Nationwide housing production up 11.3% in December on multifamily surge
A surge in multifamily production resulted in overall nationwide housing starts rising 11.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Single-family starts dropped 4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 795,000 units.
Foreign real estate investors not dissuaded by interest rates, new administration
Foreign investors continue to view U.S. real estate as a sound investment, with an astounding 95 percent of those recently surveyed by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate reporting they plan to "maintain or increase their investment" in 2017. U.S. real estate was ranked No. 1 by respondents for both security and stability, as well as opportunity for capital appreciation.
The latest evolution of real estate wire fraud
Most articles about real estate fraud have focused on the same scenario: hackers breaking into professionals' email accounts to learn about upcoming transactions, then emailing the buyer to wire money to the hacker's account. In reality, there are many other ways hackers insert themselves into communications.
Expanded data key to opening up mortgage credit
Trended credit data, which offers an expanded perspective to lenders evaluating a credit applicant, could be key to opening up mortgage credit accessibility, according to an analysis by Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus.
Maximize mortgage applications with women clients
In 2015, the homeownership rate of female householders in one-person households was 24.56 percent higher than the homeownership rate of male householders in the same category, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Despite earning less, single women are becoming homeowners in formidable numbers.
Freddie Mac multifamily lending tops $56.8B in 2016
Freddie Mac announced today that it saw a record-setting $56.8 billion in loan purchase and bond guarantee volume in 2016, up from $47.3 billion in 2015. The company also announced it issued an unprecedented $51.2 billion in multifamily securities, effectively transferring the majority of credit risk from taxpayers to private investors.
December new home purchase mortgage applications Increase 2 percent YOY
The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Applications Survey data for December 2016 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 2 percent relative to December 2015.
Housing will continue gradual climb to higher ground in 2017
Fueled by a growing economy, solid employment gains and rising household formations, single-family production will continue on a gradual, upward trajectory in 2017, according to economists speaking at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show in Orlando this week.
NAR: FHA mortgage insurance premium reduction a fresh start
Lower costs are coming for homebuyers seeking a Federal Housing Administration insured mortgage. FHA announced Jan. 9 that they are cutting annual premiums for mortgage insurance from 0.85 percent to 0.60 percent, a move the National Association of Realtors said breathes new life into the program.
156,000 jobs added to economy in December
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth occurred in health care and social assistance.
Pending home sales backpedal in November
Pending home sales dipped in November to their lowest level in nearly a year as the brisk upswing in mortgage rates and not enough inventory dispirited some would-be buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.
More than 80 percent of largest U.S. housing markets improving
Freddie Mac released its Multi-Indicator Market Index, showing the majority of the top 100 housing markets across the country steadily improving, with one additional state, Georgia, entering its outer historic benchmark range of housing activity.
DOL Overtime Rule delay: What to do if changes are already in process
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Department of Labor’s overtime rule from taking effect in December. The preliminary injunction has posed a problem for companies who have already adjusted their pay structures, changed employee status or advised their employees of the change to come. What can an employer do now?
Drones for real estate marketing: Are they worth it?
Now that more and more real estate agents have access to aerial photos and videos through drones, homebuyers and sellers are changing the way they expect to interact with real estate listings. Some of you might be thinking, "Is it really worth it for me to pay someone to take aerial photos and video of my listing?" Let's look at some numbers.
Disciplines to make 2017 your best year
No matter how good or bad the year 2016 was for your business, 2017 is going to be insanely profitable — but only if you have the five disciplines you need to seize those opportunities, says Tom Ferry, CEO of Ferry International and best-selling author of Life! By Design. The good news is, it’s not too late to develop or strengthen those disciplines.
Minority, renter households at center of low homeownership rate
The homeownership rate spiraled to its lowest point in 50 years earlier this year, and while it picked up in the third quarter, it remains off its recent peak. The populations bearing out the trend the most, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center, are low-income, minority, renter, and young adult households.
New home sales up 5.2 percent in November
Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 5.2 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Post-election surge in mortgage rates paints gloomy picture for lenders
Mortgage lender expectations for near-term mortgage demand plummeted amid the rapid rise in interest rates following the U.S. presidential election, according to Fannie Mae’s fourth quarter 2016 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey.
Freddie Mac AIMI shows third consecutive quarter of multifamily growth
Freddie Mac announced multifamily investing fundamentals grew stronger in the third quarter, both nationally and in all 13 major metro markets tracked by the Freddie Mac Multifamily Apartment Investment Market Index.
Existing home sales forge ahead in November
A big surge in the Northeast and a smaller gain in the South pushed existing-home sales up in November for the third consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Confidence improves at the prospect of pro-growth policies
Sentiment measures have improved to multi-year highs heading into next year, but 2017 is expected to deliver another year of pedestrian growth, according to the Fannie Mae Economic & Strategic Research Group’s December 2016 Economic and Housing Outlook.
Home sales expected to expand modestly in 2017
Existing-home sales are forecast to muster only a small gain in 2017 because of increasing mortgage rates and shrinking consumer confidence that now is a good time to buy a home, according to new consumer survey findings and a 2017 housing forecast update from the National Association of Realtors.
FHFA issues final rule on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac duty to serve underserved markets
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has issued a final rule to implement the Duty to Serve provisions mandated by the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992. The statute requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve three underserved markets – manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing – by improving the distribution and availability of mortgage financing for residential properties that serve low and moderate-income families.
Builder confidence closes year on a high note
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped seven points to a level of 70 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This is the highest reading since July 2005.
CFPB consumer credit trends tool forecasts potential consumer risks
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has unveiled Consumer Credit Trends, a web-based tool to help the public monitor developments in consumer lending and forecast potential future risks. The beta version of the tool covers the mortgage, credit card, auto loan, and student loan markets.
November new home mortgage applications Increase 12 percent year over year
The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Applications Survey data for November 2016 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 12 percent relative to November 2015. Compared to October 2016, applications decreased by 3 percent relative to the previous month.
Five ways to drive real estate leads with SEO
Having a hard time getting found online? How’s your social media footprint? Are your business profile, website and Facebook page drawing all the attention to your business that they could be? Here’s your chance to find out if you're doing everything you can to point people to your website, social pages and listings.
Tips for writing replies to any review
Reviews are powerful. They can be compelling enough to persuade consumers to reach out, or hurtful enough to shrink your business. That’s why responding to reviews is just as important as requesting them.
CFPB announces Fall 2016 rulemaking agenda
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, federal agencies must publish regulatory agendas twice a year. The OMB recently posted online CFPB's updated agenda submitted in early fall. Portions of that agenda will also be published in the Federal Register.Here’s a brief summary of various CFPB initiatives.
Refi applicants discouraged by limited credit access
The proportion of consumers who applied for credit and reported feeling “discouraged” by or “rejected” in their experience has clawed higher, especially among mortgage refinance applicants, in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s recently released Survey of Consumer Expectations Credit Access Survey for October 2016.
Independent mortgage bank volumes up, production profits stable in Q3
Independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks reported a net gain of $1,773 on each loan they originated in the third quarter of 2016, up from a reported gain of $1,686 per loan in the second quarter of 2016, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Dec. 7 in its Quarterly Mortgage Bankers Performance Report.
FHA loan limits to rise in 2017
The Federal Housing Administration on Dec. 1 announced the agency's new schedule of loan limits, and due to an increase in housing prices, most areas in the country will see a slight increase in loan limits in 2017. These loan limits are effective for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2017, and will remain in effect through the end of the year.
Social media keeps changing but are you?
That pesky social media. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it — that you’re hip, you’re in the game — the tectonic plates shift a bit and suddenly, you’re behind the curve. Staying current on social can be overwhelming and feel impossible.
CoreLogic: Home prices Up 6.7 percent in October
CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, released its CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast for October 2016 which shows home prices are up both year over year and month over month.
Freddie Mac: Housing markets steady with room for improvement
Freddie Mac released its Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) Nov. 30, showing the majority of the top 100 largest housing markets across the country improving steadily, while helping to produce the best year in homes sales in a decade.
Pending home sales crawl forward in October
Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in October, but did squeak out a meager gain for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Fed reports moderate growth pattern continues
According to the Federal Reserve’s Nov. 30 Beige Book release, the economy continued to expand across most regions from early October through mid-November. Residential real estate activity improved across districts. Reports about existing- and new-home sales were mixed, but most districts noted a slight to modest increase during the period.
A North-South divide emerges in defect, fraud and misrepresentation risk
First American released its October 2016 Loan Application Defect Index, showing a further decrease in the frequency of defects, fraudulence and misrepresentation in the information submitted in mortgage loan applications, with the highest levels of risk emerging in the South.
Drones take flight in real estate industry
If there’s one real estate trend that’s surely taken flight over the last couple years, it’s drones (pun very much intended). Drones are leveling-up listing photos, turning basic from-the-ground house shots into aerial masterpieces that showcase the entire property — water features, landscapes, mountain views, and more.
Modest economic growth expected despite legislative and regulatory uncertainty
The forthcoming change in the U.S. administration poses new uncertainties about the economy, but modest growth is still expected for 2016 and 2017, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group’s November 2016 Economic and Housing Outlook.
Purchase applications drive increase in latest MBA weekly survey
Mortgage applications increased 5.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Nov. 18.
Court Issues Injunction Prohibiting Dec. 1 Implementation of DOL Overtime Rule
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued an injunction prohibiting the Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule from taking effect on Dec. 1. The court was responding to a petition brought by 21 state attorneys general and several business coalitions, arguing that the DOL had overstepped its statutory authority.
Existing-home sales jump again in October
Existing-home sales ascended in October for the second straight month and eclipsed June's cyclical sales peak to become the highest annualized pace in nearly a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions saw monthly and annual sales increases in October.
Finish the Year Strong with These Success Tips
Are you close to reaching your goals for the year? Whether you maintained your momentum throughout the year or you’re trying to catch up after a setback, you can still get on track to finish the year strong.
October new home mortgage applications increase 8 percent year over year
The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey data for October 2016 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 8 percent relative to October 2015. Compared to September 2016, applications decreased by 2 percent.
MBA, NAR weigh in on FHA's annual report to Congress
The Federal Housing Administration’s annual report boasting a healthy Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund was impetus for the National Association of Realtors to call for FHA to reduce mortgage insurance premiums to better reflect the risk in the marketplace and to eliminate life-of-loan mortgage insurance. But the Mortgage Bankers Association was a bit more cautious, citing the continued volatility of the HECM book of business as a reason to remain conservative.
Apartment and condominium market posts positive gains in Q3
The Multifamily Production Index, released Nov. 17 by the National Association of Home Builders, posted a gain of three points to 53 in the third quarter. The MPI has been at 50 or above since the beginning of 2012.
Keeping in touch: It's more than updating your holiday list
According to the 2015 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 41 percent of buyers were referred to their real estate agent by a friend, neighbor or relative, and 12 percent used the agent who assisted them in a previous transaction. Cultivating relationships with clients can pay off in the long run.
More companies move to integrate marketing and communications
More companies today are seeing greater efficiency and benefit in operating marketing and communications as a single function, according to a recent Conference Board report.
Study: 'Unscoreable' consumers likely as creditworthy as 'scoreables'
Consumers deemed “unscoreable” by conventional credit scoring models — and shut out of access to credit, including mortgages, as a result — are likely to be as creditworthy as “scoreables,” a recent study by VantageScore Solutions reveals.
Serious delinquency rate lowest since 2007
The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased 14 basis points to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.52 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the third quarter of 2016. This was the lowest level since the second quarter of 2006 when the delinquency rate was 4.39 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's National Delinquency Survey.
Housing affordability edges lower in Q3
Ongoing home price appreciation offset a small decline in mortgage interest rates to move housing affordability slightly lower in the third quarter of 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released Nov. 10.
Top 3 reasons to use electronic notarizations
With remote e-notarizations, digital signature technology is used to sign documents securely. Video conferencing allows notaries to witness signatures from all parties involved, and then they use e-notary technology to notarize documents electronically.Read on for the top three reasons to begin using remote e-notarizations.
Housing recovery continues at modest pace
Markets in 162 of the approximately 340 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in the third quarter of 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI) released Nov. 7. This represents a year-over-year net gain of 73 markets.
Consumer pessimism on display as HPSI drops again
The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) dipped 1.1 points to 81.7 in October, the third decrease in as many months.
Commercial/multifamily originations to grow 4 percent in 2017
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) projects originations of commercial and multifamily mortgages will grow to $537 billion in 2017, an increase of 4 percent from expected 2016 volumes of $515 billion.
Freddie Mac: Real estate professionals influence clients' lender choice
Most real estate professionals refer clients to a select group of lenders and they choose those companies based on the ease of doing business with them, their reputations, and the strength of those relationships, according to a survey commissioned by Freddie Mac.
Housing supply crunch accelerates metro home price growth during Q3
Persistent supply shortages throughout the country led to slightly faster home price appreciation during the third quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. The report also revealed that seven of the 10 most expensive housing markets in the U.S. are in the West.
First-time Buyers, Single Women Gain Traction in NAR’s 2016 Buyer and Seller Survey
The quickening pace of home sales over the past year included a small rebound from two key segments of buyers who have been missing in action in recent years: first-time buyers and single women.
Basic Training: Tools vs. Skills
The tools that real estate agents and brokers have at their fingertips are second to none, and we, as an industry, are quick to innovate and purchase more tools. That’s the good news. The bad news is that all the best tools in the world won’t close a transaction, and the tools won’t work if you don’t learn how to use them.
NAHB says HUD proposed elevation standards a ‘disaster’ for housing affordability
In the face of increased flooding risks and rising sea levels, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed elevation standards for all HUD-supported properties. NAHB lashed out against the proposal, claiming HUD is overstepping its bounds and that the proposal would be a “disaster for housing affordability.”
U.S. housing market continues steady improvement
Freddie Mac released its Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), showing three additional states – Indiana, Alabama and New Jersey – and one additional metro area – Dayton, Ohio – entering their historic benchmark levels of housing activity.
Pending home sales shift higher in September
Pending home sales shifted higher in September following August's notable dip and are now at their fifth highest level over the past year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Increases in the South and West outgained declines in the Northeast and Midwest.
Multifamily lending up 28 Percent in 2015
In 2015, 2,855 different multifamily lenders provided a total of $249.8 billion in new mortgages for apartment buildings with five or more units, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Annual Report on Multifamily Lending.
Know Before You Owe: A one-year lookback
Comprehensive regulatory overhauls are never easy, and harmonizing the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Know Before You Owe” mortgage initiative has been no exception.
Generating listings in low inventory markets
The greatest thing about real estate is that there are a lot of options for creating new listings, but one of the saddest things is that only a few agents are taking full advantage of those options. According to Dirk Zeller, the problem isn’t that they don’t know what to do; the problem is that their ratio of direct income producing activities is not proportionate to their production supporting activities.
U.S. economy expected to grow 2.4 percent in second half
Economic growth is expected to average 2.4 percent in the second half of the year, up from 1.1 percent in the first half but at a slightly slower pace than predicted in the prior forecast, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group’s October 2016 Economic and Housing Outlook.
The Fed reports economy continues to grow, construction continues to expand
Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest national economic activity continued to expand during the reporting period from late August to early October. Residential construction and real estate activity expanded further, home price appreciation continued at a modest pace in general, and commercial real estate activity and construction improved since the last report.
RESI: Strong Outlook for Refis Drives Increase in Market Confidence
According to the Q3 2016 First American Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), title agents exhibited a 7.6 percent increase in market production confidence.
How to Use Instagram to Help Build Business
Instagram just passed the 400-million-user mark, and with the U.S. population spending an average of 1.7 hours on social media every day, this is a big deal for your business. Think you don’t need Instagram followers? Consider that 61 percent of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-64.
Mortgage rates tick higher
Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing average fixed mortgage rates following Treasury yields and moving higher.
How to create a successful routine
Although the concept of a routine sounds boring, having one is crucial to your success. Want to create a better routine? Here’s how.
High-performance home marketing services more important than ever
Corporate transfer reluctance has declined consistently from its 78 percent high (2012) to 35 percent (2015) according to Worldwide ERC’s annual U.S. Transfer Volume & Cost Survey. Transferee homeowners are less likely to decline job transfers because of departure housing-related reasons. So how can you enhance the value you already bring to corporate transferees?
CoreLogic: Foreclosure inventory down nearly 30% from August 2015
CoreLogic released its August 2016 National Foreclosure Report which shows the foreclosure inventory declined by 29.6 percent and completed foreclosures declined by 42.4 percent compared with August 2015.
Consumers Show Increased Caution in Home Purchase Sentiment in September
The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased 2.2 points to 82.8 in September, moving further off of survey highs.
Health care, professional services boost hiring in September
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in September, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Oct.7. Employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.
NAR: FHA Single Family Handbook update delivers clarity for appraisers
HUD recently announced updates to their SF Handbook that clarifies new requirements for appraisers to operate and physically observe appliances on a property during the completion of an appraisal.
Job opportunities in residential construction offer career path for millennials
As the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) celebrates Careers in Construction Month in October, builders around the country are seeking skilled craftsmen to help them build the American Dream.
Seven tips for winning over your share of buyers
As a real estate salesperson, one of your goals is to win over your share of buyers – and perhaps even more than your share. To do that, you need to understand what homebuyers want from their agent, and from the home-buying experience.
Five social media strategies for customer engagement
Social media pages, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., are all popular platforms you can use to generate awareness about your services and qualifications, while also maintaining and building those relationships with your clients. You may not think people are interested in what you have to say, but they are. You just have to say it the right way.
Three tips to convert online leads every time
Finding new prospects is the lifeblood of any real estate practice. Lead generation is one of the most profitable tasks you can factor into your schedule, especially in today’s market. But what happens after you capture new leads?
Seven rules to managing a productive real estate team
Every MLS market has a highly productive real estate team. They are a dominating force and everyone knows their “For Sale” signs. We often wonder, “Who leads them and what do they do differently?”
Millennials balance hopeful aspirations and harsh economic realities
A new national survey of Millennials reveals a generation convinced the economy is failing them, a generation that is willing to work hard to better their lot, and a generation experiencing a great deal of anxiety about the future.
New index shows housing market moving deeper into buy territory
The United States housing market as a whole is moving marginally deeper into buy territory, according to a new index from Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University which suggests that, on average, the majority of housing markets around the country are in good shape and remain a sound investment.
How to stay motivated: The art and science of leveraging small wins
Humans by nature are goal-oriented beings – we often experience the burning excitement of a new goal, which gives us the motivation to take our first steps toward achieving it. Perhaps your goal is to lose weight, become the top salesperson in your company, or save up enough money for that dream trip to Greece.
How to create an unstoppable business
According to a recent Gallup poll, half of all small businesses fail within five years of opening. Some fail because they run out of money; others because the stress of running a business takes its toll. Whatever the reason, opening a business is a risky endeavor. However, by following these seven steps, you can create a business that defies the odds and lasts.
CoreLogic reports a 3.9 percent YOY increase in mortgage fraud risk in Q2
CoreLogic released its latest Mortgage Fraud Report on Sept. 22, showing a 3.9 percent year-over-year increase in fraud risk, as measured by the CoreLogic Mortgage Application Fraud Risk Index.
Existing-home sales soften further in August
Existing-home sales eased up in August for the second consecutive month despite mortgage rates near record lows as higher home prices and not enough inventory for sale kept some would-be buyers at bay, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the Northeast region saw a monthly increase in closings in August, where inventory is currently more adequate
NAHB concerned ESA changes to NFIP will harm housing affordability
The National Association of Home Builders has urged Congress to oppose the inappropriate use of the Endangered Species Act to change the focus of the National Flood Insurance Program away from protecting lives and property due to flooding loss.
Housing production hits a mild speed bump in August
Nationwide housing starts fell 5.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million units in August, according to newly released data from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Overall permit issuance edged 0.4 percent lower.
NAR study: Real estate firms have positive outlook, despite sales volume decrease
The vast majority of real estate firms have an optimistic outlook for the future of the industry’s profitability and growth, according to the National Association of Realtors 2016 Profile of Real Estate Firms. Profitability expectations have declined from the 2015 survey, mainly due to inventory shortages and home-price growth, but real estate firms remain confident about their overall future profitability.
Economic growth on the upswing, with a few emerging soft spots
Economic growth is poised to accelerate to 2.6 percent in the second half of the year, a rebound from the lackluster growth of 1.0 percent in the first half of 2016, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group’s September 2016 Economic and Housing Outlook.
Builder confidence surges in September
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in September jumped six points to 65 from a downwardly revised August reading of 59 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This marks the highest HMI level since October 2015.
Lender profit expectations more positive as compliance cost concerns recede
Mortgage lenders have reported a net positive profit margin outlook for a third consecutive quarter, according to Fannie Mae’s third quarter 2016 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey.
Financial regulators release revised information security booklet
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council members issued a revised Information Security booklet, which is part of the FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbook.
Affordability, down payment uncertainty stalling first-time homebuyers
Lofty home-price growth and tight supply are leading to softening confidence among renters about whether it’s a good time to buy a home, according to the latest installment of the NAR Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey. The survey also found that a misconception about how much of a down payment is needed to buy could be unnecessarily delaying some qualified homebuyers.
Leveraging the power of client reviews
One of the most common questions I hear from our clients is, “How do I grow my customer reviews?” Client reviews are a powerful marketing tool — they offer the peer evaluation shoppers have come to trust, and you can bet that in this digital age, potential buyers or sellers will look you up online to see your reviews from past clients.
Visual Storytelling: Tips for mastering the art of Instagram
Creating and implementing a consistent social media strategy is vital for real estate agents looking to cultivate online leads while maintaining current relationships. For real estate agents wanting to reach every type of buyer possible, social media is a resource you can’t go without, or else money will be left on the table and market share will surely decrease.
HPSI points to continued, moderate strengthening of housing
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index shows that consumers have a fairly optimistic 12-month outlook on housing, supported by increased job confidence and more favorable expectations regarding their personal financial situations compared with this time last year.
Commercial/multifamily delinquencies remain low in second quarter
Delinquency rates for commercial and multifamily mortgage loans remained low in the second quarter of 2016, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Commercial/Multifamily Delinquency Report.
Preventing wire fraud is a team effort
The real estate industry has recently been a primary target of wire fraud. Buyers have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result. Fortunately, there are steps that you and your buyers can take to protect everyone from fraud.
Freddie Mac reports housing market holding steady
Freddie Mac released its Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), showing South Carolina and two additional metro areas – Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia – entering their historic benchmark levels of housing activity.
151,000 jobs added in August, unemployment rate remains at 4.9 percent
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in August, and the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Sept. 2. Employment continued to trend up in several service-providing industries.
Five ways big data is changing real estate
Every facet of the business world has been radically changed by the way data is collected, analyzed and transmitted. So much so, that past models of how major industries were run have now become largely obsolete. Data analysis is considered the “gold standard” by which companies look at the future.
Four must-do farming tips for new agents
According to the National Association of Realtors, there are just over one million active real estate licensees in the United States. With new agents joining the market every day, competition can be fierce. Becoming a real estate agent can be both exciting and highly rewarding, but it can present potential challenges as well.
Commercial real estate expansion foreseen
Buoyed by a steadily improving labor market and strong demand for multifamily housing, commercial real estate activity should remain on an upward trajectory, with a growing share of it is expected to be in smaller markets, according to the National Association of Realtors quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
How to create real estate listings that sell
Online listings are the first step of almost every real estate sale these days so it is crucial that yours be in great shape. Attracting buyers with property listings can be a challenge for many real estate agents, but if you keep the right things in mind, it is easy to use them effectively.
Existing-home sales lose steam in July
Slowed by frustratingly low inventory levels in many parts of the country, existing-home sales lost momentum in July and decreased year-over-year for the first time since November 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the West region saw a monthly increase in closings in July.
Cookies can't redeem a bad first impression
Open houses are meant to help sell a home by attracting agents and potential homebuyers. Therefore, the most important aspect of an open house is getting people to show up and look at the property. But how can you attract the most people?
GSEs publish redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application form and dataset
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced the publication of the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application, the standardized form used by borrowers to apply for a mortgage loan.
New home sales climb to highest level since October 2007
Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 12.4 percent in July from a downwardly revised June reading to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Rising home prices affect housing affordability in the Q2
Solid home price appreciation more than offset a modest reduction in mortgage interest rates to push housing affordability lower in the second quarter of 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.
Mortgage originations expected to top $2 trillion
Freddie Mac released its monthly Outlook for August showing that for the first time since 2012, mortgage originations are expected to top $2 trillion in 2016.
Consumer spending expected to bolster economic growth for second half of 2016
Economic growth is expected to rebound in the second half of 2016 after a disappointing second quarter, keeping the full-year growth outlook at 1.8 percent, according to Fannie Mae. However, continued momentum in consumer spending in the third quarter is crucial for driving growth as business investment is struggling.
5 ways to grow your brand awareness using promotional merchandise
When competition is fierce and customers are continuously bombarded with products and services, how can you stand out from the crowd? How can you make customers believe that what you offer is superior? How can you gain their trust and loyalty? Branding is the answer.
What you need to know about the Data Security Act of 2015
Businesses are at the mercy of hackers, sniffers, and the criminal element who are after your data. Many states have their own regulatory requirements, and this lacks uniformity and creates issues for those who do business across the United States. H.R. 2205 is attempting to create business compliance which will supersede the state regulations and protect consumer information.
Attract new clients through your website
It’s no secret that the Internet is a hotbed of real estate. Between Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and the countless other real estate websites, it’s also extremely competitive. Before you write off using a website for increasing your sales, consider this: 80 percent of potential buyers research on the Internet before purchasing. With the right strategy, you can get your slice of that 80 percent and increase your leads and sales.
Dip in distressed saturation levels impacts affordability
Most markets across the nation remain relatively unchanged, but a longer term dip in distressed saturation levels in the West indicates a strong recovery at the expense of overall affordability, according to Clear Capital’s Home Data Index Market Report.
Home price gains unfettered in most metro areas during Q2
Home prices maintained their robust, upward trajectory in a vast majority of metro areas during the second quarter, causing affordability to slightly decline despite mortgage rates hovering at lows not seen in over three years, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. The report also revealed that for the first time ever, a metro area – San Jose, California – had a median single-family home price above $1 million.
10 Links to Success from Floyd Wickman
It’s one thing to become successful, but how do you stay successful year after year? To be successful at anything, you have to start with being a successful person. Realtor Floyd Wickman tells agents they can’t be successful in real estate until they’ve first achieved success as a person.
Mortgage credit availability increases, MBA updates MCAI methodology
Mortgage credit availability increased in July according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association which analyzes data from Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool. MBA also announce it has updated its methodology to better measure credit availability and has released a new historical series based on this updated methodology.
HPSI surpasses survey high, as Millennials shift towards purchase market
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) increased 3.3 points to 86.5 in July, reaching a new all-time survey high and indicating a more positive outlook in the housing market-specific HPSI components. Each of the six HPSI components increased in July.
Multifamily market headed for record $280B year despite moderating fundamentals
Nationally, multifamily origination volumes are on track to increase seven percent and set a new annual record of $280 billion in 2016, according to the Freddie Mac Multifamily Research Group. Nevertheless, origination growth is moderating compared to the same period in 2015, when volumes rose by 35 percent.
The four keys to reproducible results
Matthew and Janice are emerging entrepreneurs who recently went into business together. During a meeting, they discussed their future profit projections and how well their business is performing financially six-months after its opening. What began as a conversation about dollars and profit margins quickly turned into a debate over the Great Recession, and the benefits of transforming an organization primarily driven by profit, to an organization led by purpose-driven employees.
FinCEN expands reach of real estate ‘Geographic Targeting Orders’ beyond Manhattan and Miami
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) that will temporarily require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay “all cash” for high-end residential real estate in six major metropolitan areas.
Attracting the Right Talent
One of the biggest issues facing brokers and teams today is their ability to find, attract and hire talent. To keep any office humming along efficiently, it’s critical to get the right people in key positions.
Uncertainty drives homebuying, data shows
Fueled by an era of uncertainty, consumers turn to homebuying as a means of stability, a new study shows.
Stay connected to your business when you're on the go
As a busy real estate professional, you’re likely most productive when you’re away from your desk and out meeting with clients, showing homes and presenting your home marketing plan to potential sellers. Luckily, technology has made it possible to run your business from anywhere with the help of your smartphone or tablet.
Facebook Live the latest trend to infiltrate the open house scene
For real estate agent Zac McHardy — hailing out of Australia — showing potential buyers through a house via Facebook Live has not only amped up local interest in the home located at 188 Newman Road, Geebung, Queensland, it has also set him on a path of viral fame.
Existing-home sales ascend in June, sparked by first-time buyers
Boosted by a greater share of sales to first-time buyers, existing-home sales maintained their upward trajectory in June and increased for the fourth consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors. NAR also reported that pending home sales were mostly unmoved in June, but did creep slightly higher, as supply and affordability constraints prevented a bigger boost in activity.
Fannie Mae enhances HomeReady Mortgage to expand access to credit
Fannie Mae announced enhancements to HomeReady, the affordable mortgage option designed to meet the diverse needs of borrowers.
Boomerang buyers making a gradual return
While millions of former homeowners reentering the buying market would have a significant impact on home sales, CoreLogic reports that historical data shows a more gradual return rate for those who lost their homes to foreclosure, with less than half returning to homeownership even 16 years after the foreclosures were completed.
55+ buyers remain actively engaged in real estate market
Freddie Mac released its monthly Insight for July with further analysis of the perceptions and plans of 55+ homeowners and the impact they'll have on the broader housing market for years to come, based on the results from the Freddie Mac 55+ Survey.
The real estate professional's SEO guide for using keywords
Keyword selection is the heart of an SEO campaign. If you select the wrong keywords, most or all of your subsequent campaign investment will be wasted, even if you use brilliant SEO techniques. Here are best practices for selecting and deploying keywords in your SEO campaign. Follow these guidelines and you will attract relevant traffic and generate great leads as a result.
Consumer spending lifts growth as businesses face headwinds
The economic growth outlook for the second half of the year remains unchanged from the prior forecast at about 2.0 percent, according to Fannie Mae. Consumer spending is expected to drive growth for the rest of 2016, as businesses face headwinds from shrinking profits, weak productivity, and rising labor costs in the face of uncertainty stemming from Brexit and the U.S. presidential election.
How to build your brand
If you have a business, you have a brand, and each time you connect with your clients — whether in person, on the phone or online — you have a chance to build your brand and create loyal advocates.
Builder confidence holds firm in July
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in July fell one point to 59 from a June reading of 60 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. NAHB said builder confidence has remained in a relatively narrow positive range that is consistent with the ongoing gradual housing recovery.
NAR-backed condo legislation passes U.S. Senate, offers relief for homebuyers
The U.S. Senate last week passed H.R. 3700, the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act," by unanimous consent. This legislation includes reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing, among other provisions.
NAR reports slight decline in international sales volume
Waning economic growth in many countries and higher home prices further enhanced by a strengthening U.S. dollar resulted in a slight decline in international sales dollar volume of U.S. property over the past year and a significant retreat in buying from non-resident foreigners.
Mortgage Credit Availability Decreases in June
Mortgage credit availability decreased in June according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association which analyzes data from Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool.
3 Essentials to Achieving Success
The most successful people have three things in common: a positive attitude, the drive to succeed and the habits in place to help them reach their goals. One of my mentors, Jim Rohn, said if you work harder on your business than you do on your job, you’ll go from making a living to making a fortune.
Down Payment Assistance Programs Save Homebuyers More Than $17K
Analysis of the impact of down payment assistance on the cost of buying a home — including the down payment and monthly house payments for a median-priced home in 513 counties nationwide — was released this week in a joint report by RealtyTrac and Down Payment Resource.
MBA Releases Updated Commercial/Multifamily Real Estate Finance Forecast
The Mortgage Bankers Association projects originations of commercial and multifamily mortgages will total $500 billion in 2016, roughly flat from the $504 billion originated in 2015 and slightly less than the record of $508 billion originated in 2007.
Builders Urge Caution as Congress Seeks to Reauthorize NFIP
Extreme flood insurance rate hikes and inaccurate floodplain maps drive up the cost of homeownership and threaten small businesses, the nation’s home builders told Congress at a June Senate hearing.
Employment Numbers Roar Back in June
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 287,000 in June, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, and financial activities.
Loan Application Defect and Fraud Risk Reaches Historically Measured Low Point
The First American Loan Application Defect Index, which reflects estimated mortgage loan defect rates over time, by geography and by loan type, is down 28.4 percent from the high point of risk in October 2013.
Fannie and Freddie Prevent Nearly 3.7 Million Foreclosures
The FHFA recently reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed 49,573 foreclosure prevention actions in Q1 2016, bringing the total number of foreclosure prevention actions to nearly 3.7 million since September 2008. These measures have helped more than 3 million borrowers stay in their homes, including nearly 1.9 million who received permanent loan modifications.
Understanding First-Time Homebuyers: What to Know and How to Serve
The summer buying season is in full swing, and first-time homebuyers make up a sizeable portion of your firm’s potential clientele — 32 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. What do we know about today’s first-time homebuyer?
ALTA Board Approves Modifications to Best Practices
ALTA’s Board of Governors on June 9 approved proposed changes to the association’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” to better reflect market needs and trends.
Stay Safe Online: What Is Ransomware and How Can I Avoid It?
Reports of ransomware — an invasive software that demands ransom to access unlawfully locked digital files — have risen in the last year, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) (StaySafeOnline.org).
Pending Home Sales Skid in May
After steadily increasing for three straight months, pending home sales let up in May and declined year-over-year for the first time in almost two years, according to the National Association of Realtors. All four major regions experienced a cutback in contract activity last month.
Top 4 Ways to Build a Winning Prospecting Plan
It’s never too early or too often to take a close, strategic look at your prospecting plan. In addition to providing a wonderful experience for your homebuyers, your online property data program can be a rich and insightful resource for finding your next clients and buyers.
Are You Limiting Your Social Reach? Five Unique Ways to Break Through
If you search online for tips about increasing your social reach, you’ll probably find articles about posting useful information, following the 80/20 rule, and keeping your audience engaged by responding to their comments and questions. While these tips are important, what are some new ways you can boost the number of people seeing your social posts?
Housing to Stay on Track Despite Rising Prices
Freddie Mac released its monthly outlook for June, showing that low mortgage rates are helping to keeping housing on track despite rapidly rising house prices.
Commercial Drone Use Set to Take Flight with Release of FAA Rule
Commercial drone use in the real estate business got a boost with the release of the Federal Aviation Administration's final rule governing small unmanned aerial systems, or UASs, in the national air space.
Existing-Home Sales Grow 1.8 Percent in May, Highest Pace in More Than Nine Years
Existing-home sales sprang ahead in May to their highest pace in almost a decade, while the uptick in demand this spring amidst lagging supply levels pushed the median sales price to an all-time high, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions except for the Midwest saw strong sales increases last month.
8 Red Flags that Your Company Needs a Service Overhaul
Joseph Michelli — who worked with Mercedes-Benz USA to positively and dramatically transform its customer experience and who has written books on service giants like Zappos and Starbucks — knows just how hard it is for most organizations to keep customers happy for the long haul. Here, he shares eight service-related red flags that require your immediate attention.
Economic Growth Outlook Holds Steady for 2016
Encouraging signs from consumer spending and housing activity in early Q2 now tempered by labor market slowdown, according to Fannie Mae.
Helping Your Clients Understand Appraisals and Your Appraiser Understand the Property
There can be a lot of misunderstanding around the appraisal process, particularly with the new emphasis on appraisal independence. But real estate agents can actually play a powerful role in providing important information to the appraiser and in helping their clients understand the purpose and scope of the appraisal. Here are a few things real estate agents should keep in mind as they guide their clients.
Massive Actions Create Massive Results
Most of the time, the key to success is not the person or the market; rather, the activities we focus on each day are those that produce the greatest return on our time investment. I would go so far as to say it’s our massive actions that generate the greatest results.
Builder Confidence Rises Two Points in June
After holding steady for the past four months, builder confidence in the market for newly constructed single-family homes rose two points in June to a level of 60 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the highest reading since January 2016.
Lenders: Purchase Mortgage Demand Expected to Grow, Credit Standards Unchanged
Lender attitudes toward the housing market are positive overall heading into Q3, having recovered from a significant decline in recent quarters, according to Fannie Mae’s second quarter 2016 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey.
Salmon Introduces Bill to Fine Tune CFPB Complaint Database
U.S. Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ) introduced a bill on June 8 that would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to verify and put into context the consumer complaints they are presenting.
71 Percent Believe Student Debt Delays Homeownership
Seventy-one percent of non-homeowners repaying their student loans on time believe their debt is stymieing their ability to purchase a home, and slightly over half of all borrowers say they expect to be delayed from buying by more than five years.
268,000 U.S. Homeowners Regained Equity in Q1
CoreLogic released a new analysis showing 268,000 homeowners regained equity in Q1 2016, bringing the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity at the end of Q1 2016 to approximately 46.7 million, or 92 percent of all mortgaged properties.
Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Delinquency Rates Low, Record Decline for CMBS Loans
Delinquency rates for commercial and multifamily mortgage loans remained low in the first quarter of 2016, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Commercial/Multifamily Delinquency Report.
Independent Mortgage Bank Profits Up from Previous Quarter, Down Year-over-Year
Independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks reported a net gain of $825 on each loan they originated in the first quarter of 2016, up from a reported gain of $493 per loan in the fourth quarter of 2015, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported in its Quarterly Mortgage Bankers Performance Report.
Increase in Consumers' Household Income Growth Perceptions Boosts HPSI
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased 1.6 points to 85.3 in May, reaching a new all-time survey high and rebounding from an 18-month low in March. Three of the six HPSI components increased in May, led by a 7 percentage point increase on net in the share of consumers reporting that their income was significantly higher than it was 12 months ago.
NAR Member Survey Shows Younger Realtors Entering the Industry
The median age and years of experience of Realtors has decreased as new and younger professionals enter the industry, according to the 2016 National Association of Realtors Member Profile.
10 Top Senior Housing Trends for 2016
The shape of senior living communities across the world has changed drastically over the past several years. Baby boomers have their own unique ideas of what their retirement years are going to look like, and the industry must change in order to fit the shape of their unique preferences. This year’s anticipated trends don’t look like your grandmother’s retirement!
Talking Tech with Tyler Smith
Seth Kaplan interviews Tyler Smith, the Founder and CEO of SkySlope, a real estate industry leader in digital transaction management software. Having been a top-producing agent himself, Tyler offers a unique perspective from both sides of equation.
5 Ways to Wow Your Clients
It’s the little things you do to show your clients you care, that you appreciate them as people and want to establish the trust that prompts them to work with you again in the future and refer you to their family and friends.
FHA Looks to Strengthen Reverse Mortgages
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently proposed a new rule to strengthen its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Program. In addition to formalizing many of the structural improvements announced recently, FHA’s proposed rule is intended to make certain FHA-insured reverse mortgages remain a viable and sustainable resource for senior homeowners.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Hide from Competitors
A real estate agent recently asked whether he should do anything about his competitors following his Facebook business page. He thought it could be prudent to ban or remove them. I understood the reasoning of the question; a competitor might steal his great marketing ideas. But as I thought it through, I honestly couldn’t come up with a single legitimate reason to ban anyone from a Facebook page.
The Ultimate Listing Strategy
Many top performers will tell you that one of the keys to their success is their ability to control and dominate listings. We teach our coaching clients that each listing should result in 1.5 buyer-side transactions, so every time you list a home, you should close 2.5 real estate sides.
Pending Home Sales Lift Off in April to Over 10-Year High
Pending home sales rose for the third consecutive month in April and reached their highest level in over a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions saw gains in contract activity last month except for the Midwest, which saw a meager decline.
Housing Starts up 6.6 Percent in April
Nationwide housing starts rose 6.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million in April, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.
Existing-Home Sales Rise in April for Second Straight Month
Despite ongoing inventory shortages and faster price growth, existing-home sales sustained their recent momentum and moved higher for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors. A surge in sales in the Midwest and a decent increase in the Northeast offset smaller declines in the South and West.
Economic Growth Subpar, But Late Year Surge Anticipated
Fannie Mae lowered its full-year economic growth forecast to 1.7 percent, but expects economic growth to bounce back through the remainder of the year amid improved financial conditions, with consumer spending remaining an engine for growth and the housing and government sectors making positive contributions.
3 Top Tips for Effective Online Farming
With your audience’s constant smartphone use, it can be tough to get people to notice the billboards or bench signs that would have been easily recognizable during a standard geo-farming campaign. That raises the question, how can you reach buyers and sellers in your area when everyone is glued to their phones and tablets? You’ve heard a lot about geographic farming, but what do you know about digital farming?
Millennials Changing Face of America, Heavily Impacting Homeownership
Millennials are bucking trends, changing the landscape of America, and sharply different from previous generations in many different ways. One of the most visible and consequential ways is through millennial homeownership numbers, according to experts on generational trends and homeownership presenting at the 2016 Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.
Real Estate Agents, Appraisers Voice Concerns over FHA Appraisal Policies
While the Federal Housing Administration’s overhaul of its Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook last year offered loan originators more clarity on lending policies and loan underwriting standards, some changes made to the property valuation policies are causing confusion and delays, according to speakers at a real property valuation forum at the 2016 Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.
Prepping Foreign Sellers Early in the Process on FIRPTA Requirements Can Prevent Closing Table Issues
Recent changes to FIRPTA have shone a spotlight on the challenges facing real estate agents and settlement service providers when handling transactions for non-U.S. citizens selling their U.S. property. While there are indeed a few extra hoops to jump through, the requirements don’t have to be closing-table deal-killers, if all parties understand the rules and put procedures in place that will ensure a smooth closing.
ALTA Survey Shows More Homebuyers Reviewing Mortgage Disclosures
More homebuyers are reviewing their mortgage documents prior to their real estate closing under new federal regulations, according to results of a Home Closing Survey conducted by the American Land Title Association.
The Age of Innovation: 3 Facts Agents of the Future Must Face Today
One thing we can always count on is change, and today we are on the cusp of big events in the world of real estate. Five years from now, the way agents engage with the market will be markedly different than it was five years ago.
ABA Reports Rise in Demand for Commercial Real Estate Loans
Eighty-two percent of banks plan to increase capital concentration in commercial real estate, according to the American Bankers Association’s first annual Commercial Real Estate Lending Survey.
Overall Builder Confidence in the 55+ Housing Market Remains Positive in Q1
Builder confidence in the single-family 55+ housing market remains in positive territory for the first quarter of 2016 with a reading of 56, according to the National Association of Home Builders' 55+ Housing Market Index.
Home Purchase Sentiment Index Increases to 83.7 in April
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased 3.5 points to 83.7 in April, bouncing back from an 18-month low in March, yet overall consumer housing sentiment has remained generally flat.
Metro Home Prices Maintain Steadfast Growth in First Quarter
An uptick in sales activity amidst meager supply levels upheld the trend of unwavering price gains in an overwhelming majority of metro areas during the first quarter of the year, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.
CFPB Seeks Comment on Proposal to Ban Arbitration Clauses
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking comments on proposed rules that would prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses that deny groups of consumers their day in court.
Flood Insurance Legislation Offers Flexibility for Consumers
The National Association of Realtors applauded the passage of H.R. 2901, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, saying it goes a long way to alleviating concerns for property owners who opt to purchase flood insurance in the private market. Under the current rules, owners who returned to the National Flood Insurance Program risked paying higher fees.
Active Military Homebuyers Purchase at Younger Ages, Buy Larger and More Expensive Homes
Differences in household demographics and affordable financing options spur homebuying demand for young active-service military members, causing them to significantly outpace the share of non-military homebuyers under the age of 35, according to the first-ever 2016 Veterans & Active Military Home Buyers and Sellers Profile.
Industry Welcomes News of Proposed TRID Adjustments
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s announcement that it was planning a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in July to make needed adjustments to the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures Rule was well received by industry organizations that have been calling for clarification.
3 Top Tips for Effective Online Farming
Loan Application Defect and Fraud Risk Emerging in Southern States
The First American Loan Application Defect Index, which estimates the frequency of defects, fraudulence and misrepresentation in the information submitted in mortgage loan applications, increased 1.3 percent in March as compared with February and decreased by 2.6 percent as compared with March 2015. The Defect Index, which reflects estimated mortgage loan defect rates over time, by geography and by loan type, is down 25.5 percent from the high point of risk in October 2013.
Pending Home Sales Maintain Momentum in March
Pending home sales increased slightly in March for the second consecutive month and reached their highest level in almost a year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the West region saw a decline in contract activity last month.
Consumer Inflation Expectations Decline
The March 2016 Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) results, recently released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, indicate a decline in median inflation expectations at both the one-year and the three-year ahead horizons.
Likelihood of Climate Change Flood Impact Must be Addressed
Freddie Mac released today its monthly Insight for April with a focus on the flood challenges the industry faces, the current system in the United States for dealing with flood risk, and some questions that will have to be addressed if climate change raises sea levels significantly.
ALTA Posts 2015 Year-end Market Share Executive Summary
Title insurance industry net income was almost the same in 2015 as in 2014, although title insurance premiums written were up 15.8 percent from the prior year and total operating Income was up 11.8 percent, according to ALTA's Title Insurance Industry Market Share, Statistical Analysis and Financial Statement compilations for 2015.
Why Email Marketing Must Be a Priority for Real Estate Agents
Email is easily the most ubiquitous digital communication technology. Ninety-five percent of online consumers have at least one email address and most check their email every day. If you are not incorporating this valuable tool into your real estate marketing, you are missing out on valuable leads. Here are a few items that make email so important and ways you can leverage it for marketing success.
Existing-Home Sales Spring Ahead in March
Bolstered by big gains in the Northeast and Midwest, existing-home sales bounced back in March and remained slightly up from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Why to List, and 13 Ways to Generate More Listings
You’ve heard it said that you must list to last. While that’s not entirely true, having a great listing business and strategy can give you an unfair competitive advantage in any market. Here are several areas you can focus on to generate more listing inventory.
Instagram Is Ch-Ch-Changing! Here's What You Need to Know
Big changes are coming for Instagram users and the news alone has sent ripples throughout the world of social media. Acquired by Facebook in April of 2012, it's not totally surprising that Instagram's feed will soon begin to work like Mark Zuckerberg's original tour de force.
Builder Confidence Holds Firm in April
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged in April at a level of 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
Five Ways Your Team Can Break through a Plateau
It was Einstein’s definition of insanity that stated, “You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and over the same way and expect a different result.” If a business does not continue to grow it risks being sidelined and left behind as the market around it changes. So, it’s time to shake things up, tweak your plan and watch the outcome change.
Federal Reserve Reports Moderate Expansion Continues
Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand in late February and March, though the pace of growth varied across districts. Construction and real estate activity generally expanded in late February and March, and contacts across districts maintained a positive outlook for the rest of the year.
Independent Mortgage Banker Profits Up in 2015, Driven by Higher Volume, Larger Loan Balances
Independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks made an average profit of $1,189 on each loan they originated in 2015, up from $747 per loan in 2014, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today in its Annual Mortgage Bankers Performance Report.
Mortgage Credit Availability Decreases Slightly
Mortgage credit availability slightly decreased in March according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association which analyzes data from Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool.
Commercial/Multifamily Originations Rise to Near-Record $504B in 2015
Commercial and multifamily mortgage bankers closed $503.8 billion of loans in 2015 according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's 2015 Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Annual Origination Volume Summation.
HUD Makes $174M Available through New Housing Trust Fund
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that nearly $174 million will soon be made available through first-ever allocations of the National Housing Trust Fund. The fund is a new affordable housing production program.
Vacation Home Sales Retreat, Investment Sales Leap in 2015
Vacation home sales cooled off in 2015 but remained at the second highest amount in nearly a decade, while investment purchases increased for the first time in five years, according to an annual survey of residential homebuyers released April 6 by the National Association of Realtors.
Bridging the Gap between Relationships and Technology
Brian Buffini challenges agents to take a hard look at the source of their closed transactions and invest more time and money in 2016 on what’s making the biggest impact. "Too often I see agents get caught up in the latest technology trap, neglecting the fundamental, unsexy habits that are crucial to sustainable success," he said.
Retail, Construction, Healthcare Feed 215,000 Jobs Increase in March
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Employment increased in retail trade, construction, and health care. Job losses occurred in manufacturing and mining.
How to Be the CEO of Your Business and Life
If you’re like many real estate agents, you may spend the day putting out fires instead of tackling the tasks on your to-do list. Instead of feeling productive, you feel frustrated, overwhelmed and uninspired. Great CEOs run their day; they don’t let their day run them. Want to be the CEO of your business and life? Here’s how to make it happen.
Survey Gauges Early Consumer Reaction to New TRID Rules
Consumers are finding it more difficult to get a mortgage since TRID took effect but are finding the forms easier to understand than the old GFE, according to recently released ClosingCorp findings from a new national consumer survey of repeat homebuyers that provides insight into how the new TRID rule is impacting the customer experience.
'Come in and Shut the Door:' Communication Breach in the Workplace Revealed
In the workplace, “come in and shut the door” usually precedes a tough conversation and is a phrase known to strike terror in the hearts of employees. But the manager on the other side of the desk is likely feeling just as apprehensive about delivering the news, according to a recent survey by Harris Poll on behalf of communications consultancy Interact.
Pending Home Sales Post Healthy Gains in February
Pending home sales rose solidly in February to their highest level in seven months and remain higher than a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Led by a sizeable increase in the Midwest, all major regions except for the Northeast saw an increase in contract activity in February.
How User Behaviors Are Changing SEO Forever
With constant changes and updates to search algorithms and SEO best practices, it can be tough for real estate agents to ensure their websites are optimal for both search engine visibility and users searching for their next home. How can agents keep up with the newest trends? Below are three areas where agents should interact and invest.
MBA Creates the Task Force for a Future Secondary Mortgage Market
The Mortgage Bankers Association has created the Task Force for a Future Secondary Mortgage Market, with the objective of developing a proposal that will address the future of the Secondary Mortgage Market, and in particular, an end-state model that can also fulfill an affordable housing/duty to serve mission.
Fewer Lenders Report Easing of Credit Standards
Fannie Mae’s first quarter 2016 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, conducted in February, shows that the share of mortgage lenders reporting easing credit standards over the prior three months fell for the second straight quarter. Also, the share of lenders who expect to ease credit standards over the following three months fell from last quarter for all mortgage types.
New Home Sales Rise 2 Percent in February
Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 2 percent in February from an upwardly revised January reading to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 512,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Home Builders Urge Congress to Pursue Regulatory Reform to Ease Housing Affordability
Citing an acute shortage of affordable rental housing and severe regulatory burdens that drive up the cost of single- and multifamily housing for home builders and consumers alike, the National Association of Home Builders called on Congress to pursue regulatory reforms that will help improve affordability and promote new development.
Wells Fargo tops MBA’s 2015 Rankings of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Firms’ Origination Volumes
According to a set of commercial/multifamily real estate finance league tables prepared by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Wells Fargo; Eastdil Secured; JP Morgan Chase & Company; HFF, L.P.; Meridian Capital Group, LLC; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; CBRE Capital Markets, Inc.; PNC Real Estate; Key Bank; and Capital One Financial Corp. were the top commercial/multifamily mortgage originators in 2015.
Sales Tumble Amid Low Inventories, Winter Woes
Existing-home sales dropped 7 percent month-over-month in February as the number of homes for-sale continued to be severely limited and home prices accelerated, according to the latest housing report released by the National Association of Realtors. NAR also cited adverse weather and the stock market slump as contributors to the soft closings number.
Economic Growth Outlook Little Changed Despite Improving Financial Market Conditions
According to Fannie Mae, financial market conditions appear to be improving as 2016 progresses, but economic growth is expected to remain flat at 2.0 percent this year. However, positive indicators, including strengthening domestic consumer and business spending and a healthy labor market, should outweigh negative factors.
Single-Family Housing Starts Reach Highest Level since November 2007
Nationwide housing starts rose 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.178 million units in February, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.
FHA’s New Lender Certifications Welcomed by Industry, Consumer group
Industry organizations as well as consumer groups posted generally favorable comments in response to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) updated lender and loan certification requirements issued this week.
4 Simple Life Hacks of Super Producers
Master your day and you’ll master your life. That’s the simple secret of "Super Producers," says two-time, best-selling author and real estate professional Michael Maher. While Super Producers might look superhuman to the average salesperson, they’re not. “All that these incredibly successful people have done is learned the ‘life hacks,’ or shortcuts that make life easier, to be more productive.”
Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Debt Outstanding Grew at a Strong Pace in 2015
The level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased to $2.83 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of $59.7 billion, or 2.2 percent, over the third quarter, according to data collected by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Mortgage Applications for New Home Purchases Increased 24% in February
The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey data for February 2016 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased by 24 percent relative to the previous month.
How Can Real Estate Agents Maintain Client Relationships After the Sale?
Being a successful real estate agent requires a constant two-pronged approach: marketing yourself to bring in new leads and maintaining relationships with past clients. While many real estate agents double down on the former by spending an arm and a leg on a state-of-the-art website, mobile apps and even old-school newspaper ads, the truth is that you could be betting on the wrong horse.
NAR: Millennials Moving to the ‘Burbs
A growing share of homebuyers are millennials, and more of them are purchasing single-family homes outside of urban areas, according to the 2016 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, which evaluates the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers.
CoreLogic Reports National Foreclosure Inventory Down 21.7 Percent from January 2015
CoreLogic released its January 2016 National Foreclosure Report which shows the foreclosure inventory declined by 21.7 percent and completed foreclosures declined by 16.2 percent compared with January 2015.
Economy Adds 242,000 in February
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Construction employment continued to trend up in February (+19,000), with a gain of 14,000 in residential specialty trade contractors. Employment in construction was up by 253,000 over the past 12 months.
Information Central: How Brokers Can Solve Agent Content Needs Once and for All
Finally, we’re all on the same page about what matters most to today’s real estate consumers: relevant, consistent and timely information. In today’s Google-it-get-it world, it’s become paramount for agents to step up their content game to stand out as a credible source of the real estate information buyers and sellers need…and more importantly, expect.
Federal Reserve: Economic Growth Continues to Expand
Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts continued to indicate that economic activity expanded in most districts since the previous Beige Book report. Residential sales, construction and loan demand increased moderately in most districts, and labor markets strengthened. Across the nation, business contacts were generally optimistic about future economic growth.
Four Twitter Mistakes That Are Holding You Back
Because of its ability to connect you with more influencers than any other social network, Twitter is a platform you should be focusing on. According to Chris Smith in a recent Watercooler episode, Twitter is a “bigger pond,” but not as many people are fishing in it. What this means for you is more untapped potential.
Pending Home Sales Cool Down in January
Following the highest average year for the index in nearly a decade, pending home sales declined to begin 2016 but remained slightly higher than a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the South saw an uptick in contract activity in January.
Technology Helps, but Master the Basics First
While technology may help you become more organized and productive, it’s useless if you don’t have the basics down first. With that said, here are three basic marketing principles to master and tech solutions to help you go deeper with each.
What You Should Know about Foreign Clients and FIRPTA
The United States continues to be a desirable location to own real estate for people from all corners of the globe. With the increase in foreign buyers and sellers, it is important to understand what might be the impact on your clients of the recent changes in Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, otherwise known as FIRPTA.
Cybercrime Hitting Real Estate
Online criminals are targeting the real estate industry and stealing large sums of money from unwary homebuyers. This fraud can destroy real estate transactions, so the National Association of REALTORS is urging real estate professionals across the country to immediately implement safety measures to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
Blogging for Your Real Estate Business Can Be a True Advantage
Most real estate agents today are realizing that having a web presence is a must if they want to be successful. The reality is, anyone looking to buy a home is going online first. If you want to appeal to a wide audience, you have to be online. One of the keys to an online presence is blogging.
Affordability Edges Up in Fourth Quarter
Modest home price and interest rate decreases resulted in a slight increase in nationwide housing affordability in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.
Existing Home Sales Inch Forward in January, Price Growth Accelerates
Existing-home sales crept forward in January to the highest annual rate in six months, and subpar supply levels propelled price growth to the fastest increase since last April, according to the National Association of Realtors. The West was the only region to see a decline in sales in January.
MBA Reports Foreclosure Starts Lowest Since 2003
The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.77 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015. This was the lowest level since the third quarter of 2006. The rate at which new foreclosures were started decreased to 0.36 percent, the lowest rate since 2003.
CFPB Finalizes Policy to Facilitate Consumer-Friendly Innovation
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has finalized a policy to facilitate consumer access to innovative financial products and services. The new policy establishes a process for companies to apply for a statement from CFPB staff that would reduce regulatory uncertainty for a new product or service that offers the potential for significant consumer-friendly innovation.
Consumer Spending, Healthy Labor Market Could Offset Financial Market Turmoil
Despite a forecasted pickup in consumer spending, a relatively healthy labor market, and strengthening residential investment and government spending, economic growth appears to be hindered by deteriorating financial conditions and increasing global concerns.
Freddie Mac Expects Multifamily Market to Remain Strong in 2016
Steady economic growth and key drivers will keep the multifamily market moving forward in 2016, according to Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Outlook, released Feb. 10.
Applications for New Home Purchases up 14% in January
The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for January 2016 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased by 14 percent relative to the previous month.
Moderate Commercial Expansion, Easing Prices Expected in 2016
Despite various global and domestic hurdles hindering economic growth, steady job gains and stable leasing demand should help keep commercial real estate activity expanding in 2016, according to the authors of an annual report published jointly by Situs Real Estate Research Corporation, Deloitte and the National Association of Realtors.
Homeowner expectation of value nearing appraiser valuation
Quicken Loans said average home appraisal values in January were 1.75 percent lower than what homeowners were anticipating, according to the company’s Home Price Perception Index. This continues the trend of nearing equilibrium between expectations and actual appraisal values.
Metro Home Prices Accelerate in the Q4 2015
A moderating pace of sales had little impact on the trajectory of home prices during the final three months of the year, which picked up speed and showed continued growth in most of the U.S., according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.
Mortgage Credit Availability Decreased in January
Mortgage credit availability decreased in January, according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MCAI decreased 0.4 percent to 123.8 in January.
Fannie Mae: Fewer Households Report Income Growth
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased 1.7 points to 81.5 in January, with housing affordability constraints reflected in the downward movement of two of the HPSI components.
Millennials to Shape Housing Preferences Once They Start Buying
The millennial generation is poised to make a significant impact on home design with their strong preferences for energy efficiency and smart home technology; comfortable, workable kitchens; and more casual spaces, said representatives from the National Association of Home Builders and Better Homes and Gardens at a recent press conference.
Make 2016 the Year You Sell More Real Estate
Regardless of how your 2015 went, in 2016, you want your business to increase even more. A savvy real estate agent won’t rest on the success of a previous year or give up hope just because of a down year. There is plenty one can do to increase business and sell more real estate in the year ahead.
FHA to Cut Insurance Rates on Multifamily Mortgages
In an effort to help preserve and increase the amount of affordable, quality rental housing across the country, the Federal Housing Administration announced a multifamily insurance rate reduction designed to encourage capital financing of affordable and energy-efficient apartments.
Underwater Properties at 6M+, Down 50% from 2012 Peak
RealtyTrac released its Year-End 2015 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, which shows that as of the end of 2015, there were 6.4 million U.S. properties seriously underwater representing 11.5 percent of all properties with a mortgage. This is down from 12.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage at the end of the third quarter of 2015 and down 50 percent from the Q2 2012 peak of 28.6 percent of all properties with a mortgage.
Pending Home Sales Tick Up in December
Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in December, but inched forward slightly, fueled by a large increase in the Northeast that outpaced declines in the other three major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors.
New Breed of House Hunter Commands Pet Perks, Parks and More
Pets have found their way into the hearts — and homes — of over 125 million households across the country. Now, more than ever before, pets are warranting consideration beyond that of their owners. On the house hunt, pets are playing a foremost role in the homebuying and renting decisions their owners make.
Learn How to Establish an Unbeatable Value Proposition
Whether you are a seasoned veteran of the industry or new to real estate, it’s always wise to evaluate your value proposition because the market is ever changing. You need to change with it to keep relevant.
AICPA Reports Substantial Increase in Financial Satisfaction
Spurred by significant reductions in inflation and loan delinquencies, the 2015 fourth quarter Personal Financial Satisfaction Index released by the American Institute of CPAs shows that Americans personal financial satisfaction has increased substantially from a year ago.
Existing-Home Sales Surge Back in December
Existing-home sales snapped back solidly in December as more buyers reached the market before the end of the year, and the delayed closings resulting from the rollout of the Know Before You Owe initiative pushed a portion of November's would-be transactions into last month's figure, according to the NAR.
2015 Tax Extenders Set to Have a Positive Impact on the Real Estate Industry
Each December, close to 50 tax extenders — aptly-named extensions of tax breaks — come into play in Congress. Included in those that were passed in 2015 are several that stand to have a positive impact on those looking to enter the housing market this year.
Real Estate Agents Get New Resource From Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac has launched an online Real Estate Professionals Resource Center, a comprehensive resource designed to keep real estate agents, brokers, housing counselors and other practitioners on top of the latest affordable mortgage products, training and networking opportunities, and customizable promotion tools from Freddie Mac.
Most Construction Loans Are Covered by TRID, CFPB Advises
Most construction loans that are closed-end consumer credit transactions secured by real property are covered by the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosures, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which released an advisory on the subject last week. A construction loan that is an open-end transaction or a loan for a commercial purpose is not covered, the bureau said.
Freddie Mac Is Top Multifamily Lender
Freddie Mac announced that it has become the nation's leader in multifamily lending for the first time, with $47.3 billion in loan purchase and bond guarantee volume for its multifamily business in 2015, up from $28.3 billion the previous year.
Bradshaw Testifies in Support of HR 2901 Flood Insurance Bill
Steven Bradshaw, Executive Vice President of Standard Mortgage Corporation, testified on behalf of MBA Jan. 13 before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance in support of H.R. 2901. Bradshaw lauded the bill for providing a new pathway to encourage the growth of a competitive private flood insurance market, increase private sector involvement, expand available insurance options, lower costs for consumers and reduce taxpayer exposure to flood losses.
ALTA Makes Recommendations to FinCEN to Clarify GTO
In a letter to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network on Jan. 13, the American Land Title Association asked the agency to clarify recent a Geographic Targeting Order that imposes additional recordkeeping and reporting requirements designed to deter money laundering in New York City and Miami.
FinCEN Requires Title Companies to Identify High–End Cash Buyers in Targeted Areas
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has issued orders that will temporarily require certain title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind companies used to pay “all cash” for high-end residential real estate in the Borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York, and Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Broker Strategies: Leading With Faith, Skill and Purpose
Good instincts and business savvy are reliable achievement indicators. Add great leadership skills, unshakeable faith, and a commitment to work-life balance, and the recipe for success is complete. Meet Tom Tognoli, co-founder, president and CEO of Intero Real Estate Services that in the 12 years since its launch, has become the regional market leader.
Top Must-Have Apps for Real Estate Pros in 2016
As 2016 begins, so do many plans and resolutions. This year, whether your resolutions revolve around your business, yourself or something else, there are a number of tools that can help you achieve your goals.
Commercial and Multifamily Lenders Expect Strong 2016
Commercial and multifamily mortgage lending is expected to increase in 2016, as lenders' and borrowers' appetites for new loans remain strong, according to a new Mortgage Bankers Association survey of the top commercial and multifamily mortgage origination firms.
Economy Adds 292,000 Jobs in December
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 292,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in several industries, including construction, which showed strong job growth for the third consecutive month, gaining 45,000 jobs in December
HPSI Closes Year on Positive Note Driven by Reported Income Growth
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased 2.4 points to 83.2 in December, capping off its strongest year thus far, as Americans’ household income prospects bounced back to levels of three months ago.
Start the New Year Strong with These Five Must-Do Tasks
Whether it’s meeting with a new client, creating a social content calendar or drafting paperwork to finalize a transaction, real estate agents are constantly on the move. With so much to do, it can be difficult figuring out where to start. There will always be a long list of tasks you should complete, but prioritizing the crucial ones can help you get organized and start the year off strong.
Pending Home Sales Decline Modestly in November
Pending home sales in November slightly declined for the third time in four months as buyers continue to battle both rising home prices and limited homes available for sale, according to the National Association of Realtors.
CFPB Responds to MBA’s Request for TRID Clarifications to Allay Investor Concerns
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, responding to a request from the Mortgage Bankers Association to address investor liability concerns, advised that the risk of private liability to investors is negligible during the early days of the mortgage disclosure implementation period, citing existing provisions already in place to mitigate issues during this “corrective and diagnostic” period.
2015 Business Trends You Should Adopt to Ensure a Successful 2016
This has been a crazy year full of excitement, change and opportunity for the real estate industry. The new year promises to provide more of the same; I want to dedicate some time to this year’s highlights and how you can leverage them in 2016.
Eight Gadgets to Add to Your Real Estate Wish List
As the year closes, it’s time to look back and think about everything that’s happened in 2015. Technology is even more necessary, wearables are more popular and smart phones are getting smarter. We’ve reached the golden age of gadgets, and it’s time to begin planning for what will come in 2016. We’ve made a list with the top gadgets to add to your holiday wish list to help drive your business forward in 2016.
Q3 2015: Foreclosure Prevention Actions Approaching 3.6 Million
The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed 54,744 foreclosure prevention actions in the third quarter of 2015, bringing the total number of foreclosure prevention actions to just under 3.6 million since the start of the conservatorships in September 2008.
TransUnion's 2016 Forecast Expects Consumer Credit Markets to Complete Recovery
TransUnion’s 2016 mortgage and credit card forecasts predict that the consumer lending market will have fully recovered by the end of next year from both the mortgage crisis and the ensuing Great Recession that concluded more than six years ago.
Single-Family Starts Reach Seven-Year High in November
Nationwide housing starts rose 10.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.173 million units in November, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Single-family production increased 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 768,000 units, its highest reading since January 2008.
November Existing-Home Sales Drop Off Blamed on Slower Closing Timeframes
Existing-home sales dropped off considerably in November to the slowest pace in 19 months, but some of the decrease was likely because of an apparent rise in closing timeframes that may have pushed some transactions into December, according to the National Association of Realtors. All four major regions saw sales declines in November.
Further Easing of Mortgage Credit Standards on the Horizon, According to Lenders
Mortgage lenders continue to report that they have eased and expect to continue easing their credit standards, according to Fannie Mae's fourth quarter 2015 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey.
NAR: Desire to Buy Strong despite Affordability and Economic Concerns
Although only half of surveyed households believe the economy is currently improving, nearly all young renters eventually want to buy a home, and a convincing majority still view homeownership as part of their American Dream, according to a new quarterly consumer survey released today by the National Association of Realtors
Eight Ways to Deliver a Higher Level of Service
Brokers and agents are famous for creating catchy slogans about their quality service; however, they quickly become empty statements without a specific plan. So, how do we actually deliver a higher level of service that exceeds client expectations?
Freddie Mac, ABA Renew Alliance to Help Banks Compete in Mortgage Market
Freddie Mac and the American Bankers Association, through its Corporation for American Banking subsidiary, have renewed their Freddie Mac alliance to provide ABA members with endorsed solutions which provide benefits to assist in their mortgage lending business.
Five Ways to Get More Out of Your Pop-Bys
Who doesn’t love a small token of appreciation? Pop-Bys are small gifts you give to your clients to express gratitude for their business and referrals. They’re a fun surprise and offer an excuse to get in front of your clients. Make your Pop-Bys stand out with the following tips.
2016 Housing Forecast: New Construction to Drive Highest Home Sales since 2006
New home construction and moderate gains in the existing home market will deliver the necessary one-two punch to push total home sales to the highest levels since 2006, according to the 2016 housing forecast issued this week by realtor.com. The forecast also identifies the top 10 markets for growth, as well as expectations for home prices and sales, interest rates and new home sales and starts.
Applications for New Home Purchases Decrease in November, but Remain at Healthy Levels
The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey data for November 2015 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases decreased by 6 percent relative to the previous month, but remain at highly elevated levels compared to a year ago.
Email Marketing Tactics to Bring Your Dead Leads Back to Life
As a busy real estate agent, it’s likely you don’t have time to sculpt the perfect email marketing strategy for each new lead, prospect and client you have in your database. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. A drip email campaign is an easy way to keep in contact with everyone on your list. While these campaigns may seem complicated, there are a number of easy tactics that, if implemented correctly, can ensure a successful drip email strategy.
Raising Appraisal Limits Could Hurt Consumers
More than 80 percent of bank appraisers think reducing the number of loans requiring an appraisal could increase risk to borrowers, according to a survey of its professionals released today by the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers.
Tom Ferry's Top Tactics for a More Profitable 2016
If you’re in the real estate game, you always want to do better than the previous year. Now, you can increase your business in 2016 by following some savvy planning tips from master trainer and coach Tom Ferry.
Trade Associations call for Homebuyers Assistance Act Inclusion in House Spending Bill
Title insurance, real estate and lender associations have banded together to encourage the U.S. House of Representatives to include the Homebuyers Assistance Act (H.R. 3192) in the year-end spending bill.
Fed reports economic activity continues to increase at modest pace
The 12 Federal Reserve District reports indicate that economic activity increased at a modest pace in most regions of the country since the previous Beige Book report. The districts reported increases in consumer spending, residential construction and loan demand.
Pending Home Sales Nudge Forward in October
Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in October, but shifted marginally higher after two straight months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors. Gains in the Northeast and West were offset by declines in the Midwest and South.
U.S Credit Report Card: National Credit Score Up, Lending Increasing, Late Payments Down
Key findings released this week from Experian’s sixth annual State of Credit study, which provides national insights, ranks top and bottom cities, and introduces a new element, of political preference of ranked cities, show that the national credit score increased by three points over the last year and by five points since 2013.
Brokers Ready for Long-awaited Interest Rate Increases
After years of speculation about interest rates, it appears the Federal Reserve is finally poised to raise them in December. The move – which sets the cost of borrowing for banks and, consequently, the price of mortgages for homebuyers – has been one that brokers across the nation have been bracing for ever since the rates were lowered to near-zero levels during the financial crisis.
Moderate Expansion, Easing Prices Expected for Commercial Real Estate Markets
Sustained job growth throughout the country and improving credit conditions are forecast to help keep commercial real estate activity expanding into next year, but property prices are likely to slightly cool off after reaching their peak in some major markets, according to the National Association of Realtors quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
Existing-Home Sales Healthy but Tapered Down in October
With mortgage rates remaining below 4 percent for the third straight month, existing-home sales in October were at a healthy pace but failed to keep up with September's jump, according to the National Association of Realtors. All four major regions saw no gains in sales in October.
Economy Remains on Firm Footing Amid Global Risks
Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group expects economic growth to pick up in the fourth quarter, bringing growth for all of 2015 to 2.2 percent with a slight expansion to 2.4 percent in 2016. Solid consumer spending and an increase in construction activity, home sales, and home prices appear poised to offset global headwinds
7 Proven Strategies to Convert Online Leads into Closed Sales
You have a lot of options to attract new business online. Generating leads is the easy part, but keeping them requires a little more work. So how do you convert online leads into closed sales? Here are seven proven strategies to get you started.
Apartment and Condominium Market Remains Steady in Q3
The Multifamily Production Index (MPI), released by the National Association of Home Builders, increased one point to a level of 56 for the third quarter of 2015. This is the 15th consecutive quarter with a reading of 50 or above. The MPI measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market
Downpayments on a Home Not a Top Priority for Debt-ridden Renters
Renters indicate they still feel challenged with their finances and 66 percent are carrying debt each month, according to a recent Freddie Mac survey. Yet, the majority of renters are optimistic about managing their debt and are saving money for numerous priorities, but a down payment on a home is not at the top of their list.
FHA'S 2015 Annual Report Shows Capital Reserves Now Exceed 2 Percent
HUD released its annual report to Congress on the financial condition of the Federal Housing Administration’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, showing the MMI Fund’s capital ratio stands at 2.07 percent — the first time since 2008 that FHA’s reserve ratio exceeded the congressionally required 2 percent threshold. The economic value of the MMI Fund gained $19 billion in Fiscal Year 2015, driven by strong actions to reduce risk, cut losses and improve recoveries.
ALTA Board Approves Revised CPLs, Decertifies ALTA Endorsement 2-06
During its Oct. 8 meeting, the ALTA Board of Governors approved two revised closing protection letters and decertified ALTA Endorsement 2-06 (Truth in Lending). The board also approved a joint survey standard developed with the National Society of Professional Surveyors. The comment period for the revised CPLs is open until Nov. 27.
7 Tips to Make More Sales with Social Media
Does the time you spend working on social media show a huge return on your investment? Not many agents can measure their online effectiveness directly to sales, but the top-performing agents know what to do and how to do it and show impressive results! Critics are quick to point out the direct sales connection between online posting and real sales, but when done effectively, sales increase and so does your bottom line.
With Housing Markets Mostly Back, Realtors Focus on Future of Real Estate
Realtors are gathering this week for the REALTORS Conference & Expo, in San Diego through Nov. 16, where their focus will be on shaping the industry’s future and solving the issues holding back a full restoration of real estate markets.
Housing Sentiment Remains Flat While Wages Struggle
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index decreased slightly to 83.2 in October as consumers’ volatile outlook on both household income improvement and mortgage interest rates kept housing sentiment relatively flat.
National Foreclosure Inventory Down 24.3 Percent from September 2014
CoreLogic released its September 2015 National Foreclosure Report which shows the foreclosure inventory declined by 24.3 percent and completed foreclosures declined by 17.6 percent compared with September 2014. The number of foreclosures nationwide decreased year over year from 67,000 in September 2014 to 55,000 in September 2015. The number is a decrease of 52.8 percent from the peak of 117,438 in September 2010.
55+ Housing Market Remains Strong in Third Quarter
Builder confidence in the single-family 55+ housing market remains strong in the third quarter of 2015 with a reading of 60, up three points from the previous quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders' 55+ Housing Market Index. This is the sixth consecutive quarter with a reading above 50.
Unemployment at 5 percent as Economy Adds 271,000 jobs
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 271,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction.
First-time Buyers Fall Again in NAR Annual Buyer and Seller Survey
The share of first–time buyers declined for the third consecutive year and remained at its lowest point in nearly three decades as the overall strengthening pace of home sales over the past year was driven more by repeat buyers with dual incomes, according to an annual survey released today by the National Association of Realtors.
Mortgage Credit Availability Increased in October
Mortgage credit availability increased in October according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association that analyzes data from Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool.
Super-Charged Strategies for Long-term Success
Smooth, steady success — it’s what every real estate broker wants. But is it actually attainable? According to five leading brokerage executives, sustainable success is indeed achievable, and during RISMedia’s Real Estate CEO Exchange last month, they shared exactly how.
Strong Prices Push Housing Recovery into High Gear
Among the nation’s top 300 markets, a total of 168 or 56 percent have achieved full price recovery —two more than the 166 markets reported in June. This data is according to the recently released Homes.com August 2015 Local Market Index.
American's Financial Satisfaction Continues to Climb Despite Tough Conditions
Even in the face of the U.S. stock market having its worst quarter in four years, Americans continued to enjoy increased personal financial satisfaction in the third quarter. That’s according to the results of the 2015 third quarter Personal Financial Satisfaction Index released recently by the American Institute of CPAs.
Four Ways to Easily Brand Yourself
As a real estate agent, you are bombarded with a slew of marketing ploys, from Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, to mailed postcards and advertising. To help save time, we’ve narrowed down just a few actionable branding opportunities you could implement any day this week.
MBA Forecasts 6 Percent Increase in Commercial and Multifamily Originations
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) projects originations of commercial and multifamily mortgages will rise 6 percent in 2016 to $485 billion. Mortgage bankers' originations of multifamily mortgages are forecast at $187 billion in 2016, and total multifamily mortgage originations are projected at $225 billion.
Curating Your Online Identity: Using Online Profiles and Agent Performance Data to Benefit Your Business
Your online profile is a digital representation of you and your business, which is why it’s important to make it strong. Referrals are still the No. 1 source for buyers looking for an agent, but the amount of buyers finding agents online without a referral is increasing. Of the buyers that find agents via referral, most still go online to read reviews to confirm that the recommended agent is a good fit. Regardless of how the client finds you, it’s imperative to manage your online identity.
Texas HELOC Laws May Have Blunted Recession Impact
In Freddie Mac’s monthly Insight & Outlook for October, it examines whether a Texas limit on homeowner's ability to extract equity from their homes may have blunted the impact of the Great Recession on Texas.
Housing Recovery to Pick up Steam in 2016
Steady employment and economic growth, pent-up demand, affordable home prices and attractive mortgage rates will keep the housing market on a gradual upward trend in 2016. However, persistent headwinds related to shortages and availability of lots and labor, along with rising materials prices are impeding a more robust recovery, according to economists who participated in the National Association of Home Builders Fall Construction Forecast Webinar.
Existing Home Sales Regain Momentum in September
Existing–home sales rebounded strongly in September following August's decline and have now increased year–over–year for 12 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors. All four major regions experienced sales gains in September.
Attributes of a Professional Negotiator
Negotiation is one of the most important skills a real estate agent can possess. Being the best professional you can be and providing the best service possible is vital to achieving a happy outcome — and generating referrals — but negotiating well isn’t always easy to accomplish. So, how can you improve these skills and guarantee success?
NAIC Adopts Cybersecurity Bill of Rights
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners took another step in advancing cybersecurity as one of the organization's key initiatives, adopting the Cybersecurity Bill of Rights, a project aimed at bolstering consumer protection.
Builder Confidence Rises Three Points in October
Builder confidence in the market for newly constructed single-family homes rose three points in October to a level of 64 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This month’s reading is a return to HMI levels seen at the end of the housing boom in late 2005.
CoreLogic Reports An 8.9 Percent Decrease in Mortgage Fraud Risk
CoreLogic released its latest Mortgage Fraud Report on Oct. 15, showing an 8.9 percent year-over-year decrease in fraud risk, as of the end of the Q2 2015, as measured by the Mortgage Application Fraud Risk Index. The company reported that Florida remains the state with the highest overall fraud risk, while Louisiana has the largest year-over-year increase.
Want to Generate More Referrals? Plan a Client Party
When you work by referral, your relationships drive your business. In order to build lasting relationships with your clients, it’s important to maintain consistent contact with them. How can you do this? Get face-to-face and voice-to-voice with them!
Federal Reserve Reports Real Estate Market Growth Continues
Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts point to continued modest expansion in economic activity during the reporting period from mid-August through early October, according the Fed’s Oct. 14 Beige Report, including continued improvement in all sectors of housing and commercial real estate.
Leadership from the Outside, In
“Don’t study the great realty companies, study the great companies,” said Paul Charron. “The great companies will have something for you to take away.” As chairman of the board for the Campbell’s Soup Company with a rich career of leading many diverse firms to mega success and expansion, Charron brought inspiration and an invaluable outside-world perspective to attendees at RISMedia’s Real Estate CEO Exchange in September.
Freddie Mac Forecasts Multifamily Market to Remain Strong for Several More Years
The Multifamily rental market continues its 5-year streak of robust growth that began just after the Great Recession ended and is expected to remain strong for several more years, based on the recently released Freddie Mac Multifamily Outlook report.
HPSI Increases to 83.8, Brings the Housing Indicator Near Peak Level
Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased to 83.8 in September as consumer confidence in the home buying and selling market bounced back from a recent dip, suggesting continued gradual improvement in housing activity.
CFPB Bulletin Highlights Risks of MSAs
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Oct. 8 issued a bulletin providing guidance to the mortgage industry regarding marketing services agreements. The bulletin offers an overview of the federal prohibition on mortgage kickbacks and referral fees, and describes examples from the Bureau’s enforcement experience as well as the risks faced by lenders entering into these agreements.
Mortgage Applications Escalated in Advance of TRID Implementation
Mortgage applications increased 25.5 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Oct 2.
Mortgage Credit Availability Increased Slightly in September
Mortgage credit availability increased in September according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association that analyzes data from Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool.
Brokers Face Technology Adoption Challenges Head On
Real estate has been an industry in transition as new technologies emerge almost daily to reshape the way buyers and sellers search for homes. The price of this progress has been one of changing not only the industry’s attitude about technology, but our adoption of it.
4 Ways to WIN with First-Time Buyers
With the housing market seeing significant recoveries in home prices, Millennials are finally making a move toward homeownership. For many, this will be their first homebuying experience, so they’ll be turning to real estate agents for guidance and support.
U.S. Home Affordability Improves to a Two-Year Low in Q1 2015
RealtyTrac and Clear Capital released a joint report showing that buying a home was at the most affordable level in two years in the first quarter of 2015 despite the average U.S. home price increasing at more than twice the pace of the average weekly wage nationwide over the past year.
ALTA Presses CFPB to Follow Through with Written Guidance on RESPA Compliance
The American Land Title Association called on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray to provide more written guidance on Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act compliance issues with the coming implementation of the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure forms.
Cordray Pledges Hold Harmless Period
During testimony before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Sept. 29, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray said government agencies do not intend to be “punitive” during the early days of the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule implementation.
Pending Home Sales Retreat Again in August but Remain at Healthy Level
Pending home sales retreated in August but remained at a healthy level of activity and have now risen year–over–year for 12 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors. A modest increase in the West was offset by declines in all other regions.
Multifamily Mortgage Debt Hits $1 Trillion in Q2
Total commercial/multifamily debt outstanding stood at $2.72 trillion at the end of the second quarter. Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding rose to $1.0 trillion, an increase of $23.6 billion, or 2.4 percent, from the first quarter.
Housing Markets Experience Best Annual Improvement Since 2005
Freddie Mac released its updated Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) showing the U.S. housing market continuing to slowly stabilize with one additional state, Rhode Island, and four additional metro areas entering their outer range of stable housing activity: Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; and Albany, New York.
Mortgage Credit Standards Are Easing, According to Lenders
Fannie Mae’s third quarter 2015 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey reveals that more lenders report easing of mortgage lending standards across all loan types.
New CFPB Rule Expands Small Lender Exemptions Under QM
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a final rule that among other things, raises the loan origination limit for determining eligibility for small creditor status from 500 first-lien covered transactions to 2,000 first-lien covered transactions. The Amendments Relating to Small Creditors and Rural or Underserved Areas under the Truth in Lending Act Rule revises the Regulation Z definitions of “small creditor” and “rural area,” and makes technical changes and clarifications to other sections of Regulation Z and the related commentary.
Home Buying Process Involves Greater Technology and Agent Use
Even though more consumers are using the Internet as a tool during their home search, buyers are also increasingly using the knowledge and expertise of a real estate agent, according to the National Association of Realtors’ Real Estate in a Digital Age report.
CFPB Releases New Tools as Part of Know Before You Owe
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released new online tools as part of its Know Before You Owe initiative aimed at helping consumers navigate the mortgage process. The tools provide an interactive, step-by-step overview of the mortgage process, help homebuyers decide how much they can afford to spend, and help consumers explore and use the new Know Before You Owe mortgage forms.
Bankrate: Mortgage Rates Nose Higher
Mortgage rates showed some upward movement in advance of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, despite a great deal of uncertainty as to the outcome.
Trade Associations Seek FFIEC Guidance on TRID Enforcement
Eighteen trade associations have asked the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to provide clear guidance on its plans to investigate and enforce the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule in the early months after implementation.
Top Strategies for Building Your Power Team
When you’re looking for someone to do business with, you’re looking for people who will be an integral part of your world. Because of this, you need to make sure you develop a savvy team-approach to your business.
Freddie Mac Funds $1B in Small Multifamily Loans in Less Than a Year
Freddie Mac last week reached a milestone of funding more than $1 billion in small multifamily property loans. Close to one-third of renters live in smaller properties with five to 50 units, many of which are affordable to low- and very low-income households.
MBA Releases New White Paper on Information Security
The Mortgage Bankers Association released a new white paper, "The Basic Components of an Information Security Program," that discusses the information security risks facing the mortgage industry and the basic security practices necessary to help mitigate the risks.
It's Not About You Anymore
In real estate, it’s all about you, right? It’s your face and your name on the lawn sign, business card, office and marketing. That’s how much of your business is generated, right? People recognize your face and name and people know you, correct? Wrong. While our face and our name are integral parts to our branding, any successful real estate professional will tell you that a large part of their sustained success in the industry is due to their support staff.
Home Construction Trailing Job Growth in Metro Areas
Despite positive improvements in the labor market in recent years, new home construction is currently insufficient in a majority of metro areas and is contributing to persistent housing shortages and unhealthy price growth in many markets, according to new research from the National Association of Realtors.
New Index Looks at Consumer Sentiment towards Housing Market
Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group launched the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index, which distills results from its consumer-focused National Housing Survey into a single, monthly, predictive indicator. Reflecting more than four years of data, the index is designed to provide distinct signals about the direction of the housing market.
Unemployment drops to 5.1 percent, as economy adds 173,000 jobs
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 173,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care and social assistance and in financial activities. Manufacturing and mining lost jobs.
Fed Reports Commercial and Residential Real Estate Continue Expansion
Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicate economic activity continued expanding across most regions and sectors during the reporting period from July to mid-August. Real estate in particular was reported as positive. Existing home sales and residential leasing widely improved, with home prices moving up in most areas. Commercial real estate activity also rose in most Districts; commercial construction activity ranged from strong in the Cleveland and Minneapolis Districts to up only slightly in Chicago, while commercial leasing was reported to have increased across the board.
Freddie Mac Report Looks at Affordability, Low Down Payment Stats
Freddie Mac released its monthly Insight & Outlook for August, showing there is no single statistic that reliably identifies when a housing market is overvalued or when house prices are likely to fall. Instead, substantial human judgment is also required. The report also looks at the low down payment risk statistics covering 2003-2013.
Pending Home Sales Inch Forward in July
Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in July, but rose modestly for the sixth time in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Global Market Volatility Pushes Mortgage Rates Lower
Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey, showing average fixed mortgage rates falling to their lowest levels since May of this year amid substantial and ongoing global volatility out of China.
Why the Future of SEO is 'UnOptimized'
“Less is more.” The catch phrase of every minimalist is often used to talk about ad design, salt intake, or feng shui furniture layouts, but what about when it comes to web traffic? While this may seem contradictory to traditional search marketing goals, in 2015 it’s a mandate to ask: “Is more traffic necessarily better for your business?”
Foreclosure Activity Increases 7 Percent in July
RealtyTrac recently released its July 2015 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of 124,910 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — in July, up 7 percent from the previous month and up 14 percent from a year ago. July was the fifth consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in overall foreclosure activity following 53 consecutive months of decreases.
Credit Unions Taking Bigger Market Share of Mortgage Originations
The appetite for credit unions to provide mortgage loans appears to be greater than other financial institutions, according to new TransUnion research. Credit unions’ share of all mortgage originations has increased from 7 percent in Q1 2013 to 11 percent in Q1 2015.
How to Be an Unstoppable Agent
We all know those agents who remain cool, calm and collected in the face of anything — challenging clients, setbacks in a transaction, you name it. Instead of throwing in the towel, they dig deep and are determined to turn any problem into an opportunity to grow and thrive. In short, these agents are unstoppable!
Economic Growth Outlook Less Upbeat for the Second Half of the Year
The first print of second quarter economic growth was weaker than expected, and its composition presents a less optimistic outlook for the rest of the year, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group.
MBA Releases 2015 Mid-Year Commercial/Multifamily Servicer Rankings
The Mortgage Bankers Association released its mid-year ranking of commercial and multifamily mortgage servicers' volumes as of June 30. At the top of the list of firms is Wells Fargo Bank N.A. with $484.2 billion in U.S. master and primary servicing, followed by PNC Real Estate/Midland Loan Services with $465.8 billion, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC with $230.4 billion, KeyBank N.A. with $189.9 billion, and GEMSA Loan Services, L.P. with $98.9 billion.
Existing Home Sales Maintain Solid Growth in July
Existing-home sales steadily increased for the third consecutive month in July, while stubbornly low inventory levels and rising prices are likely to blame for sales to first-time buyers falling to their lowest share since January, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Single-Family Gains Push Housing Starts to Highest Level Since 2007
Led by a strong jump in single-family production, nationwide housing starts inched up 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.206 million units in July, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. This is the highest level since October 2007.
Tightening Labor Market Continues to Surprise
The U.S. labor market has tightened faster and farther than anyone predicted, accelerating the onset of serious talent shortages that may define the economy for years to come, according to a new Executive Action Report from The Conference Board.
Five Barriers to Implementing Strategic Direction
Strategy is a framework within which decisions are made, which influences the nature and direction of a business. It is imperative that strategy is clear, concise and congruent. Companies lacking a clear, memorable, embraced strategy struggle with implementation, thwart tactical execution and blunt their effectiveness. Take prudence to avoid these five barriers to implementing strategic direction.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Reverse Course, Move Higher
Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey, showing average fixed mortgage rates reversing course and nudging higher for the first time in four weeks.
Home Prices Rise in Nearly All Metro Areas in Q2
A promising climb in home sales throughout the country amidst insufficient supply caused home prices to steadily rise in most metro areas during the second quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.
Americans' Outlook Cools Amid Economic and Financial Concerns
Consumer attitudes toward the home selling environment stumbled last month despite positive home price change expectations, according to results from Fannie Mae’s July 2015 National Housing Survey.
Real Estate Firms Remain Confident About Future Profitability
Real estate firms are confident in the industry’s future growth and their increasing profitability, according to the 2015 National Association of Realtors Profile of Real Estate Firms.
Economy Adds 215,000 Jobs in July
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 215,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in retail trade, health care, professional and technical services, and financial activities.
Mortgage Credit Availability Increases in July
Mortgage credit availability increased in July according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, which analyzes data from Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool.
CFPB Finds Electronic Mortgage Closings Can Aid Consumer Understanding
The CFPB published a report that found borrowers can benefit from electronic closings when navigating the mortgage closing process. Specifically, the results of the pilot indicate that those who closed their mortgage using an electronic platform are generally better off on measures of understanding, efficiency, and feeling empowered than borrowers who used paper forms.
NAHB Calls on EPA to Terminate Water Rule Following Corps' Revelation
The National Association of Home Builders is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately withdraw final regulations that would dramatically expand the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This renewed call is based on new evidence that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers believes EPA used flawed technical and scientific analysis crafting the regulation that was so indefensible that the Corps demanded that it be distanced from the rule.
Wells Fargo to Withdraw from Mortgage Marketing Services Agreements
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. announced that it will withdraw from mortgage marketing services and desk rental agreements with real estate firms, builders and certain other referral sources.
Three More Metro Areas Enter Stable Range of Housing Activity
Freddie Mac released its updated Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®) showing the U.S. housing market continuing to slowly stabilize with three additional metro areas entering their outer range of stable housing activity: Stockton, California; Madison, Wisconsin; and Miami, Florida.
How to Get Inside the Seller's Mindset
I’ve studied my clients and found that most success when selling a home comes from within the sellers themselves. It’s about the psychology and practices of the seller, what is driving this person to sell their home, and what they are willing to live with — or in some cases without — to get to the closing table.
Millennials Favor Walkable Communities
Millennials prefer walking over driving by a substantially wider margin than any other generation, according to a new poll conducted by the National Association of Realtors and the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University.
Economy Building Momentum into Second Half of Year
Incoming data suggest that domestic economic activity was stronger than expected in the second quarter, paving the way for accelerated growth in the second half of the year, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group.
Low Down Payments: It's Different This Time
In the Freddie Mac U.S. Housing Market Insight & Outlook for July, it showed how low down payment initiatives are different this time in extending the opportunity for homeownership to qualified borrowers who might otherwise be locked out.
MBA Significantly Increases Forecast for Home Purchase Lending
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its updated mortgage finance and economic forecasts. The revision included a significant increase in the volume of purchase originations. MBA now projects that purchase originations will reach $801 billion in 2015 and $885 billion in 2016. That is an increase of $71 billion and $94 billion, respectively, over the association's previous forecast.
Realtors Applaud CFPB's Extension of the TRID Implementation Deadline
National Association of Realtors President Chris Polychron issued a statement in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s announcement that the TRID implementation date has been delayed to Oct. 3, noting that moving the date out of the high selling season will ensure a better transition.
CFPB Finalizes Oct. 3 TRID Effective Date
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a final rule moving the effective date of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule to Oct. 3, 2015.
CFPB Launches Complaint Snapshot to Spotlight Consumer Trends
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched the first in a new series of monthly reports to highlight key trends from consumer complaints submitted to the Bureau.
If two heads are better than one, think of how incredible four or five heads would be. As a successful entrepreneur you are no doubt terrific at what you do but do you find you are doing too much? Your business has grown, and along with that growth, you have seen your responsibilities, expectations and staff grow. But I’m guessing that you have seen your time shrink, along with your time off and even your quality of life. It’s time to start delegating and creating some leaders — trust me, you will be glad you did.
Fed Districts Report Healthy Real Estate Activity
All 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity expanded from mid-May through June in the Fed’s July 15 Beige Book release. Reports on residential and commercial real estate markets were positive, with districts reporting home sales increases as well as home price appreciation.
Brokers Strategize for Inevitable Rate Hikes
For all their power, brokers can’t control external forces such as a broad economic dip in their market or a bank’s refusal to approve a potential buyer’s mortgage. And real estate brokers certainly cannot control what the Federal Reserve is going to do with our nation’s interest rates
Millennials Turn to Video When Making Purchases
Generation Y is a demographic coveted by retailers and marketers for their purchasing power. According to Animoto, an online video creation application, new data from the 2015 Animoto Online and Social Video Marketing Study reveals video is no longer optional for brands and businesses looking to market to millennials.
Lenders Say Underwriter Productivity Down Dramatically from 2005
While the mortgage industry often refers to the rising cost of compliance, another method of tracking how regulation, investor requirements, and the threat of indemnifications or repurchases have reshaped operations is through underwriter productivity.
NAR Survey Finds Like-Kind Exchanges Promote Jobs and Economic Growth
Real estate like-kind exchanges are an important vehicle for disposing of and acquiring properties and support the nation's financial growth, job creation and economy, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.
Consumer Attitudes on Housing May Signal Healthier Purchase Market Ahead
Americans’ outlook toward the current home selling market and the future of home rental prices may bode well for purchase activity this year, according to results from Fannie Mae's June 2015 National Housing Survey.
Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications increased 4.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 3, 2015. This week's results included an adjustment for the July 4th holiday.
Mobile Apps or Mobile Web?
Mobile apps get a lot of attention, but are they a better option for a real estate agent or brokerage than a robust mobile website? In today’s real estate world of “Mobile First,” the mobile website strategy is the clear winner. Google just made that very clear with Mobilegeddon.
Economy adds 223,000 jobs in June
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported July 2. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, financial activities, and in transportation and warehousing.
Pending Home Sales Maintain Momentum in May
Pending home sales continued to rise in May and are now at their highest level in over nine years, according to the National Association of Realtors. The PHSI in the Northeast increased 6.3 percent to 93.9 in May, and is now 10.6 percent above a year ago. Gains in the Northeast and West were offset by small decreases in the Midwest and South.
Managing Bidding Wars
While the pace of home-buying activities picks up around the nation, certain areas are seeing more excitement than others.
Leading by Example
“Part of our role as real estate professionals is to get out there and network and find other thought leaders with whom we can share and learn from,” said John Featherston during RISMedia’s Power Broker Forum in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. “And then we have to repeat that process over and over again. We have to remain open to learning.” This was the overarching premise of the Forum, which was held during the NAR Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., where leading brokers candidly shared hands-on strategies for leading their companies to success.
Existing Home Sales Bounce Back Strongly, First-time Buyers Return
Fueled partly by an increase in the share of sales to first-time buyers, existing-home sales increased in May to their highest pace in nearly six years, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Led by the Northeast, all major regions experienced sales increases in May.
Economic Rebound on the Horizon with Q1 Slump in Rearview Mirror
Recent indicators suggest that the U.S. is experiencing a moderate rebound in economic growth in the current quarter following a temporary drop in activity in the first quarter, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group.
Freddie Mac Says Economy Pivoting Toward Normalcy
Freddie Mac released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for June, showing that with low debt servicing costs and improving household balance sheets, more Americans may be at a point where they are ready to start taking on more mortgage debt.
Builder Confidence Hits Yearly High in June
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in June rose five points to a level of 59 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This is the highest reading since September 2014.
ALTA Releases Statement on Proposed TRID Delay
The American Land Title Association praised the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)for choosing to propose a more extended delay of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) regulation. On June 17, CFPB Director Richard Cordray announced a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the TRID regulation to October. The impetus for the delay was an administrative error, but Cordray is proposing a much longer delay to accommodate industry concerns.
Cordray Announces Proposed Amendment to Delay TRID Until Oct. 1
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray announced on June 17 a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure implementation until Oct. 1.
Commercial and Multifamily Mortgage Deb Continues Growth in Q1
The level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding increased by $40.4 billion in the first quarter of 2015, as all four major investor groups increased their holdings. That is a 1.5 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2014.
Producer Price Index for May Shows Building Materials Prices Down
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Producer Price Indexes (PPI) for May. Inflation in prices received by producers (prior to sales to consumers) rose 0.5% in May after declining 0.4% in April. Rising production and healthy inventories put downward pressure on wood product prices in May.
FHA Expands Opportunities for Reverse Mortgage 'Non-Borrowing Spouses' to Remain in Their Homes
The Federal Housing Administration issued a revised policy under its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program giving FHA-approved lenders expanded options to allow eligible ‘non-borrowing spouses’ the potential to remain in their home following the death of the last surviving borrower.
Home Buyers Uncertain about How a Credit Score Affects Financing Process
As Americans enter the peak time of year to buy a home, a recent survey from TransUnion reveals a majority of those planning on or considering buying a home in the next 12 to 18 months are unsure about actions that could help improve their credit score. A majority was also unsure about what their credit score directly affects in the home financing process.
Americans' Housing Optimism Gains More Momentum Amid Reported Income Growth
Consumer attitudes about the housing market showed marked improvement last month, strengthening the case for a lift in housing activity this year, according to results from Fannie Mae's May 2015 National Housing Survey.
Winning the Talent Wars
If you haven’t heard the term “talent wars” yet, you have now. They are heating up, and most small businesses aren’t very well equipped to compete in them. Talent wars refers to a growing shortage in the U.S. labor market for properly trained and educated employees. Starting prior to the Great Recession, there has been a mismatch between people seeking jobs and those who hire them.
Freddie Mac Names Becketti VP and Chief Economist
Freddie Mac announced that Sean Becketti, an executive with broad experience in the private sector, government and academia, is joining the company as vice president and chief economist.
Increasing Housing Affordability Opens Doors to Homeownership
As America’s home builders celebrate National Homeownership Month in June, lower interest rates and home prices are boosting housing affordability across the country. According to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, 66.5% of new and existing homes sold between January and the end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800.
Fed Says Real Estate Activity and Construction Continue Expansion
Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest overall economic activity expanded during the reporting period from early April to late May. According to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report released on June 3, Residential real estate activity and construction expanded in most districts since the prior report, and outlooks were largely positive. Commercial real estate leasing and construction activity improved in most districts, and outlooks were optimistic.
Commercial and Multifamily Delinquencies Continue to Decline in First Quarter
Delinquency rates for commercial and multifamily mortgage loans continued to decline in the first quarter of 2015, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Commercial/Multifamily Delinquency Report.
ULI Report Finds Gap between Desire for and Availability of Community Attributes
Many Americans face significant community design-related barriers to living a healthy life, according to a new report, America in 2015, released recently by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). A large number of people, particularly minorities and Millennials, report living in areas that lack easy access to safe places for outdoor physical activity, active transportation systems such as bike lanes, and healthy food options.
Defining Your Niche
During the a Homes.com webinar, Debra Trappen discussed the importance of real estate agents defining their personal brand and business goals, utilizing social media to amplify that message, defining their niche and meeting their personal goals.
Pending Home Sales Climb in April to Highest Level since May 2006
Pending home sales rose in April for the fourth straight month and reached their highest level in nine years, according to the National Association of Realtors. Led by the Northeast and Midwest, all four major regions saw increases in April.
Developers' Confidence About Multifamily Market Remains Steady in Q1
The Multifamily Production Index, released May 28 by the National Association of Home Builders, held steady with a reading of 54 for the first quarter of 2015. This is the 13th consecutive quarter with a reading of 50 or above.
Strong Buyer Demand Driving Top Performing Markets
Freddie Mac released its updated Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) showing the U.S. housing market continuing to stabilize with the most improving metro markets seeing stronger demand for home sales this spring homebuying season. Despite strong house price appreciation, low mortgage rates are keeping payment-to-incomes affordable for the typical family in most markets.
Modest Growth Expected in Commercial Real Estate Markets
A stronger labor market and increasing household formation should keep commercial real estate demand on a gradual incline, according to the National Association of Realtors quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
2015 Economic Growth Forecast Downgraded but Housing on a Better Path
Economic growth is expected to pick up in the second quarter and through the second half of 2015, but continued financial conservatism among consumers suggests modest growth for the year, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group.
Housing Production Jumps 20.2 Percent in April
Nationwide housing starts rose 20.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.135 million units in April from an upwardly revised March reading, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This is the highest level of housing production since November 2007.
Rising Rents Aren't Necessarily Driving Homeownership
Tipping Point? New Freddie Mac research sheds light on the question: Are rising rents driving residents to homeownership? The research shows that the majority of renters are staying put despite rising rents and favorable perceptions about renting are increasing.
Team Accountability: Harsh or Helpful?
Every turn of the calendar, people make New Year’s resolutions. Every election, politicians say that government leaders need to be held accountable. And every year organizations tell their leaders, “We need to hold our people to their words and actions.” Yet — just like New Year’s resolutions — these scenarios for accountability fall drastically short, as the mirror of accountability is often blurry with ego.
Realtors Urge CFPB Grace Period for TRID Rule
The National Association of Realtors urges the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to implement a grace period for those seeking to comply in good faith with new rules for loan closing procedures and settlement documents.
Metro Home Prices Maintain Steady Growth in Q1
Stronger demand amidst lagging inventory levels caused home prices to accelerate in many metro areas during the first quarter of 2015, and the number of areas experiencing double-digit price appreciation doubled compared to last quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.
Realtors Head to Washington to Urge Action on Industry and Consumer Issues
Realtor leaders from across the country will converge on the nation’s capital this week to advance key real estate issues with regulators and members of Congress during the Realtor Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, here through May 16. While on Capitol Hill, they will urge their elected officials to preserve current real estate-related tax policies and extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act.
Fannie Mae Survey Suggests Modest Housing Growth in 2015
Results from Fannie Mae's April 2015 National Housing Survey show some improvement in housing sentiment, but likely not enough to trigger any breakout improvements in housing market activity this year. Among those surveyed, the share saying they would prefer to buy a home if they were to move increased to 63 percent in April, following a drop of six percentage points in February and March.
NAR Study Shows Majority of Metro Areas Experiencing Widening Inequality
Rising home prices in many metro areas have helped homeowners build housing wealth in recent years, but the continued decline in homeownership means the gains are going to fewer people and likely leading to worsening inequality in the U.S., according to new research from the National Association of Realtors.
Construction Adds 45,000 Jobs As Overall Employment Continues To Grow
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in construction rose by 45,000 in April. Over the past 12 months, construction has added 280,000 jobs. In April, job growth was concentrated in specialty trade contractors, with employment gains about evenly split between the residential and nonresidential components.
CFPB Report Finds 26 Million Consumers Are Credit Invisible