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Millionaire Real Estate Agents: The 6 US Housing Markets That Made Us Rich



Zephyr18 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Zephyr18 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Location, location, location” is a phrase often repeated in the real estate business, meaning that where you end up buying property is where you end up making money. Lots of places in the United States are known for having high-end real estate that’s worth more and more as time goes on, yet not every market across the country is equal. Some can provide a suitable return on investment and others can make you a millionaire.

Find Out: 7 Worst States To Buy Property in the Next 5 Years, According to Real Estate Agents

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Who knows these markets best and where the next boom might be? GOBankingRates spoke to several millionaire real estate agents to find out which U.S. housing markets made them rich.


Wealthy people know the best money secrets. Learn how to copy them.

The Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area has been a goldmine for real estate agents, particularly because of its tech-driven economic boom and limited housing supply, according to Tim Choate, the founder and CEO of RedAwning.

“The area’s combination of high demand and low inventory has consistently driven up property values,” Choate mentioned. “For instance, when I first ventured into property investments in the early 2000s, the market was just beginning to feel the impact of the tech sector’s explosive growth.”

Investing in properties near burgeoning homes for tech, such as Mountain View, Redwood City and Palo Alto paid off immensely for Choate, especially when companies like Google and Facebook expanded their campuses and workforces in those areas.

Be Aware: 10 Housing Markets That Will Plummet in Value Before the End of 2024

Austin, Texas

“I first saw the potential in Austin about ten years ago,” said Noah Guthart, COO and founder of Panacrypto.

Guthart observed that the capital city of Texas was growing rapidly with a new tech boom that attracted a whole new wave of young professionals looking to spend their high salaries.

“Good timing was everything — getting into the market just when some major tech companies were making their way into the city,” agreed Ben Johnson, a real estate agent and the CEO of Big Ben, who continued by saying this “brought an inflow of highly paying jobs and caused demand for housing.

“I was able to capitalize on huge appreciation by buying properties in up-and-coming neighborhoods before the tech boom,” Johnson said. “For example, properties bought for around $300,000 in the early 2010s now go for over $700,000. The flourishing job market, great culture, and absolute affordability compared to other tech havens were making Austin a hotspot for real estate investments.”

“I invested in several properties in the downtown area,” Guthart explained. “One property I bought for $300,000 in 2013 is now worth over $800,000. The combination of tech growth, a vibrant cultural scene, and a relatively low cost of living made Austin a perfect storm for real estate investment.

“I remember a client who was hesitant to buy a property in the emerging East Austin neighborhood,” Guthart said. “I encouraged them to take the leap, and within five years, their property value had doubled. This kind of return is what makes markets like Austin so lucrative.”

Charlotte, North Carolina

Seeing that Charlotte was blowing up as a new financial center, combined with a unique blend of political climates and local businesses, Johnson decided to invest in both residential and commercial properties. And it paid off big time.

“The city’s population continued to grow, and the cost of living was relatively affordable, offering pretty good options for buyers and renters,” Johnson said.

Johnson recounted one memorable deal involving “…a downtown condo bought for $250,000 and later sold three years down the road for $400,000, all because of the great increase in professionals moving to the region and corporations relocating there. This made Charlotte a good market due to the strategic location and ongoing urban development.”


“Miami has been another goldmine for me,” Guthart said, highlighting the city’s international appeal matched by a status as a hub of finance, culture and fun.

Guthart stated that Miami has consistently driven property values up.

“In particular, I’ve had great success with luxury condos in neighborhoods like Brickell and South Beach.

“I once sold a condo in Brickell for $1.2 million, which was bought just three years earlier for $700,000,” Guthart said. “The timing was perfect as Miami’s luxury market was booming due to an influx of foreign investors, particularly from Latin America. I believe Miami’s appeal will continue to grow, making it a long-term investment hotspot.

“One of my most memorable experiences was purchasing a beachfront property in Miami in 2015,” Guthart said. “I bought it for $2 million, and after some strategic renovations and marketing, I sold it for $3.5 million just two years later. The location, combined with Miami’s growing desirability, made this a highly profitable venture.”


It’s not just location, but timing that can truly add to the value of buying property in an area where it might look bust instead of boom. That was the case for Johnson in Phoenix.

“…my timing coincided with post-recession recovery in the early years of the decade. The market was recovering, and prices were therefore still low,” Johnson said.

“I bought; this had enabled me to invest in foreclosed properties and distressed sales at below-market prices,” Johnson said. “As the economy recovered and population grew, so did the value of the properties skyrocket.”

Johnson noted that a foreclosure home at $150,000 was sold at $300,000 within five years in Phoenix, a prime example of how the city is bouncing back as a real estate powerhouse.

“The warmer climate of Phoenix added to the attractiveness, with lower living expenses and an improved economic base,” Johnson added.

Nashville, Tennessee

Its music scene and southern charm are the city’s reputation to stand on, but Nashville has also experienced a real estate renaissance in recent years, in Choate’s professional opinion.

“I recall a period around 2015 when Nashville’s real estate market was just beginning to attract national attention,” Choate said. “We saw an opportunity in its downtown area, where historical homes and new developments were coexisting beautifully.

“By investing early in vacation rental properties there, RedAwning managed to ride the wave of Nashville’s tourism boom, leading to significant returns on investment,” Choate said. “The blend of cultural appeal and strategic urban development made Nashville a standout market for us.”

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This article originally appeared on Millionaire Real Estate Agents: The 6 US Housing Markets That Made Us Rich


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Former B.C. Realtor has licence cancelled, $130K in penalties for role in mortgage fraud



The provincial regulator responsible for policing B.C.’s real estate industry has ordered a former Realtor to pay $130,000 and cancelled her licence after determining that she committed a variety of professional misconduct.

Rashin Rohani surrendered her licence in December 2023, but the BC Financial Services Authority’s chief hearing officer Andrew Pendray determined that it should nevertheless be cancelled as a signal to other licensees that “repetitive participation in deceptive schemes” will result in “significant” punishment.

He also ordered her to pay a $40,000 administrative penalty and $90,000 in enforcement expenses. Pendray explained his rationale for the penalties in a sanctions decision issued on May 17. The decision was published on the BCFSA website Wednesday.

Rohani’s misconduct occurred over a period of several years, and came in two distinct flavours, according to the decision.

Pendray found she had submitted mortgage applications for five different properties that she either owned or was purchasing, providing falsified income information on each one.

Each of these applications was submitted using a person referred to in the decision as “Individual 1” as a mortgage broker. Individual 1 was not a registered mortgage broker and – by the later applications – Rohani either knew or ought to have known this was the case, according to the decision.

All of that constituted “conduct unbecoming” under B.C.’s Real Estate Services Act, Pendray concluded.

Separately, Rohani also referred six clients to Individual 1 when she knew or ought to have known he wasn’t a registered mortgage broker, and she received or anticipated receiving a referral fee from Individual 1 for doing so, according to the decision. Rohani did not disclose this financial interest in the referrals to her clients.

Pendray found all of that to constitute professional misconduct under the act.

‘Deceptive’ scheme

The penalties the chief hearing officer chose to impose for this behaviour were less severe than those sought by the BCFSA in the case, but more significant than those Rohani argued she should face.

Rohani submitted that the appropriate penalty for her conduct would be a six-month licence suspension or a $15,000 discipline penalty, plus $20,000 in enforcement expenses.

For its part, the BCFSA asked Pendray to cancel Rohani’s licence and impose a $100,000 discipline penalty plus more than $116,000 in enforcement expenses.

Pendray’s ultimate decision to cancel the licence and impose penalties and expenses totalling $130,000 reflected his assessment of the severity of Rohani’s misconduct.

Unlike other cases referenced by the parties in their submissions, Rohani’s misconduct was not limited to a single transaction involving falsified documents or a series of such transactions during a brief period of time, according to the decision.

“Rather, in this case Ms. Rohani repetitively, over the course of a number of years, elected to personally participate in a deceptive mortgage application scheme for her own benefit, and subsequently, arranged for her clients to participate in the same deceptive mortgage application scheme,” the decision reads.

Pendray further noted that, although Rohani had been licensed for “a significant period of time,” she had only completed a small handful of transactions, according to records from her brokerage.

There were just six transactions on which her brokerage recorded earnings for her between December 2015 and February 2020, according to the decision. Of those six, four were transactions that were found to have involved misconduct or conduct unbecoming.

“In sum, Ms. Rohani’s minimal participation in the real estate industry as a licensee has, for the majority of that minimal participation, involved her engaging in conduct unbecoming involving deceptive practices and professional misconduct,” the decision reads.

According to the decision, Rohani must pay the $40,000 discipline penalty within 90 days of the date it was issued.



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Should you wait to buy or sell your home?



The Bank of Canada is expected to announce its key interest rate decision in less than two weeks. Last month, the bank lowered its key interest rate to 4.7 per cent, marking its first rate cut since March 2020.

CTV Morning Live asked Jason Pilon, broker of Record Pilon Group, whether now is the right time to buy or sell your home.

When it comes to the next interest rate announcement, Pilon says the bank might either lower it further, or just keep it as is.

“The best case scenario we’re seeing is obviously a quarter point. I think more just because of the job numbers that just came out, I think more people are just leading on the fact that they probably just gonna do it in September,” he said. “Either way, what we saw in June, didn’t make a big difference.”

Here are the pros of buying/ selling now:

Pilon suggests locking in the rate right now, if you don’t want to take a risk with interest rates going up in the future.

He says the environment is more predictable right now, noting that the home values are transparent, which is one of the benefits for home sellers.

“Do you want to risk looking at what that looks like down the road? Or do you want to have the comfort in knowing what your house is worth right now?” Pilon said.

And when it comes to buyers, he notes, the competition is not so fierce right now, noting that there are options to choose from.

“You’re in the driver seat right now,” he said while noting the benefits for buyers.

Here are the cons of buying/ selling now:

He says one of the cons would be locking in the rate right now, then seeing a rate cut in the future.

The competition could potentially become fierce, if the bank decides to cut the rate further more, he explained.

He notes that if that happens, the housing crisis will become even worse, as Canada is still dealing with low housing inventory.

An increase in competition would increase the prices of houses, he adds.

Selling or buying too quickly isn’t the best practice, he notes, suggesting that you should take your time and put some thought into it.

Despite all the pros and cons, Pilon says, real estate remains a good investment.

According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey for the second quarter of this year, the average home price in Canada is $824,300. That’s up 1.9 per cent from the same time last year, and up 1.5 per cent from the first quarter of 2024.

In the Ottawa Housing Market Report for June 2024, the average price of a home was up 2.4 per cent from this time last year to $686,535, but down 0.6 per cent from May 2024.

Experts believe many potential buyers are still hesitant of jumping into the housing market and waiting for another interest rate cut of 50 to 100 basis points.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the rush that we see in the past, because people are used to more of a conservative approach right now,” said Curtis Fillier, president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “I think there’s still a bit of a hold back, but I definitely do think with another rate cut, we’ll probably see a very positive fall market.”

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Kimberly Fowler



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Real estate stocks soar to best day of year on rate cut bets



(Bloomberg) — The stock market’s worst group notched its best day of the year as a cooler-than-expected inflation report stoked bets that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates in September.

Shares of real estate companies jumped 2.7% Thursday for their biggest gain of 2024, climbing to their highest level since March as investors snapped up homebuilder, digital and commercial real estate stocks alike. Real estate also was the best-performing group in the S&P 500 Index Thursday, with volume that was around 30% higher than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Arguably the most significant news to come from the latest consumer price index reading was a pullback in housing-related inflation. Shelter costs rose just 0.2% for the slowest monthly increase in three years. Homebuilders, which have risen 7.1% this year, were up 7.3% for the session, the most since 2022. Shares of D.R. Horton Inc., which is scheduled to report earnings next Thursday, gained 7.3%.

“Housing has really been the last shoe to drop in terms of winning the battle against high inflation,” Preston Caldwell, chief U.S. economist at Morningstar wrote in a note to clients Thursday. “Leading-edge data has strongly indicated for some time now that a fall in housing inflation was in the works.”

A rally in real estate stocks is bad news for short sellers who have been piling into the group, which is the worst performer in the S&P 500 this year. To start the week, short interest as a percentage of float hovered near 49% in the SPDR Homebuilders ETF, the highest level since February for the exchange-traded fund, according to data from S3 Partners.

Property owners are rallying as well. Real estate investment trusts, which were brutally penalized during the two-year run up in borrowing costs, advanced by as much as 3%. And the outlook for the group appears to have turned a corner, according Rich Hill, senior vice president and head of real estate strategy and research at Cohen & Steers Capital Management.

“We think this is a compelling backdrop for listed REITs especially as fundamental growth remains on solid footing,” he said, referencing the latest inflation data and rate outlook. “The rally that started in October of 2023 pushing returns more than 20% above their trough looks set to continue if inflation cools and interest rates continue to decline.”

Shares of industrial REIT Prologis Inc., which reports second-quarter results on Wednesday, rose 3.3% to hit their highest level since April. U.S. Treasury yields tumbled, with the 10-year bond falling to 4.2% and the policy-sensitive two-year note slipping to 4.5%.

(Updates indexes and stock prices for market close.)



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