COVID-inspired urban exodus ups pricing in vacay destinations 

Many popular second-home destinations are now becoming full-time residences, according to a Redfin analysis. Rankings based on year-over-year change in home prices, sales, sales speed, share of homes sold above the listing price and Redfin.com searches show El Dorado County, CA, and areas to the southern half of Lake Tahoe, have been the top two destinations for the second time in a row. 

Both are located in the Sacramento metropolitan area, “the most popular destination for homebuyers looking to relocate” in the third quarter of 2020, according to an analysis of Redfin.com users. 

For homebuyers who can work remotely, San Francisco was the top origin for out-of-area buyers looking in Sacramento. Riverside County, CA, on the other hand, home to the desert resort city of Palm Springs—also ranked in the top 10.

Deschutes County, Oregon, about four hours southeast of Portland, with access to the Cascade mountains, national forests and the vacation towns of Sunriver and Bend, according to local Redfin real estate agent Angelica Webb, also is one of the top 10. 

“We’ve always described Bend as a second-home town, but now we’re seeing it transition into a place where more people are living full time,” Webb said, even folks who had never been there before.

The Jersey Shore, a popular summer getaway for East Coasters, also has become a hotspot for families looking to escape city life during the pandemic. 

“City folks are coming to New Jersey with New York salaries. One of my buyers recently lost out on a house because another bidder paid $75,000 over the asking price. Who does that? New Yorkers,” said local Redfin real estate agent Anthony Gonzalez, those coming from Brooklyn, specifically. “Where in Brooklyn can you find anything for $500,000? Nowhere.” 

Top 10 counties falling out of favor or cooling off include dense, relatively expensive cities, including New York, San Francisco, Boston and Miami.

Queens County, NY ranked first on the list of U.S. housing markets that are cooling down, followed by Kings County, NY (Brooklyn) and Bronx County, NY. All three are in New York City, “which saw a greater net outflow of Redfin.com users than any other metro area during the third quarter,” the report notes.

Located just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, Hudson County, NJ, also part of the New York City tri-state metro area, made it into the bottom 10 as well. The area used to be a popular home base for families who want to be close to New York City without New York City prices.

Remote work is enabling homebuyers to go further south into New Jersey, to places like Monmouth County and Ocean County, Redfin agents say, no need to pay top-dollar prices in the city.

Almost 47,000 more Redfin.com users looked to leave New York State than move into it during Q3 2020 – nearly 35% more than the 35,000 home searchers looking to leave during Q3 2019, according to an October Redfin report. 

In California, nearly 53,000 more Redfin.com users looked to move out than in. San Francisco was number six on the list of counties that have cooled off the most. Almost a quarter of Redfin.com users in San Francisco searched for homes outside of the metro in Q3 2020, up from roughly 21% a year ago.



Wells introduces HPR e-trading platform

Wells Fargo Corporate & Investment Banking announced its Quantitative Prime Services division collaborated with electronic trading fintech HPR to introduce a next-generation e-trading platform for clients. 

The partnership with HPR, a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) architecture that powers brokers, clearing firms, market makers and quantitative hedge funds reportedly will enable the megabank to offer custom trading solutions engineered by HPR via products on the HPR platform.  

Such options include direct market access and pre-trade risk management portals, Omnibot, Riskbot and Softbot; CRM-X, an intuitive global, system-wide risk management user interface; and its customizable market data delivery system Databot. 

Wells Fargo also announced plans to offer clients access to additional HPR products, and share more details “at a later date.” A division of Wells Fargo & Company, Wells Fargo Corporate & Investment Banking delivers a suite of capital markets, banking, and financial products and services in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. 

“HPR’s scale service architecture provides the flexibility to access solutions across the latency spectrum,” said Anthony D. Amicangioli, HPR founder and CEO. “Wells Fargo understands the future of electronic trading and we are excited to partner with them to provide highly differentiated services on our unified Platform-as-a-Service.”

The bank’s quantitative prime services and quantitative execution desk reportedly provides “an all-inclusive relationship management model” and in-house quantitative expertise in financing facilities across all fund sizes to engineer custom solutions powered by technology.

“Through our collaborative partnership with HPR, our clients will have the opportunity to deploy market-aware network hardware, advanced data delivery systems, latency management solutions and trade surveillance platforms,” said John Leone, managing director, head of quantitative strategy at Wells Fargo Corporate and Investment Banking. 

“HPR will soon launch an additional suite of products,” he added.

Ideanomics acquires Timios Holdings Corp.

Ideanomics Capital has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held residential and commercial title insurance, closing and settlement services provider, Timios Holding Corp. in an all-cash deal. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, the company said in a statement.

Headquartered in New York with offices in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Qingdao, and operating in the U.S., China, Ukraine, and Malaysia, Ideanomics said the acquisition is in line with its goal “to participate in the convergence of fintech and industries that are both in transition and have high barriers to entry.”

According to the statement, following the strategic acquisition Timios will become “one of the cornerstones of Ideanomics Capital in delivering innovative fintech solutions to the U.S. real estate industry.” 

Timios has been expanding in recent years. The California-based Timios founded in 2008 by real estate industry veteran Trevor Stoffer, currently has 285 employees and operations in 44 states, and reportedly generated over $60 million in year-to-date revenue, including over $8 million in October 2020.

The company also offers appraisal management and real-estate-owned (REO) title and closing services and currently serves more than 280 national and regional clients. 

Timios already owns key industry licenses, has knowledgeable and experienced staff, and operates a platform scalable via both centralized processing and a localized branch network. Ideanomics reportedly will assist Timios in scaling the business including by referring client acquisition and product innovation.

“As we move into an unprecedented era of data-driven real estate transactions, Timios intends to continue to shepherd our customers through this significant transformation in the real estate industry by providing transparency and simplification,” said Stoffer, who currently serves as Timios Chairman of the Board. “We look forward to leveraging Ideanomics’ resources to continue Timios’ growth.”

Combining operational expertise and technology Timios has brought to market proprietary real estate title and escrow product and service tools, including solutions that offer pricing transparency for lenders, real estate agents, and consumers.

“Ideanomics’ DNA is to serve as a catalyst for change through innovation. Timios fits perfectly,” said Alf Poor, CEO of Ideanomics. “With this acquisition, we are onboarding a profitable business which has grown both its top and bottom line tremendously in 2020. We are delighted to add them to our family, where we anticipate, they will integrate seamlessly.”

The U.S. real estate market outlook suggests it will to continue its upward trend in 2021, he added. “We look forward to working with the management team” to further develop the company. 

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