The Most Interesting Real-Estate Stories of 2020

The Most Interesting Real-Estate Stories of 2020

Then March happened, and seemingly, our priorities shifted overnight.

Like many industries in the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic shook real estate down to its foundation, flipping markets upside-down and changing the way developers, designers and especially real-estate agents conduct business. Even homeowners had to adapt, from the way they configured their own spaces, to where and why they bought certain properties.

Many stories that appeared in The Wall Street Journal’s real-estate section this year examined the industry through the lens of Covid. But despite the pandemic, sales moved forward. Brokers leaned into technology to show properties and seal deals. And people fell in love with their homes all over again, or gave them a much-needed refresh.

And not all of our stories were defined by the pandemic. If the world is spinning, real estate is happening.

Read on for a closer look at Mansion’s most interesting reads of the year.

Developers of the Getty, a boutique condo project in Manhattan, slashed prices dramatically on the building’s remaining units.


Evan Joseph

Covid-19 Pounds New York Real Estate Worse Than 9/11, Financial Crash

The city’s luxury market was teetering amid a glut of high-end condos even before the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic pushed it over the edge.

Construction was under way at 1900 Broadway in Oakland, Calif., when developer Colin Behring planned alterations: more units with furniture from Ori, of Boston, that lets residents push a button to switch from sleeping space to working space.



Covid is Forcing Real-Estate Developers to Rethink Buildings

Developers are reconsidering everything from how shared living spaces and kitchens are configured to the number of balconies and elevators they have planned for buildings.

Kassie Meiler moved to Society Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for its wide array of work spaces which she thought would save her money she otherwise would have spent on an office rental elsewhere in the city.


Alexia Fodere for The Wall Street Journal

TikTok Studios, Zoom Rooms and Co-Working Spaces Are the New Must-Have Home Amenities

For millions of Americans working remotely, a home office became an absolute must-have during the pandemic. These spaces take it to the next level.

Keia McSwain, owner of Atlanta-based Kimberly & Cameron Interiors, designed this space for furnishing company Alden Parkes at High Point Market in High Point, N.C. The painting is “Dripping Black” by Atlanta-based artist Charly Palmer.


Brad Bunyea

For Black Designers, a Surge of New Visibility and Business is ‘Bittersweet’

Following a general reckoning of race relations in the U.S., many Black architects and interior designers saw more visibility and increased demand. Above all, the professionals we interviewed for this story wanted to be recognized for the quality of their work.

Goethe-Institut Boston, the second building from the left, recently repaired its pilings. It is surrounded by private residences.


Tony Luong for The Wall Street Journal

Some of Boston’s Priciest Real Estate Is Sinking Into the Earth

Rotten wood pilings are threatening to sink some of the city’s most expensive homes. And buyers who purchase these properties are on the hook for repairs.

Water levels near Douglas Beach Park have closed beaches.


Brian McDonald for The Wall Street Journal

As Lake Michigan Rises, Homeowners Scramble to Protect Their Properties

Water levels on Lake Michigan are on track to reach their highest levels on record since 1918. Homeowners are rushing to preserve their properties, made increasingly difficult by coronavirus.

Neal Wanless at Bismarck Ranch in South Dakota.


Jimena Peck for The Wall Street Journal

South Dakota Cowboy Who Won $232.1 Million Powerball Lists $41.15 Million Ranch

Neal Wanless was living in a camper after his family’s home was repossessed when won the Powerball in 2009. Now he’s selling the 50,000-acre ranch he assembled with his winnings for $41.15 million.

Jeff Werner, a designer from San Francisco, built his 5,000-square-foot home at Hualalai for $5 million four years ago.


Joshua Fletcher for The Wall Street Journal

Wealthy Property Owners All Want a Slice of Hawaii’s Kona-Kohala Coast

Both celebrities and billionaires are jockeying for space along this once remote corner of the Big Island, despite the area’s history of human disputes and volcanic activity.

Larry and April Smith, along with the dog Abby, are aboard their boat, a 2018 Aquila 44 Power Catamaran named One Eye Dog.


Julie Bidwell for The Wall Street Journal

For These Intrepid Boaters, Life Is but a Great Loop

On every boater’s bucket list: The Great Loop, a roughly 6,000-mile journey that circumnavigates the eastern half of the U.S. and part of Canada. We joined a few Loopers making the journey on luxury watercraft.

Harvey J. Yaverbaum’s train set is the culmination of a lifetime love of trains. It cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars to build.


Julie Bidwell for The Wall Street Journal

Model Train Enthusiasts Are Parking Their Railroads in Souped-Up Spaces

All aboard! Model railroaders are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to build elaborate rooms in their homes for their tricked-out train sets.

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

A somber Christmas decoration decks the Capitol steps Previous post A somber Christmas decoration decks the Capitol steps
Home & Garden: It’s Never Too Late for More Cookies Next post Home & Garden: It’s Never Too Late for More Cookies