April 30th, 2024 - This Week in Real Estate

Brought to you by ZenniHome, where you can invest in the future of scalable housing


What’s new in the world of Real Estate
  • Price gains for U.S. homes beat expectations

  • The 20 hottest housing markets

  • CRE debt sales are way up

  • The $1.6 billion student housing deal

Plus: NYC rents keep rising, WeWork’s new owner, Florida’s insurance issues, and more.

Listing of the week: A private island in the Great Barrier Reef.


Freddie Mac 30 Year Fixed
7.17% (+.07% weekly)
Dow Jones Real Estate Index
317.24 (-1.1% weekly)
310.01 (-1.2% weekly)


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Market Updates

U.S. home prices continued setting record highs. After a slight decline in January, the FHFA House Price Index rose by 1.2% in February, well above expectations, and is up by 7.0% year-over-year. All nine census divisions saw positive appreciation, both monthly and yearly. Meanwhile, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index rose by 0.6% in February and 6.4% year-over-year. Of the top twenty metro areas, San Diego, Chicago and Detroit were the three biggest gainers, with Portland bringing up the rear. The rise in prices came despite persistently high mortgage rates, though the March numbers will be worth watching as rates increased even more during that period.

The hottest markets in the country saw “more substantial price growth” than other markets. This is according to Realtor.com which ranked the top 20 hottest markets purely based on how quickly listings sell and how much viewing activity properties see. Those twenty metro areas saw over twice as much price growth on average compared to the rest of the country. Manchester-Nashua, NH topped the list, followed by Rochester, NY and Springfield, MA. The list was entirely populated by affordable cities from the Northeast and Midwest, as previously hot markets in the West and South have fallen off dramatically.

Sales of commercial mortgage-backed securities are up 170% so far in 2024. After a stagnant 2023 market, investors have now bought $24.6 billion worth of newly issued CMBS this year. This includes a $2.35 billion issuance by Blackstone, which was backed by a portfolio of 186 industrial properties across 11 states. Even the struggling office sector has started to see more deals, and overall projections put 2024 issuances in line with the average for the last eight years. However, it does look like the Fed may not cut interest rates anytime soon, so borrowers in need of refinancing might elect to wait longer and cause the market to slow down. Overall, though, this news is bullish for commercial real estate, as investors are confident enough in the stability of the sector to start investing in its debt again.

Global investment firm KKR bought $1.64 billion of student housing from Blackstone’s BREIT. The deal includes 19 properties located across 14 different universities in 10 different states, and in total, the portfolio contains over 10,000 beds. BREIT has been struggling to fundraise, and has been searching for liquidity to meet investor redemption requests, but still remains the largest owner of student housing in the country. The sector has become one of the hottest in real estate in the past few years, as demand has risen far quickly than supply, vacancy rates remain low, and the tenants are not price-sensitive as their parents are usually paying their rent.

Listing of the Week

A property that caught our eye

(Ray White)

One of the very few private islands in Australia’s Whitsundays archipelago, the 7.7 acre Victor Island has a 3,767 square foot house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and a separate caretaker’s cottage. With a solar farm and rainwater storage, it is self-sufficient, which is good because it is a 20-minute boat ride from the mainland. Sadly, it is no longer on the market, as it just sold for $1.5 million at auction.


  • Big Apple, Big Rents: While Zumper’s national rent index for April saw rents for one-bedrooms fall by 0.6% and two-bedrooms rise by just 0.1%, rents in New York City rose by 1.9% and 6%, respectively, and are up 19.9% and 26% year-over-year.

  • Yardi buys WeWork: The property management software provider is becoming the majority owner of the beleaguered co-working company as part of a $450 million restructuring deal that notably does not feature founder Adam Neumann.

  • Florida’s insurance crisis: Seven home insurance companies went bankrupt in 2021 and 2022, and private insurers are fleeing the state, which has the highest rates in the country, making housing less affordable and acting as a drag on property values.

  • What sectors to invest in: Bloomberg interviewed four industry insiders to ask what they would target in 2024, and the answers ranged from apartments to land to student housing.

  • CoStar acquires Matterport: The commercial real estate giant paid a 212% premium to acquire the 3D imaging platform, which is already used by portfolio companies Apartments.com, Homes.com and Loopnet.

  • Affordability survey: 38% of U.S. homeowners don’t think they could afford their own home if they were buying it today, a testament to the rising costs of housing.

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