– More For-Sale Signs Are Coming?
– Wildfires’ Blaze of Destruction Rages on in California
– Study: Boost Your Credit Score For Mortgage Savings
– Grading Neighborhoods for Buying Potential
– 8 States That’ll Hold Half the Population By 2040
– Bye, Bye Escrow Accounts?
– Mortgage Rates Surge to Fourth Highest Level of 2018
– Making Music From Homes
– HUD Bans Smoking in Public Housing Buildings
– Maryland Town Blames Development on Flooding
– Reuters Investigates Tenant Allegations Against Rental Giant
– Give Up Your Car for Cheaper Rent?
– Renters Crushed by High Rents
– Wells Fargo Ordered to Pay $2.9B in Subprime Fallout
– Toys ‘R Us Stores to Hit the Auction Block
– A Wonder-Woman Inspired Island
More For-Sale Signs Are Coming?
A major complaint of home buyers: There’s not enough homes for-sale. That may finally be changing.
A new housing report from realtor-dot-com shows 1/3 of the largest 45 metros saw an uptick in housing inventories last month. The bulk of the increases has been in homes priced $350,000 or more, not the lower price brackets.
In San Jose, California, the number of for-sale signs has jumped 44% compared to a year ago. Seattle saw a nearly 30% increase.
However, higher home prices remain a problem. That same report also showed median list prices—that is, home asking prices—last month matched June’s record high of $299,000.
Mark Fleming with First American tells CNBC that a housing shortage continues to bid up prices.
Many in the housing industry have called on homebuilders to build more to counter the trend of rising prices.
Wildfires’ Blaze of Destruction Rages on in California
California continues to face deadly, devastating wildfires with 17 active wildfires currently blazing throughout the state.
A fire burning in Northern California known as the Mendocino Complex fire has become the state’s largest wildfire ever on record. It has scorched more than 450 square miles, and it’s spreading fast.
The Carr Fire has also left a long road of destruction in Redding. 7 people, so far, have died and more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed. Thousands of more homes remain under threat.
California Governor Jerry Brown weighed in.
As the fire rages on, real estate appraisers are already predicting a home price surge in some hard-hit areas, like Redding. Appraisers say any remaining properties could see prices climb about 10% to 25% as displaced residents become desperate to find a place to live.
Study: Boost Your Credit Score For Mortgage Savings
Taking the time to boost your credit score can pay off. A new study from the online lender, LendingTree, found that raising your credit score from “fair” to “very good” could save you $29,000 in mortgage costs.
A “fair” credit score is considered in the range of 580 to 669. A “very good” credit score falls in the range of 740 to 749.
The study shows the hard work of paying down your debt, reducing your debt-to-income ratio, and keeping your credit card balances low can pay back with your mortgage.
Grading Neighborhoods for Buying Potential
Does your neighborhood make the grade for its investment potential? ATTOM Data Solutions released a new report that assigns letter grades A to F to more than 10,000 neighborhoods. The data firm factored annual home price appreciation, affordability, rental costs, and more.
So which neighborhoods landed at the top of the class?
Those were … the Pine Ridge neighborhood in Naples, Florida; Westlake in Mobile, Alabama; Union in San Jose, California; Westmoreland in Charlotte, North Carolina; and the Hunters Hill neighborhood in Denver, Colorado.
8 States That’ll Hold Half the Population By 2040
By 2040, 50% of the population will be living in just 8 states. This data comes from an analysis by University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center of Public Service.
Can you guess the great eight?
Watch for populations in these states to surge over the next TWENTY years.
Bye, Bye Escrow Accounts?
Bye, bye, escrow accounts .. so says the nation’s largest wholesale lender. That may sound enticing to mortgage borrowers, but the move is being met with controversy.
United Wholesale Mortgage is allowing mortgage borrowers to bypass the forced savings plan of an escrow account, without any added fees. Even those with less-than-perfect credit may now be able to go escrow-free.
Most home mortgages require an escrow account so that borrowers stow away money in advance to pay for their property taxes or hazard-insurance premiums when it comes due.
United Wholesale officials say that by removing the escrow savings requirement, borrowers will be able to slash thousands in upfront costs at the closing table.
But will homeowners save enough on their own without being forced to? Some in the housing industry are concerned because failing to pay your property and tax bill when it comes due can lead to foreclosure.
Mortgage Rates Surge to Fourth Highest Level of 2018
Borrowers are getting stuck with higher costs. Mortgage rates climbed to the fourth highest level of the year last week. This, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.6% for the week ending August 2nd. That is up from 3.93% a year ago.
This also means mortgage rates are now hovering near a 7-year high. Freddie Mac economist Sean Khater notes that the higher rates will most certainly create affordability challenges for prospective buyers hoping to break into the housing market.
Making Music From Homes
A story of trash to treasure … Entrepreneur Mark Wallace is taking fragments of wood salvaged from vacant or demolished homes in Detroit and turning them into music. He’s using the reclaimed wood to create handcrafted guitars.
Through his Wallace Detroit Guitars, Wallace uses scraps of pine, maple, redwood, and walnut that have been salvaged from the city’s abandoned manufactured buildings and homes.
Wallace talks to CBS Detroit about using the guitars to bring the city’s homes and buildings back to life.
Each of Wallace’s guitars are stamped with a serial number that begins with Detroit’s area code – 313. An ode to the city from which they were created.
HUD Bans Smoking in Public Housing Buildings
A new rule snuffs out smoking in or near public housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has implemented a nationwide ban on smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes in all public housing units and their common areas. The new rule took effect July 31st.
The government expects the ban to shave off $153,000,000 per year in repair and housing costs from smoke-related fires.
Maryland Town Blames Development on Flooding
Climate change and real estate development are putting towns at risk of flooding, so claims officials in the town of Elliott City, Maryland.
The town has faced two extremely rare flood events within 2 years of one another. In 2016, a thousand-year flood struck the town. And, now again. This is only supposed to happen ONCE every 1,000 years, let alone twice.
Scientist Joe Sexton at TerraPulse monitors changes in ecosystems and told CNBC why.
In response, county officials have put a halt to new development in the town. 600 housing units that were in the permit process have been put on hold. The county is also proposing tearing down buildings on its main street—even historic buildings–to allow more open space for the river to flow in.
Reuters Investigates Tenant Allegations Against Rental Giant
A scathing investigative report out by Reuters alleges numerous abuses by rental giant Invitation Homes. The accusations stem from tenants who say the single-family rental firm has ignored their maintenance requests. They claim insect infestations, toxic mold, and water leaks as a result. A class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Northern California also accuses Invitation Homes of “fee stacking,” and adding fees for every minute a tenant is late on rent, even when it’s at the fault of the landlord.
Invitation Homes denies any wrongdoing. The company asserts it does not skimp on repairs or maintenance, and also is quick to point to tenant surveys that show high marks for satisfaction.
The investigation is sparking concerns among the housing industry whether Wall Street firms may have overstretched themselves in snatching up thousands of homes for rentals during the foreclosure crisis.
Invitation Homes owns and manages 82,000 properties across the country.
Give Up Your Car for Cheaper Rent?
Want cheaper rent? Then, be prepared to hand over your car keys.
A developer in downtown Miami is making such an offer to tenants of its Square Station apartments. The Melo Group says renters can save a $100 per month if they give up their ONE complimentary parking space.
Tenants pay $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom unit. So, savings of a HUNDRED dollars per month may be incentive enough to toss over those keys.
The Melo Group says they hope other developers will follow suit too, with their own offers of car-free living.
Renters Crushed by High Rents
Renters are struggling to catch a break. In seven of the largest U.S. cities, the average household would need to earn at least six figures to comfortably afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment. This, according to an analysis by the financial website, SmartAsset.
Renters in San Francisco need to earn the most. They need to earn at least $187,000 to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Yet, the average household income there earns $103,000 per year. Yep, there’s a mismatch.
Other places that need six-figures in earnings to comfortably afford a two-bedroom rental are … New York, Boston, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
Wells Fargo Ordered to Pay $2.9B in Subprime Fallout
$2,900,000,000… That’s the fine Well’s Fargo has agreed to pay to settle subprime mortgages it originated back during the run-up to the financial crisis. The bank has agreed to the settlement after investors accused the bank of selling mortgage-backed securities that contained faulty loans.
Wells Fargo was accused of loosening its requirements in originating thousands of “stated income loans” between 2005 and 2007. These loans allowed borrowers to state their incomes, without providing proof.
In a statement, Wells Fargo’s CEO Tim Sloan said the bank is ready to finally put this behind them, and they remain committed to expanding “sustainable” homeownership opportunities responsibly.
Toys ‘R Us Stores to Hit the Auction Block
The long swan song for Toys ‘R us continues. The remaining 123 of its stores will hit the auction block this coming week as landlords look to fill the toy giant’s shuttered storefronts.
The real estate brokerage A&G Partners will auction off the remaining Toys ‘R Us and Babies ‘R Us stores across 29 states. A&G has already sold more than 130 of the stores.
Toys ‘R Us filed for Chapter ELEVEN bankruptcy protection last year.
In the 2nd quarter, Toys ‘R Us closures were blamed for the retail sectors’ largest quarterly vacancy decline since 2009.
A Wonder-Woman Inspired Island
Entrepreneur Kristina Roth wants to create a “Wonder Woman” inspired island. It’s not Themyscira, but SuperShe.
There’s one requirement: No men allowed.
The private women-only retreat is located in the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Finland. It’s being called one of the most exclusive pieces of property in the world.
Those hoping to visit must apply, along with thousands of others, and be vetted by Roth first.
Roth has faced backlash on social media over her women-only island. Critics call it elitist and too exclusionary in banning men.
Roth tells media outlets she hopes to replicate the idea, with more versions of her SuperShe retreat, across the globe.