Industry Watch


July 18, 2004

Pen-Mar Association names Jeff Matthews Realtor of the Year

Jeff Matthews, an associate broker with the Hagerstown office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, has been named 2004 Realtor of the Year by the Pen-Mar Association of Realtors.

Matthews is treasurer of the Pen-Mar Association of Realtors and serves on four committees.

U.S. among least-liked in job transfer survey

Which country is the least attractive when you're trying to persuade an employee to relocate abroad? Would you believe, America?

Well, maybe not No. 1, but it's in the top three for the first time in the 10 years that GMAC Global Relocation Services has been studying problems and attitudes in its industry.

In its new survey, executives said that the United States has become one of the three "most challenging countries" for international transfers, because of the threat of terrorism and the bureaucracy that's been put into place to combat it. China and Japan were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

Survey participants said that employees who were coming here from abroad complained about exceptional delays in obtaining Social Security cards and visas, and they weren't crazy about dealing with the immigration bureaucracy in general.

60% of realty companies say profits rose in 2003

A recent report by the National Association of Realtors found that six of 10 real estate firms said their profits in 2003 outdid those of 2002, and about half of the nation's real estate businesses expect their profitability to continue upward this year.

The numbers come from the trade group's annual survey of its membership to get a profile of a "typical" realty firm.

The large firms such as Century 21 and Coldwell Banker are far from the norm, according to the report. A huge proportion of real estate firms - 93 percent - are single-office operations, and they average three salespeople each. Just 2 percent of all companies have three or more offices.

Dell family purchases 4 Seasons hotel in Hawaii

MSD Capital LP, the investment firm that manages money for Dell Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell and his family, bought the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea in Hawaii as part of a plan to spend more than $1 billion on real estate.

MSD was asked by SCP (Maui 5) Inc., the seller, not to disclose the purchase price of the 377-room hotel, MSD spokesman Todd Fogarty said. The purchase was completed this month, he said.

Bruce Willis buys home in Calif. for $9 million

Bruce Willis, who plays Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski in the comedy film The Whole Ten Yards, has purchased a Beverly Hills, Calif., home for about $9 million.

The walled and gated estate has seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms in slightly more than 10,000 square feet. The home, on nearly an acre, was built in the 1920s and recently updated. The estate also has a screening room, courtyard and tennis court.

Willis also owns residential and commercial real estate in Hailey, Idaho.

The actor, 49, won an Emmy in 1987 for his part opposite Cybill Shepherd in the ABC comedy series Moonlighting and made his film breakthrough in the action thriller Die Hard (1988). More recently, he had the lead in the movie Tears of the Sun (2003), and he co-starred with Colin Farrell in the film Hart's War (2002). The same year, Willis was named Man of the Year by Hasty Pudding Theatricals of Harvard University, and his band, Bruce Willis and the Accelerators, went on tour to 15 cities.

From staff, Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg News and Los Angeles Times reports. The Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times are Tribune Publishing newspapers.

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