Backyard That’s Basically Fancy Living Room…In Tight Housing Market, Thousands of Homes Reserved for Certain Buyers… AIRBNB Future About ‘Living,’ Not Just Travel…

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New American status symbol: Backyard that’s basically fancy living room…

BRANCHBURG, N.J. —Bill Paliouras dreamed of a backyard Eden. Not your garden-variety deck with stackable plastic chairs and a kettle charcoal grill — why settle for that? — but a loaded, supersize, decked-out deck with an outdoor living room, dining area, 54-inch grill, full kitchen, bar, two-draft kegerator, oversize island, massive weatherproof television, elaborate sound system and semicircular fire lounge.

“I’m Greek. I love being outside. I wanted to extend my outdoor living during the winter,” says the 45-year-old dentist. His deck kitchen is only a few steps from the family’s sublime indoor one.

What else? A second dining area, a pizza oven and a mammoth rotisserie grill from Greece. To control climate and mood, a louvered roof, infrared heaters, ceiling fans and Vegas-level lighting. Leading to the pool area, Paliouras desired twin curved staircases because — and this is a common exterior design request — “I wanted to replicate the inside part of my house outside.”

Sean McAleer completed the dream deck in June for $350,000; Paliouras’s entire outdoor extravaganza including landscaping, pool, waterfall, slide, hot tub and grotto, totaled $550,000. “Why would you want to go to the beach when you can hang out on a beautiful deck with a TV, day beds and refrigerator?” asks McAleer, owner of Deck Remodelers. “It’s all there.”

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In Tight Housing Market, Thousands of Homes Reserved for Certain Buyers…

‘Whisper listings,’ made directly to select customers, are growing at a time when housing inventory is near record lows

Real-estate agents are selling more homes to select customers while bypassing the public market, a move that squeezes supply tighter for many buyers when inventory is already near record lows.

In the vast majority of transactions, an agent lists a home for sale on a local database and markets the property widely to drum up interest and get the best price. But in certain cases, a broker will show an unlisted property to a small circle of potential buyers more exclusively, often in hope of getting a deal done quickly.

These private sales are known as pocket listings, or whisper listings. They have been around for many years. But they are on the rise now even though the National Association of Realtors adopted a rule last year aimed at discouraging their use following complaints from some of its members.




AIRBNB Future About ‘Living,’ Not Just Travel…

(Bloomberg) — Covid-19 has precipitated “the most profound change in travel since the airplane,” says Brian Chesky, chief executive officer and co-founder of Airbnb. Speaking over Zoom shortly after presenting a site revamp consisting of 100 (mostly granular) improvements, Chesky detailed his vision of just what he means by that.

The crux of the change, he says, is that “the lines between travel, work, and living are blurring.” It’s something he’s been saying for months, though now—with the dust settling—it’s a bit clearer what it means.

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Working from home has spurred flexibility in terms of where and how people live or how long they stay in one place. “When you’re going somewhere for 28 or more days, you’re probably no longer traveling,” he says. “At this point, 24% of our business is really living—we’re not just a travel company anymore.”

The trend toward long-term stays is reshaping Airbnb’s business. A far cry from the company’s origin story of couch surfing for a business convention, it’s the cornerstone of the new digital nomad lifestyle: winter months in Miami and Aspen, complemented by summer stints in New York, San Francisco, or the Hamptons in Long Island. While that lifestyle existed before the pandemic, it wasn’t for the masses.


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