Top News Of The Week

- Quicken CEO: Millennials Have Transformed the Real Estate Market
- Home Equity Wealth Reaches New High
- Spike in Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures in 2016
- Hard Truths About Insurance Revealed by Hurricanes
- REALTORS® Benefit From New Safety Tool
- In Some Markets Housing Inventory is Growing
- Good Time to Sell — Not So Good to Buy, Leaving Many on Sidelines
- Texas Loosens Home-Equity Regulations
- How Low Credit Scores Raise The Cost of Your Mortgage
- Amazon Key Delivery Service Raises Insurance Concerns
- New Single Family Homes Continue to Shrink
- Luxury Market is Thriving. Thank You, Celebrities
- First-Time Buyers Likely to Be Big 2018 Factor
- Apartment Living Appeals to Many Empty Nesters
- CFPB OKs New Mortgage Application


Quicken CEO: Millennials Have Transformed the Real Estate Market
Millennials may not have jumped with both feet into the housing market yet, but those who have become buyers have permanently transformed the landscape, says the CEO of Quicken Loans.

Jay Farner tells the website Cheddar.com that Millennials have changed the industry because of what they expect.

Farner says, Millennials’ demands on client experience and client service have forced companies to rethink how the process works.

Home Equity Wealth Reaches New High
American homeowners have never held as much equity wealth as they do right now. And it’s going to get even better next year.

That, according to new data from the Federal Reserve, showing that home equity reached 13-point-9 trillion dollars in 2017. That’s a new high, surpassing the previous 2006 peak by half a trillion dollars — and it’s some 6-trillion dollars more than the low point of equity during the recession.

CoreLogic attributes much of the recovery to rapidly rising home prices.

And the company forecasts that home prices will rise another 5% in 2018, which would add another trillion dollars in home equity wealth across the nation.

Spike in Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures in 2016
There was a sharp increase in 2016 in the number of reverse-mortgage foreclosures.

That, according to HUD data. Between April and December last year, HUD recorded nearly 33,000 reverse mortgage foreclosures. In the seven years prior, the total was just 41,000.

California Reinvestment Coalition deputy director Kevin Stein says, quote, “This new data adds to our concerns that HUD is asleep at the wheel when it comes to protecting vulnerable seniors from foreclosures that shouldn’t happen.”

But HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan told Politico the foreclosure spike probably results from new FHA guidelines that requires lenders and servicers to expedite the tax-and-insurance default process.

Hard Truths About Insurance Revealed by Hurricanes
The aftermath of the summer hurricanes has revealed troubling facts about American homeowners and their flood insurance coverage.

According to Kiplinger, the storms revealed how badly some homeowners are under-insured. Many, it turns out, even in high-risk areas, aren’t insured at all against flood damage.

Kiplinger reports that a growing number of residents are reducing coverage or not purchasing enough insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute says only 15-percent of the homes in Houston had flood insurance. Just 28-percent of those in “high-risk” flood zones in Texas had coverage.

Even in the coastal counties in Florida, FEMA says just 42% of homes are insured.

REALTORS® Benefit From New Safety Tool
Let’s face it, this is sometimes a dangerous world. And anyone who regularly meets new clients, including real estate professionals, face some safety risk.

But now members of THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® have a new online tool they can use to reduce that risk.

Trust Stamp is a fast and reliable digital identity verification system.

Trust Stamp CEO Andrew Gowasack says his company focuses on creating a biometrically-authenticated digital identity….

Gowasack says traditional background checks are too expensive, and easy to fake with false credentials.

In Some Markets Housing Inventory is Growing
The supply of homes for sale is actually growing in a few markets, bucking the national trend of shrinking inventory.

Redfin reports that in places like Austin, St. Louis, Dallas, and New Orleans inventory grew in October, compared to a year ago.

Still, in most markets the supply continues to contract. Redfin’s chief economist Nela Richardson says, quote, “Sales are sputtering due to low inventory.”

In fact, Redfin’s numbers show inventory has shrunk for 25 straight months in the U.S. as a whole.

Good Time to Sell — Not So Good to Buy, Leaving Many on Sidelines
Why are so many homeowners reluctant to sell?

Even as nearly 80% of homeowners in a recent survey said now is a good time to sell, many don’t plan to list THEIR homes for sale anytime soon.

According to ValueInsured’s latest quarterly “Modern Homebuyer Survey,” many homeowners say they’re sitting on the sidelines because of the high price they would have to pay for their next home.

ValueInsured CEO Joe Melendez says, quote, “Homeowners in many cases are eager to sell but don’t want to become buyers.”

Texas Loosens Home-Equity Regulations
Texas voters have approved changes to the state constitution that some say will make it easier to get a home equity loan.

The changes contained in the recently-approved Proposition Two will loosen some of the state’s current rules.

It will let borrowers refinance home loans and home equity loans into a single loan.

It will allow home equity loans on agricultural land.

And it will reduce restrictions on cash advances with a home equity line of credit.

The amendment will also lower the cap on loan fees from 3 percent to 2 percent, but will also allow lenders to charge additional fees.

How Low Credit Scores Raise The Cost of Your Mortgage
There is fresh evidence that a good credit score will help you buy more house, for less money.

In its first Mortgage Offers Report, LendingTree says that in October, home buyers with credit scores of 760 or better obtained interest rates that were 59 basis points better than borrowers with only a 620.

And, LendingTree says, loan amounts consistently shrank down the credit scale.

The average loan amount was $250,000 for borrowers with a credit score over 760, while it was only $187,000 for those with scores closer to 620.

Amazon Key Delivery Service Raises Insurance Concerns
Thinking of joining Amazon’s new “Amazon Key” service, that will let a delivery person into your home to bring you a package?

RealtyBizNews.com reports, the newly-launched service raises questions as to how it could affect your homeowners insurance.

And the website reports that for now, the insurance industry doesn’t really know what the effect will be — and has yet to quantify the possible risks of allowing a delivery person into your home without any supervision.

For now, they say, the insurance industry will be studying the technology to determine its liabilities and benefits.

New Single Family Homes Continue to Shrink
The trend continues toward smaller new homes.

During the third quarter, the National Association of Home Builders says new single-family home size continued along a general trend of decreasing size.

The change marks a reversal of the move toward bigger houses, as builders focused during the housing recovery on the higher end of the market.

The average square footage of a new single-family home is now 2,518 square feet.

Luxury Market is Thriving. Thank You, Celebrities
The luxury home market across America is red-hot, say two well-known agents — and for that, you can thank celebrities who have lots of money to spend.

Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon with Douglas Elliman — stars of HGTV’s “Selling New York” — tell Fox News that the rich-and-famous are driving the market for everyone else.

Tom-and-Mickey say thanks to the top one-percent’s buying spree, even regular folks are seeing the benefits.

First-Time Buyers Likely to Be Big 2018 Factor
First-time home buyer are going to become a bigger factor in home sales in 2018, according to a survey of mortgage industry executives.

Those executives surveyed by Genworth Financial say the first-time buyers’ market will grow faster in 2018 than the overall housing market is likely to.

But those participating in the survey also say a lack of down payment and affordable housing inventory are among the biggest hurdles for first-time buyers.

Lenders can combat these impediments, they say, through consumer outreach.

Apartment Living Appeals to Many Empty Nesters
Empty nesters like being renters — at least, a growing number of them do.

According to data from the rental listing site RENTCafé one of the biggest segments of new renters is people age 55 and up.

Between 2009 and 2015, the number of renters older than 55 rose 28-percent, the largest increase of any age group.

Simona Solomie, a broker with RE/MAX Masters in Morton Grove, Illinois, tells RENTCafe that empty nesters often like to rent because they can lower living expenses with overall less responsibility

CFPB OKs New Mortgage Application
Starting January 1st, mortgage applicants will be filling out a newly redesigned mortgage application form.

It was first unveiled last year by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now it’s been given a “safe-harbor” blessing by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The revamped “Uniform Residential Loan Application” is the first major redesign of the form in over 20 years.

Among the changes — the new application includes an additional question about an applicant’s language preference.

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