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house

Homebuilder Sentiment Falls for Ninth Consecutive Month

U.S. homebuilder confidence in the housing market dropped to its lowest level since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts believe the high inflation rate and rising borrowing costs are contributing to first-time homebuyers’ hesitancy to purchase new single-family homes.

The National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which measures the activity of the single-family housing market, fell to 46 in September after declining for the ninth consecutive month. The last nine months are the most prolonged and persistent decline in builder sentiment in the last four decades.

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Experts say a Housing Market Index above 50 shows a healthy market with net positive growth. In November 2020, the index rose to 76, the highest in 35 years, due to the Federal Reserve pushing the federal funds rate to nearly zero. After the pandemic’s dampening effect, the Fed’s loosening of the federal funds rate was meant to stimulate the economy back to health.

Recently The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates by adopting an aggressive monetary policy to bring the inflation rate back down to sustainable levels. A lack of supply due to construction costs fueled by those interest rates has slowed down building into a housing recession.

NAHB chairman Jerry Konter said builders are responding to a falling market by using incentives to bolster sales, “including mortgage rate buydowns, free amenities and price reductions.”

Pantheon Macroeconomics analyst Ian Shepherdson believes that builder sentiment will continue to decline.

 “This probably will not mark the bottom of the cycle, given the latest surge in mortgage rates above 6%. The rate of fall of mortgage applications slowed over the summer, but the early September numbers point to a renewed sharp decline.”

Mortgage rates have skyrocketed to those seen during the 2008 housing crisis, with interest rates on 30-year fixed loans hitting 6%. According to data released from the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage rates have already risen 4% so far this year.

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This increase in mortgage rates would add $389,000 in interest payments to the life of a $500,000 single-family home purchase. The association’s data also showed that the seasonally adjusted MBA Purchase Index rose only 0.2%. New applications for mortgages went down  1.2%.

Though builder sentiment often signals the eventual direction of mortgage applications, NAHB CEO Jerry Howard told Fox Business that people should have confidence that the housing market will pick back up again.

I think you’re seeing a weakening in virtually every market, but those that were stronger are weakening less. I guess the most important thing that investors and people need to remember is that Americans still want to own their homes and that, as soon as the conditions turn a little more favorable, housing will pick up. That will pick up the whole economy.”

flooding

$34B of US Real Estate May Be Fully or Partially Underwater by 2050

Rising waters due to climate change could engulf $34 billion in US real estate within the next 30 years.

According to a report from the nonprofit Climate Central, up to 650,000 properties will be underwater or partially below the tidal boundary level within 30 years. Thirty counties across the country will lose more than 10% of their useable land, and 100 counties will lose at least 2% of their usable land.

The states most affected will lose a sizable portion of their total dry landmass. These states include Louisiana (8%), Florida (1.8%), North Carolina (1.3%) and Texas (0.2%).

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Rising waters will likely make these locations less desirable to live and work in, causing property values to plummet. Property taxes are an integral part of a municipal’s budget. They pay for many community social services, including schools, fire protection, emergency services, transport and other governmental aids.

Taxes also fund disaster relief and the subsequent costs of rising sea levels. New infrastructure, building safeguards against rising tides and relocating entire communities cost money. The aftermath of a rise in waters will quickly deplete many localities of their necessary funding.

“Property taxes fund local government operations, which typically include services such as K-12 schooling, roads and other infrastructure, police and fire protection, water, waste management, sewers, public transit, parks and public housing. Quality public services at competitive tax rates are key to attracting and retaining residents and businesses, which in turn support local tax revenues. Diminished property values and a smaller tax base can lead to lower tax revenues and reduced public services–a potential downward spiral of disinvestment and population decline, reduced tax base and public services and so on.”

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Seas will rise 8 to 23 inches along the nation’s coasts by 2050. The East Coast, particularly the Southeast, will be hit the hardest. Due to the sediment that flows in from the Mississippi River and the drilling for oil and gas pipelines, the gulf coast will be hit even harder by rising water levels and sinking ground.

Mark Rupp, director of the adaptation program at Georgetown Climate Center, points out that insurance carriers are reluctant to serve the Florida market, have become insolvent or have pulled out from the state entirely.

“How many mortgage lenders want to be lending for mortgages in flood-prone areas if they don’t think they’re going to be paid back?”

Rupp emphasizes that it is essential that these communities can rely on their state and federal governments to pay attention, fund their communities and provide a plan.

According to NASA, the earth’s climate has changed at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years. The current rate of global warming is “occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of warming after an ice age.” The carbon dioxide we release is “increasing about 250 times faster than it did from natural sources after the last Ice Age.”

For sale

The Housing Market Is In A Recession And What It Means For Those Looking To Buy A House

Over the last few months, the housing market was at an all time high between high demand, surging prices and low interest rates.

However, recent data revealed that the market may actually be in a “recession” from where it once was. 

“We’re witnessing a housing recession in terms of declining home sales and home building,” said Lawerence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

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The slowdown in market sales will hurt the economy but it could also help those people who are searching for a home who are willing to pay the high prices.

According to Barrons, ever since July, previous homes were sold at an annual rate of 4.81 billion which marked the lowest rate since November of 2015.  

New home sales also have found themselves in a decline into their their lowest level in six years. 

“It’s not a recession in home prices. Inventory remains tight and prices continue to rise nationally with nearly 40% of homes still commanding the full list price.”

Both home builders and home sellers are experiencing the slowdown which explains why the prices are still up even with the start of this “recession.”

The rise and fall of the housing market also goes along with supply and demand. Even though the demand for homes has dropped recently, the supply count is still very tight. 

The lack of supplies is partly due to the lack of construction that has occurred over the last decade and even since the 2008 crash.

The demand for buying new homes have continued to drop since January, but the mortgage rates have still continuously faced a rise from 3.3% at the beginning of the year to 6% now.

The high mortgage rates have made it harder for those looking to buy a home to afford them.

The demographics also play in part with the supply and demand of the housing market as well. 

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Even while there is a recession within the market, there are still more people searching for a home than there are actual homes to buy. 

“We are seeing more inventory come into the market, but it’s not enough to meet the buyer demand,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR. 

Given the constant highs and lows of the market, buyers may want to be patient before they decide if they are ready to commit to buying a home. 

For first-time homebuyers, they also have to consider the price of rent because that is consistently increasing as well. 

“Even though borrowing costs have risen, it still in the long run may be worth buying a home given that what’s driving inflation right now is rising rental prices. It still may be an opportunity to get out of the pressure of rents,” said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Financial, a national broker-dealer. 

appraisel

Black Couple Sues Real Estate Appraiser After Home Valuation Increases By $300,000 When Shown By White Colleague

A Maryland couple is suing a local real estate appraiser and an online mortgage provider after alleging that the housing appraisal they received was unfairly low due to their race, violating the Fair Housing Act.

best places to live

The Best Places To Live In America This Year 

Real Estate company Niche has released their fifth annual report of the Best Places to Live in America, which includes a number of different categories including the most affordable places in the nation to live. 

“The pandemic triggered a new set of possibilities—suddenly, many individuals and families found themselves more mobile than ever before, and in the past two years they have continued to think hard about where they really want to live,” says Luke Skurman, CEO and founder of Niche.

Niche creates their reports using data from reliable sources such as the US Census and other government agencies, in addition to citizen reviews and reports. When it comes time to put there report together, they look at factors such as affordability, diversity, local housing economies, and other integral factors that buyers would look at when it comes time to buy a home. 

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For the second year in a row, Niche reported that The Woodlands is the top place in America to live. Ryan Bell, the principal strategist at Niche, discussed why it’s been able to top the list two years in a row. 

“When you look at all the factors we chose for our best cities ranking, The Woodlands is extremely well-rounded. It had high scores in each category, including weather, overall affordability and the quality of its public schools.”

Niche’s best cities rankings also incorporate real ratings from people who live there, so the residents’ love and appreciation for their home certainly helped The Woodlands hang on to the number one spot for two years running,” says Bell.

Gil Staley, CEO of The Woodlands Area Economic Development Project, also spoke to the perks that The Woodlands has to offer leading to its top ranking on the list. 

“Our county, as a whole, is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation and our community has turned into a regional center for jobs,” Bell explained, adding that the highly ranked school districts in the county also make the Woodlands a desirable place to live. 

Niche listed Fort Wayne, Indiana as the most affordable place to live in the US, a title which it also earned in 2018, 2019, and 2021. 

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“To take the number one spot, Fort Wayne had to have strong performance in several factors we take into account for the lowest cost of living rankings. In particular, housing and rental affordability in comparison to incomes in the area, are Fort Wayne’s strongest factors for affordability this year,” says Bell. 

Forbes Magazine reported on why citizens in Fort Wayne also believe it’s such an amazing place to live: “Fort Wayne is a lovely place to visit and live. I’ve lived here for six years now and still haven’t seen everything. It’s family friendly and just friendly in general. It’s a small city compared to most, but there’s much to do. It’s full of history and rivers.”

The Top 10 Best Places to live in America according to Niche are ranked as follows: 

  1. The Woodlands, Texas
  2. Cambridge, Massachusetts
  3. Naperville, Illinois
  4. Arlington, Virginia
  5. Overland Park, Kansas
  6. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  7. Columbia, Maryland
  8. Berkeley, California
  9. Plano, Texas
  10. Irvine, California

For the rest of the rankings from Niche, check out their full report here.

sale

Real Estate Experts Say US Housing Market Is On Its Way To Recovery

Real estate industry economists are stating that the nation’s housing market is on a correction course with housing prices slowly moderating, and even declining, in some areas.

background check

Florida Landlord’s Required To Background Check Workers Under New ‘Miya’s Law’ 

Miya Marcano was a student in Orlando, Florida who was tragically killed by a maintenance worker in her apartment who was able to break in using his universal key fob.

In response to this horrendous crime, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 898 into law, nicknaming it “Miya’s Law,” which requires all prospective employees working in rentals to endure a background check before they’re hired. 

The new law requires all landlord’s to use a consumer reporting agency (online databases) to screen prospective employee’s criminal records and sex offender registries within all 50 states and the District of Colombia. 

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According to the law, a landlord can choose to disqualify an individual from employment if they have been convicted, found guilty, or plead guilty to certain criminal offenses.

These offenses include any crimes that disregarded the safety of others that would also be considered a felony or misdemeanor in the first degree in the state of Florida. 

Additionally, any criminal offense that involves violence, such as murder, battery, sexual assault, robbery, carjacking, stalking, or home invasion, are grounds for disqualification. 

Before landlord’s are able to request a background check, they must provide the prospective employee with a document that discloses the background check requirement and obtain their written consent.

This requirement is a part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is used to regulate how background checks are conducted and used. 

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If the landlord receives information that would give them grounds to disqualify the individual from potential employment, they must provide a notice for the candidate and a copy of their background check. 

The prospective employee must be given a reasonable amount of time to review and potentially file a dispute regarding the accuracy or completeness of the background check, typically at least five business days.

Landlord’s must also provide the name, address, and telephone number of the background check vendor to the applicant with a statement that emphasizes “the consumer reporting agency did not make the decision to take the adverse action and is unable to provide the applicant the specific reasons why the adverse action was taken, and notifies the candidate of their right to obtain a free copy of their background report within sixty days and to dispute any information reported in the background check,” according to the law. 

“By signing this legislation, we’re making it safer to live in a rental unit and giving renters more peace of mind in their homes. Miya’s death was a tragedy, and our prayers continue to be with the Marcano family.”

“I am proud to act on their behalf to help prevent a tragedy like that from happening to another Florida tenant,” said DeSantis in a statement.

Mortgage

US Housing Market Is Slowing Down, Inventory Is High And Prices Are Lowering

The US housing market has been on quite the roller coaster ride since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, experts are saying that the housing market may not be crashing, but it’s definitely slowing down in terms of sales, mortgage rates, and inventory.

Versace

Gianni Versace’s New York Mansion Now On Sale For $70 Million

Gianni Versace’s former Manhattan townhouse has officially hit the market at the luxury price of $70 million. 

Versace originally bought the mansion back in 1995 and fully refurbished the interior, according to the history posted on Sotheby’s International Realty listing

According to the listing, “the mansion, built in 1950, offers the buyer the chance to live like royalty and own a piece of real estate and fashion history.”

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“Grandly designed, 17 luxurious rooms meld together in opulence and couture design. This stately, spacious 35 foot wide Limestone Mansion sited on a 35- by 100-foot lot has approximately 14,175 interior square feet on 6 floors with 3,025 exterior sq. ft. of magical trellised Garden overlooked by a rear Balcony which runs the full width of the house. A Rooftop Terrace with Gazebo overlooks Fifth and Madison.”

Each of the floors of the mansion are meant to embody a different theme. 

“Versace, the late fashion tycoon purchased the neoclassical building in 1995 and fully redesigned the interior with the same Italian Baroque style often referenced in his over-the-top couture including intricate Italian Marble floors, painted ceilings and walls, mosaic and Austrian parquet floors, five fireplaces, and opulent Baths.”

“Versace’s genius and vision is revealed over the first 4 floors, each presenting the designer’s legendary taste and permeating the home.”

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“The Upper two floors were redesigned in a lighter, more whimsical manner. These levels include terrazzo floorings with marble inserts, 4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, a Game Lounge with billiards and arcade games and a Moroccan-style Media Room,” the listing states

The mansion also offers a slew of modern features without compromising the old classical charm that gives the space so much history. 

These features include an “advanced Security System, multiple zoned HVAC system, Kaleidoscope music system. In addition, the home includes double water pumps and boilers all powered with its own generator so the owner would never be without essential services.”

Location wise, the Mansion is right in the heart of New York City, overlooking Fifth Avenue and bordering Central Park.

Virtual Real Estate Marketplace Launching In Metaverse 

Origin is a technology company that is gearing up to launch a virtual real estate marketplace in the metaverse that can be done across multiple blockchains. Origin is providing a singular marketplace for users to buy, sell, and trade land in the metaverse, as well as physical homes sold as NFTs. 

Origin is aiming to be like traditional real estate platforms in the sense that they will be a hub for sellers and buyers to connect with each other based on the clients needs. 

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According to Fred Greene, the founder of Origin, “the demand for metaverse land is continually growing. What the market needs is a single source of data. A reliable platform that simplifies the purchasing of land, while providing buyers and sellers with all the information they need to navigate the process.”

The current metaverse marketplace makes it difficult for transactions to occur over multiple blockchain platforms. Origin is hoping to fill this space in the industry by acting as the middleman between sellers and buyers, and interacting with hundreds of tokens and metaverse worlds. 

By simplifying the transactional process, Origin is hoping to make digital real estate available for everyone. The company wants the masses to see the metaverse as universally accessible so that more people can take advantage of the many perks that it can offer. 

Beyond giving buyers easier access to real estate, Origin is aiming to build communities of active and interested buyers and sellers, who will be able to advertise their listings in front of a much larger audience than the metaverse currently allows. 

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By becoming a multichain platform and simplifying the overall transaction process, Origin is creating a space for even more buyers. 

The company is reopening current barriers that make it difficult for architects and innovators to communicate with each other on certain projects. The metaverse is known for hosting a multitude of isolated worlds catered to each user. Origin is building bridges to make it easier for those worlds to come together when it comes to real estate transactions.

Origin is patent-pending currently, and is aiming to be a major marketplace that focuses specifically on metaverse land. The company has plans to incorporate the sale of both real world properties as NFTs as well as virtual properties. 

The company is currently on track to become the biggest hub for buyers, sellers, and renters, as it will likely be the only source for all metaverse real estate transactions across multiple blockchains.