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Feds Rein in Shell Games With Ritzy Real Estate

Feds to start IDing, tracking secret buyers of high-end homes

(Newser) - Those planning on scooping up a high-end property on the sly—i.e., paying cash via a shell company—may soon have to come up with a new game plan. The Treasury Department announced Wednesday it will start making title insurance companies ID secret buyers of property going for more... More »

'Hitler's Resort' Now Hot Property

Massive Prora complex turned into hotels, condos

(Newser) - Almost 80 years after Adolf Hitler picked a design for a massive seaside resort for weary German workers to recharge their batteries, the Prora complex is finally popular. The mammoth Nazi-era complex on a Baltic Sea island is being redeveloped into apartments and hotels—and with the German property market... More »

Elderly LA Woman Vanishes, Found Years Later in Maine

Sarah Cheiker apparently gave her money to 3 companions

(Newser) - An elderly woman is still fuming after three people allegedly took her money and left her to live in squalor in rural Maine, a source tells the LA Times . The paper today revisits a story that has its start around 2008, when three people randomly knocked on the Los Angeles... More »

Detroit Homeowner: I'll Trade House for a Smartphone

But real estate agent says it's 'not worth much'

(Newser) - Want to buy a fixer-upper in Detroit? Probably not, but if you change your mind there's a three-bedroom available in east Detroit for an iPhone 6, ABC News reports. Real estate broker Larry Else admits there are problems, like no front door, broken windows, and $6,000 in back... More »

Afghans to Fleeing US Forces: Where's the Rent?

Property disputes simmer over abandoned bases

(Newser) - Afghans are crying foul over US forces that have fled their bases without paying rent or settling land disputes that could undermine the Afghan government, the Guardian reports. In one village in eastern Kunar province, people awoke one morning to find buildings of a US base blown up, with air... More »

Foreigners Gobbling Up American Homes

Nonnatives take 8.9% of home real estate sales

(Newser) - The Canadians are coming ... for our real estate. A weakened dollar coupled with a buyer's market is prompting foreigners to snatch up expensive homes here in the US. Of the $928 billion spent on US real estate in the year ending in March, $82.5 billion came from foreigners.... More »

New Neighborly Trend: Shared Backyards

More homeowners are merging outdoor space

(Newser) - Good fences typically make good neighbors, says the old platitude, but a number of homeowners are scrapping their dividing fences in order to build shared backyards and gardens with the folks next door, reports the Wall Street Journal . The communal spaces offer more room to entertain guests and plant an... More »

Family Tells UN: We Own Machu Picchu

Asks UN agency to consider their case

(Newser) - Talk about a property dispute: A Peruvian family says it owns the land of the Machu Picchu ruins, and is taking the case to the United Nations. Seventy-year-old Edgar Echegaray Abril still has the sale deed showing that his family bought the land with gold in 1910. Yes, they sold... More »

For Sale: Entire Italian Village

Abandoned village dates to 1059, needs some love

(Newser) - For just $780,000, you could become signore of your own Italian village—albeit one without any villagers. An abandoned medieval village in the heart of one of Italy's biggest national parks has been put up for sale by the local council and an elderly man who owns some... More »

11% of US Homes Vacant

Prices set to fall even further

(Newser) - The latest census figures on the housing market make for grim reading for homeowners. Some 18.4 million homes are vacant—11% of the nation's housing supply—and home ownership rates are dropping rapidly, CNBC reports. Prices are down year-over-year in all 28 major metropolitan areas tracked by the Wall ... More »

Chinese Farmer Fights Developers with Homemade Cannon

Fireworks keeping eviction gangs at bay

(Newser) - Land grabs by property developers in league with local governments are common in China. Yang Youye's solution isn't. The 56-year-old farmer has been using a homemade cannon fashioned from pipes, a wheelbarrow, and fireworks to fend off teams of thugs sent by developers, the Telegraph reports. "I only shot... More »

Millions Considering Walking Away From Mortgages

10% of mortgages expected to be underwater by June

(Newser) - The long slide in property values has left huge numbers of homeowners considering just walking away from their mortgages. People start thinking about jumping ship when their home value falls below 75% of what they paid for it, according to new research. Over 5 million Americans are expected to be... More »

World's Priciest Apartment Sells for $56M

Hong Kong duplex goes to mainland Chinese buyer

(Newser) - A mainland Chinese buyer has purchased the most expensive apartment in the world, a duplex at the top of a Hong Kong highrise selling for $56.6 million. Hong Kong exited recession in the second quarter and its property market has rebounded strongly, although with prices up 30% this year... More »

Faux Owners Dress Up Luxury Homes for Sale

Rewards await those who can make an empty house look like a million dollars lives there

(Newser) - The slump at the top of the property market has been a bonus for people who can make a mansion look like a happy home but can't afford one of their own, reports the Wall Street Journal. Realtors stuck with empty luxury homes have been seeking the services of resident... More »

Foreclosures Soar 81%

States where property prices spiked during boom now seeing highest foreclosure rates

(Newser) - Foreclosures rocketed 81% in the US during 2008, affecting one of every 54 households in the nation, reports Reuters. A total of 3.2 million foreclosures were filed, according to research firm Realtytrac. The hardest-hit states were Nevada, Florida, Arizona, and California, the same states where property prices surged the... More »

No Charges for Texas Man Who Shot Neighbor's Burglars

Laws covering deadly force under scrutiny

(Newser) - A Texas grand jury’s decision to take no action against Joe Horn, who killed two burglars on his front lawn, has focused attention on the state’s “deadly force” laws, the Houston Chronicle reports. Horn’s life was not in danger until he confronted the thieves fleeing his... More »

Rise in Renters Wiping Out Gains in Homeownership

Effects of subprime crisis evident as percentage of owners drops

(Newser) - Americans are shifting from being homeowners to renters in rising numbers, the New York Times reports, all but wiping out gains made during the boom. The percentage of homes headed by homeowners dropped from 69.1% to 67.8% this year, which sounds modest, but is, in fact, the biggest... More »

'Evangelist' Renter: Time to Buy

NYT analyst says buying begins to make sense again

(Newser) - As property prices head back down, a self-proclaimed "evangelist" of renting is trading in the lease for a mortgage. David Leonhardt of the New York Times has been advising people for years not to buy a home and get their money tied up in a housing bubble, but he... More »

Condo Glut Floods Cities

Bargains abound as boom-time projects completed

(Newser) - A deluge of new condos is about to hit many American cities already flooded with an unprecedented number of unsold units, the Wall Street Journal reports. This year, thousands of projects started at the height of the housing boom will be completed; oversupply and economic slowdown are likely to cause... More »

Calif. Foreclosures Set Record

Second-quarter figures reveal housing slump worse than '96 skid

(Newser) - Reflecting the increasingly gloomy picture across the country, residential foreclosures in California were up 799% in the second quarter compared to the same time last year, the LA Times reports. Stricter lending practices and the reeling housing market contributed to the record high 17,408 foreclosures in the three-month period,... More »

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