The Washington Post won a second-place award for best real estate section at a national real estate journalism competition in Austin.
Moreover, Post staffers from Business, Local and Features as well as freelance Real Estate writers received six other awards in the contest sponsored by the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE).
The Real Estate section was recognized for the spring 2018 international buyer’s guide special section, which focused on what consumers need to know when considering purchasing a home overseas.
“With top-notch reporting and clever writing, writers inform and entertain their readers,” said the judges from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. “Service stories give readers easy-to-understand information about everything from whether they’re legally allowed to buy property abroad to whether they’ll be able to rent out the place.”
Commercial real estate reporter Jonathan O’Connell won first place in the best collection of work by an individual covering commercial real estate category for three stories: “Do posh waterfronts make a city world-class? D.C. is betting hundreds of millions on it,” “The unspoken factor in Amazon’s HQ2 hunt” and “Trump’s interest slows FBI HQ project.”
“O’Connell’s collection of stories includes some unique angles on widely reported stories, such as an in-depth and nuanced exploration of the waterfront project in SW Washington, D.C., that traced the evolution over more than two decades and remains controversial,” the judges said. “Beautifully written and deeply reported.”
O’Connell, along with Andrew Ba Tran, Rachel Siegel and Robert McCartney won a third-place award in the best series category for “Amazon’s HQ2 hunt.”
"Insightful, enterprising stories on Amazon and its search for a second U.S. headquarters looks at Amazon’s search in a manner other media publications did not, including homelessness and gay rights,” the judges said. “The story that relied on flight data for Jeff Bezos was an example of great shoe leather reporting."
Features writer Jura Koncius won a second-place award in the best interior design story category for her magazine piece “Inside Blair House, where the presidents’ guests get VIP treatment.”
"The piece is thoroughly researched and reported, with lots of little nuggets: Tiffany gave 150 place settings of its silver flatware; foreign visitors are allowed to smoke indoors,” the judges said. “The result is a feast for history lovers."
Kenneth R. Harney, whose The Nation’s Housing column was syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group, won first place in the best mortgage or financial real estate story category for a column “Mortgage investors want to make it easier for gig-economy workers to get loans.” Harney, 75, died in May.
“Harney takes a look at how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are trying to figure out how to evaluate so-called gig income — income for independent contractors and the like from companies such as Lyft and Uber — when people want a mortgage,” the judges said. “With both ride-share companies having IPOs in the spring and with more people turning to 'gig income’ jobs to help pay the bills, this story was timely.”
Freelance real estate writer Michele Lerner won a third-place award in the best collection of work by an individual covering residential real estate category for several stories, including “The new boomtowns.”
"This collection of stories addresses what happens when home price gains outstrip incomes, from where to live (think Sacramento and Nashville) to downsizing baby boomers calculating whether to rent or buy,” the judges said. “Data-driven but tied to real people, these stories compellingly reflect the zeitgeist of the day."
Lerner received another third-place award in the best international story category for a feature “Do you dream of living abroad? Four couples share how they made it work.”
“Lerner’s story captured the experiences of four couples in all stages of life who had decided to buy property overseas and live there full-time or for significant periods of time,” the judges said. “The details make the story: how they navigate home ownership, visas and other issues.”
Since 2013, The Post’s Real Estate section has won 39 awards from NAREE, including best real estate section in 2014.
For a complete list of awards, click here.