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Industry bounces back, homeowners find mortgage relief

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The real estate industry is slowly coming back with the economy. Among the big real estate stories in the first half of 2013 were:

Home prices increase, foreclosure filings stabilize
San Diego home prices are up more than 20 percent from 2012, according to the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. Foreclosure filings -- trustee’s deeds and notices of default -- are starting to stabilize. In June, trustee’s deeds were down 42 percent from 2012 and notices of default were down 54 percent from 2012.

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act extended
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012, was extended to the end of 2013 as part of the "fiscal cliff" resolution. When someone short sells a home, the forgiven debt is considered income to the homeowner. With the MFDRA in place, that taxable income is forgiven.

Notable sales in the first half of 2013:

*Hawthorne Crossings sells for reported $41.5M
The 113,422-square-foot Hawthorne Crossings shopping center alongside state Route 163 in Kearny Mesa, has been sold for a reported $41.5 million. The buyer was Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. (Nasdaq: ROIC) of San Diego. The seller was a New York City-based REIT known as American Fund-OIK. The tenants in the center include Mitsuwa Marketplace with 26,098 square feet, Ross Stores with 25,461 square feet, and Staples with 24,238 square feet.

*Chula Vista apartment complex sold for $90M
Missions at Sunbow -- a 336-unit apartment complex at 825 E. Palomar St. in Chula Vista -- was sold for $90 million. The buyers of the property were Sunbow Partners LP (38.6 percent), Oakbrook Ridge LP (29.4 percent), Cabrillo Knolls LP (11.6 percent), South Bay Manor (11 percent) and R&V Management Corp. (9.4 percent). The seller of the property (641-122-07) was EQR-Missions at Sunbow LLC, headed by Chicago-based Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR).

*600 B St. sold for $49M
The 24-story, 359,218 square-foot office building at 600 B St. in downtown San Diego was sold for $49 million. The buyer was AG-LO 600B Owner L.P., with AG-LO 600B L.L.C. as general partner. The ownership is a joint venture of Angelo, Gordon & Co. and Lincoln Property Company. The seller of the property (assessor's parcels 534-054-03, 07, 08 and 09) was Nomura CDO 2007-2-600 B Street LLC, with C-111 Asset Management LLC as the manager.

*Downtown Embassy Suites sold to Pebblebrook Hotel Trust for $112.5M
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (NYSE: PEB) announced in January the acquisition of the 337-room Embassy Suites San Diego Bay for a reported $112.5 million. A partnership known as Chief San Diego Hotel LLC of Irvine was listed as the seller of the property on RealQuest.

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