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What’s Up With Housing?

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Survey: A top reason 1 out of 3 millennials buy a first home is to provide a yard for their dog. As a motivator, it outranked marriage and raising children.
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ROI of Sustainability is More Complex Than You Think.
The value of energy efficiency and sustainability can prove to be greater, more lucrative or more complex than it appears on the surface.
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In the second quarter of 2017, the Florida housing market had more closed sales, higher median prices and more pending sales, according to Florida Realtors.
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Florida Leads Nation in Foreign Residents Buying and Selling.
Foreign investors want to buy in Florida, but they also want to sell Fla. property when the income potential is right – and many Canadians think that time is now.
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It might not be “Plan A,” but some Millennials that return home after college are turning it into a positive stay by saving enough cash to buy homes.


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What’s Up With Housing?

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The bill working its way through Congress has “significant improvements,” including a commitment to protect current owners from substantial rate increases.
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For the sixth consecutive month, May home prices venture into record territory.
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The CFPB recently loosened rules, and agents now have easier access to the closing disclosure providing certain private information is removed. However now, as before, the lenders decide how to handle it.
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According to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index Poll, Americans who have money to set aside for the next 10 years would rather invest in real estate than any other type of investment.
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For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to the same lawyer stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.
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It’s cheaper to rent than own a home in 11 states, but Florida’s average monthly rent, $1,543, is still higher than the cost of an average monthly mortgage: $1,376.


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What’s Up With Housing?

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The latest County numbers are in for June and they show that the market continues to hold strong, including the highest Closed Sales figure for the Single Family Homes segment since at least 2009.
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Instead of dormitory-style buildings, flexible mass-produced housing pods might offer a way to sidestep zoning code barriers and get people off the streets.
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What do Americans click most on home remodeling websites? Currently, they’re drawn to modern, high-end finishes, spa-like bathrooms and chic industrial features.
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Once in the top five nationally for foreclosure filings, the Tampa Bay area no longer makes even the top 25.
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Lower Mortgage RatesMortgage rates drop below 4%.
After two weeks of increases that took the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to 4.03%, it dropped back this week to an average 3.96%.
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What’s Up With Housing?

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Five Ways to Talk to Your Customers about Smart Home Technology.
The smart home market has seen general interest, but also a lot of confusion. Here’s what to keep in mind.
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Florida’s consumers were a bit more optimistic in June.
“Overall, Floridians appear to be more optimistic. Most of the increase is due to the positive perceptions of consumers’ current and future personal finance situation.”

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HUDHUD awards Florida $822K in housing counseling grants.
24 Florida organizations will get money to help buyers prepare to become homeowners, with additional money going to agencies that serve multiple states.

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5 Signs a 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Is Not for You.
A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the gold standard—but for some buyers, it doesn’t make sense. Let’s see if this loan is right for you.
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Affordable housing developments in low-income, minority communities are shown to have multiple positive effects.


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What’s Up With Housing?

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Rural RedevelopmentHow to Rebuild Rural Communities…
Affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization aren’t just urban issues.
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Fewer Tampa Bay Homeowners are in Foreclosure and Late on Mortgages.
As more bay area borrowers regain equity in the their homes, foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies in the four-county area have dropped to their lowest level in a decade.

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Biggest Issues in Real EstateTop 10 Issues Facing the Real Estate Industry in 2017
Purchasing a home, securing a mortgage and even signing a lease are all activities that require some thought about the future.
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Next Buyers’ Market? Two or Three Years?
As price growth slows, more sellers should sell, and one economist predicts the market will “meaningfully swing in favor of buyers” in the next two to three years.
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How the Fed’s Rate Hike Will Affect Refinancing.
If every homeowner with a mortgage who could refinance did today, their potential savings would average $260 a month.
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Top 10 Issues Facing the Real Estate Industry in 2017

Biggest Issues in Real Estate

The No. 1 challenge? Polarization and political uncertainty.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Political uncertainty affects trade, consumer prices, home prices and mortgage interest rates.
  2. Big baby boomer and millennial populations (who want different things in their homes) are causing generational disruption and housing mismatch.
  3. The proliferation of real estate technology is also going to have a big impact on consumers, agents and brokers.

[Inman News] DENVER — Every year, the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) surveys its members to discover what the most pressing issues facing the real estate industry might be.

Yesterday, at the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) conference in Denver, CRE chair Scott Muldavin unveiled a list of the 10 challenges the industry will face.

“As real estate agents, we’re all futurists,” said Muldavin, pointing out that purchasing a home, securing a mortgage and even signing a lease are all activities that require some thought about the future.

In a departure from previous years, Muldavin started the list with the item that CRE members think is the most pressing one for the industry to face right now.

1. Political polarization and global uncertainty

“Today we’re going to start at the top because political polarization and global uncertainty is an issue that permeates almost all the other issues,” Muldavin explained.

He noted that resurging nationalism, threats to the European Union and the possibility of war with Iran or North Korea — plus uncertainty relative to trade deals — are all contributing to this challenge.

“There are a lot of unintended consequences,” he noted.

Political polarization and global uncertainty have a particular impact on trade, so port, gateway and coastal communities might find themselves with economic or other problems that they haven’t yet had to tackle.

Add to that the fact that the consumer price index, home prices and interest rates are all rising, mortgages are less affordable and communities are increasingly polarized, and you can see how this issue would affect homeownership on an individual and national scale.

2. The technology boom

“One of the biggest booms today is actually the boom in applications,” said Muldavin, noting that in 2011, $186 million was spent on real estate tech applications, and that number had ballooned to $2.7 billion in 2016.

“This move is going to change every aspect of buying, selling and managing real estate,” he said.

Technology will affect home sales in the following ways:

  • Robotics has come alive — and that means your job might not be safe, which could have an impact on the number of households that can afford to buy a home.
  • Autonomous vehicles are coming sooner or later — Muldavin thinks sooner — and that’s going to mean buildings and parking garages are probably due for some redesign, and builders need to start thinking about that now.
  • Consumers are coming to expect growing sophistication from service providers who leverage technology, so those service providers better be ready to deliver.
  • Smart home devices are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Wireless access and bandwidth are key for residential properties.
  • New modes of transportation and new transportation models could be a boom for the suburbs.

3. Generational disruptions

The two biggest generations in the United States — millennials and baby boomers — have very different challenges and varying priorities and needs when it comes to housing, and that gets especially squirrelly when the two groups need to share living spaces.

This means that office, public and residential living spaces should be designed with the demands of both groups in mind, whenever possible, to meet the needs of this side-by-side generational workforce.

And while young renters and buyers have income limits and are marrying and moving to the suburbs later in life, older owners are downsizing and selling so they can move back to the cities.

4. Retail disruption

“This is not exactly a new issue that the retail markets are having a problem,” said Muldavin.

“Between 1970 and today, malls grew at twice the rate of the population.” He noted that the United States has 40 percent more retail space than Canada, five times more than the United Kingdom and 10 times more than Germany. That’s…a lot, especially when you combine it with the wonders of shopping online.

So is it any surprise that so many retail storefronts are closing up shop?

“Retail’s not dying,” assured Muldavin, “but people like experiences” — so current retail stores might be converted to climbing gyms, offices or what Muldavin calls “omnichannel” stores.

And this will all roll up to impact residential real estate; properties within walking distance will be within high demand, and retail disruption can be a residential value determinant, so it’s unwise to ignore it.

5. Infrastructure investment

“Infrastructure is a long-term problem relative to our competitiveness,” said Muldavin, and it’s another one we can’t ignore — it won’t fix itself and it’s only going to keep deteriorating.

He discussed the the infrastructure plan outlined by the Trump administration and said it would push funds into public transportation and other important infrastructure projects.

However, infrastructure projects of this scope are typically taken on when unemployment is relatively high — which it is definitely not right now; we’re at an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in the U.S., the lowest since 2001.

So where are those infrastructure workers going to come from, and how much will they need to be paid?

There are commercial opportunities for fund management, plus advantages for ports and communities that support global transportation routes, and more infrastructure likely means more jobs (and therefore more money to buy a home), better access to housing and work and other necessary places, improved utilities, improved delivery of goods and more.

“The losers are going to be rural areas, water, electrical grids, parks — anything that doesn’t have a direct public source,” Muldavin said.

6. Housing: The big mismatch

“Affordability is a big issue, but in Cleveland you can still buy a house for $80,000,” Muldavin noted. “So affordability’s not a problem everywhere. The places where jobs are being created, you have huge affordability issues. What they really need to do is get jobs moving to where we have housing that’s affordable.”

This is just one example of the big housing mismatch. Others include:

  • Boomers want large apartments for their downsizing plans while developers have been building much smaller units for millennials.
  • There are far too few starter homes to meet demand in most markets.
  • The poor demand for old, large homes in the suburbs can also hinder move-up or downsizing buyers seeking a change.

7. Lost decades of the middle class

Middle class wages haven’t grown in 20 years, Muldavin noted.

“We have a real challenge in this and it has significant implications for real estate relative to homebuying.”

Is it any surprise that homeownership rates have dropped? Muldavin said that they’re forecasted to go even lower — to 60 percent or below. “We’re not expecting a homebuying boom,” he said.

8. Real estate’s emerging role in health care

Is anyone in the U.S. (aside from perhaps pharmaceutical companies) happy with the state of health care? Muldavin noted that we spend $3 trillion on health care every year in this country, and our outcomes rank 50 out of 55 developed countries surveyed. “We’re not getting a lot done,” Muldavin said, “and real estate has a key role in turning this around.”

That includes both increased health care infrastructure — urgent care centers, ambulatory care centers, clinics and other health care-related locales are popping up to help alleviate the burden from hospitals — and buildings themselves can help enhance and promote our health.

There are programs that can control carbon dioxide and lighting levels, for example, to promote alertness and align with circadian rhythms for better sleep.

9. Immigration

“The problem with immigration and the polarization is we don’t have a comprehensive strategy,” said Muldavin.

There are, of course, implications of toughening the borders against immigration:

  • It blocks access to skilled workers.
  • It impacts innovation.
  • It hampers multifamily development, rents and home sales.
  • It impacts home and rental unit size, as immigrant families are often larger.
  • There will be fewer new household formations, fewer renters and fewer buyers.

10. Climate change

Muldavin explained that whether or not you believe in rising sea levels and climate change, it’s going to affect real estate — because new scientific algorithms might convince other people that your property will soon be (literally) underwater.

“It doesn’t even have to be true for it to affect real estate,” he said.

Muldavin lives in the San Francisco Bay Area by the water, and he explained that his big concern is less about his property and more about how he gets there (and leaves).

“If the access road floods now, I can’t get to my house today,” he said. If it gets worse….

“Even if it’s wrong, the perceptions can affect values a lot,” he said “and particularly for baby boomers when your home is such a huge part of your equity and investment, are you going to take a huge risk and not sell or move?”

By AMBER TAUFEN Staff Writer, Inman News


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5 Signs You’re Ready To Stop Renting.

Buy or Rent?

via Nancy Mann Jackson

There’s a lot of conflicting advice about whether it’s smarter to rent or buy. Some say renting is like throwing money down the drain when you could be building equity in your own home. Others argue there are better ways to invest your cash, and you’re giving up valuable flexibility.

“We typically make big decisions like whether to rent or buy with emotion and defend them with logic, which is why it’s so easy to make a case for either,” explains Dana Bull, a Realtor at Sotheby’s Harborside in Boston.

But there are actually several considerations that can make the decision to rent or buy much easier. Here are five signs you’re ready to be a homeowner.

1. You actually want to own a home.

Enjoy gardening and fixing things up around your place? That’ll make homeownership easier. From coordinating maintenance and repairs to dedicating weekend time to yard work and other projects, owning a home requires a big time investment on top of the financial one. Be sure you’re ready for that responsibility.

“If you’d rather be able to call a landlord to handle issues when they arise, you may be better off renting for now,” says Certified Financial Planner John Piershale of Piershale Financial Group in Crystal Lake, Ill.

2. You’ve saved up for a down payment.

After deciding to take the leap, the next step is to save up a 20-percent down payment. This helps you avoid private mortgage insurance, which is typically equal to 1 percent of the purchase price (and paid annually). “If you can save more than 20 percent, even better,” Piershale says. “Taking out a smaller mortgage means you’ll pay less in interest over time.”

If homeownership is a near-term goal, you can take advantage of your flexibility as a renter by finding a roommate or downsizing to a cheaper place to accelerate your savings.

3. Your budget can handle all the extras.

A mortgage is just one home cost to budget for—there’s also taxes, insurance, maintenance and homeowners association fees. Generally, mortgage lenders want to see all these costs add up to no more than 28 percent of your income, Piershale says. (You can get estimates on sites like realestate.com.) It shows you can comfortably afford home costs and other living expenses, as well as repairs that may come up.

Don’t have that much wiggle room? Consider looking at homes with lower price tags or work on upping your income and savings while you’re still renting.

4. You’ve found a neighborhood you’d like to live in for years.

If you’ll only live in a particular area for a year or two, renting is likely your best bet. “Having the option to get up and leave with minimal strings attached is very appealing,” Bull says. Renting can also be a smart way to test the waters, learning what you like and dislike about different neighborhoods.

When you’re ready to put down roots, and plan to stay for at least five years, buying’s back on the table. Just make sure you thoroughly research the area first: If you have kids, are you happy with the school district? Is the neighborhood safe? Are the home prices increasing generally? You can find detailed information on crime rates and school rating on sites like City-Data.

5. You can’t rent a similar place for significantly less.

If you can rent in your desired area for much cheaper than a mortgage and other housing costs would set you back, you may benefit from renting a while longer and saving or investing the difference in monthly expenses. Not only can this build your net worth in the meantime, but it allows you to test-run your budget. When you do buy one day, you’ll already know you can comfortably handle the uptick in expenses.