$25.5 Million Deal Breaks Brooklyn Record for Priciest Home Sale

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Vince Viola’s $25.5M mansion sale breaks Brooklyn record Billionaire sold 11.6K-sf home to an unknown buyer New York /

Vince Viola and 8 Montague Terrace (Getty; Google Maps)

UPDATED, Jan. 14, 2021, 6:10 p.m.: Brooklyn has cracked the $25 million club.

Billionaire Vincent Viola and his wife Theresa have sold their sprawling Brooklyn Heights mansion for $25.5 million, according to property records, smashing the borough’s record for the most expensive home ever sold. The deal works out to roughly $2,202 per square foot.

The couple bought the property at 8 Montague Terrace in 2007 for $8 million. They have since converted the 1875-era building from a multifamily rental into a palatial single-family home that spans 11,580 square feet over four floors, plus a 250-square-foot roof deck.

Read moreVincent Viola pays $10M for two condos at Auberge Fort Lauderdale$70M in luxury contracts signed in Brooklyn last weekVincent Viola’s Upper East Side townhouse gets $9M price cut

They sold the renovated home to a domestic Delaware-based limited partnership dubbed M8T, in a sale that closed Christmas Eve. The unknown buyer went into contract about a month earlier on Nov. 25.

The Violas’ transaction appears to be an off-market deal. Douglas Elliman s Linsday Barton Barrett represented the Violas in the sale. She did not comment but claimed the deal on StreetEasy.

Attorney Andrea Riina of Wachtell Lipton Rosen Katz represented M8T in the deal and declined to comment. Riina’s previous clients include Michael Dell, who she represented in his 2014 purchase of a $100.47 million penthouse at Extell Development’s One57 in Manhattan.

Prior to the sale of the Viola mansion, the $20.3 million sale of a condo at Quay Tower in Brooklyn Heights was the priciest in the borough. The deal at the property developed by RAL Development Services, Vanke US and Oliver’s Realty Group, closed in April last year. Before that, actor Matt Damon’s $16.7 million purchase of a penthouse at DDG and Westbrook Properties’ condo in the same neighborhood held the record.

Brooklyn townhouses have been driving the borough’s luxury market since the pandemic began in March. Last week, the average price per square foot for townhouses asking over $2 million in the borough was $880 — a far cry from M8T’s buy of the Violas’ manse.

Viola, who owns the Florida Panthers and is the founder and CEO of high-frequency trading firm Virtu Financial, has been on a bit of a buying and selling spree. He bought two condos at the Auberge Beach Residences Spa Fort Lauderdale last year for $10 million. (One of the Auberge units is listed on property records as the couple’s address.)

The couple is also looking to sell their Upper East Side mansion. The property at 12 East 69th Street has been on and off the market and dropped its asking price to $79 million from $88 million a year ago. It was originally listed for $114 million.

Viola, who was President Donald Trump’s first nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Army before he withdrew, has an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion, according to Forbes. He could not be immediately reached for comment.

His firm Virtu announced yesterday that it plans to set up an office in Palm Beach Gardens in Florida and shrink its New York office footprint by 75 percent.

Contact Erin Hudson

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Residential Real Estate

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Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner Paying $30M For Miami Property

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Ivanka and Jared buying $30M Miami waterfront lot from Julio Iglesias Couple’s post-Trump White House plans now include 1.8-acre property on exclusive island Miami /

Jared and Ivanka with the Indian Creek Island property (Photos via Getty; Lifestyle Production Group)

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have set their post-White House sights on Miami.

The couple is spending $30 million to purchase a waterfront lot on Indian Creek Island in a deal that’s set to close Dec. 17, according to the New York Post.

Famed singer Julio Iglesias sold the 1.8-acre property, which the Post reported is Lot 4. Iglesias listed the land earlier this year for $31.8 million. It has about 200 feet of water frontage.

On the exclusive guarded and gated island north of Miami Beach, their new neighbors include billionaire hedge funder Eddie Lampert, Hotels.com co-founder Bob Diener, Carl Icahn and Jeffrey Soffer.

Trump and Kushner reportedly eyed properties in the Miami and Palm Beach areas. They’ve been renting a house in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C., for $15,000 a month.

The couple is also expanding their “cottage” by the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, to include four new pickleball courts, a relocated heliport, and a spa and yoga complex, according to the New York Times.

People magazine reported that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be heading to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach after he leaves office. There, the staff is renovating the first family’s 2,000-square-foot residence. Melania is also reportedly looking to place their son Barron in school in Florida.

In addition to President Trump’s properties in South Florida, Kushner Companies has a number of projects planned in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

[NYP] – Katherine Kallergis

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Eleanor Roosevelt’s NYC Townhouse Back on Market for $16M

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Eleanor Roosevelt townhouse back on market at $16M Upper East Side home was listed at $20M in 2018 New York /

Eleanor Roosevelt and her former East 74th Street townhouse. (Compass, Getty)

The former home of Eleanor Roosevelt is back on the market with a new price and drastic makeover.

The owners, Meera Gandhi and her ex-husband Vikram Gandhi, have been trying to sell the famed first lady’s Upper East Side townhouse since 2018, when the 8,500-square-foot home was initially listed for $19.95 million with Douglas Elliman’s Lisa Simonsen.

After a year passed with no takers, the home, at 55 East 74th Street, was taken off the market until February 2020 when it resurfaced just weeks before the pandemic shut down the city. The Gandhis dropped the price by $3 million in July, then pulled the listing in December.

Now, they’re trying again after making significant updates to the home over the past three months and tapping Compass brokers Benjamin Glazer and Dimitrios Alevizos.

Read moreGrace Kelly’s former Upper East Side mansion returning to marketHistoric UES mansion listed for $52MThe final home of Eleanor Roosevelt is for sale

Glazer said his clients “wanted a total rebrand” of the marketing, so he and Alevizos advised them to make all the updates that a buyer would want to move in.

That included new flooring and lighting through the six-bedroom home, and a state-of-the-art kitchen, master bath and powder room.

“It’s been totally transformed,” said Glazer, adding that they have had seven showings since the townhouse was listed Friday for $16 million.

Roosevelt lived in the historic townhouse until her death in 1962, using the home to entertain world leaders including President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev.

The average listing discount for properties asking $4 million and above is 12 percent, though larger discounts, such as the Gandhis’ 20 percent break from the original price, are common.

A recent example is the former home of late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The Upper East Side townhouse just went into contract last week at around $50 million, more than 40 percent below the initial ask of $88 million.

Glazer said he felt the price is now right for a buyer ready to move to a freshly upgraded mansion in the city’s ritziest enclave.

“We figured we are casting a much wider net,” he said.

Contact Erin Hudson

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The Real Deal Wins 14 NAREE Awards in 2020

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The Real Deal wins 14 NAREE journalism awards Publication honored as best residential and commercial trade magazine National /

The Real Deal s December 2019 and September 2019 issues

The Real Deal snagged 14 awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors for its industry coverage in 2019, a record number of wins for the publication.

“With clever headlines like ‘Fredrik Goes to Hollywood’ (as in top New York residential seller Fredrik Eklund), The Real Deal signals its tone,” the judges wrote, referring to TRD’s gold for best residential trade magazine. “It delivers real-estate scoops and news without sounding stodgy.”

The publication’s December 2019 issue, which featured a cover story interview with HUD Sec. Ben Carson, won a gold for best commercial trade magazine.

TRD also won a silver award for best website. “It’s not surprising that nearly 3 million readers visit the site each month,” the judges wrote.

Adam Hochfelder at the Playboy Club’s opening party with singer Robin Thicke (Alamy Images)

Reporter Erin Hudson won a gold for best commercial trade magazine story for The Playboy Club was a chance at redemption for Adam Hochfelder — here s what went wrong.

Associate web editor Rich Bockmann won a gold for best resi, mortgage or financial real estate magazine story for “Real estate’s surveillance state,” which examined privacy fears as real estate incorporates tracking, facial recognition and other tech tools.

Senior reporter Kathryn Brenzel and former reporter David Jeans won a gold award for best investigative report for Elevated risk, their deep dive on elevator safety in New York City.

Brenzel and reporter Georgia Kromrei also won the gold for breaking news for Senate and Assembly reach deal on rent laws. It doesn’t look good for the industry.

And Brenzel s Daily Dirt, a subscriber-only daily e-newsletter, won a silver award.

Senior reporter E.B. Solomont received a gold award for best online residential, mortgage or financial story for A free PH for Steve Ross now asking $57M. She and South Florida associate web editor Katherine Kallergis received an honorable mention for residential trade magazine story for Cracking the bro code, a profile on the Alexander brothers, who have been behind some of the biggest residential deals in recent years.

Tal (left) and Oren Alexander (Illustration by Filip Peraic)

Solomont and data journalist Kevin Sun won a silver for Residential Trade Magazine Story for their analysis on New York City s Ghost towers.

Sun also received a bronze award for best economic analysis for “Here’s what the new rent law will do to the average stabilized apartment.”

Former reporter Natalie Hoberman’s “Drama at the Agency” received a gold award for best residential trade magazine story.

Freelancer Aimee Rawlins received an honorable mention for best interior design story for “The art in the deal,” which detailed art curators’ increasing role in staging homes.

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Ryan Serhant Rents Manhattan Penthouse for $15K

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Ryan Serhant rents Lower Manhattan penthouse for $15K Celebrity broker moving to Brooklyn with family National Weekend Edition /

Celebrity broker Ryan Serhant is listing his Hudson Square penthouse. (Serhant)

Ryan Serhant has been busy of late, launching and staffing his own brokerage and opening a Soho HQ for it. Now, he’s making another big move — this time, to Brooklyn.

In preparation for their move to the Boerum Hill townhouse they bought in 2018, Serhant and his wife, Emilia Bechrakis, have listed their Hudson Square penthouse as a $15,000-a-month rental, People reported. The 2,000-square-foot unit in the Renwick Modern condo development has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a home office and two terraces.

Serhant purchased the apartment in 2014 for just under $3.8 million. He’s also the agent for the property, which is listed through his eponymous brokerage.

Serhant told the publication that he and Bechrakis had gut-renovated the space and would “miss waking up here every day.”

But they probably won’t miss it too much: The couple are relocating to the Boerum Hill townhouse they picked up from author Jonathan Safran-Foer for $7.6 million and have since been renovating, a process Serhant documents on Instagram. Recently, he posted a photo with Bechrakis, noting that they’d be moving in “very soon.”

[People] — Amy Plitt

Contact Amy Plitt

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New Housing Construction Left U.S. Short 5.5 Million Units

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New housing construction leaves US 5.5 million units short Lobbying group finds construction levels far below historical averages National /

(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

In the past 20 years, new housing construction lagged 5.5 million units behind historical levels, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors.

The trade group is now lobbying for a “once-in-a-generation” policy response from the Biden administration and Congress to make up the gap, the Wall Street Journal reported.

On average, 1.225 million housing units were built each year from 2001 to 2020, according to the NAR report, down from 1.5 million units between 1968 and 2000. The deficit has left the country 5.5 million units short.

“We need affordable [housing], we need market-rate, we need single-family, we need multifamily,” David Bank, senior vice president of Rosen Consulting Group and one of the report’s authors, told the Journal.

In particular, NAR found construction is short by two million single-family homes, one million two-to-four-unit buildings, and more than two million buildings with at least five units.

When taking into account aging or destroyed units, as well as household-formation growth, construction was closer to 6.8 million units short of necessary levels.

Compounding the problem for house hunters, few places are for sale. Existing-home inventory dropped almost 21 percent annually to just 1.16 million units at the end of April. With demand high, the median home cost almost 20 percent more in April than it did the year before.

Despite the sobering numbers, not everyone is convinced there’s a crisis. The birth rate is low and immigration fell during the Trump administration.

“Our adult population isn’t growing as fast as it used to,” John Burns, chief executive of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, told the publication. Now, “we don’t need to build as much,” he said.

Read moreHotel, office conversion bill advances with deadline at hand Single-family rent growth more than doubles in April Katerra files for bankruptcy

Builders have attempted to speed up construction, but can’t find enough land, workers, or materials. They will need to build 1.5 million new units a year to close the existing deficit, according to NAR. Even if annual construction rates matched their recent peak of 2.1 million homes, it would still take a decade to fill the gap of 5.5 million dwellings, according to the report.

In response, NAR is requesting expanded tax credits for low-income rentals. It also wants federal funding to encourage localities to allow more housing density. In addition, the group calls for renovation of distressed properties and commercial-to-residential conversions.

[WSJ] — Joe Lovinger

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Number of Investors Backing House

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(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

The number of investors backing house-flippers jumped 50 percent in two months, as low interest rates continue to drive the hunt for higher profits.

Research firm Attom Data Solutions found that the gross earnings on a fix-and-flip home reached a little more than $66,000 in 2020, the highest since 2005, Bloomberg reported. But prices have increased for such homes, slightly reducing the profit to 40.5 percent last year compared with 41.5 percent in 2019.

House-flipping mortgages, meanwhile, carry an average annual rate of 7.9 percent, more than twice the 3.09 percent rate for a 30-year mortgage. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has become one of the most prolific luxury home-flippers in Los Angeles. Less than two years ago, DeGeneres paid $42.5 million for Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s Beverly Hills mansion, and recently listed it for $53.5 million.

Financial firms backing the flippers are not, however, the most-recognizable names on Wall Street. Many of those firms invested heavily in single-family rentals after the foreclosure crisis, but the firms investing in house-flipping today are primarily regional banks and alternative lenders.

Read moreHouse-flippers no longer making a killing, but activity high as everEast New York residents push for house-flipper banDrive-by flipping companies hire Uber drivers to spot homes for sale
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US Government Sells 1MDB Scandal Condo for $17M

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“Cut!” US Marshals sell “Wolf of Wall Street” producer’s condo for half price The Upper West Side property was one of several forfeited amid the 1MDB scandal New York /

Riza Aziz with the Park Laurel Condominiums (Getty, Google Maps)

Steep discounts can still be found in Manhattan’s surging luxury market — at least if you’re buying from the U.S. Marshals.

Earlier this month, authorities offloaded a condo caught up in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal for roughly half of what it was sold for nearly a decade ago, property records show.

U.S. Marshals closed a deal on the unit, located in the Park Laurel at 15 West 63rd Street, for $16.8 million on May 5. Its previous owner, Riza Aziz, a producer on “The Wolf of Wall Street” and stepson of a former Malaysian prime minister, paid $33.5 million for the property in 2012 — using funds he allegedly embezzled from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Real estate lawyer Paul Giddins — along with “St. Jean II Revocable Trust” — is listed as the buyer’s trustee. Giddins declined to reveal additional information about the transaction.

To avoid criminal charges, Aziz agreed to forfeit $60 million worth of assets, the Department of Justice announced last year, including the Upper West Side condo as well as an 11,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion and a four-story townhouse in London.

Between Aziz and other suspects Jho Low and Khadem Al-Qubaisi, the total sum of recovered assets was roughly $1.1 billion as of September.

Read more“Wolf of Wall Street” producer allegedly used stolen money to buy Park Laurel condo “Wolf of Wall Street” producer to forfeit $60M in 1MDB probe settlement Riza Aziz contests seizure of his Beverly Hills home, claims innocence in money-laundering scandal
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Florida Realtors Sues CDC Over Eviction Ban

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Florida Realtors organization sues CDC “landlord-in-chief” over eviction ban Realtors association and Tampa firm are also seeking ability to evict tenants whose leases have expired Miami /

Attorney General Merrick Garland, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra with Florida Realtors CEO Margy Grant (Getty, Linkedin)

The largest Realtors association in the country is the latest to sue the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over its ban on evictions, which is set to expire June 30.

Florida Realtors filed the federal suit, alleging many of its 200,000 members who handle residential leases have been “detrimentally impacted” by the ban.

Margy Grant, CEO of the association, said in a statement that “private property rights must be restored.” R.W. Caldwell, a real estate and insurance firm based in the Tampa area, is also a plaintiff.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, cites examples of tenants who have not paid rent, including one who owes nearly $4,400 for five months of unpaid rent.

“Those damages multiply as a landlord’s number of affected units increases,” the complaint alleges. The overall losses from the eviction moratorium “experienced by Florida’s landlords may easily reach and exceed tens of millions of dollars,” according to the suit.

In addition to the CDC and its director, Rochelle Walensky, named defendants include Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The eviction moratorium has prevented many tenants from being evicted, especially in a landlord friendly state such as Florida, where the governor’s ban on evictions and foreclosures expired in October.

Landlords across the country have sued over the legality of the moratorium, arguing that there is no federal relief for property owners who are on the hook for property taxes, insurance, mortgage payments and more. In Miami-Dade County, a group of landlords and condominium associations sued the county and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in March, arguing the moratorium is too broad.

This month, a federal judge in the District of Columbia wrote in an opinion that the CDC lacks the legal authority to ban evictions.

The bans have protected millions from eviction across the U.S. amid the pandemic. Florida has roughly 2.7 million rental units averaging $1,200 a month in rent, according to the lawsuit. Pre-pandemic evictions resumed last year in Miami-Dade County.

“For more than a year, we have endured the COVID-19 pandemic and heard from struggling property owners, many who have gone without any assistance or rent relief under the eviction moratorium. In many cases, leases have expired and units cannot be re-rented,” Grant said in her statement.

The Florida Realtors and R.W. Caldwell allege that the CDC exceeded Congress’ grant of authority, among other alleged violations.

Read moreRealtor groups sue to block federal eviction ban Lawsuit challenges New York eviction ban’s constitutionality Judge strikes down federal eviction ban

The lawsuit refers to the CDC as the “landlord-in-chief,” as well as to “draconian penalties” the health agency has called for against those who violate the moratorium. Fines range from $100,000 to more than $250,000.

The plaintiffs are seeking judgments against all defendants, attorneys fees and other costs, and relief. They are also seeking a declaration that the moratorium does not protect someone from being evicted if their lease has expired.

“Florida’s landlords need and deserve relief from the eviction moratorium’s terrorizing terms,” the complaint states.

Contact Katherine Kallergis

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