By Sushil Cheema
Here is a look at real-estate news in today’s WSJ:
Home Resales Rise 4%: Sales of previously occupied homes in the U.S. rose 4.0% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million.
Demand for Rentals Drives Big Rise in Home Building: Residential construction surged in November, sparking cautious hope that the U.S. housing market is gaining traction.
California Suing Fannie and Freddie: California’s attorney general sued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, seeking to force the firms to answer a detailed list of questions after the firms’ federal regulator sought to block an open-ended inquiry by the state.
Big Developers Dabble in Apartment Market: Some of the leading U.S. developers of malls and office properties are moving into the apartment business, where demand for new projects is stronger than any other commercial-real-estate sector.
Russians Are Coming: Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman is launching a real-estate fund that will focus on distressed properties from Boston to Miami, in the latest example of a deep-pocketed foreigner placing some chips on the U.S. real-estate market.
Skanska Searches for Home Buyers: Swedish construction company Skanska seeks to break into the U.K. housing market. Its first project is a 128-unit development on the edge of Cambridge.
Shanghai’s Pudong, Once Soulless, Rises Up: Pundits once mocked Shanghai’s Pudong district, a purpose-built version of Manhattan, as overdesigned and underoccupied. Today, as worries of a Chinese property crash are back in force, Pudong is an unlikely bright spot.
Deal of the Week: Mile-High Aspirations: An investment group led by Brookfield Office Properties is making a big bet on the energy sector by buying the second-tallest office building in Denver, which is about to become 70% vacant.
Plots & Ploys: More Promos, More Sales? With an eye toward boosting sales in shopping-heavy season, mall owners are stepping up special promotions. Macerich Co.’s Queens Center mall in Long Island, N.Y., will host a contest Wednesday in which teams of shoppers can compete by wrapping a person in holiday paper.
Property Pulse: Positive Reading: The Architecture Billings Index moved into positive territory last month for the first time since August. The index was 52.0 in November, up from 49.4 in October. Any score above 50 indicates a rise in billings while scores below 50 mean that demand for design services declined.