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SXSW: Mayors address using data to solve housing challenges

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) At SXSW, three mayors on stage address the challenges of housing and how data can be used to solve the multi-pronged crises.

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The critical nature of data

We all know that data collection is at an all-time high. Facebook knows what to sell you based on your browsing history since you’re logged in, your smart thermostat knows when you’re home and when you’re away regularly, your phone knows everywhere you’ve been, and companies are tapping into this data every microsecond.

But what about city governments? How are they tapping into the available data, and further, how are they using it to solve local housing challenges?

Short answer: They’ve just scratched the surface.

SXSW panel on housing challenges

At South By Southwest (SXSW), Denver Mayor, Michael Hancock, Milwaukee Mayor, Tom Barrett, and Cambridge Mayor, Denise Simmons all spoke about current and future initiatives they’re working on to address housing demands.

On stage, Mayor Simmons focused extensively on Cambridge’s inclusionary zoning efforts and Mayor Hancock acknowledged that Denver can’t build their way out of their 35,000 unit deficit (despite many initiatives to do just that). Both Cambridge and Denver are dynamically different than Milwaukee which has battled a long population decline and is finally growing but has a more intense focus on lower income families with strong actions against bad landlords and blight homes.

Mayor Simmons uses available studies to address tensions with developers who fight the city’s increases in requirements for portions of properties to meet affordable housing standards.

But when pressed, all three danced around questions of using the data for more granular specifics than affordable housing units, population growth, and transportation challenges. This again reiterates that city governments have barely scratched the surface and while not addressed during the panel, we would note that data collection and good data analysis can be extremely expensive and when a government is trying to squeeze money from the budget already, it’s still not a reality.

Politics and housing

But people are working on to make it a reality. In the halls of SXSW you’ll hear buzzing about government data hackathons and it’s not about hacking into the government, rather private citizens taking the endless public data and turning it into something useful for citizens and governments. You’ll also hear a considerable anti-Trump sentiment, as is common among people at massive tech conferences.

And as you’d guess, three politicians on stage took the opportunity to sidenote their fears about the federal budget squeeze. Although HUD Secretary Ben Carson vowed to protect lower income neighborhoods during his confirmation hearing, there is a potential $6B HUD budget cut on the horizon.

All three mayors expressed that they already struggle with their current funding and that stripping federal funding, particularly community development block grants (CDBGs), would be devastating to their efforts.

Affordability, front and center

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has continued to note with urgency that affordability is one of the most pressing issues on the housing industry, and all three mayors are using available data to implement initiatives to help their local citizens.

There is massive opportunity for local and state governments to use available data to do so much more than just push back on developers – data can transform sustainability efforts, how healthy we are as communities, and how we connect.

We asked Mayor Barrett how they were partnering with the Realtor community on affordability and he noted they were working with the Wisconsin Realtors Association but didn’t dive into details.

Again, this is where we see another tremendous opportunity – for brokerages, local boards, and state associations to partner with mayors to offer their data to local governments, to lend their time and talent to tackle affordability challenges.

While housing is so much more than affordability, with populations shifting in and out of urban and suburban areas, it is currently a core theme when talking to anyone in a position to impact the future of housing. Particularly mayors.

Let’s talk again in 10 years

When we have this discussion again 10 years from now, you’ll hear more about data being used to track upward mobility of residents, sustainability as part of housing requirements, new ways of meshing private and public dollars, and much more.

The NAR Center for Realtor Technology (NAR CRT) has been partnering with universities, private companies, and taking other creative measures to study how data can be used. For example, they’ve asserted that some day all smart thermostat data could be collected and become a line item in the MLS so that you can search for a home or eventually a neighborhood based on air quality. And based on discussions with them, even that is just scratching the surface of what’s possible.

City governments will catch up to the CRT model of constantly digging, theorizing, and partnering to research without having to blow the entire city budget on a data firm. So let’s talk again in a decade – I can’t wait!

#SXSWhousing

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Big Data

Is your MLS on the RESO naughty list?

(REAL ESTATE DATA) A lot has changed in the real estate industry at the MLS level, but if your MLS or Association is on the RESO naughty list, it may be time to say something so you’re not impacted negatively.

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RESO

Heaps and heaps of data

At the core of what makes up the real estate practice is sales, negotiation, marketing, and data. The last bit often eludes not only agents, but brokers, and to be frank, the industry as a whole.

We’re sitting on massive amounts of data, endless points of historical information that come together like glorious Legos to build the most beautiful giant city of castles you’ve ever seen.

But Legos aren’t exactly concrete or marble, so the industry has come together (including brokers volunteering time) to improve this mass of data we’re all sitting on, and the MLS is the first point of contact for all of this data and info. Years ago, the “Real Estate Standards Organization” (RESO) was established to organize and standardize this wealth of data.

Problem solved, right?

False, there’s still a problem

Nope. There are still an embarrassing number of multiple listing services and real estate boards that aren’t RESO certified, meaning their mountain of data could be sloppy, disorganized, useless in many cases.

There is a running naughty list of AORs/MLSs that aren’t RESO certified (see below), and if you belong to one of them, it is worth making a call to ask what their plans are to obtain certification and adhere to the industry standards so the data isn’t as weak as a 100-story Lego house.

AORs/MLSs Not RESO Data Dictionary Certified:
Altamaha Board of REALTORS®, Inc.
Bay County REALTOR® Association
Beckley Board of REALTORS®
Big Bear Assocation of Realtors
Brooklyn New York MLS (Broker-Owned Non-N.A.R. Affiliated)
Buffalo Trace MLS
Capital Region Multiple Listing Service
Central Coast Regional MLS (CCRMLS)
Columbus Georgia Board of REALTORS
Covington County Association of REALTORS
Cushing Board of REALTORS®
Dan River Region Board of REALTORS
Dublin Board of REALTORS, Inc.
Eastern Arkansas Realtors Association
Eastern Kentucky Association of Realtors
Eastern Shore Board of REALTORS
Fayette-Nicholas Board of REALTORS®
Four County Board of REALTORS®
GREENBRIER VALLEY BOARD OF REALTORS
Garden City Board of Realtors
Grand Island Board of REALTORS
Greater Hazleton Association Of Realtors
Greenville Area Board of REALTORS
Hays Board of Realtors
Heartland Assocation of Realtors Inc
Henderson County Board of REALTORS
Iron County Board of REALTORS®
Jamestown Board of REALTORS®
Kansas Association of Realtors (Kansas Statewide)
Key West Association of Realtors
Lexington-Bluegrass Assn of Realtors
Lynchburg Association of REALTORS
Martinsville, Henry & Patrick Counties Association of REALTORS
McDowell Board of REALTORS
Memphis Area Association Of Realtors® Inc
Midlands Board of Realtors
Midlands MLS Inc.
Milledgeville MLS
Mitchell Board of REALTORS®
Nebraska Realtors Outstate (NRA)
Norfolk Board Of Realtors (NRA)
Okeechobee County Board of Realtors
Otsego-Delaware Board of REALTORS
Phenix City Board of REALTORS
Pike County Board of REALTORS
Pittsburg Board of REALTORS
Plainview Association of REALTORS®
Rockingham County Association of REALTORS
Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association
Russellville Board of Realtors
Salina MLS
Sheridan County Board of REALTORS
South Central Association of REALTORS
Southeast Georgia MLS
Southeast Kansas MLS
Southern Midlands Board of REALTORS
Southern Piedmont Land & Lake Assn of Realtors
Southwest Kansas MLS
Southwest Mississippi Board of REALTORS, Inc.
Tehachapi Area Association of REALTORS
Tennessee Valley Association of REALTORS
Tulare County Association of REALTORS®
Upper Cumberland Association of REALTORS
Williston Board of REALTORS®
Wiregrass Board of REALTORS®
Yancy Mitchell County Board of Realtors North Carolina

AORs/MLSs Not RESO Web API Certified
Altamaha Board of REALTORS®, Inc.
Americus Board of REALTORS
Ann Arbor Area Board of REALTORS
Ashland Board of Realtors
Bakersfield Association of REALTORS
Bay Area Real Estate Information Services
Bay County REALTOR® Association
Beckley Board of REALTORS®
Benton County Multiple Listing Service
Big Bear Association of Realtors
Boone County Board of REALTORS
Brooklyn New York MLS (Broker-Owned Non-N.A.R. Affiliated)
Buffalo Trace MLS
California Desert Association of REALTORS
Central Oregon Association of Realtors
Central Penn Multi-List
Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS
Clear Lake Board of REALTORS
Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess
Columbus Georgia Board of REALTORS
Covington County Association of REALTORS
Crisp Area Board of Realtors, Inc.
Cushing Board of REALTORS®
Dan River Region Board of REALTORS
Dublin Board of REALTORS, Inc.
East Central Association of REALTORS
Eastern Arkansas Realtors Association
Eastern Kentucky Association of Realtors
Eastern Shore Board of REALTORS
Emporia Board of REALTORS
Fayette-Nicholas Board of REALTORS®
Firelands Association of REALTORS
Flint Hills Board of REALTORS
Four County Board of REALTORS®
Fresno Association of REALTORS
GREENBRIER VALLEY BOARD OF REALTORS
Garden City Board of Realtors
Goodland Board of REALTORS
Grand Island Board of REALTORS
Greater Hazleton Association Of Realtors
Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS
Greater Portsmouth Area Board of Realtors
Greenville Area Board of REALTORS
Hays Board of Realtors
Heart of Iowa Board of REALTORS®, Inc.
Henderson County Board of REALTORS
High Desert Association of REALTORS
Highlands-Cashiers Multiple Listing Service, Inc.
Humboldt Assoc. of REALTORS, Inc.
Huntingdon County Board of REALTORS
Internet-Technology Pasadena-Foothill
Iowa Statewide
Iron County Board of REALTORS®
Jamestown Board of REALTORS®
Kansas Association of Realtors (Kansas Statewide)
Key West Association of Realtors
Kings County Board of REALTORS
Lexington-Bluegrass Association of REALTORS
Lubbock Asssocation of REALTORS
Lynchburg Association of REALTORS
Madisonville Hopkins County Board of REALTORS
Marshalltown Board of REALTORS
Martinsville, Henry & Patrick Counties Association of REALTORS
McDowell Board of REALTORS
McKean County Association of Realtors
Midlands Board of Realtors
Milledgeville MLS
Mitchell Board of REALTORS®
Monroe County Board of Realtors
Moultrie Board of Realtors
Nevada County Association of REALTORS
Newton Board of REALTORS
North Central Board Of Realtors – Ponca
North Central Iowa Board of REALTORS
Northwest Iowa MLS
Ojai Valley Board of REALTORS
Otsego-Delaware Board of REALTORS
Phenix City Board of REALTORS
Pike County Board of REALTORS
Pittsburg Board of REALTORS
Plainview Association of REALTORS®
Plymouth County Board of REALTORS
Poweshiek County MLS
REALTORS Association of Lincoln (Midlands MLS)
Rockingham County Association of REALTORS
Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association
Russellville Board of Realtors
Salina MLS
San Francisco Association of REALTORS
Sheridan County Board of REALTORS
Snake River Regional Multiple Listing Service
Somerset-Lake Cumberland Board of REALTORS
South Central Association of REALTORS
South Tahoe Association of REALTORS, Inc.
Southeast Georgia MLS
Southeast Iowa Regional MLS
Southeast Kansas MLS
Southern Indiana REALTORS® Association
Southern Midlands Board of REALTORS
Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service
Southern Piedmont Land & Lake Assn of Realtors
Southwest Georgia Board of Realtors MLS
Southwest Kansas MLS
Southwest Mississippi Board of REALTORS, Inc.
Storm Lake Multiple Listing Service
Tama County Board of REALTORS
Tehachapi Area Association of REALTORS
Tennessee Valley Association of REALTORS
Tulare County Association of REALTORS
Upper Cumberland Association of REALTORS
Vail Board of REALTORS
Valdosta Board of REALTORS/South Georgia MLS
Webster City MLS
West Central Iowa Regional MLS
Western Steuben Allegany Association of Realtors, Inc.
Williston Board of REALTORS®
Wiregrass Board of REALTORS®
Yancy Mitchell County Board of Realtors North Carolina

If you didn’t know, now you know

RESO says their organization “develops, promotes and maintains, through an open process, voluntary electronic commerce standards for the real estate industry. As a standards setting organization involving the participation of competitors, RESO is committed to full compliance with all laws and regulations and to maintaining the highest ethical standards in the way it conducts its operations and activities.”

If you belong to one of the aforementioned AORs/MLSs, perhaps it is time for you to get involved and volunteer alongside the hundreds of other volunteers that keep RESO running smoothly nationwide.

#RESOnaughtylist

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Real Estate Big Data

Indeed’s list of the cities that stretch your paycheck the furthest

(BIG DATA) Indeed recently released a list of cities that show where you get the biggest bang for your buck.

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MONEY, IT’S A HIT

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of sitting down to assess your personal budget, you know the pain of debating if living costs in your area are worth it compared to your income. Generally, the cities with the highest income are also paired with higher living costs.

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San Jose, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Fairfield County, CT, and New York are America’s five metros with the highest salaries, and also some of the most expensive places to live. Is it worth getting paid more if you also end up paying more? Can’t there be some mystical region with low cost of living where you can also rake in a sizable paycheck?

INDEED’S METHODOLOGY

Luckily for those of us too lazy to use Google or math, the nice folks at Indeed drew up a list of Cities Where a Paycheck Goes the Furthest in 2017. Using salary data from August 2016 to July 2017, they calculated an average of all jobs with annual salary information for each of the 104 US metropolitan areas with at least 500,000 residents.

After adjusting for each metro’s cost of living and considering unadjusted average salaries based on fixed-effects regression model, Indeed ended up with some helpful comparisons.

WHAT THEY FOUND

Check out if your city made the list.

paycheck

HIGH AND LOW

After adjusting for cost of living, coastal metro areas with high salaries aren’t such a great deal. None of the big coastal metros ranked in the Top 20 list of affordability, but tinier metros in the South and Midwest made it. In fact the only California metros on the list are from the Pacific region, where housing is significantly less expensive than the coast.

Indeed notes, “adjusted salaries are higher outside the largest metros. Even though you’ll see more money on your paystubs in bigger metros than in smaller metros, those big-city salaries are outweighed by an even higher cost of living.” The highest adjusted salaries where your paycheck spreads the furthest are in Birmingham, AL, Jackson, MS, and Fresno, CA.

Honolulu, Hawaii topped the list for where salaries stretch the least.

Although housing costs are lower in Honolulu than San Francisco and San Jose, physical goods must be shipped to Hawaii, and their adjusted salaries are among the lowest in the country.

MOVING ON UP

So why doesn’t everyone just move to where the cities on the top 20 list? Because moving is money, and uprooting your life and job can be a huge ordeal if you have family and friends in your area. Job security is another factor to consider. Although one area may have a higher adjusted income, it could be riskier to make the move if the job market is less stable.

Indeed also points out that some places are desirable locations even if they’re not so easy on your wallet (aloha, Hawaii.) Plus, in areas high in routine jobs, the threat of automation/robot takeover is very real. Check out Indeed’s blog post for more info on their methodology and fun charts.

#GoFurther

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Real Estate Big Data

Home prices still rising, inventory still tightening, causing dip in sales

(BIG DATA) Home prices are continuing on their rising trajectory, while the amount of homes available continues to decline.

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prices catalyst housing fund sales

On the up

Although existing home sales jumped in the South and West, national numbers were weighed down (falling 1.3 percent) by the losses in the Northeast and Midwest in July, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

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Home prices continue to rise, and bidding wars are breaking out in parts of America with listings in July typically going under contract in under 30 days.

Rocky start

NAR’s Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun says the second half of the year got off on a somewhat sour note as existing sales in July inched backward.

“Buyer interest in most of the country has held up strongly this summer and homes are selling fast, but the negative effect of not enough inventory to choose from and its pressure on overall affordability put the brakes on what should’ve been a higher sales pace,” he said.

“Contract activity has mostly trended downward since February and ultimately put a large dent on closings last month,” Dr. Yun concluded.

Not a lot to give

Inventory levels remained tight, falling another 1.0 percent in July and is now 9.0 percent lower than this time last year. This marks the 26th consecutive month of declining inventory.

Meanwhile, home prices are up for the 65th consecutive month, rising 6.2 percent in the last year to $258,300.

“Home prices are still rising above incomes and way too fast in many markets,” said Yun.

He added that “Realtors® continue to say prospective buyers are frustrated by how quickly prices are rising for the minimal selection of homes that fit buyers’ budget and wish list.”

All over the place

July existing-home sales in the Northeast dropped 14.5 percent to an annual rate of 650,000, and are now 1.5 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $290,000, which is 4.1 percent above July 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 5.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in July, and are now 1.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $205,400, up 5.9 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South rose 2.2 percent to an annual rate of 2.28 million in July, and are now 3.6 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $227,700, up 6.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West jumped 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.26 million in July, and are 5.0 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $373,000, up 7.6 percent from July 2016.

#HomeSales

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