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Each week on The Download, Inman’s Christy Murdock takes a deeper look at the top-read stories of the week to give you what you’ll need to meet Monday head-on. This week: Since last week’s top story was The Download, we’re taking the opportunity to bring you some of the lesser-known stories you may have missed while you were reading about KW and NAR.

This week’s Top 5 articles reflected Inman readers’ ongoing interest in commission lawsuit settlements — along with anything and everything NAR-related. In fact, last week’s Download on the fallout from Keller Williams’ settlement, and what it might mean for HomeServices of America and NAR, was the most-read story of the past seven days.

We always want to make sure you’re smarter than the average bear when it comes to the real estate industry, and that means knowing more about a range of topics that impact you and your clients both now and in the future. For today’s ICYMI edition of The Download, we’re sharing some of the biggest stories you may not have had time for this week.

1. CoStar to spend a billion dollars on marketing in fight for portal crown by Jim Dalrymple II

With all of the courtroom fighting going on over the past few months, you may have missed the portal wars heating up. The latest salvo comes from parent company CoStar’s plan to spend beaucoup bucks on what they’re calling “the biggest marketing campaign in real estate history.”

It’s an interesting strategy, especially for a portal that differentiates itself as the most agent-friendly among its competitors.

Inman’s Jim Dalrymple writes:

“CoStar’s pitch to agents is a major part of its new marketing campaign. While speaking with Inman Thursday, Florance touted the company’s ‘your listing, your lead’ strategy and said that will put every agent’s name and company on their listings. He contrasted that with other portals, which ‘strip off’ broker information when they ingest listings from MLSs. Florance criticized Zillow’s offer to add additional information and branding for a fee.”

Watch for the celebrity-laden ads in big upcoming televised events like the Super Bowl, the Paris Olympics, March Madness and more.

2. Hawaii legislator floats bill banning foreign buyers from island by Marian McPherson

Apparently inspired by Florida’s recently halted Senate Bill 264, which would restrict real estate purchases in the state by citizens of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria, Hawaii State Senator Brenton Awa has presented a bill aimed at banning foreign buyers from purchasing or investing in property on the island. The bill goes up for a vote on Feb. 13.

While Florida’s bill was predicated on national security concerns, Awa’s bill is focused on affordability. While it does not apply to foreigners who bought or invested in property before July 1, 2024, foreign property owners would be required to register their property with the Hawaii State Attorney General’s office by Jan. 1, 2025, or face a $1,000 daily fine.

McPherson writes:

“While state leaders pushed back on the bill, everyday Hawaiians supported Awa’s mission, as evidenced by more than 1,500 pages of written comments expressing their frustration with foreigners and mainland U.S. citizens coming to the state and driving up prices.”

3. Luxury developer Nir Meir arrested in Miami Beach by Ben Verde

Former managing director of the luxury developer HFZ Capital, Nir Meir has been arrested in Miami and is awaiting extradition to New York. In total, District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges $86 million in fraudulent charges associated with a Manhattan luxury residential project formerly known as XI, now known as One High Line, a pair of curving glass towers designed by the architect Bjarke Ingels.

Verde writes:

“In [Meir’s] professional capacities, he began dodging debts. HFZ stopped paying its contractors for the XI in 2019, according to New York Magazine, leading to Meir’s eventual firing by HFZ and the company being hollowed out by lawsuits and foreclosures.”

DA Bragg said that his office’s Rackets Bureau is “laser-focused on fraud in the construction and real estate industries” and is striving to root out theft from investors and corruption in the marketplace.

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