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After disclosing it would exit its own automated home-buying and -selling business last year, Zillow is now essentially getting back into iBuying virtually risk-free, leveraging Opendoor’s technology to do so. Zillow and Opendoor yesterday said they've entered into a multiyear exclusive partnership such that home sellers on Zillow’s platform will be able to request an offer on their home directly from Opendoor. ie: Zillow will be acting as a brokerage? (WSJ)
 
Bonus season is always fuel for luxury real estate markets: Investment bankers hit with a collapse in equity and debt issuance this year are in line for bonuses that are up to 50% smaller than 2021. Pay cuts are expected across wide swaths of the financial industry as bonus season approaches. Then again there are still 5 months left in 2022! Bankers involved in underwriting securities face bonus cuts of 40% to 45% or more, while merger advisors are in line for bonuses that are 20% to 25% smaller. Those in asset management will see cuts of 15% to 20%, while private equity workers may see declines of up to 10%, depending on the size of their firms. Even with bonuses down - compared to 2021 - let's not forget that 2021's bonuses were at record highs, up 20% on average from 2020.
 
Good news for the small country club of hedge funders, private equity peeps and those who can use the carried interest tax loophole who pay a tax rate of 20% - instead of 37% - like 'other' rich people:  a revised new bill has removed a provision on closing the so-called carried interest tax loophole that enables wealthy hedge fund and investment managers to pay significantly lower taxes. You and I subsidize this! (CNBC)
 
One in seven homes on the market had a price reduction in June, nearly double the rate of one in 13 homes a year ago. (WSJ)
 
Heard in the markets:  Many larger corporations are demanding workers return to the office in September anywhere from 3-5 days per week....some workers who moved far away from their offices may have to take pay cuts or find a new job.
 
Nearly 50% of all American homeowners mistakenly believe that their homeowner insurance policy will cover them against losses due to floods. It doesn’t. (WSJ)
 
Out-of-towner inflation/competition? Out-of-towners coming into Atlanta had 29.9% more to spend on a home on average, with a maximum of $849,477 to spend compared to locals’ average top budget of $653,849. Dallas newcomers had a maximum budget 22.2% higher than locals were willing to spend, since they had an average maximum of $815,613 compared to locals’ typical maximum budget around $667,404. In Phoenix, the nation’s fastest-growing big city of the past decade, out-of-towners had 12.9% more to spend on a home, with an average maximum budget of $805,257 compared to locals’ maximum budget of $713,378. (Marketwatch)
 
Greenwich Connecticut - a good bellwether of the ultra luxe markets - is experiencing similar stats to Aspen and other parts: There were 74 single family closings in July, compared to July of 2021, when there were 143 (the highest single month ever).  Year to date, transaction volume is down 38%. Thanks to COMPASS Greenwich's Bill Andruss.
 
Is the US driving less or driving more carefully? Or are fewer people commuting to work? The 4-week average of U.S. gasoline consumption, the best gauge for the US’s demand, is now more than 1 million barrels a day below pre-Covid seasonal norms. By the 25th week of 2020, gas consumption had rebounded to about 10% below norms. U.S. gas prices have fallen about 20% for 7 straight weeks and are approaching an average price of $4 a gallon, still sharply higher (close to double January 2021), than gas prices in 2021 and about 53% higher than the 2019 average. PS: My contractors are still charging the same 'fuel surcharge', even though prices are down about 20%.....)
 
The Greenest Effort In History? If the average American work commuter drives 8,384 miles each year just for their work commute and cuts out just one day to work remotely or from home without commuting, that could reduce commuting gas consumption by 20%. Might this have the greatest impact on energy savings than any other initiative in history?
 

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