WASHINGTON (December 28, 2016) — Pending home sales dipped in November to their lowest level in nearly a year as the brisk upswing in mortgage rates and not enough inventory dispirited some would-be buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the Northeast saw monthly and annual pending sales gains last month.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 2.5 percent to 107.3 in November from 110.0 in October. After last month’s decrease in activity, the index is now 0.4 percent below last November (107.7) and is at its lowest reading since January (105.4).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says ongoing supply shortages and the surge in mortgage rates took a small bite out of pending sales in November. “The budget of many prospective buyers last month was dealt an abrupt hit by the quick ascension of rates immediately after the election,” he said. “Already faced with climbing home prices and minimal listings in the affordable price range, fewer home shoppers in most of the country were successfully able to sign a contract.”
With 2017 at the doorstep, Yun says higher borrowing costs somewhat cloud the outlook for the housing market. This was evident in NAR’s most recent HOME survey, which found that confidence amongst renters about now being a good time to buy has diminished since the beginning of the year1. The good news, according to Yun, is that the impact of higher rates will be partly neutralized by stronger wage growth as a result of the 2 million net new job additions expected next year.
“Healthy local job markets amidst tight supply means many areas will remain competitive with prices on the rise. Those rushing to lock in a rate before they advance even higher will probably have few listings to choose from,” said Yun. “Some buyers will have to expand the area of their home search or be forced to delay in order to save a little more money for their down payment.”
Existing sales are still expected to close out 2016 at a pace of around 5.42 million, which will eclipse 2015 (5.25 million) as the highest since 2006 (6.48 million). In 2017, sales are forecast to grow roughly 2 percent to around 5.52 million. The national median existing-home price is expected to increase to around 5 percent this year and 4 percent in 2017.
“Much more robust new home construction is needed to relieve inventory shortages and lessen the affordability pressures present throughout the country,” added Yun.
The PHSI in the Northeast nudged forward 0.6 percent to 97.5 in November, and is now 5.7 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 2.5 percent to 103.5 in November, and is now 2.4 percent lower than November 2015.
Pending home sales in the South decreased 1.2 percent to an index of 118.7 in November and are now 1.3 percent lower than last November. The index in the West fell 6.7 percent in November to 101.0, and is now 1.0 percent below 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.
WASHINGTON (June 2, 2016) – A flurry of financial obstacles and lifestyle choices are stalling the journey to homeownership for many young adults, but becoming a homeowner is currently more feasible in some less expensive metro areas with steady job growth and lower qualifying incomes needed to buy, according to new research by the National Association of Realtors®.
NAR analyzed employment gains, population trends, income levels and housing conditions in the largest 100 metropolitan statistical areas1 across the country to identify the best purchase markets for millennial2 homebuyers.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says although millennials have made up the largest share of buyers for three consecutive years3, sales to first-time buyers and the homeownership rate for young adults under the age of 35 remain depressed at levels not seen in decades4. This is despite historically low mortgage rates, escalating rental costs and low unemployment levels among those with a college education.
“Even with potentially higher incomes, prospective millennial homebuyers residing in some of the most expensive cities in the country face the onerous task of paying steep rents while trying to save for an adequate down payment,” he said. “However, for those currently living in or looking to move to a more affordable part of the country, there are metro areas right now with solid job growth and that offer a smoother path to homeownership.”
The top 10 metro areas NAR identified were chosen for their above-average share of current millennial residents and recent movers, favorable employment opportunities and relatively low qualifying incomes needed to purchase a home5.
NAR’s study found that the best purchase markets for millennials buyers currently are (listed alphabetically):
Other markets NAR identified for having promising potential for millennial homebuyers include:
According to Yun, during the early stages of the economic recovery some of the largest metro areas – such as New York and parts of California – were attractive to millennials for their strong job markets, but their higher costs of living made it difficult to buy. Now that many more affordable, middle-tier cities have mostly recovered from the downturn and are once again experiencing robust job growth, millennials moving to some of these cities will likely realize they’re earning enough to purchase their first home.
“An overwhelming majority of young renters recently said they eventually want to buy a home5,” adds Yun. “As long as new and existing-home supply keeps up to meet demand and holds prices from rising too quickly, these identified areas are poised to lead the way in helping millennials realize their American Dream of becoming a homeowner.”
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.
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/ (link is external).
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.
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 S&P 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.
S&P 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 S&P Global Ratings, S&P Global Market Intelligence, S&P Dow Jones Indices and S&P Global Platts. S&P Global has approximately 20,000 employees in 31 countries. For more information, visit www.spglobal.com (link is external).
Carolinas Realty has been out and about this past couple of months looking for you! We are staying out for the month of October to show our support for GO month in Gaston County. The mission of GO is to share Gaston County with the world and all of its wonderful stories. We will be out at the Fall Festival in Gastonia on October 22. Please let us know if there is any way we can help with you housing needs. Just get out and GO!
Carolinas Realty would like to introduce you to our featured agent:
Mount Holly Community Relief Organization
CaroMont Regional Medical Center – Mount Holly
Co-Leader of Baptism at The Pointe Church, Belmont
Guardian ad Litem for Gaston County
Past co-coordinator of Mount Holly Springfest
Survey: Stable, Affordable Homes More Unattainable
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2016
Fewer Americans believe the housing crisis that began eight years ago is over, with the vast majority — 81 percent — saying housing affordability is a problem the country faces today, according to the MacArthur Foundation’s 2016 How Housing Matters survey.
Sixty percent say affordability is a “serious” problem, the survey found, while only 29 percent believe “the housing crisis is pretty much over,” down from 35 percent last year.
Read more: Homes Getting Less Affordable for Many
Survey respondents view a stable, affordable home as fundamental to economic security, but it’s becoming more unattainable, with 68 percent saying it’s harder to find now than it was for previous generations.
“Too many Americans today believe the dream of a decent, stable home and the prospects for social mobility are receding,” says Julia Stasch, president of the MacArthur Foundation. “Having a decent, stable, affordable home is about more than shelter: It is at the core of strong, vibrant, and healthy families and communities.”
But many have hope that the issue of housing affordability can be solved, and the majority wants their elected officials to address it with more urgency. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents say actions can be taken to address the growing affordability gap, and 76 percent say it’s “very or fairly important” for leaders in Washington, D.C., to support and enact such policies. But 63 percent believe housing affordability has not received enough attention from presidential candidates, according to the survey.
More than half of Americans are making some sacrifice to afford their mortgage or rent, such as working additional jobs, stopping investments in retirement funds, accumulating credit card debt, or cutting back on healthcare, the survey finds.
—Tamarah Webb, REALTOR® Magazine
FAA Finalizes Rule for Commercial Drones
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2016
Using a drone to capture listing photos and videos or inspect properties is about to become significantly easier now that the federal government has finalized its long-awaited regulations over the commercial use of unmanned aerial systems.
The final rule issued Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration paves the way for people who obtain a remote pilot certificate to operate drones that weigh less than 55 pounds, as long as the aircraft remains within visual line-of-sight. Earning the certificate will involve passing a test of aeronautical knowledge at an FAA-approved testing center — but it will not require applicants to have formal flight training.
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The FAA has, until now, required people wishing to operate drones commercially to obtain a so-called Section 333 waiver, and the agency has limited those waivers to people with a pilot’s license. That constraint has stood in the way of real estate professionals and others wishing to use drones in their businesses, despite the growing availability and decreasing cost of lightweight, remote-controlled aircraft equipped with cameras.
The new FAA regulations, which take effect in August, follow requests from industry groups, including the National Association of REALTORS®, for regulators to develop a framework that would allow people without specialized training to use drones for purposes other than a hobby. NAR sent multiple letters to the FAA during the rulemaking process and testified before Congress in support of the use of drones in the real estate industry.
“We’ve worked hard to strike a responsible balance that protects the safety and privacy of individuals, while also ensuring real estate professionals can put drones to good use,” NAR President Tom Salomone said in a statement. “That effort just took another big step forward. The rules will help more real estate professionals take flight, making the efficiency and innovation that drones have to offer available to a much broader base of operators.”
Although the new regulations eliminate the requirement that drone operators hold a pilot’s license, they contain a host of restrictions intended to protect people on the ground. Beyond requiring the operator or another visual observer to be able to see their drone while it is in operation, the regulations prohibit flying inside buildings or flying over people who are not connected with the flight. In addition, drone flights will be permitted only during daylight or twilight hours, drones must not fly faster than 100 miles per hour, and operators must be at least 16 years old.
The regulations will permit drone operators to obtain waivers from the FAA for some of the restrictions if they are able to demonstrate that their proposed flight will still be able to operate safely.
Meanwhile, NAR is calling for the FAA to develop less-restrictive rules for drones under four pounds. NAR also believes the FAA should come up with guidelines that would permit drone flights to go beyond visual line-of-sight, which is particularly important for aerial photography of large buildings or expansive tracts of land.
“We’re entering a new stage of drone use in real estate, and no doubt there will be additional questions and challenges ahead,” Salomone said. “NAR will continue educating its members on issues important to the safe, responsible use of drones so they can grow their business and better serve their clients.”
—By Sam Silverstein, REALTOR® Magazine
NAR Supports Student Loan Relief
JUNE 17, 2016
BY VIJAY YADLAPATI, CHARLES DAWSON
On May 25, 2016, NAR issued 6 letters of support for various legislative proposals aimed at addressing the issue of student loan debt. New research has raised concerns about student loan debt and its impact on homeownership and the overall economy. Based on the problems associated with student loan debt, NAR believes that monthly student loan payments and overall student debt is weighing heavily on prospective first-time homebuyers. As a result, NAR passed new policy at the 2016 REALTORS(R) Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, which reads: “NAR should strongly support policy proposals to allow student loan borrowers to refinance into lower interest rates and to streamline income-based repayment programs. Additionally, NAR supports policy proposals that promote student loan simplification, clarity and education. NAR also shall ensure that mortgage underwriting guidelines related to student loan debt are standardized and do not impair homeownership.”
Read NAR’s student loan debt letters to Congress:
H.R. 4652, the “Clarity in Lending For Education and Repayment Act” (Rep. Takai (D-HI)) (link is external)
H.R. 1434, the “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act” (Rep. Courtney (D-CT)) (link is external)
H.R. 3179, the “Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act” (Rep. Guthrie (R-KY)) (link is external)
S. 793, the “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act” (Sen. Warren (D-MA)) (link is external)
S. 1948, the “Access to Fair Financial Options for Repaying Debt Act” (Sen. Merkley (D-OR)) (link is external)
S. 85, “The Repay Act of 2015” (Sens. King (I-ME) and Burr (R-NC)) (link is external)
Steady Home Price Growth in Third Quarter
Code of Ethics Training
Tax Tips for Real Estate Professionals
Travel and Auto Deals in the REALTOR Benefits® Program
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