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Housing optimism cools – what will it take to heat back up?

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) Despite economic gains and a hot housing market, optimism is cooling. Why is this happening and what’s the cure?



fair home prices existing home sales housing

Housing is a complex creature – the market can be on fire, but optimism can wane nonetheless. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is reporting that despite solid job creation, the strength of the economy, and increased economic growth, many households are less keen on believing now is a good time for buying or selling, and are overall less confident about the economy.

This comes as a result of the fourth quarter HOME (Housing Opportunities and Market Experience) survey, which samples US households by a random digit-dial and was conducted by TehcnoMetrica Market Intelligence that gathered 2,705 households. The HOME survey collects data on a monthly basis and is focused on identifying real estate trends.

Despite an improving economy, more hiring, and low mortgage rates, optimism in home sales was not as expected, according to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the NAR.

In general, most prospective home buyers had to deal with a lack of inventory – less construction, fewer sellers, and a lack of affordability.

Reduced economic confidence in the face of the economy’s improvements persisted, with more households feeling less secure about their financial situation, and less people believing the economy is improving. Simply put – they aren’t feeling it.

Renters are less engaged to buy, as demonstrated by a two percent decrease in renters believing now is a good time to go get that home.

Overall – the people most excited to purchase homes are current homeowners, households with income above $100,000, and those living in the Midwest and South. If you live in the West, it is likely that you believe yourself to be in a good market for selling a home.

Overall, people more firmly believe it is a good time to sell their home over last year, which can spell some good news for potential buyers in 2018, as more people may be comfortable putting their homes on the market.

The key is that housing supply must increase. New builds and more sellers placing homes on the market will improve confidence about the housing supply and can work in tandem with a better job market and improved economy to make households feel more optimistic about their #future.

Kam has a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and is an HR professional. Obsessed with food, but writing about virtually anything, he has a passion for LGBT issues, business, technology, and cats.


Why it’s about to get more expensive to get a mortgage

(FINANCE) Borrowing money is getting more expensive, especially for those looking to get a mortgage. But why?



bonds and mortgages

Although there have been some blips, bonds have grown substantially in value since the 1980s. They’ve performed extremely well for a number of reasons, not least of which is the big slowdown in inflation over that time period.

The result, for investors, has been that anything “bond-lik,e” i.e. capable of paying a regular income – like a high-dividend stock or even a property like your home – has shot up in value. A reversal of bond prices would mean less support for such investments.

That’s what the economy is currently experiencing. According to Financial Times, American worker wage growth is hastening the sell-off of bonds by the US government, which is decreasing the overall price of bonds. As bond prices go down, the interest rates that they offer new investors go up. That rate jumped to 2.85 percent last Friday, the highest level since 2014.

Since the rates at which banks lend their money are largely based on the interest rates offered by bonds, regular folks looking to take out a mortgage or a loan are facing higher costs.

How does this work?

If we’re talkin’ bond prices, we’re talkin’ yield. When the price of a bond goes up, the yield of that bond goes down! Let’s say you’re getting paid $5 each year. If you pay $50 for that right, then you’re making a 10% “yield” (5/50 = 10%). But if you pay $100 for that right, then you’re making a 5% “yield” (5/100 = 5%).

It’s the same thing with the price of a bond because the amount a bond investor gets paid (usually) is fixed. And so, when the bond goes up in value, the “yield” goes down – and vice versa.

For realtors, its important to help clients shop for the best rates to improve their confidence in this market. Leveraging the right online and local financing resources can help potential buyers get the best deal. Explaining broader market context is also critical. Historically, a three percent interest rate is still very low.

According to Investopedia, mortgage rates averaged 7.81% in 1996 and 10.19% in 1986. Instilling confidence with information will put buyers and sellers in the right place to make moves.

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Real Estate Big Data

Murdoch wants FB to pay for content – should RE search sites pay for listing data?

(DATA NEWS) Rupert Murdoch argues that Facebook should pay to feature trusted news. Sounds like a familiar argument that real estate practitioners have made for over a decade.



rupert murdoch

There’s an old argument in the real estate industry that you’ve probably heard – listing data is aggregated by real estate search sites like Zillow, which makes big bucks on that free firehose of data, but doesn’t send a cut of said profits back to the content providers (and should).

This conversation is being revisited after Facebook’s announcement that they’re going to restructure how data flows. Just as publishers are asking why Facebook doesn’t pay for content, the real estate industry is again asking – why is the data real estate professionals produce aggregated for someone else’s financial benefit?

Media mogul and Executive Chairman of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, issued a press release outlining his urgent belief that Facebook and other media giants should pay publishers for their content, rather than benefiting from the content, keeping the profit to themselves, and padding their stock prices. This comes at a rather interesting time, given many media giants are changing they way the game is played: YouTube is causing a bit of a stir with their top contributors, Facebook has vowed to get back to their roots, and it won’t be long before other social media and marketing sites follow suit.

Amidst these changes, though, where are the benefits for the content creators?

There are influencers on YouTube that promote new products; Facebook and Twitter users who supply endless amounts of content from which other companies/brands benefit, and to apply this to real estate, Zillow, Trulia, and others who aggregate brokers’ content into their platforms and benefit tremendously. It’s shrewd business.

This is especially frustrating when you consider, as Murdoch points out, “publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity [of the platform] through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services.” Realtors® create data for aggregators by listing properties in the MLS, then, they are charged to be showcased on the very platforms already utilizing and profiting from the information that has been provided for free.

While Realtors® may have been paid for their listing by their client, they have not been provided a percentage of any search site’s profits, which is the primary argument Murdoch makes to Facebook.

Murdoch proposes a fee structure to remedy this issue, much in the same way cable is structured, whereby publishers would be compensated for their contributions, but it isn’t clear how this would work long-term, although it is food for thought about who really owns data.

According to Murdoch, “The time has come to consider a different route. If Facebook [or any other media giant] wants to recognize ‘trusted’ publishers, then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies. The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services. Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook’s profits but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists.”

In other words, real estate search sites should be paying broker for using the data they provide, instead of charging for extra bells and whistles in the name of marketing. Even if the real estate search site is one of Murdoch’s own…

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Real Estate Big Data

Are people jumping back on the flipping bandwagon?

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) House flipping is fun to watch on tv, but the housing crash ended the big wave of investor flips – is it that time again?



flipping houses

Just when you thought all those shows about flipping houses on HGTV were going to be obsolete, the entity behind the nation’s largest property database, ATTOM Data Solutions, drops news that home flipping may be on the rise in emerging markets.

ATTOM’s Q3 2017 U.S. Home Flipping Report found that there was an influx of flipping and market competition in 44 out of the 93 metropolitan markets.

“A more than nine-year low in the ratio of flips per investor is evidence of this increased competition,” Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, said at the release of the report on Thursday. “[This] is pushing many investors to new metro areas that often have weaker market fundamentals but also come with a bigger supply of discounted distressed properties to flip.”

In order to perform the statistical analysis included in the report, ATTOM maintained its analytical definition of flipping from previous years. The property data firm defines a flipped home as a property “sold in an arms-length sale for the second time within a 12-month period based on publicly recorded sales deed data” that was collected by their research firm.

Areas with the largest revitalized interest for flippers: Baton Rouge, Louisiana (up 140 percent); Winston-Salem, North Carolina (up 58 percent); Salem, Oregon (up 51 percent); Indianapolis, Indiana (up 51 percent); and Buffalo, New York (up 47 percent).

However, this flipping increase of 47 percent of markets is bucking the national trend of shifting away from flipping. Nationally, the report finds that while from Q3 to Q2, the rate of home flipping has decreased 0.5 percent, the overall home flip rate comparing Q3 2016 to Q3 2017 has stagnated at 5.1 percent. Also, return on investment (ROI) is decreasing, which might be driving this declining rate.

As detailed in the report, only 37 percent of major metropolitan markets are experiencing an increase of average gross home flipping return on investment (ROI) in Q3. The rest of markets? They’re experiencing an ROI downturn, receiving lowest average gross flipping ROI since Q2 2015.

“Home flipping profits continue to be squeezed by a dwindling inventory of distressed properties available to purchase at a discount and increasing competition from fair-weather home flippers often willing to operate on thinner margins,” Blomquist said.

It looks like we shouldn’t count out the creation of “Flip this House: Baton Rouge” coming soon to a TV near you.

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