also for sale across the bay in Orinda, Calif., for $3.9 million.

OTHERS SAY: Realtor Michael Baranowksi, with Bradley Real Estate, said the home’s details, including rooflines, window trim and use of natural materials, make it stand out. “It is absolutely a one-of-a-kind property,” he says. It may be difficult, however, to make updates without changing something Mr. Wright designed. Doug Del Fava of Frank Howard Allen has the listing.


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