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Real Estate Big Data

The NAHB Index’s newest numbers have some people on edge

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) The NAHB housing market index is reflecting a drop in home builder confidence which is not to be confused with another crucial home builder trait.



nahb index

The NAHB index

On Monday, The National Association of Home Builders released new data showing a drop in confidence among American home builders this month.

The NAHB housing market index also fell by three points in April, to 68. In March, the NAHB index made it up to 71, which is the strongest reading in over a decade.


The NAHB index is based upon a survey of NAHB members, conducted monthly, which targets the single-family housing market, in particular. The survey asks for a rating of market conditions for new home sales, both in the present and in the next six months. It also asks for information about the behavior and numbers of potential new home buyers.

According to a poll conducted by Thomson Reuters, economists were incorrectly optimistic.

They expected home builder confidence to reach 70 this month, after the boost in March attributed to President Trump’s perceived anti-regulatory stance in the housing industry.

Apples to oranges

Chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, Robert Dietz, accompanied the new report with a reminder to distinguish demand from confidence: “The fact that the HMI measure of current sales conditions has been over 70 for five consecutive months shows that there is continued demand for new construction,” he said, but “builders are facing several challenges.” According to Dietz, these include “hefty regulatory costs and ongoing increases in building material prices.”

NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald had some reassuring words of his own to add.

“Even with this month’s modest drop, builder confidence is on very firm ground,” he said. “Builders are reporting strong interest among potential home buyers.” Basically, no one is worried about demand at this point. The problem lies in all the obstacles separating demand from supply.

No need to panic

Each of the index’s three components saw decreases in April: the current sales conditions component fell to 74, down 3 points; the sales expectations for the next six months also dropped three points, to 75; and the buyer traffic component fell a single point, to 52. However, the NAHB maintains that all three components remain at healthy levels.

The regional breakdown reveals a disparity between the West and the rest of the country.

Builder sentiment remained unchanged from March in the West, and went down a single point in the South. In the Northeast, however, builder sentiment went down an alarming eight points, and the Midwest saw a five-point decrease.

I dip, you dip, we dip

On the 18th, the Commerce Department is slated to release a report, unrelated to the NAHB, detailing new residential construction from March. New housing starts are expected to have declined to an annual rate of 1.262 million, after a jump to 1.288 million the previous month.

The industry may be starting to worry that President Trump will not keep his deregulation promises. If that’s the case, further dips may be in store as confidence drops across the board.


Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.


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

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.

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