Seller confusion on agent commissions, a new hotel in Harlem and a San Francisco landmark getting a lift ahead of a potential flooding. From the wild and wooly world of real estate, here are the hits and misses for the week of Nov. 20-24.
Miss: Who Pays for What? One of this week’s articles that generated a wave of reader response involved a new survey by Clever Real Estate that found 66% of non-homeowners and 42% of home sellers were unaware that they were expected to pay the buyer’s agent commission. The survey also found 55% of sellers complaining that they should not be obligated to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission. At a time when real estate agent commissions have been the center of legal and media attention, this survey raises concerns that the industry can be doing a better job in educating people on how real estate transactions are supposed to occur.
Hit: Calling Out Misplaced Priorities. Kudos to Alicia Huey, the chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), for criticizing President Biden’s decision to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost production of electric heaters. “The purpose of the Defense Production Act is to expand the supply of materials and services to protect the American people, not to advance a political agenda,” said Huey, who is also a custom home developer from Birmingham, Alabama. “Therefore, it is extremely disappointing that President Biden has elected to invoke the Defense Production Act in a blatant move to promote a policy agenda seeking to push American households towards electric heating in lieu of gas heating.” Indeed, perhaps this policy should be renamed the Green Bad Deal?
Hit: Honoring Heroes. Kudos are also directed at the Tunnel to Towers Foundation on the launch of its fifth annual Season of Hope campaign, with the goal of delivering 40 mortgage-free homes to eligible recipients by Christmas Eve. This philanthropy helps the families of servicemembers and first responders killed in the line of duty, and also provides properties to those heroes severely injured while in service. The foundation added that it on track to meet its goal of delivering more than 200 mortgage-free homes to families across its programs, which is very good news that is worth sharing.
Hit: The Big Apple’s Newest Hotel. Congrats to Renaissance Hotels on the opening of its latest property, the Renaissance New York Harlem Hotel. This is the brand’s first in the celebrated Manhattan neighborhood – which has been conspicuously lacking in new full-service lodging establishments for too many years – and it has already changed the skyline as the tallest building north of Central Park. With 211 guest rooms and suites, more than 9,000 square feet of event space and a restaurant/bar that will offer nightly live jazz performances and the diverse cuisines of the African diaspora, this hotel promises to be one of the most exciting locations in the city’s lodging sector.
Hit and Miss: A Premature Project? CBS News reported the Port of San Francisco and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are planning to raise, historic Ferry Building by as much as seven feet to offset the threat of climate change-induced flooding. The Ferry Building is home to six ferry piers, 44 shops and restaurants, a farmer’s market and 190,000 square feet of offices and meeting spaces – thus, this endeavor deserves praise for the engineering feat required to elevate such a massive space. But on the flip side, this project is underway because of forecasts that the San Francisco shoreline might witness a sea level rise of 3- to 7-feet by 2100 – which is 77 years from now. Perhaps San Francisco and the federal government might want to prioritize the problems facing the Bay Area city today, rather than spending millions to avert a problem that may or may not occur in roughly three-quarters of a century from now?
Phil Hall is editor of Weekly Real Estate News. He can be reached at [email protected].