Alright, alright, alright. It’s that time again. Monday is upon us and we’re serving up another round of your Monday Morning Cup of Coffee.



Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.

There’s drama in the single-family rental market after Reuters dropped a bombshell report on the largest single-family home landlord in the nation, Invitation Homes, detailing numerous allegations of neglect and sketchy business practices.

The report quotes residents and former tenants who claim they were mistreated by Invitation Homes, and in some cases felt they had to stay in poor or dangerous conditions because they had no other choice. Complaints range from black widow infestations to mold and shoddy repair work.

The Dallas-based SFR company denies all allegations of wrongdoing and says that Reuters' piece “deeply and unfairly” mischaracterized the company’s behavior.

You can check out Invitation Homes' full retort and read more about the alleged abuse in RentWire this afternoon.

Moving on, the most expensive property ever to hit the Los Angeles market is about to go up for sale. According to the New York Times, a 157-acre property atop Beverly Hills is set to go on sale for a whopping $1 billion. There is no house on the property and it is cleared for the development of up to 1.5 million square feet of residential structures.

According to the property’s listing agent, Aaron Kirkman of Pacific Union Real Estate, there are a mere 50 to 100 people in the world who might be in the market for and able to afford such a gilded perch above the City of Angels.

Speaking of Los Angeles, while the big wigs salivate over Beverly Hills hilltops, the rest of Los Angeles can dream of little more than a nice apartment.

According to the Orange County Register and Census Bureau data, Los Angeles and Orange counties have the worst level of homeownership in the nation despite an uptick in the availability of homes.

Only 48.8% of Los Angeles residents own their homes, a 3.1% drop from last quarter when homeownership was at 51.8%.

The national average for percentage of homeowners to non-homeowners in the 75 U.S. metros tracked in the data is 64.3%, up a tenth of a percent over last quarter.

In case you missed it, a sexual harassment scandal has rocked the Federal Housing Finance Agency. On Friday, Politico broke the news that an FHFA staffer is accusing Director Mel Watt of sexually harassing her and wrongfully withholding a promotion from her for reporting the harassment.

Recorded conversations between the two certainly seem damning, but Watts claims he is innocent. Here’s his statement on the matter:

"The selective leaks related to this matter are obviously intended to embarrass or to lead to an unfounded or political conclusion. However, I am confident that the investigation currently in progress will confirm that I have not done anything contrary to law. I will have no further comment while the investigation is in progress,” Watts said.

The investigation into Watts’ conduct has been underway for at least a month, according to documents acquired by Politico.

Finally, from a column by Mike Eshelman in Forbes, three reasons why Amazon won't break into the mortgage industry.

First, Eshelman says it would take too much time and capital for Amazon to break into the real estate market all on its own. Though Amazon is known for disrupting industries with first-class innovation, taking on the whole endeavor of creating the technology, hiring a dizzying number of staff, and building an infrastructure to handle all of that would be more trouble than it is worth.

This leads into his second point, which is that mortgage lending simply isn't in Amazon's wheelhouse. Amazon's expansion into other business lines has always been with regard to its core business. Eshelman goes on to analyze Amazon's acquisitions and their places in furthering Amazon's mission.

And lastly, getting into the mortgage business is risky to the Amazon brand. Few things we purchase in life have quite the emotional power of buying a home, and as the mortgage is both complicated and far from guaranteed for many applicants, it is likely that Amazon's generally squeaky image as the ultimate purveyor of convenience would be jeopardized by a move into the mortgage industry.

And that's all we've got to say. Stick with us throughout the week for more of the housing news you need. Have a great Monday!