Category Archives: Federal Government Feeds

NAR Urges Congress to Support Net Neutrality

By Melanie Wyne, Daniel Blair

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DOJ Shifts Support Against CFPB

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EGRPRA Report to Congress

By Sehar Siddiqi, Joe Harris

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Existing-Home Sales Stumble in February

WASHINGTON (March 22, 2017) — After starting the year at the fastest pace in almost a decade, existing-home sales slid in February but remained above year ago levels both nationally and in all major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales 1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, retreated 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in February from 5.69 million in January. Despite last month’s decline, February’s sales pace is still 5.4 percent above a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says closings retreated in February as too few properties for sale and weakening affordability conditions stifled buyers in most of the country. “Realtors® are reporting stronger foot traffic from a year ago, but low supply in the affordable price range continues to be the pest that’s pushing up price growth and pressuring the budgets of prospective buyers,” he said. “Newly listed properties are being snatched up quickly so far this year and leaving behind minimal choices for buyers trying to reach the market.”

Added Yun, “A growing share of homeowners in NAR’s first quarter HOME survey said now is a good time to sell, but until an increase in listings actually occurs, home prices will continue to move hastily.”

The median existing-home price 2 for all housing types in February was $228,400, up 7.7 percent from February 2016 ($212,100). February’s price increase was the fastest since last January (8.1 percent) and marks the 60th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory 3 at the end of February increased 4.2 percent to 1.75 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 6.4 percent lower than a year ago (1.87 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 21 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.8-month supply at the current sales pace (3.5 months in January).

All-cash sales were 27 percent of transactions in February (matching the highest since November 2015), up from 23 percent in January and 25 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 17 percent of homes in February, up from 15 percent in January but down from 18 percent a year ago. Seventy-one percent of investors paid in cash in February (matching highest since April 2015).

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in February, which is down from 33 percent in January but up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released in late 2016 4 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

“The affordability constraints holding back renters from buying is a signal to many investors that rental demand will remain solid for the foreseeable future,” said Yun. “Investors are still making up an above average share of the market right now despite steadily rising home prices and few distressed properties on the market, and their financial wherewithal to pay in cash gives them a leg-up on the competition against first-time buyers.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage inched up in February to 4.17 percent from 4.15 percent in January. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 45 days in February, down from 50 days in January and considerably more than a year ago (59 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 214 days in February, while foreclosures sold in 49 days and non-distressed homes took 45 days. Forty-two percent of homes sold in February were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in February were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 23 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 27 days; Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., 33 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 36 days; and Boulder, Colo., at 37 days.

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says being fully prepared is the right strategy for prospective buyers this spring. “Seek a preapproval from a lender, know what your budget is and begin discussions with a Realtor® early on about your housing wants and needs,” he said. “Homes in many areas are selling faster than they were last spring. A buyer’s idea of a dream home in a popular neighborhood is probably the same as many others. That’s why they’ll likely have to decide quickly if they see something they like and can afford.”

Distressed sales 5 — foreclosures and short sales — were 7 percent of sales for the third straight month in February, and are down from 10 percent a year ago. Six percent of February sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in February (14 percent in January), while short sales were discounted 17 percent (10 percent in January).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million in February from 5.04 million in January, and are now 5.8 percent above the 4.62 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $229,900 in February, up 7.6 percent from February 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales descended 9.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units in February, but are still 1.7 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $216,100 in February, which is 8.2 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

February existing-home sales in the Northeast slumped 13.8 percent to an annual rate of 690,000, but are still 1.5 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $250,200, which is 4.1 percent above February 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 7.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in February, but are still 2.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $171,700, up 6.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in February rose 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.34 million, and are now 5.9 percent above February 2016. The median price in the South was $205,300, up 9.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West decreased 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in February, but are 9.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $339,900, up 9.6 percent from February 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for February is scheduled for release on March 29, and Existing-Home Sales for March will be released April 21; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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REALTOR® Party Corporate Ally Program

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HUD Secretary Launches Listening Tour

By Megan Booth, Sehar Siddiqi, Joe Harris

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RealtororgGovernmentAffairsHeadlines/~3/d0F-gao_bIo/hud-secretary-launches-listening-tour

Senate Commerce Hearing on Drones

By Erin Stackley, Stephanie A. Spear, Russell Riggs

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President Trump Releases Budget

By Megan Booth, Austin Perez, Joe Harris

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NAR Urges Mnuchin to Protect MID

By Evan Liddiard, Jamie Gregory

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NAR HOME Survey: Economic, Financial Optimism Surges; Renters Lukewarm About Buying

WASHINGTON (March 15, 2017) — Multiple years of uninterrupted job gains and hope that the best is yet to come in 2017 are igniting consumer confidence across the country, and especially in rural and middle America, according to new consumer survey findings from the National Association of Realtors®. The survey additionally found a growing disparity among renters who think it’s a good time to buy and homeowners who think it’s a good time to sell. 

In NAR’s ongoing quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey 1, respondents were asked about their confidence in the U.S. economy and various questions about their housing expectations.

In the first three months of 2017, the share of households believing the economy is improving soared to its highest share in the survey’s five-quarter history (62 percent), and is up from 54 percent last quarter and 48 percent in March 2016.

In an extraordinary reversal from previous quarters, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the surge in positive sentiment about the economy is primarily from respondents living in the Midwest (67 percent; 51 percent last quarter) and rural areas (63 percent; 43 percent last quarter). Last March, only 49 percent of Midwesterners and 35 percent of those living in rural areas thought the economy was improving.

“Confidence levels generally rise after a presidential election as the nation hopes for the best. Even though it is a highly polarized country, consumers for the most part have upbeat feelings about the economy right now,” he said. “Stronger business and consumer morale typically lead to even more hiring and spending, which in turn encourages more households to make big decisions like buying a home. These positive developments would be especially good news for prospective homebuyers in the more affordable Midwest region.”

Higher confidence in the economy is also translating to better feelings about households’ financial situation. The HOME survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index 2 showing respondents’ confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months, jumped to its highest reading in the survey, climbing to 62.6 in March from 59.8 in December 2016. A year ago, the index was 58.1.

Affordability and inventory challenges dimming renter optimism

On the cusp of the busy spring season, most households believe now is a good time to buy a home. However, confidence continues to trickle backwards among renters. Fifty-six percent of renters said now is a good time to buy, which is down both from last quarter (57 percent) and a year ago (62 percent). Eighty percent of homeowners (78 percent in December 2016; 82 percent in March 2016) think now is a good time to make a home purchase. Younger households, renters and those living in the costlier West region – where prices continue to spike – are the least optimistic.

“Inventory conditions are even worse than a year ago 3 and home prices and mortgage rates are on an uphill climb,” added Yun. “These factors are giving many renter households a pause about it being a good time to buy, even as their job prospects improve and wages grow. Unless there’s a significant boost in supply levels this spring, these constraints will unfortunately slow or delay some prospective buyers’ pursuit of purchasing a home.”

Led by the West, more homeowners view selling favorably right now

One promising trend that could alleviate supply shortages is the notable bump in the share of respondents this quarter who believe now is a good time to sell a home. Sixty-nine percent of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, which is up from last quarter (62 percent) and a year ago (56 percent). Continuing the trend over the past year, those in the West continue to be the most likely to think now is a good time to sell (77 percent), while also being the least likely to think it’s a good time to buy (61 percent).

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says homeowners looking to trade up or move down this spring could find themselves in a tricky spot without careful planning and a reliable expert on their side. “Demand far outpaces supply in many parts of the country right now, which means homeowners will likely sell their home much quicker than the time it takes to buy another,” he said. “Before listing, it’s best to have a carefully crafted plan in place. In addition to assisting in the hunt for a new home, a Realtor® is an invaluable negotiating partner in the common situation where a buyer’s new home purchase is contingent upon selling their property currently up for sale.”

About NAR’s HOME survey

In January through early March, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via random-digit dial, including half via cell phones and the other half via land lines. The survey was conducted by an established survey research firm, TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. Each month approximately 900 qualified households responded to the survey. The data was compiled for this report and a total of 2,698 household responses are represented.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1 NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey tracks topical real estate trends, including current renters and homeowners’ views and aspirations regarding homeownership, whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell a home, and expectations and experiences in the mortgage market. New questions are added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting real estate.

HOME survey data is collected on a monthly basis and will be reported each quarter. New questions will be added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting the real estate marketplace. The next release is scheduled for Monday, June 12, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

2 Index ranges between 0 and 100: 0 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be worse in 6 months; 50 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be about the same in 6 months; 100 = all respondents believe their personal situation will be better in 6 months.

3 Total housing inventory at the end of January was at 1.69 million existing homes available for sale, which is 7.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.82 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 20 straight months.

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NAR Supports Sanford/Sherman G-fee Bill

By Vijay Yadlapati, Charles Dawson

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Flood Insurance Hearings

By Austin Perez, Ken Wingert, Russell Riggs

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NAR Survey Finds Gen X on the Mend; More Children Living with Millennials and Boomers

WASHINGTON (March 7, 2017) — An improving economy, multiple years of strong job growth and the notable increase in home values in most markets fueled a greater share of purchases from Generation X households over the past year.

This is according to the National Association of Realtors® 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, which evaluates the generational differences 1 of recent home buyers and sellers. The survey additionally found that a growing number of millennials and younger boomer buyers have children living at home; student debt is common among Gen X and boomer households; more millennials are buying outside the city; and younger generations are more likely to use a real estate agent.

Much of the spotlight in recent years has focused on the several challenges millennials are enduring on their journey to homeownership. According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, lost in this discussion are the numerous Generation X households who bought their first home, started a family and entered the middle part of their careers only to be rattled by job losses, falling home values and overall economic uncertainty during and after the Great Recession.

This year’s survey reveals that debt and little or no equity in their home slowed many Gen X households from buying sooner. Recent Gen X buyers delayed buying longer than millennials because of debt, were the most likely generation to have previously sold a distressed property and were the generation most likely to want to sell earlier but couldn’t because their home was worth less than their mortgage. Furthermore, Gen X buyers indicated they had the most student loan debt ($30,000).

“Gen X sellers’ median tenure in their previous home was 10 years, which puts many of them selling a property they bought right around the time home values were on the precipice of declining,” said Yun. “Fortunately, the much stronger job market and 41 percent cumulative rise in home prices since 2011 have helped a growing number build enough equity to finally sell and trade up to a larger home. More Gen X sellers are expected this year and are definitely needed to ease the inventory shortages in much of the country.”

The uptick in purchases from Gen X buyers this year (28 percent) was the highest since 2014 and up from 26 percent in 2016. Millennials were the largest group of recent buyers for the fourth consecutive year (34 percent), but their overall share was down slightly from a year ago (35 percent). Baby boomers were 30 percent of buyers, and the Silent Generation made up 8 percent.

Younger boomers increasingly consider adult children when buying

This year’s survey also brought to light how the soaring cost of rent in many areas is likely influencing the decision of middle-aged parents to buy a home with their young adult children in mind. Younger boomers were the most likely to purchase a multi-generational home (20 percent; 16 percent in 2016), and the top reason for doing so was that children over 18 years old either moved back home or never left (30 percent; 27 percent in 2016).

“The job market is very healthy for young adults with a college education, but repaying student debt and dealing with ever-increasing rents on an entry-level salary are forcing many to either shack-up with several roommates or move back home,” said Yun. “This growing trend of delayed household formation is one of the main contributors to the nation’s low homeownership rate.”

Student debt is not just a millennial problem

Debt, particularly from student loans, appears to be a portion of the household budget of buyers in every generation. While millennials were the most likely to have student debt (46 percent), their typical balance ($25,000) was lower than Gen X buyers ($30,000). A combined 16 percent of younger and older boomer buyers also had student debt, with a median balance of over $10,000 for each group.

Among the share of buyers who said saving for a down payment was the most difficult task, millennials were most likely to cite student loans as the debt that delayed saving (55 percent), followed by Gen X (29 percent) and younger boomers (9 percent).

“Repaying student debt also appears to be slowing some current homeowners who went to graduate school and now can no longer afford to sell and trade up because of their loans,” added Yun. “Nearly a third of homeowners in a NAR survey released last year said student debt is preventing them from selling a home to buy a new one.”

More millennials moving to the suburbs…with their kids

Similar to previous years, roughly two-thirds of millennial buyers are married. One aspect of their household that has changed is the number of children in them. In this year’s survey, 49 percent of millennial buyers had at least one child, which is up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago.

With more kids in tow, the need for more space at an affordable price is increasingly pushing millennial buyers outside the city. Only 15 percent of millennial buyers bought in an urban area, which is down from 17 percent last year and 21 percent two years ago.

“Millennial buyers, at 85 percent, were the most likely generation to view their home purchase as a good financial investment,” added Yun. “These strong feelings bode well for even greater demand in the future as more millennials settle down and begin raising families. A significant boost in new and existing inventory will go a long way to ensuring the opportunity is there for more of them to reach the market.”

Millennial buyers and sellers overwhelmingly go online and use a real estate agent

Regardless of age, buyers and sellers continue to see real estate agents as an integral part of a real estate transaction. In this year’s survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents said they worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. This kept for-sale-by-owner transactions down at their lowest share ever (8 percent).

Not surprisingly, online and digital technology usage during the home search has increased in recent years. Although millennials and Gen X buyers were the most likely to go online during their search, they were also the most likely to buy their home using a real estate agent (92 percent and 88 percent, respectively). On the seller side, millennials were the most likely to use an agent (90 percent), followed closely by Gen X and younger boomer sellers (each at 89 percent).

“Online and mobile technology is increasingly giving consumers a glut of real estate data at their disposal,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California. “However, at the end of the day, buyers and sellers of all ages — but especially younger and often DIY-minded consumers — seek and value a Realtors®’ ability to dissect this information and use their expertise and market insights to coach buyers and sellers through the complexities of a real estate transaction.”

NAR mailed a 132-question survey in July 2016 using a random sample weighted to be representative of sales on a geographic basis to 93,171 recent homebuyers. Respondents had the option to fill out the survey via hard copy or online; the online survey was available in English and Spanish. A total of 5,465 responses were received from primary residence buyers. After accounting for undeliverable questionnaires, the survey had an adjusted response rate of 5.9 percent. The sample at the 95 percent confidence level has a confidence interval of plus-or-minus 1.32 percent.

The recent homebuyers had to have purchased a home between July of 2015 and June of 2016. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2016 with the exception of income data, which are for 2015.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1 Survey generational breakdowns: younger millennials (ages 26 and under); older millennials (ages 27-36); Generation X (ages 37-51); younger boomers (ages 52-61); older boomers (ages 62-70); and the Silent Generation (ages 71-91).

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/yCN_dZbBUNM/nar-survey-finds-gen-x-on-the-mend-more-children-living-with-millennials-and-boomers

Pres. Trump Signs WOTUS Order

By Russell Riggs, Ken Wingert

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Carson Becomes HUD Secretary

By Megan Booth, Sehar Siddiqi, Joe Harris

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Senate Confirms Carson Nomination as Realtors® Look to Opportunities and Challenges Ahead

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Pending Home Sales Weaken in January

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2017) — Insufficient supply levels led to a lull in contract activity in the Midwest and West, which dragged down pending home sales in January to their lowest level in a year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 2.8 percent to 106.4 in January from an upwardly revised 109.5 in December 2016. Although last month’s index reading is 0.4 percent above last January, it is the lowest since then.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home shoppers in January faced numerous obstacles in their quest to buy a home. “The significant shortage of listings last month along with deteriorating affordability as the result of higher home prices and mortgage rates kept many would-be buyers at bay,” he said. “Buyer traffic is easily outpacing seller traffic in several metro areas and is why homes are selling at a much faster rate than a year ago 1. Most notably in the West, it’s not uncommon to see a home come off the market within a month.”

According to Yun, interest in buying a home is the highest it has been since the Great Recession. Households are feeling more confident about their financial situation, job growth is strong in most of the country and the stock market has seen record gains in recent months. While these factors bode favorably for increased sales in coming months, buyers are dealing with challenging supply shortages that continue to run up prices in many areas.

“January’s accelerated price appreciation 2 is concerning because it’s over double the pace of income growth and mortgage rates are up considerably from six months ago,” said Yun. “Especially in the most expensive markets, prospective buyers will feel this squeeze to their budget and will likely have to come up with additional savings or compromise on home size or location.”

Existing-home sales are forecast to be around 5.57 million this year, an increase of 2.2 percent from 2016 (5.45 million). The national median existing-home price this year is expected to increase around 4 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.1 percent.

“Sales got off to a fantastic start in January, but last month’s retreat in contract signings indicates that activity will likely be choppy in coming months as buyers compete for the meager number of listings in their price range,” added Yun.

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 2.3 percent to 98.7 in January, and is now 3.6 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index fell 5.0 percent to 99.5 in January, and is now 3.8 percent lower than January 2016.

Pending home sales in the South inched higher (0.4 percent) to an index of 122.5 in January and are now 2.0 percent above last January. The index in the West dropped 9.8 percent in January to 94.6, and is now 0.4 percent lower than a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1 Properties typically stayed on the market for 50 days in January, down considerably from a year ago (64 days).

2 January’s median existing-home price increased 7.1 percent, which was the fastest since January 2016 (8.1 percent).

* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends will be released March 7, the first quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey is scheduled for March 15, Existing-Home Sales for February will be reported March 22, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be March 29; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/QqV__IEyj2o/pending-home-sales-weaken-in-january

NAR Seeks Improvements to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

By Melanie Wyne, Daniel Blair

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RealtororgGovernmentAffairsHeadlines/~3/JtM1LC--6oA/nar-seeks-improvements-to-the-digital-millennium-copyright-act

FHA Appraiser Identity Theft

By Sehar Siddiqi, Joe Harris

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FinCEN Renews Anti-Money Laundering Efforts for High-End Real Estate Transactions

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Stable Growth Expected for Commercial Real Estate in 2017

WASHINGTON (February 23, 2017) — Steered ahead by strengthening demand in smaller markets, the commercial real estate sector should remain on stable ground in 2017 and offer decent returns for investors, according to the latest National Association of Realtors® quarterly commercial real estate forecast.

National office vacancy rates are forecast by Realtors® to retreat 1.1 percent to 12.1 percent over the coming year as job growth in business and professional services brings increased need for office space. The vacancy rate for industrial space is expected to decline 1.3 percent to 7.1 percent, and retail availability to decrease 0.7 percent to 11.2 percent. Only the multifamily sector is predicted to have little change to its vacancy rate over the next year as new apartment completions keep openings mostly flat at 6.5 percent.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the U.S. economy is poised for slight improvement in 2017. “Last year was the 11th year in a row of subpar GDP growth, but renewed corporate optimism leading to a focus on investment and a desperately needed boost in residential construction should pave the way for modest expansion this year of around 2.4 percent,” he said. “Steady hiring and low local unemployment levels are finally supporting higher wages and increased spending, which in turn bodes well for sustained demand for all commercial property types.”

The apartment sector is expected to preserve its status as a top performer this year simply because ongoing supply and affordability challenges are keeping the nation’s low homeownership rate from seeing meaningful improvement. Even with a small uptick in the vacancy rate as new building completions catch up with demand, rents will likely maintain their solid growth in most of the country.

“Especially in the costliest metro areas, higher home prices and mortgage rates are squeezing the budget for many renters looking to buy and inevitably forcing them to sign a lease for at least another year,” said Yun.

According to Yun, commercial property prices — especially in Class A assets in larger markets — surpassed pre-crisis levels last year because of aggressive bidding and lower inventory levels. However, with the Federal Reserve expected to raise short-term rates three times in 2017, a minor price correction may be in store this year as cap rates move higher.

“Similar to the biggest ongoing challenges in the residential market, supply and demand imbalances continue to put upward pressure on commercial property prices as investors search for yield in smaller markets,” said Yun. “Realtors® are increasingly citing inventory shortages as their top concern as the pace of new projects slows in large cities and middle-tier and smaller markets see a growing appetite for space.” 

The latest Realtors® Commercial Real Estate Market Survey highlighted the strong underlying demand for commercial properties up to $2.5 million, where most transactions from NAR’s commercial members reside. Compared to a year ago, sales volume rose 12.9 percent, prices increased 5.5 percent and the average transaction value equaled $1.1 million.

NAR’s most recent Business Creation Index (BCI) also showed a positive trend for smaller commercial businesses. Created to monitor local economic conditions from the perspective of NAR’s commercial members, December’s BCI found that Realtors® reported more business openings and fewer closings over the past year in their market.  

Yun says at least in the short term, the possibility of a more tax-friendly business environment combined with the positive benefits of 1031 exchanges could quicken the pace of economic growth and support stronger commercial market fundamentals. The industrial sector — already enjoying increased demand from the soaring popularity of e-commerce — could see a further decline in vacancy rates if increased manufacturing comes to fruition and accelerates the need for more warehouse space.

“The positive direction for commercial real estate this year will be guided by the steadily expanding U.S. economy, which has legs to grow and continues to be one of the top economic performers and safest bets in the world,” concluded Yun.  

NAR’s latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook 1 offers overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets.

The NAR commercial community includes commercial members, real estate boards, committees, subcommittees and forums; and NAR commercial affiliate organizations — CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtors® Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®, and Counselors of Real Estate.

Approximately 70,000 NAR members specialize in commercial real estate brokerage and related services including property management, counseling and appraisal. In addition, more than 200,000 members are involved in commercial transactions as a secondary business.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 Additional analysis will be posted under Economists’ Outlook in the Research blog section of Realtor.org in coming days at: http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/.

The next commercial forecast and quarterly market report will be released May 30 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

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Existing-Home Sales Jump in January

WASHINGTON (February 22, 2017) — Existing-home sales stepped out to a fast start in 2017, surpassing a recent cyclical high and increasing in January to the fastest pace in almost a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw sales gains last month.

Total existing-home sales 1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, expanded 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January from an upwardly revised 5.51 million in December 2016. January’s sales pace is 3.8 percent higher than a year ago (5.48 million) and surpasses November 2016 (5.60 million) as the strongest since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says January’s sales gain signals resilience among consumers even in a rising interest rate environment. “Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home,” he said. “Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate and deteriorating affordability conditions.”

The median existing-home price 2 for all housing types in January was $228,900, up 7.1 percent from January 2016 ($213,700). January’s price increase was the fastest since last January (8.1 percent) and marks the 59th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory 3 at the end of January rose 2.4 percent to 1.69 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 7.1 percent lower than a year ago (1.82 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 20 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (unchanged from December 2016).

Properties typically stayed on the market for 50 days in January, down from 52 days in December and considerably more a year ago (64 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 108 days in January, while foreclosures sold in 51 days and non-distressed homes took 49 days. Thirty-eight percent of homes sold in January were on the market for less than a month.

“Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range,” added Yun. “NAR and realtor.com®’s new ongoing research — the Realtors® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score — revealed that the combination of higher rates and prices led to households in over half of all states last month being able to afford less of all active inventory on the market based on their income.” 

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in January were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 43 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 47 days; San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., 55 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 57 days; and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., and Greeley, Colo., all at 58 days.

NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, cautions about another source that could possibly drag down inventory for would-be buyers in coming months. “Supply and demand imbalances continue to be burdensome in many markets, and now Fannie Mae is supporting a Wall Street firm’s investment in single-family rentals,” he said. “This will only further hamper tight supply and put major investors in direct competition with traditional buyers. Instead, the GSEs should lower overly burdensome fees and help qualified borrowers become homeowners.”

First-time buyers were 33 percent of sales in January, which is up from 32 percent both in December and a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released in late 2016 4 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased slightly in January to 4.15 percent from 4.20 percent in December. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

All-cash sales were 23 percent of transactions in January, up from 21 percent in December but down from 26 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in January, unchanged from December and down from 17 percent a year ago. Fifty-nine percent of investors paid in cash in January.   

Distressed sales 5 — foreclosures and short sales — were 7 percent of sales in January, unchanged from December and down from 9 percent a year ago. Five percent of January sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 14 percent below market value in January (20 percent in December), while short sales were discounted 10 percent (unchanged from December).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales grew 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in January from 4.91 million in December 2016, and are now 3.7 percent above the 4.86 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $230,400 in January, up 7.3 percent from January 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales leapt 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 units in January, and are now 4.8 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $217,400 in January, which is 6.2 percent above a year ago.

January existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 5.3 percent to an annual rate of 800,000, and are now 6.7 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $253,800, which is 2.5 percent above January 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales decreased 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million in January, and are 0.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $174,900, up 6.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in January rose 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 2.31 million, and are now 3.1 percent above January 2016. The median price in the South was $201,400, up 9.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West ascended 6.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.29 million in January, and are now 8.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $332,300, up 6.8 percent from January 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

NOTE: NAR’s first quarter Commercial Real Estate Report/Forecast will be released on February 23, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be February 27; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

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FHFA Scorecard Includes Credit Scoring

By Charles Dawson, Vijay Yadlapati, Daniel Blair

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International Money Laundering Organization Issues U.S. Recommendations

AE | Store | Directories

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GSE Announce New Modification Program

By Vijay Yadlapati, Charles Dawson

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REINS Act Passes House

By Russell Riggs, Ken Wingert

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Private Flood Insurance Regulation

By Austin Perez, Ken Wingert, Russell Riggs

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HUD Floodplain Elevation Standard

By Austin Perez, Ken Wingert, Russell Riggs

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NAR Presents Realtor® Barbara Lach with Distinguished Service Award

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 7, 2016) – Barbara B. Lach, a Realtor® from Columbus, Ohio has received the National Association of Realtors® 2016 Distinguished Service Award. The honor is presented yearly to no more than two of NAR’s more than 1.2 million members. Winners were recognized at the REALTORS® Conference Expo in Orlando, Florida.

NAR established the DSA in 1979 to honor Realtors® who have made outstanding contributions to the real estate industry and who serve as leaders in their local communities. The award is considered the highest honor an NAR member can receive; recipients must be active at the local, state and national association levels. NAR President Tom Salomone presented the award to Lach.

“It is my tremendous honor to present this award to Barbara Lach. Her accomplishments and service within the industry are tremendous, but Barbara’s impact on her local community and family are unprecedented,” said Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. “It is rare to find someone so committed to the real estate profession while raising eight children and supporting the local community for decades.”

Lach has been a Realtor® for 36 years for Coldwell Banker King Thompson in Columbus, Ohio. During her almost four-decade career, she has had a great impact on the Realtor® family at every level of the organization. 

“It is such a thrill to receive the National Association of Realtors®’ Distinguished Service Award,” said Lach. “I have met and worked with so many dedicated and talented realtors over the course of my career, and I thought just to be nominated by the Columbus Realtors® and the Ohio Association of Realtors® was one of the greatest honors I could ever receive.”

Lach has held numerous leadership positions within the Realtor® organization, including representing Ohio and Michigan as regional vice president in 2008, and being a member of the NAR Board of Directors from 1998 to 1999 and again from 2001 to 2016. She also chaired the Legislative and Political Forum in 2010 and was a federal political coordinator from 2003 to 2007. Lach was inducted into the Realtors® Political Action Committee Hall of Fame in 2008.

Closer to home, Lach has been a member of the Ohio Association of Realtors® since 1980, serving on the board of directors since 1989 and was named president in 2004. She received the Vincent T. Avento Lifetime Achievement Award and has chaired dozens of OAR committees, including the Ohio Realtors® Political Action, Issues Mobilization, Legal Action and Legislative committees. In 2009, she was awarded the Phillip R. Barnes RPAC Achievement Award, and in 2002, she served as chair of the Finance and Budget Committee.

At the local level, Lach served as president of Columbus Realtors® in 2001 and received recognition as Realtor®/Salesperson of the Year in 1991. She was a multiple year recipient of the Volunteer Service Award. The local association also awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Lach was responsible for the revival of the Columbus Realtors® Charitable Foundation and its efforts to provide grants and educational scholarships in the area. Lach has been active in the Women’s Council of Realtors® since 1985, serving as local and state president before being elected national president in 2002.

Lach has been an exceptional asset to her community, making significant contributions beyond her real estate practice. She has a long served as an officer of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts Board of Trustees, where her leadership helped CAPA become a national leader in historic theatre restoration and promotion of the arts. She has spent many years on the board of the Buckeye Ranch, one of the country’s leading providers of emotional, behavioral and mental health services for children, young adults and families.

She also currently serves on the boards of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute, Lincoln Theatre Association, Columbus Medical Association Foundation; she is current president of the Friends of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden. Past service includes the board of the Columbus Housing Partnership, membership in and board presidencies of the Academy of Medicine Alliance of Columbus, American Federation for Aging Research, Foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus and the Jazz Arts Group. Lach and her beloved late husband and distinguished cardiologist, Dr. Ralph Lach, balanced their professional careers and community activities while raising their eight children.

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FHA Lowers Premiums

By Megan Booth, Sehar Siddiqi, Joe Harris

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NAR Endorses Dr. Ben Carson

By Megan Booth, Sehar Siddiqi, Joe Harris

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CFPB Petition for Rehearing PHH Case Granted

On February 16, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) petition for rehearing by the full bench of the D.C. Circuit (en banc), vacating the three-judge panel decision issued on October 11, 2016, in the case of CFPB v. PHH Corporation.

Recall that in October, the three-judge panel vacated a $109 million penalty imposed by the CFPB against PHH for allegedly violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by paying for referrals where there is federally related mortgage. The court also held that the unilateral authority of the CFPB vested in a single person – the Director of the CFPB – was unconstitutional because the Director could be dismissed only “for cause,” and not at the discretion of the President.

The court’s granting of the petition for rehearing en banc wholly vacates the panel’s decision, including the conclusion that PHH did not violate Section 8(c)(2) of RESPA, allowing for the possibility that the panel of ten judges reconsider this issue. However, it appears from the court’s order that the focus of the rehearing will be on the question regarding the constitutionality of the CFPB’s single director structure. 

Oral argument is scheduled for May 24, 2017, and a decision may not be released until 2018, which could be subject to further appeals. NAR is still considering whether to file an amicus brief in support of PHH and the RESPA Section 8(c)(2) safe harbor, as was done previously.

View the court’s order 

For a brief overview of the case, see NAR’s Issue Brief

For best practices on MSAs, see NAR’s RESPA Do’s Don’ts for MSAs.

For more background on the case, view NAR’s Window to the Law analysis. 

For more information, see NAR’s topic page on RESPA.

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NAR Installs 2017 Officers

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 7, 2016) – Bill Brown, a second generation Realtor® from Alamo, California was installed as 2017 president of the National Association of Realtors® at the association’s Inaugural Gala on Nov. 3 during the 2016 REALTORS® Conference Expo. The 2017 Officers, Vice Presidents, and Regional Vice Presidents took office at the adjournment of the Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 7. Brown has been active in real estate for 36 years and is the founder of Investment Properties, a division of the family real estate business started by his father, William H. Brown, in 1964, which focuses on the sale of apartment buildings to both institutional and private capital investors.

Brown was NAR’s 2016 president-elect and 2015 first vice president. He has served in numerous positions at the local, state and national levels, including as an NAR director since 1991, the 2004 chairman of the Realtors® Political Action Committee Trustees, a committee liaison in 2006 and 2011, and 2012 vice president for Region 13, comprised of California, Hawaii and Guam. In 2008, he served as the California Association of Realtors®president and was honored as Realtor® of the Year; he served on CAR’s Executive Committee six times. Brown was elected president of the Oakland Association of Realtors® in 1984.

Elizabeth Mendenhall is 2017 NAR president-elect. She has been a Realtor® for 20 years and is CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, Missouri. Mendenhall is a sixth-generation Realtor® and holds numerous real estate designations. On the national level, Mendenhall currently serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. She chaired NAR’s Strategic Planning Committee in 2012, served as vice president of committees in 2011 and was the NAR liaison to association leadership in 2008. In 2010, Mendenhall served as president of the Missouri Association of Realtors®, and in 2003, she served as president of the Columbia Board of Realtors®and was named their Realtor® of the Year.

Thomas Riley, a Realtor® from Bedford, New Hampshire is the 2017 NAR treasurer. He has been a Realtor® for more than 35 years and is president of Riley Enterprises Inc., specializing in residential and commercial real estate and property management. In 2015, Tom served as NAR’s vice president for Region 1, serving Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. He previously served on the NAR Board of Directors from 2007 to 2008 and 2010 to 2013 and served multiple times on the Finance Committee, including as vice chair in 2014. Riley served as president of the New Hampshire Association of Realtors® in 2011 and president of the Greater Manchester/Nashua Board of Realtors® in 1998. 

John Smaby is 2017 NAR first vice president. Smaby is a second-generation Realtor® and has been in the industry for 37 years; he is a broker at Edina Realty, where he specializes in residential real estate. Smaby has held numerous positions nationally and with the Minnesota Association of Realtors®, where he served as president in 2015, treasurer in 2013 and a member of the Board of Directors since 2013. He was MNAR’s Realtor® Political Action Committee chair from 2013 to 2015 and the RPAC Trustees and Public Advocacy Committee chair in 2014. In 2013, Smaby received the Ed Anderson Political Achievement Award and in 2014, was named Realtor® of the Year.

Mabél Guzmán is 2017 NAR Vice President, Association Affairs. Guzmán, a Realtor® for more than 20 years, is a broker with @properties in Chicago. At the national level, she served as the 2014 chair for NAR’s Conventional Finance Policy Committee and in 2015 as the liaison for Global Committees. She chaired the Student Loan Debt Working Group from 2014 to 2016. Guzmán served as a member of the Illinois Realtors® Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011. In 2014 and 2015, she received their President’s Medallion for Outstanding Service. Guzmán was elected treasurer in 2009 and president in 2011 of the Chicago Association of Realtors® and was a member of the board of directors from 2007 to 2009. In 2012, she was named their Realtor® of the Year.

Kevin Sears is 2017 NAR Vice President, Government Affairs. Sears, a Realtor®for over 20 years from Springfield, Massachusetts, is broker/partner of Sears Real Estate, specializing in single-family brokerage and property management. Sears has served NAR in numerous capacities, including as NAR’s 2016 vice president for Region 1, comprised of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. He has served on the NAR Board of Directors since 2008 and as a federal political coordinator for over 15 years. In 2016, Sears chaired the Realtor®Party of the Future Strategic Planning Work Group. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors®elected him President in 2010 and he has been a member of their Board of Directors since 2000. In 2006, MAR named Sears Realtor®of the Year. He was elected president of the Realtor®Association of Pioneer Valley in 2005.

NAR’s 2017 regional vice presidents are: Jamie Diane Moore, Warwick, Rhode Island, Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont); Allan H. Dechert, Avalon, New Jersey, Region 2 (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania); Mary Dykstra, Roanoke, Virginia, Region 3 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia); Ann McDonald, Winchester, Kentucky, Region 4 (Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee); Sherri Meadows, Ocala, Florida, Region 5 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands); William G. Milliken Jr., Ann Arbor, Michigan, Region 6 (Michigan and Ohio);

Patrick Dalessandro, Prospect Heights, Illinois, Region 7 (Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin); Donald R. Marple, Davenport, Iowa, Region 8 (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota); Karen Crowson, Benton, Arkansas, Region 9 (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma); Leslie Rouda Smith, Plano, Texas, Region 10 (Louisiana and Texas); George Harvey, Telluride, Colorado, Region 11 (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming); Julie DeLorenzo, Boise, Idaho, Region 12 (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington); and Leil Koch, Kula, Hawaii, Region 13 (California, Hawaii and Guam).

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Just-Released FHA Report Shows Fresh Opportunity to Make Homeownership More Affordable

WASHINGTON (November 15, 2016) — The Federal Housing Administration’s just released actuarial report shows that the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is on a steady financial trajectory, a finding the National Association of Realtors® believes is an opportunity to make FHA’s low-down-payment mortgage option available to an even broader swath of borrowers.

“FHA’s actuarial report shows that the fund has indisputably found its footing,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “That’s good news for taxpayers, and a reflection of FHA’s sound stewardship. It’s clear from this report that FHA can continue taking responsible steps to manage their risk even as they take action to make homeownership more affordable for lower- and middle-income buyers.”

FHA’s MMIF is responsible for paying lenders if a mortgagor defaults. In a sign of continuing health, the report shows that the fund’s “seriously delinquent” rate is at a ten-year low, while the overall economic value of the fund has increased by $3.8 billion.

Last year the MMIF also achieved a 2 percent capital reserve ratio for the first time since the Great Recession. This marked an important benchmark showing that the fund had strongly rebounded, a finding reinforced by the 2.3 percent capital reserve ratio FHA reported today. FHA also reported a 3.2 percent reserve ratio for the “forward” program, which encompasses FHA’s non-Home Equity Conversion Mortgage portfolio.

NAR believes that the report would have appeared even stronger if not for weaknesses in the HECM program. In light of the MMIF’s increasingly good health, NAR is encouraging FHA to reduce mortgage insurance premiums to better reflect the risk in the marketplace and fulfill its mission of serving low- and moderate-income borrowers.

According to NAR estimates, the 50-basis-point premium cut announced in January 2015 provided an annual savings of $900 for nearly 2 million FHA homeowners. A recent Federal Reserve study also found that the January 2015 reduction in mortgage insurance premiums had a quick and significant effect on FHA mortgage volume.

NAR also supports eliminating “life of loan” mortgage insurance, which borrowers must continue to pay until the loan is extinguished or refinanced. Conventional mortgage products, by contrast, traditionally require mortgage insurance only until a sufficient amount of equity is achieved on the property.

 “FHA mortgages are an important option for buyers, but high premiums and lifetime insurance requirements can take that option right off the table,” Brown said. “By lowering premiums and eliminating life of loan mortgage insurance, FHA can expand on their work to serve a broad population of homebuyers. We look forward to working with them in the months ahead to bring these changes to light.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Second Century Ventures Invests in Trust Stamp and Keeping Realtors® Safe

CHICAGO (November 16, 2016) –The National Association of Realtors®’ venture capital fund Second Century Ventures has become a strategic investor in Trust Stamp, an identity authentication company that leverages artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies.

Trust Stamp, a startup founded in 2015 by Gareth Genner and Andrew Gowasack, is one of eight companies that entered SCV’s vertical tech accelerator program, REach®, earlier this year.

The company uses patented artificial intelligence software to analyze hundreds of public records and social data to quickly provide reliable identification verification for real estate professionals meeting new clients or unknown individuals. Trust Stamp combines driver’s license analysis and proof-of-liveness photographic identification techniques with data from more than 200 social media sites and public records, including criminal and sex offender databases, to verify an individuals’ identity and create a trustworthiness score.

Trust Stamp has clients across multiple industries, including a major U.S. bank, and is launching a Facebook app to help consumers safely buy and sell in their local community through the new Facebook Marketplace feature. Trust Stamp is also a pioneer in the field of blockchain technology and is able to store and access data using techniques that are immune to the distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks that are plaguing many major internet companies.

“Second Century Ventures aims to develop and deliver technologies to innovate the real estate industry and help realty professionals to best serve buyers, sellers and clients,” said President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties.

 “Investing in a fast, convenient and affordable tool like Trust Stamp to establish the identity and trustworthiness of a stranger will better help Realtors® stay safe and protect clients and their home or property.”

Trust Stamp has created a real estate-specific webpage and mobile apps that are available only to NAR members and accessible via their NRDS number. Using the webpage or app, agents enter an individual’s email address or cell phone number and invite them to make a Trust Stamp. It takes only a few minutes for an individual to create a basic profile with a photo of his or her driver’s license, a selfie and links to one or more social accounts. Agents receive notification when the Trust Stamp is complete along with the individual’s verified name, photo and trustworthiness score.

“While our technology is in demand in many industries, REach offered us a unique opportunity to work directly with industry professionals to design a product that precisely matched he needs of real estate professionals,” said Andrew Gowasack, CEO of Trust Stamp. “As a result of that iterative discovery process, there is an overwhelming demand for Trust Stamp amongst the Realtor® community and we estimate that over half a million Realtors® will have installed the Trust Stamp application within 12 months of launch.”

According to NAR’s 2016 Member Safety Report, which asked members how safe they feel on the job, while 96 percent of Realtors® have never been the victim of crime, nearly 40 percent have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information. The most common fearful situations were at open houses, showing vacant and model homes, working with properties that were unlocked or unsecured, and showing properties in remote areas.

“Most real estate professionals are juggling multiple business and client priorities and nearly always on the go; this makes an easy-to-use online and mobile tool – that’s also powerful – ideal to improve their business and personal safety,” said Dale Stinton, SCV president and NAR CEO. “Investing further in Trust Stamp, from a REach accelerator company to now a member of our strategic investments portfolio, demonstrates how much Trust Stamp has impressed us and how well we think the tool will do in the real estate industry and beyond.”

For more information about Trust Stamp’s tool for real estate agents, visit truststamp.net/re.

About Second Century Ventures

Second Century Ventures (SCV) is an early-stage technology fund, backed by the National Association of Realtors®, which leverages the association’s 1.1 million members and an unparalleled network of executives within real estate and adjacent industries. SCV systematically launches its portfolio companies into the world’s largest industries including real estate, financial services, banking, home services, and insurance. SCV seeks to define and deliver the future of the world’s largest industries by being a catalyst for new technologies, new opportunities, and new talent. Learn more at www.secondcenturyventures.com.

About National Association of Realtors®

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Existing-Home Sales Jump Again in October

WASHINGTON (November 22, 2016) — 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.

Total existing-home sales 1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in October from an upwardly revised 5.49 million in September. October’s sales pace is 5.9 percent above a year ago (5.29 million) and surpasses June’s pace (5.57 million) as the highest since February 2007 (5.79 million).  

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the wave of sales activity the last two months represents a convincing autumn revival for the housing market. “October’s strong sales gain was widespread throughout the country and can be attributed to the release of the unrealized pent-up demand that held back many would-be buyers over the summer because of tight supply,” he said. “Buyers are having more success lately despite low inventory and prices that continue to swiftly rise above incomes.”  

Added Yun, “The good news is that the tightening labor market is beginning to push up wages and the economy has lately shown signs of greater expansion. These two factors and low mortgage rates have kept buyer interest at an elevated level so far this fall.”  

The median existing-home price 2 for all housing types in October was $232,200, up 6.0 percent from October 2015 ($219,100). October’s price increase marks the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.  

Total housing inventory 3 at the end of October declined 0.5 percent to 2.02 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 4.3 percent lower than a year ago (2.11 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 17 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.4 months in September.  

“The ramp-up in housing starts in October is a hopeful sign that overall supply can steadily increase enough to provide more choices for buyers and also moderate price growth,” said Yun. “A prolonged continuation of the robust single-family starts pace seen last month (869,000) would go a long way in giving homeowners much-needed assurance that they can list their home for sale and find a new home to buy within a reasonable timeframe.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 41 days in October, up from 39 days in September but down considerably from a year ago (57 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 99 days in October, while foreclosures sold in 50 days and non-distressed homes took 39 days. Forty-three percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage inched up in October for the second straight month, rising to 3.47 percent from 3.46 percent in September. The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.

“As a result of the anticipated economic stimulus in early 2017, mortgage rates post-election have now surged to around 4 percent as investors expect a strengthening economy and higher inflation,” said Yun. “In the short-term, some prospective buyers may rush to lock in their rate and buy now, while others — especially those in higher-priced markets — may be forced to delay as a larger monthly payment outstretches their budget.”

First-time buyers were 33 percent of sales in October, which is down from 34 percent in September but up from and 31 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — released last month 4 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent (32 percent in 2015), which is the highest since 2013 (38 percent).

On the subject of first-time buyers, NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says the Federal Housing Administration’s low-down-payment mortgage option helps many young and moderate income borrowers achieve homeownership. FHA’s just released actuarial report shows the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is on consistently solid financial footing, and FHA should take responsible steps to continue managing their risk while also addressing the high premiums and lifetime insurance requirements that often times dissuade would-be buyers from considering a FHA mortgage.

“To alleviate the cost for borrowers and better reflect the current risk in the marketplace, Realtors® encourage FHA to reduce mortgage insurance premiums and consider eliminating ‘life of loan’ mortgage insurance,” he said. “These two moves would help the current homeownership rate recover from its near all-time low and give more prospective first-time buyers a more affordable financing option.”

All-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in October, up from 21 percent in September but down from 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in October, down from 14 percent in September and unchanged from a year ago. Sixty-one percent of investors paid in cash in October. 

Distressed sales 5 — foreclosures and short sales — inched forward to 5 percent in October, up from 4 percent in September but down from 6 percent a year ago. Four percent of October sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in October (15 percent in September), while short sales were discounted 16 percent (11 percent in September).

Inventory data from Realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in October were San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 35 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 37 days; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 42 days; Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., 43 days; and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., at 44 days.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales increased 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million in October from 4.88 million in September, and are now 6.6 percent above the 4.68 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $233,700 in October, up 5.9 percent from October 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in October (unchanged from September and a year ago). The median existing condo price was $220,300 in October, which is 6.2 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

October existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 1.4 percent to an annual rate of 750,000, and are now 1.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $255,500, which is 2.9 percent above October 2015.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales grew 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.36 million in October, and are now 6.3 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $181,500, up 5.8 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in October rose 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.22 million, and are now 4.7 percent above October 2015. The median price in the South was $202,300, up 7.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million in October, and are now 10.4 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $345,800, up 7.8 percent from October 2015.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1 Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample — about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month — and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2 The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3 Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4 Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors®Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5 Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for October will be released November 30, and Existing-Home Sales for November will be released December 21; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/LTJS4GkdV04/existing-home-sales-jump-again-in-october

Pending Home Sales Crawl Forward in October

WASHINGTON (November 30, 2016) — 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 Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, inched up 0.1 percent to 110.0 in October from a slight downward revision of 109.9 in September. With last month’s small increase, the index is now 1.8 percent higher than last October (108.1).  

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says October’s minuscule uptick in contract activity nudged pending sales up to their highest level since July (111.2). “Most of the country last month saw at least a small increase in contract signings and more notably, activity in all four major regions is up from a year ago,” added Yun. “Despite limited listings and steadfast price growth that’s now carried into the fall, buyer demand has remained strong because of the consistently reliable job creation in a majority of metro areas.”  

On the topic of housing supply — which has been grossly inadequate all year — Yun explains that the unwelcoming but expected seasonal retreat in new listings is now arriving at a time when price growth remains around triple the pace of wages and properties continue to sell at a much faster pace than a year ago 1. Furthermore, highlighting the heightened imbalance of supply in relation to demand, 40 percent of sales in October sold at or above list price, an increase from 33 percent last October 2

“Many of the successful shoppers in October likely had to move fast and outbid others for the few listings available in the affordable price range,” explained Yun. “Those obtaining a mortgage last month were likely the last group of buyers to lock in a rate near historically low levels now that rates have marched to around 4 percent since the election.”

With contract activity holding steady, Yun expects existing sales to close out 2016 at a pace of around 5.36 million, which surpasses 2015 (5.25 million) and is the highest since 2006 (6.48 million).

“Low supply has kept prices elevated all year and has put pressure on the budgets of buyers,” added Yun. “With mortgage rates expected to rise into next year and put added strain on affordability, sales expansion will be contingent on more inventory coming onto the market and continued job gains.”

The PHSI in the Northeast nudged forward 0.4 percent to 96.9 in October, and is now 3.9 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index rose 1.6 percent to 106.3 in October, and is now 1.2 percent higher than October 2015.

Pending home sales in the South declined 1.3 percent to an index of 120.1 in October but are still 0.8 percent higher than last October. The index in the West climbed 0.7 percent in October to 108.3, and is now 2.5 percent above a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1 According to October’s Realtors® Confidence Index, the median days on the market in October was 41 days, which is down considerably from a year ago (57 days).

2 Also according to data from October’s Realtors® Confidence Index.

* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE:  NAR’s fourth quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey will be released on December 14, Existing-Home Sales for November will be reported December 21, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be December 28; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/wcZiE9k0U8k/pending-home-sales-crawl-forward-in-october

NAR, Realtor.com® Identify Growing Rift Between Housing Availability and Affordability

WASHINGTON (February 16, 2017) — Existing-home sales are forecast to expand 1.7 percent in 2017, but a new housing affordability model created jointly by the National Association of Realtors® and realtor.com®, a leading online real estate destination, operated by operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA]; [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc., suggests homebuyers at many income levels could see an inadequate amount of listings on the market within their price range in coming months.  

Using data on mortgages 1, state-level income 2 and listings on realtor.com®, the Realtors® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score is NAR and realtor.com®’s new ongoing monthly research designed to examine affordability conditions at different income percentiles for all active inventory on the market.

The Affordability Distribution Curve 3 examines how many listings are affordable to those in a particular income percentile. The Affordability Score 4 — varying between zero and two — is a calculation that is equal to twice the area below the Affordability Distribution Curve on a graph. A score of one or higher generally suggests a market where homes for sale are more affordable to households in proportion to their income distribution.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a top complaint Realtors® have been hearing from clients is a notable imbalance between what they can afford and what is listed for sale. “Home prices have ascended far past wage growth in much of the country in recent years because not enough homeowners are selling and homebuilders have not boosted production enough to meet rising demand,” he said. “NAR and realtor.com®’s new affordability measure confirms that buyers aren’t exaggerating about the imbalance. Amidst higher home prices and now mortgage rates, households with lower incomes have been able to afford less of all homes on the market last year and so far in 2017.”

Reflecting a growing shortage of accessible inventory for most income groups, the entire Affordability Distribution Curve in January was below the equality line and the gap was generally wider at lower incomes, which indicates even tighter supply conditions. A household in the 35th percentile could afford 28 percent of all listings, a median income household (50th percentile) could afford 46 percent of listings and a household in the 75th percentile was able to afford 74 percent of active listings.

“Consistently strong job gains and a growing share of millennials entering their prime buying years is laying the foundation for robust buyer demand in 2017,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®, a leading online real estate destination. “However, buyers with a lower maximum affordable price are seeing heavy competition for the fewer listings they can afford. At a time of higher borrowing costs, this situation could affect affordability even more as buyers battle for a smaller pool of homes and bid prices upward.”

Calculating last month’s Affordability Score — two times the area under the Affordability Distribution Curve — further highlights the disjointed rate of accessible supply on the market across the U.S. Swift price growth and higher mortgage rates caused January’s Affordability Score (0.92) to shrink nationally from a year ago (0.97) and also in many states. Only 19 states had a score above one (conditions that are more favorable) and a meager three — North Dakota, Alaska and Wyoming — saw year-over-year gains in their score.

“Heading into the beginning of the spring buying season, available supply is more reachable for aspiring buyers in the upper end of the market and specifically in nearly all Midwestern states,” said Smoke. “Meanwhile, many states in the West and South have seen deteriorating supply levels over the past year. Buyers in these areas should know that it may take longer to find the right home at a price they can afford.”

The states last month with the highest Affordability Score were Indiana (1.23), Ohio (1.22), Iowa (1.18), Kansas (1.17), and Michigan and Missouri (both at 1.14). The states with the lowest Affordability Score were Hawaii (0.52), California (0.60), District of Columbia (0.65), and Montana and Oregon (both at 0.67).

“This shortfall of inventory at a time of healthy job gains in most states is one of the biggest reasons for the depressed share of first-time buyers and the inability for the homeownership rate to rise above its near-record low,” added Yun. “The only prescription to reversing this adverse situation is to build more entry-level and mid-market housing that aligns with current household incomes.”

The new Realtors® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score was created to be a valuable resource for Realtors® and consumers to assess the affordability of markets in different income groups. The research may eventually include metro-level data and will be updated on an ongoing basis at https://www.nar.realtor/topics/realtors-affordability-distribution-curve-and-score.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Realtor.com® is the trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers, offering the most comprehensive source of for-sale properties, among competing national sites, and the information, tools and professional expertise to help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. It pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today helps make all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.com®.

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1Down payment percentages are determined from recently locked mortgages from Optimal Blue to determine the maximum affordable home price. The maximum affordable home price assumes that 30 percent of a purchaser’s income can go to pay for the financing, property tax, homeowner’s insurance costs, and a mortgage insurance premium if the down payment is less than 20 percent. Assumptions are made that homes are financed with a 30-year fixed-rate fully-amortizing mortgage at the prevailing mortgage rate. Mortgage rates are those advertised on realtor.com® during the period analyzed.

2Income distribution data is collected from Nielsen. Nielsen data is provided as numbers of households within income brackets, which are then calculated to find the percentile within, above, or below any bracket. See detailed methodology here: http://www.tetrad.com/pub/documents/popfactsmeth

3The Affordability Distribution Curve gathers income data for households in our desired market and constructs a maximum affordable house price for the income level using a down payment percentage determined from recently originated mortgages from Optimal Blue. Once a maximum affordable house price for a given income percentile is determined, active listings on realtor.com® are reviewed to see what percent of homes on the market are priced less than that maximum affordable house price.

4The Affordability Score is two times the area under the Affordability Distribution Curve. The score varies between zero and two. A score of zero will result when no household can afford any of the homes that are currently on the market. A score of two will result when all households can afford all of the homes that are currently on the market. A score of one generally suggests a market close to equality, in other words, homes on the market are affordable to households in proportion to their income distribution.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/narnewsreleases/~3/nBZo3JN-AyE/nar-realtorcom-identify-growing-rift-between-housing-availability-and-affordability

Supreme Court to Hear WOTUS Case

By Russell Riggs, Ken Wingert

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RealtororgGovernmentAffairsHeadlines/~3/74ffkvUREio/supreme-court-to-hear-wotus-case

Under New Congress, NAR Keeps Focus on You

REALTORS® are gearing up for what is expected to be a busy first three months of the legislative season as a new Congress and new Administration tackle a number of priorities that affect real estate, including tax reform, the Affordable Care Act, regulatory reform, reauthorization of federal flood insurance, and what to do about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Regulatory Reform

Right out of the gate, the House took a stab at regulatory reform, passing a measure that would give Congress more say in the rules federal agencies propose. The Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS) would require agencies to send proposed rules to Congress for a vote if they would have an impact on the economy of $100 million or more.

NAR supports the bill because it would increase transparency and help lawmakers ensure the rules are consistent with congressional intent. “Additional scrutiny by elected officials is a good thing,” says NAR President William E. Brown. “And it gives us another chance to weigh in with Congress when it’s looking at these big-ticket rules.”

The House was also considering another bill that NAR sees merit in, the Regulatory Accountability Act. It would require agencies to achieve their objectives at the least cost and to say how their rules would impact small businesses, among other things.

Both bills largely apply prospectively, NAR analysts say, although the REINS Act includes an amendment that would direct agencies to identify a rule for repeal to offset annual costs any time a rule is proposed. NAR analyst say more information is needed on how such a provision would work in practice.

In addition, the administration of Donald Trump could take a fresh look at existing regulations across the board, and that could result in new rulemaking to change provisions that are hurting real estate, including provisions in the Dodd-Frank financial services reform law enacted in 2010 in response to the financial crisis.

NAR analysts say the association might favor easing some Dodd-Frank requirements on community banks, which traditionally provide the bulk of financing for housing construction. Housing starts have been far below what’s needed to meet rising demand, and easing some requirements on community banks could lead to more robust construction lending.

“Anything we can do to make it easier for local banks to allow builders to obtain loans to build homes that our members can sell is good,” Brown says. More houses would also help bring supply and demand into closer balance, slowing rising home prices.

Health Insurance Reform

With the debate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act beginning, NAR is prepared to represent the interests of REALTORS® and real estate companies just as it did when health care reform was debated a decade ago, says Brown.

NAR analysts have been monitoring what lawmakers are discussing with an eye to ensuring independent contractors and small businesses retain access to quality policies at reasonable costs. The lion’s share of NAR members buy their insurance in the individual market, which historically tends to be more volatile and expensive than the group market.

NAR would also like to see certain aspects of existing law that benefit REALTORS® remain in any replacement law. These include not letting insurers deny coverage to people who have a preexisting condition, preventing insurers from charging markedly different premiums based on factors such as age, gender, and health status, and allowing people to keep their children on their plans up to age 26.

“We will weigh in at the appropriate time and with the appropriate committees as the process is unfolding,” says Brown. “We are not at the center of this debate, but we will weigh in as needed to help ensure independent contractors and small businesses have access to health insurance that meets their needs.”

Tax Reform

Once health care reform is resolved, the new Congress is expected to take up tax reform. NAR’s priority is to preserve longstanding tax incentives for home ownership and real estate investment, including the mortgage interest deduction and property tax deductions. On the commercial side, preserving 1031 like-kind exchanges is paramount.  

NAR has made it clear to lawmakers it will resist efforts to eliminate or curtail MID, and it has come out against proposals that have been circulating in Washington for several years that would effectively eliminate the incentive value of the deduction for most home owners by raising the standard deduction.    

NAR analysts call proposals to cut most itemized deductions, including for property and other state and local taxes, and doubling or tripling the standard deduction a back-door attack on MID because it would eliminate the incentive for most people to itemize. “It blurs the distinction between renting and owning, and that goes against the commitment the federal government made more than 100 years ago to support homeownership,” says Brown.

NAR estimates that only the wealthiest 5 percent of households would continue to itemize under some of the proposed changes, while currently the bulk of households that take advantage of MID and property tax deductions are middle class.

On the commercial side, NAR is letting lawmakers know that proposals to curb 1031 exchanges will also meet with strong resistance, because the tax deferral mechanism is one of the main drivers of commercial real estate development today. “If that goes away, commercial real estate will be decimated,” Brown says. “That’s something we’re being very clear about with Congress. This provision is to commercial real estate what MID is for residential real estate. We will fall on our sword for this.”

Flood Insurance

Another pressing priority for NAR in the coming months will be getting the National Flood Insurance Program reauthorized before it expires at the end of September. The last time the program was up for renewal, in 2008, Congress took four years to reauthorize the program under the Biggert-Waters Act. Up until that point, the program was extended 18 times and allowed to shut down twice, which created uncertainty in the real estate industry.  

NAR is seeking another long-term reauthorization combined with additional reforms to increase the accuracy of flood mapping, provide financial assistance for more homeowners to mitigate their risk before a flood occurs, and develop a more robust private insurance market.

Although the program is vital to real estate, reauthorization requires an ongoing education effort because many lawmakers believe flooding is more a regional than a national problem. “What many don’t realize is flooding can happen anywhere and we all live in a flood zone to some degree. In fact, flood disasters have been presidentially declared across much of the Midwest over the last 6 months and just about everywhere else over the last 10 years,” says Brown.

The last time the program was allowed to shut down, 30,000 home-sale transactions came to a halt each month, with devastating consequences for the households and the local economies. Flood insurance is required for a mortgage in more than 22,000 communities around the country. NAR is prepared to push for a temporary extension to keep the program open well before the program expires if reauthorization risks getting crowded out in the fall.

Secondary Mortgage Market Reform

Since the financial crisis, government officials have wrestled with what to do about the two secondary mortgage market companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They’re integral to home sales because they give lenders a market in which to sell their conventional loans so they can maintain liquidity for new lending.

The companies have been in federal conservatorship since 2010, and although they’re making money again and have even paid back to the Treasury the assistance they received in the wake of the financial crisis, many lawmakers want to keep reform high on the agenda.

NAR has forcefully advocated for years that, whether or not the companies are replaced, there must continue to be a mechanism for lenders to sell safely underwritten, federally backed conventional loans to investors. Not to have that would almost surely spell the end of the 30-year, fixed-rate loans that are at the heart of the country’s successful home sales market, Brown says. “Borrowers’ ability to access safe, affordable, long-term, fixed-rate financing depends on the federal guarantee,” he says.

NAR analysts don’t expect secondary mortgage market reform to be taken up before the fall. “There’s a lot going on, and as long as the companies are doing well, the urgency to deal with them won’t be as high as other priorities,” Brown says. “But it remains important to settle their status once and for all.”

Brown says the work of the reform-minded 115th Congress can have enormous repercussions on how much real estate is bought and sold for years to come, so vigilance will be the watchword for 2017, particularly in the early months. “There are going to be a lot of balls in the air,” he says. “We have to be ready. We will be ready.”

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Get Ready For Tax Reform

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Consumers and Realtors® Show Greater Interest in Smart Home Technologies, Certifications

WASHINGTON (November 30, 2016) — As smart homes become more popular among consumers, buyers and sellers are showing greater interest in those homes and smart-home technologies and Realtors® in a certification to acknowledge their experience and expertise in those features.

This is according to the National Association of Realtors®’ inaugural Smart Homes and Realtors® report, which found that Realtors® are becoming more interested in a smart home certification, despite the fact that only 15 percent of agents are receiving questions about smart home technology from their clients.

According to the report, which analyzed the importance of smart home technology to Realtors®, 42 percent of respondents stated they are interested in acquiring a smart home certification, while 22 percent are not interested and 36 percent were undecided.

“More homeowners are adopting smart-home technology and that will likely impact buyers’ purchase decisions in the future. While consumer interest in this trend is still developing, Realtors® are becoming well-versed in successfully marketing smart homes and their features, such as devices and appliances,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, a division of his family real estate business.

Of the respondents who are interested in a smart home certification, 23 percent of agents have one-year experience or less, whereas 54 percent have more than 16 years of experience. There is greater interest in a smart home designation for agents over 55 years of age (47 percent), compared to agents 45 years or younger (30 percent).

In terms of smart home devices, 37 percent of Realtors® said clients find smart locks to be very important, followed by lights at 29 percent and thermostats at 26 percent. Forty-three percent said clients were neutral about the importance of voice control features and 38 percent for smart appliances and doorbells.

When it comes to the importance of smart home functions to their clients, 80 percent of Realtors® see security as very or somewhat important. Nearly half of Realtors® view privacy as a very important smart home function to their clients, while 30 percent see it as somewhat important. Four in ten Realtors® see both cost savings and energy savings to be very important to their clients and 38 percent see comfort to be a very important smart home function.

According to the report, slightly more than half of Realtors®’ clients were not familiar with what’s available for smart home technology. Nearly 40 percent of Realtors® discussed security and privacy issues with their clients followed by technology cost at 31 percent and interoperability at 6 percent.

Of the many types of smart home technologies available, 42 percent of Realtors® said clients were most interested in smart home devices, followed by whole home technology (22 percent) and smart home technology for specific rooms (13 percent); 41 percent of clients were not interested in any of these technologies.

“As smart home technologies evolve, it’s extremely important that our members are aware of what’s available and what advantages and challenges these devices provide,” said Mark Lesswing, chief technology officer at NAR. “The work we’re doing at NAR’s Center for Realtor® Technology is key to this understanding. This report helps us understand how our work is impacting our members.”

The mission of NAR’s Center for Realtor® Technology is to track emerging technologies that will affect real estate, educate its members, advocate for the proper use of technology, and innovate when there is a gap between what is needed and what is available.

In 2015, CRT established a lab to investigate smart home/internet of things devices, renewable energy, urban agriculture and building materials, as well as any other emerging technologies as they become evident. CRT is working with national laboratories, universities, government and non-governmental organizations, and vendors to help promote NAR as an agent for technology research and innovation. 

CRT plans to use this report to benchmark its efforts in educating members on smart home technology. The goal is to help Realtors® help their clients better understand the market and advocate for their proper and safe use of these products and devices.

To find out about other initiatives from NAR’s Center for Realtor® Technology CRT Labs, visit https://crtlabs.org/

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Second Century Ventures Accepting Applications for 2017 REach Accelerator Class

CHICAGO (December 1, 2016) – Second Century Ventures, the National Association of Realtors®’ strategic investment arm, is accepting applications for its 2017 REach® accelerator class now through January 31, 2017 at www.narreach.com.

REach offers education, mentorship and exposure for technology companies to enter into the real estate market, advance their businesses and expand into adjacent markets such as insurance, mortgage and financial services. The program accepts organizations in later growth stages, not just early-stage companies.

The nine-month program provides a unique opportunity for technology companies to get intense exposure into real estate, a market that represents more than $1 trillion in revenue, consists of more than 100,000 small- and medium-sized businesses and generates more than $12.5 billion in annual advertising spend in the U.S.

The program has attracted technology startups of all types, ranging from big data and marketing automation to business productivity and lead generation companies. Previous REach classes included a company that raised $50 million before entering the program and another with a revenue run rate greater than $10 million, along with graduates from other accelerator programs – including Y Combinator – and those backed by prominent investors in the venture community, such as Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer, Madrona and Maveron.

Benefits of participating in the REach program are abundant. Some include:

  • Mentorship from 300-plus real estate and technology thought leaders and executives from major real estate brands and brokerages, real estate technology companies and venture capitalists.  Participating organizations meet on average with 50-plus of these advisors for 30-minute one-on-one sessions throughout the program.
  • Access to NAR’s Insight Panel, a group of more than 5,000 real estate practitioners who provide feedback on user experience, product viability and pricing. This guidance has proven vital to many companies’ success.
  • Education on how to navigate the trillion-dollar real estate industry with the backing of the largest trade association and NAR’s $5 billion brand.

“By leveraging NAR’s network and brand, SCV aims to help REach accelerator companies better define their business and find their value in the real estate industry,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, a division of his family real estate business. “REach also brings great benefits to NAR and its members because of the equity in and access to the latest and greatest technology and innovations that are helping change the face of our industry.”            

Companies that have participated in past REach classes show impressive results:

  • In aggregate, the companies have raised almost more than $60 million of follow-on financing
  • Revenue, customer and/or user growth rates from 50 percent to over 5,000 percent
  • Key partnerships with major companies, including Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Century 21, Realty Executives, realtor.com® and Facebook

“Our participation in REach helped us grow from a nascent startup into a nationally recognized brand,” said Andrew Flachner, CEO and co-founder of RealScout, and a 2016 REach graduate. “The mentorship, connections and platform contributed towards 1,000 percent growth in customer accounts, as well as additional funding.”

The early application deadline is December 20, 2016. Companies selected early into the program are given the opportunity to kick-start their entry into the marketplace. The final deadline for applications is January 31, 2017. Companies will be selected by the end of February 2017, with the nine-month program kicking off at the end of March and running through November 2017.  For more information about REach or to submit an application, visit www.narreach.com.

Second Century Ventures (SCV) is an early-stage technology fund, backed by the National Association of Realtors®, which leverages the association’s 1.2 million members and an unparalleled network of executives within real estate and adjacent industries.  SCV systematically launches its portfolio companies into the world’s largest industries including real estate, financial services, banking, home services, and insurance. SCV seeks to define and deliver the future of the world’s largest industries by being a catalyst for new technologies, new opportunities, and new talent.

REach is a unique strategic accelerator created by Second Century Ventures, the investment arm of the National Association of Realtors®, which helps technology companies launch into the real estate vertical and its adjacent markets. REach is a 9-month program that provides education, mentorship and market exposure to help its portfolio companies access the trillion-dollar real estate market and leverage NAR’s strategic expertise. REach accepts fewer than a dozen companies each year to access one of the world’s largest industries. Learn more at www.narreach.com.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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National Association of Realtors® Congratulates Dr. Ben Carson, Nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

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Challenges and Opportunities for Homeownership Take Center Stage at National Association of Realtors®, S&P Global Joint Event

WASHINGTON (December 6, 2016) — The homeownership rate in America continues to hover around a 50-year low, but experts gathered for an event in the Washington, D.C. offices of the National Association of Realtors® said today that there are real-world opportunities to turn that trend around.

“It’s tough out there right now for buyers, especially in many of the red-hot markets around the country where competition is the fiercest,” said National Association of Realtors® President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “Thankfully, we know there are ways to help consumers. Addressing the growing student loan burden, widening the credit box for strong buyers, building more homes that meet the demand of lower and middle-income buyers – these are among the many steps we can take to clear the pathway to homeownership.”

The event on housing and homeownership was headlined by Nobel Prize Winning economist Dr. Robert Shiller, who offered his take on the housing market’s history and possible future. He looked at trends in oil prices, building costs, and other factors that play a role in driving demand, but told the packed audience that public sentiment clearly plays its own role in driving the housing market.

Looking at the recovery since the Great Recession, Shiller said “it’s kind of obvious that home prices have been rising at a good clip… But it’s not because of building costs, population trends, or interests rates.” Instead, Shiller said “it’s the changing narrative and the stories that go along with it.”

To make his point, Dr. Shiller showed data on the expected average annual increase of recent homebuyers, from 2002 to 2016. He noted that in the run-up to the Great Recession, homebuyers expected an average annual increase in home values as high as 13 percent. Since then that expectation has fallen, changing the narrative of the housing market.

“That’s why I don’t think we’re in a bubble now,” Shiller said. “It’s not as it was in 2004.”

Following Dr. Shiller’s remarks, CNBC real estate correspondent Diana Olick moderated a panel of experts including NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun; Dr. Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at SP Global; Dr. Susan Wachter, Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate, Wharton School of Business; and Dr. John Weicher, Director, Center for Housing and Financial Markets, Hudson Institute.

The noted economists honed in on the homeownership rate and its importance to the broader economy. Yun in particular talked about challenges to homeownership including rising rents and student debt loads, noting that the difficulty in purchasing a home has led to a growing wealth inequality between generations.

“There is a tremendous wealth buildup among people who are 65 and older,” Yun said. “They have essentially paid off their mortgages.” For the younger generation, including those under 35 years of age, Yun said “they feel that they are being left out.” Yun added that while the pendulum swung too far towards loose underwriting before the Great Recession, it has since swung in the other direction, leading to what he described as “overly strict underwriting standards” that can put homeownership out of reach for even strong buyers in some circumstances.

On the question of whether the homeownership rate will rise, Bovino likewise noted that “we do expect to see some improvement, but it’s going to take some time. Rents are increasing and interest rates are low, so there is an interest in getting back into homeownership.”

NAR reported in November that the median existing-home price for all housing types in October was up 6.0 percent from the previous year, marking the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. This finding coincided with a 4.3 percent year-over-year decline in inventory levels, a consistent challenge for buyers looking to purchase a home, particularly in competitive markets.

The audience also had the opportunity to hear from Congressmen Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), both Members of the House Financial Services Committee. In a panel moderated by Politico financial services reporter Lorraine Woellert, the Congressmen discussed the likelihood that significant reforms to tax policy may come before Congress in 2017, agreeing that eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would likely meet strong public opposition.

Brown thanked participants for their expertise, adding that as President of NAR he is committed to keeping housing at the front of the agenda.

“I’m pleased we could highlight these issues with today’s event and reiterate the importance of protecting and defending incentives for homeownership and real estate investment,” said Brown. “I look forward to continuing this good work throughout my tenure as president of NAR.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

SP Global is a leading provider of transparent and independent ratings, benchmarks, analytics and data to the capital and commodity markets worldwide. The Company’s divisions include SP Global Ratings, SP Global Market Intelligence, SP Dow Jones Indices and SP Global Platts. SP Global has approximately 20,000 employees in 31 countries. For more information, visit www.spglobal.com.

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2017 Realtor® Broker Summit to Feature Market Forecasts and Insights, Inspiring Keynotes

WASHINGTON (December 13, 2016)Real estate brokers understand the importance of learning best practices regarding management and entrepreneurial skills and gaining valuable real estate insights that can make their brokerages more successful. For this reason, the National Association of Realtors® is inviting brokers from across the country to attend the 2017 Realtor® Broker Summit in San Diego at the exclusive Fairmont Grand Del Mar resort.

This year, industry panel sessions, inspiring keynotes and economic and market forecasts are on the agenda as attendees meet to share insights and strategies to advance their brokerages.

Former Tesla, Apple and GAP Inc. executive George Blankenship will address attendees as the summit’s 2017 keynote speaker. Blankenship brings 30 years of experience in international strategy, retail and real estate. As vice president of real estate at Apple, he formulated and executed one of the most triumphant retail growth strategies in history and is widely recognized as the architect of Apple’s brand-building retail method. Blankenship will be speaking on business innovation and transforming companies from status quo market contenders to forward-thinking, dynamic companies of the future.

The second day of the summit will feature an exclusive interview with beach volleyball Olympic champion Kerri Walsh-Jennings. Walsh-Jennings, a five-time Olympian, will discuss her continued drive for success and setting new goals, overcoming obstacles, partnering with a former rival, and how success in sports translates to success in business.

“The Realtor® Broker Summits continue the ongoing dialogue with our broker members to ensure they have the insights they need to be effective in today’s market. The inspirational keynote speakers, market experts and valuable peer-to-peer networking opportunities provide a forum focused on timely issues and trends affecting brokers and their businesses,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, a division of his family real estate business.

The 2017 summit will take place February 14-15, 2017. The event’s focus will also include legal and risk management, growth strategies, technology game changers, economic updates, crisis management and a bipartisan assessment of the new White House administration.   

Registration for the 2017 Realtor® Broker Summit is now open at www.nar.realtor/brokersummit

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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NAR Tech Edge Events Keep Realtors® Apprised of Latest Tools

WASHINGTON (February 14, 2017) — Technology is transforming how Realtors® conduct business and communicate with clients. Now more than ever, Realtors® know the importance of staying up-to-date with the new and emerging technologies that are essential to the real estate business. To help Realtors® stay well informed of the latest business technology skills and trends changing the real estate industry, the National Association of Realtors® is continuing its one-day technology conference series, NAR Tech Edge.

NAR Tech Edge events will take place in cities across the U.S. starting in early 2017. NAR speakers and local technology experts will present sessions on topics including mobile marketing, online reputation management, content strategy, Google and cloud computing, social media, the importance of photo and video and much more.

“NAR Tech Edge introduces Realtors® to the latest technology trends that can help grow their business and better serve their clients,” said President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “These one-day, high energy conferences are a wonderful opportunity for Realtors® who are eager to expand their understanding and use of the most current web-based and mobile technologies.”

According to the 2016 NAR Member Profile, technology remains an essential aspect of how Realtors® manage their business. Nearly nine in 10 members currently use a smartphone with wireless e-mail and Internet capabilities. More than two-thirds of all Realtors® reported having their own website, and 94 percent use email as their primary form of communication with clients.

Presenters and emcees for NAR Tech Edge’s 2017 tour include Realtor® Bill Lublin, CEO of the Social Media Marketing Institute and Century 21 Advantage Gold, who is a thought leader for his insights into technological tools and their real estate applications; NAR Director of Member Engagement Nobu Hata, an industry expert in technology, marketing and communications trends in the real estate industry; Amy Chorew, vice president of Learning at Better Homes Gardens Real Estate, a technology trend expert, author, social media maven and Realtor®; and Jeff Lobb, founder and CEO of SparkTank Media, an international real estate speaker, innovator and consultant, who will share how to best leverage and utilize today’s robust, cloud-based social media and marketing applications.

Following is the schedule for the 2017 NAR Tech Edge events:

  • March: Pembroke, Massachusetts
  • April: Billings, Montana and San Jose, California
  • May: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • June: White Plains, New York
  • July: Tampa, Florida
  • September: Parsippany, New Jersey
  • October: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • November: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

For more information and to register, visit www.nartechedge.com. Media and non-NAR members are welcome to attend.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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FHA Suspends Mortgage Insurance Premium Reduction

By Megan Booth, Sehar Siddiqi, Joe Harris

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RealtororgGovernmentAffairsHeadlines/~3/6RCWyKNYCsU/fha-suspends-mortgage-insurance-premium-reduction

NAR Comments on NFIP Reform Principles

By Austin Perez, Ken Wingert, Russell Riggs

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Tax Reform Must Protect Homeownership

Published in The Hill

The 115th Congress is gearing up for an intense legislative session, and tax reform is set to play a starring role.

That’s good.

America’s tax system deserves an overhaul, with an eye toward ensuring individual tax rates are as low as possible while still providing for balanced fiscal policy.

Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have done tremendous work to get us there, and we’re hopeful this conversation continues.

For the roughly 75 million home-owning families across the country, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Important tax incentives for homeownership and real estate investment like the mortgage interest deduction, state and local property tax deduction, and 1031 like-kind exchange are critical. They’re key to protecting home values, supporting investment and helping new buyers enter the market.

Here’s why:

First, American homeowners already pay between 80 and 90 percent of all federal income taxes. Without the MID, that figure could rise to 95 percent. It’s particularly troubling considering the fact that more than half of families who claim the MID earn less than $100,000 per year.

The state and local property tax deduction is essential to homeowners as well. Current homeowners know that paying property taxes is a part of owning a home, but they also know those payments to state and local governments can be deducted from their federal income tax.

Without that deduction, homeowners would get taxed on the income used to pay their property taxes. This is a form of “double taxation” that hits home for lower and middle-income households.

The value of these tax incentives is already baked into home prices, meaning there’s a very real likelihood that eliminating those benefits could cause home values to plummet.

Many metro areas have experienced a significant rise in equity since the Great Recession, but others struggle to regain their pre-housing crash value. A steep drop in home prices, even temporarily, could put millions of homeowners underwater again on their mortgages. That pulls the rug out from under homeowners who built budgets or long-term retirement plans around the current rules.

But outright elimination of these incentives isn’t the only threat to homeownership. Proposals to double the standard deduction, as the House of Representatives has put forward, would effectively negate the importance of these tax provisions for all but the most affluent taxpayers.

That’s a huge step in the wrong direction.

For over a century, America has incentivized homeownership through the tax code, and for good reason.  Purchasing a home is a way for families to put down roots and invest in their communities. It’s also an important part of economic growth, with housing accounting for 16 percent — or $2.9 trillion — of the Gross Domestic Product.

Homeownership is a key driver of wealth accumulation for millions of families, with the median net worth for homeowners standing at $200,000 versus just over $5,000 for renters.

For most homeowners, their home is their single largest asset. Homeownership is also a way to protect families against inflation and rising costs for housing, because while rents may rise, a fixed-rate mortgage remains the same month after month.

Like any investment, purchasing a home comes with some level of risk. Most homebuyers put up a significant down payment just to get in the door, with the first few years of mortgage payments comprised primarily of interest on the loan.

The MID and other tax incentives help alleviate that burden, making homeownership a viable option for those of modest means.

That’s how younger homeowners are able to grow their net wealth protect their income, “roll up” to a larger home when they have a family or grow a nest egg for retirement.

We know there’s a lot on the line for real estate investors as well. The 1031 exchange is a critical tax provision that allows investors to trade a business or investment asset for a similar property, deferring any tax until the investment is “cashed out.”

The result is that rather than simply selling a property and taking gains, investors have an incentive to reinvest those funds back into the business and the neighborhood. That’s good for the recipient as well as the community, but the tax incentive is on the chopping block as Congress considers reform.

Those incentives must be preserved.

Of course, tax reform ought to be proactive. Congress should look to reinstate tax relief for mortgage debt cancellation, so homeowners going through a short sale aren’t taxed on the “phantom income” their forgiven debt represents. And, as home prices rise, Congress should also index the capital gains exclusion for home sales to account for inflation and preserve the benefit for future homeowners.

The reality is that whether you rent, buy or invest, everyone is counting on a tax proposal that moves the economy forward. Protecting tax incentives for homeownership and real estate investment is key to that success.

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