“If You Don’t Have Tchotchkes, I Don’t Trust You”: Celebrity Real Estate Wisdom

What would Real Estate month be if we didn’t get to drool over, or eye suspiciously, some really fancy living spaces? Refinery 29 has a slideshow interview of Stacy London, the delightfully mouthy former host of TLC’s long-running show “What Not To Wear,” in the home she’s owned for 10 years. She is not an entirely streamlined person. When asked about the toy dinosaurs and other humorous touches here and there, she says, “If you don’t have tchotchkes, I don’t trust you.”

London is also honest about how weird it can be to inhabit a space, even once you have purchased it and it’s, seemingly, yours.

It was my first apartment buy, and I had no idea what I was doing. It’s taken 10 years of moving through this space to understand what I wanted it to feel like. That’s why I have such huge respect for architects and interior designers. The way you understand space is key. I haven’t completely figured it out, but I’m getting there. 

She decorated the apartment in part off of Etsy which <3 <3 <3 

Ready to Buy? Get Ready to Move

Prices in areas favored by Millennials are only 6.1% higher than in 2013. Great, right? Except Millennials still can't afford to buy.

Soon We Will All Enter Through The Poor Door

Separate but equal, right? What could possibly go wrong? According to the Daily Mail, NYC has given a thumbs up to the Poor Door:

Extell’s proposal allows them to force affordable housing tenants to walk through an entrance located in a back alley behind the building to enter, leaving the more prominent front entrance for tenants paying for nicer apartments. … some developers dismiss the outcry over the ‘poor door’ concept.

‘No one ever said that the goal was full integration of these populations,’ David Von Spreckelsen, senior vice president at Toll Brothers, another developer specializing in luxury residencies, told The Real Deal in 2013. ‘So now you have politicians talking about that, saying how horrible those back doors are. I think it’s unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters, who are very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighborhood.’

The great David Von Spreckelsen has spoken. Gross trash-people living in affordable housing should be grateful they get a door at all and don’t have to shimmy in through air vents or come in on their knees, flagellating themselves for not working harder in elementary school to prepare themselves for the marketplace. Count your blessings, human rats! If you can count, which we doubt.

Related: Have you watched Snowpiercer yet? Anne Helen Petersen says: “Snowpiercer is the first film I’ve seen since District 9 that takes the tropes of the blockbuster and transforms them into something so compelling that days after seeing it, you stop can’t thinking about it. It turns moviegoers into proselytizers: Once you’ve seen it, you can’t shut the fuck up.”

The Post-Modern One-Percenter Version of the Brady Bunch

The story is that the ex wants to move out but doesn't have the financial wherewithal to do so. So, until Levy can sell the mansion-like apartment where the entire brood currently lives, she and Lipman are stuck sharing a kitchen and squabbling over inanities.

“Behind Every Jane Jacobs Comes Giuliani with his Nightstick.”

Mueller's painting with too broad a brush. Not so much a broad brush, even: a flamethrower.

Who Lives In All Those Fancy Condos? Human Props & Nobody

One of the fun things about living in New York City is peering into the faces of the people you pass and asking yourself, “Are you a millionaire? Are you, sir, with the mustache and tattoos and mustache tattoos? Are you, angry biking lady?” It’s sort of like the grown-up version of Are You My Mother? but whereas the little bird in that famous children’s book has only one mother, NYC overflows with rich people. They’re everywhere, hiding among us. They have to be. After all, who else could afford to buy those massive luxury condos growing up everywhere like weeds?

Well, turns out that the secret ingredient is salt foreign capital.

According to data compiled by the firm PropertyShark, since 2008, roughly 30 percent of condo sales in large-scale Manhattan developments have been to purchasers who either listed an overseas address or bought through an entity like a limited-liability corporation, a tactic rarely employed by local homebuyers but favored by foreign investors. Similarly, the firm Corcoran Sunshine, which markets luxury buildings, estimates that 35 percent of its sales since 2013 have been to international buyers, half from Asia, with the remainder roughly evenly split among Latin America, Europe, and the rest of the world. “The global elite,” says developer Michael Stern, “is basically looking for a safe-deposit box.” … But much of the foreign money is coming in at lower price points, closer to the median for a Manhattan condo ($1.3 million and rising). In fact, if you’ve recently been outdone by an outrageous all-cash bid for an apartment, there’s a decent chance that, behind a generic corporate name, there’s a foreign buyer and an offshore bank account.

Don’t sweat it, normal Americans! We still have options. We can be HUMAN PROPS

Gentrification Turns 50! Aristocratization Turns 6

The city that once turned on its aristocrats and fed them to guillotines has decided, again, to take a stand against rapacious, unchecked capitalism.

Why SF is So Crazy Expensive & DC/NY Are Better

As we’ve established and you already knew deep in your bones, the same house will be more expensive in Greenwich, CT, than in Fargo, ND. What you may not have known, though, is that the difference in price is not merely reflective of the difference of costs, specifically land and material costs in CT vs ND. There’s an X factor too, or, as the experts call it, a “shadow price,” that makes San Francisco so absurdly unaffordable it might as well be Mars.

The price of a house or apartment, the authors argued, is more than just the value of the land plus the value of the building. There’s a third, shadow price, which represents how difficult it is to get something built given local regulations. In highly restrictive places like San Francisco, regulations impede the supply of new buildings, and so raise the price of housing.

So, like, for example, materials and land cost 2x the national average in SF, and yet a house costs 3.6x the national average. The difference can be attributed to regulations. You know, bureaucracy, red tape, all that nonsense. The Economist flatly states, “the [Bay Area] is one of the most difficult places to build in the country. Prices are therefore soaring and neighbourhoods are changing, touching off some occasionally nasty social conflicts.”

DC apartments, though nutsy, remain more reasonable than SF’s, in part because, after our nation’s capital went through crisis after crisis between 1969 and 2001, it decided to get back on its feet by investing in tons of new housing — for DINKs. If you build it, DC figured, they will come, “they” being single, sexy, spendy types, which represent more short-term gain for an urban area. And lo, the city was right

GOOD ENOUGH Homes & Destinations: What You Get for $125K

Though the rest of us patriotic, good-hearted Americans took off July 4th, the Gray Lady carried on. Personally I like to think of her as a society matron out of Edith Wharton: stately, imperious, immovable. Anyway, she presented us on Independence Day, in her weekly Great Homes & Destinations update, with “What You Get For $1.2 Million.” The round up included this Seattle mansion, of which she says, “The house has both a backyard and a private courtyard surrounded by lush landscaping. Large palm trees shading the courtyard were about six inches tall when planted by the house’s original owner.” Who was, no doubt, Thurston Howell III.

So then, as promised, here are my picks for the Billfold’s companion feature, GOOD ENOUGH Homes & Destinations: What You Can Get for $125,000.

A 2 BR, 2 BA condo in Las Vegas, NV, via Redfin. $112,450. 1000+ square feet, comes with ceiling fans, A/C, and access to the community pool because, duh, Vegas. Have you read The Goldfinch or We Are Called to Rise? You’ll spend 40% of the year up your chin in water in order to stay sane.