Top News Of The Week

- Housing Market Labor Crunch Gets Worse
- New Home Sales Jump to Highest Level in Almost Ten Years
- VA, Ginnie Mae Launch Task Force to Probe Aggressive Lenders
- Parents Tap Into Equity to Help Adult Children Become Homeowners
- Mortgage Interest Deduction Eroding Under GOP Plan
- NAHB’s Dietz: ‘Choppy’ Times Ahead for Housing
- Dallas Has SF In Its Sights for Title of Tech Capital
- Yes, In My Back Yard — Introducing YIMBY
- Hedge Fund CEO Says GSE Reform Is Last Piece of Puzzle
- HOAs Claim Six In Ten New Homes
- The Words That Helped Sell Homes in 2017
- Music Helps Close the Deal, Too
- Bitcoin Breaks Into U.S. Real Estate
- No Long-Term Hurt to Home Prices From Big Hurricanes, CoreLogic Says
- Mortgage Money Harder to Get in Second Quarter
- Boomers Find McMansions Are a Tough Sell


Housing Market Labor Crunch Gets Worse
There weren’t enough construction workers in the U.S. before the two hurricanes and the California wildfires — but now the situation is critical, experts say, with thousands of homes needing to be repaired or rebuilt.

Nela Richardson, chief economist with Redfin, tells CNBC that the impact of the labor shortage will be felt everywhere…

In Houston alone, the number of homes destroyed by Hurricane Harvey exceeds the total number of single-family building permits estimated for the city in all of 2017.

New Home Sales Jump to Highest Level in Almost Ten Years
New home sales in September spiked, to reach their highest level in nearly ten years, according to the government.

Sales of new single-family houses were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 667-thousand in September. up 18.9% from the revised August number, and up 17% from September last year.

The median sale price of a new home sold in September was $319,700.

The average sales price was $385,200.

Earlier, the Commerce Department reported that housing starts fell 4.7% in September.
But single-family housing completions showed double digit growth.

The September starts fell to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.13 million units, down from 1.18 million in August.

VA, Ginnie Mae Launch Task Force to Probe Aggressive Lenders
Ginnie Mae is teaming with the Veterans Administration to launch a task force to look further into mortgage lenders who aggressively target veterans for quick, and potentially risky, mortgage refinances.

They say the task force will investigate current lender behavior, with an eye toward whatever changes may be needed to ensure that refinance loans do not pose an undue risk or burden to veterans or taxpayers.

The announcement comes about a month after Ginnie Mae launched its own investigation into lenders targeting veterans.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren set everything in motion with a letter claiming that there may be lenders “aggressively and misleadingly marketing” VA refinances, in order to generate fees.

Parents Tap Into Equity to Help Adult Children Become Homeowners
More homeowners are borrowing against the equity in their homes — to help their adult children buy a home.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a growing number of Millennial buyers are turning to Mom and Dad for help in competing in a marketplace characterized by bidding wars.

According to the Journal, parents are sharing their equity to help fund a home purchase by an adult child. Then, when the sale closes, the child then refinances and pays Mom and Dad back.

Redfin real estate agent Kasra Divband in Washington, DC tells the Journal that he’s worked on six deals where buyers have relied on a parent’s equity in order to make an all-cash offer.

Mortgage Interest Deduction Eroding Under GOP Plan
Is the Republican tax reform plan a backdoor way of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction?

Wall Street Journal reporter Laura Kusisto writes that the GOP plan could make the deduction all but irrelevant for many American homeowners. It centers, she says, on the proposal to double the “standard deduction”…

In a Wall Street Journal-produced podcast, Kusisto says a bigger part of the fight may be over the GOP proposal to drop the deduction for state and local taxes.

NAHB’s Dietz: ‘Choppy’ Times Ahead for Housing
Is the housing market headed for some choppy waters?

Robert Dietz, chief economist with the National Association of Home Builders, says that despite “ongoing positive market conditions,” home sales have been sub-par — and he says the months ahead will be, quote, “choppy as the economic impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Irma are registered.”

Dietz made his remarks before the most recent builder confidence survey was released, showing a spike in builder confidence to its highest level since last May.

Dallas Has SF In Its Sights for Title of Tech Capital
San Francisco’s days as America’s tech capital may be numbered.

The new “Innovation that Matters” report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation reveals that Dallas has risen twelve spots since 2016 to rank seventh among 25 major American cities, in terms of how well they are turning capital into successful tech industries.

But the Bay Area isn’t in danger of losing its title anytime soon. The report says the area still holds the clear lead in total startup activity, even though Dallas is now tied for the lead in “startup culture.”

Yes, In My Back Yard — Introducing YIMBY
You know the term “NIMBY,” an acronym for “Not In My Back Yard.”

But have you heard of “YIMBY”? It stands for “Yes, In My Back Yard.” It’s a new movement of young adults who are advocating for more affordable housing in their communities.

The Guardian reports the YIMBY movement is fueled in large part by the frustration of Millennials, who in many cities struggle to find an affordable place to live.

Now more and more of them are showing up at zoning, planning, town, and city board meetings to advocate for affordable housing.

And BUILDER online reports that the housing industry expects the YIMBY movement to get louder as more Millennial join the effort to produce more affordable housing.

Hedge Fund CEO Says GSE Reform Is Last Piece of Puzzle
There is only piece of unfinished business from the financial crisis of nearly a decade ago — and that is fixing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, says Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management.

He tells Yahoo Finance that the big problem for both GSEs right now is that they have 5-trillion dollars in liabilities and no capital….

Ackman is optimistic — he says, “All of the conditions necessary for a resolution of Fannie and Freddie are here.”

HOAs Claim Six In Ten New Homes
Six out of ten new homes built in America last year were built within a community or homeowner’s association.

That, according to Census Bureau data analyzed by the National Association of Home Builders.

That share has been growing. In 2009 it was under 48%. But since 2011, NAHB says, more than half of all homes have been built within a community or homeowner’s association.

The Words That Helped Sell Homes in 2017
What were some of the “hot button” words that helped sell homes for a better price in 2017?

CoreLogic studied more than half a million single-family sales that closed in the first half of 2017 across the country.

Their study found that certain word-pairs really helped a home sell, and for a higher price — the list includes “new construction” .. “quiet street” .. “remodeled kitchen” .. and “natural light.”

CoreLogic experts say, if the house you’re selling includes any of those features you should make sure your REALTORS® includes those phrases in the public listing comments.

Music Helps Close the Deal, Too
And maybe it’s not just words, but music that helps sell a home, too.

REALTOR®.com reports that some real estate professionals believe that soft music in the background helps turn a shopper into a buyer during an open house or house tour.

But REALTOR®.com cautions that the music choice is key.

You don’t want anything too loud or distracting, but you also don’t want anything too soft like “elevator” music, Best bet may be instrumental jazz, agents say.

Bitcoin Breaks Into U.S. Real Estate
Bitcoin has made its way into real estate.

If you’re not familiar with it, Bitcoin is what’s known as a “crypto-currency” and digital payment system. Transactions are peer-to-peer, without an intermediary, and bitcoin has an exchange rate, like any other currency.

REALTOR® J Kuper with Kuper Sotheby’s International recently brokered the first single-family home sale in Texas involving bitcoin. He told CNBC they simply needed to find a way to convert bitcoin to dollars…

Kuper admits he didn’t know how to do a bitcoin transaction before this sale. But he says, “We were instantly excited about the opportunity to figure that out.”

No Long-Term Hurt to Home Prices From Big Hurricanes, CoreLogic Says
If history is a guide, the unusually active 2017 hurricane season will not reduce home values, according to a new report from CoreLogic.

In fact, the company says, home prices usually go up, at least in the short term, in areas that have been damaged by major hurricanes.

For example, following Sandy in 2012 and Andrew in 1992, CoreLogic says, home prices took a short-term hit, but then surged upward in the 6-to-24 months after the storm, as the damage to homes created a shortage of vacant housing, which resulted in very strong home price appreciation.

Mortgage Money Harder to Get in Second Quarter
It got just a little harder to obtain mortgage credit in the second quarter of the year, according to the latest Housing Credit Availability Index from the Housing Finance Policy Center.

The index measures the share of purchase mortgages that are likely to default, and how willing lenders are to tolerate that. The lower the number, the tighter credit is — and the latest index fell from 5.4% in the first quarter to 5.1% in the second.

The Housing Finance Policy Center says there’s still plenty of space to safely expand the credit box. The center says the current default risk could be doubled and risk would still be within the pre-crisis standard.

Boomers Find McMansions Are a Tough Sell
Baby Boomers who own those big, single-family homes sometimes called “McMansions” may have some trouble getting rid of them.

CNBC reports that the so-called “McMansions” — those big single-family homes that many people bought in the ’80s and ’90s — are a very difficult sell right now.

The housing market is increasingly driven by Millennials and first-time homebuyers, the network reports, and those people are looking for starter homes and efficient layouts.

In typical U.S. markets this year, REALTOR®.com reports that large single-family homes get up to 45-percent fewer views than the typical home in that market.

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