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Integrity in Real Estate
Updated: 46 min 39 sec ago

Life After Conservatorship: FHFA Preparing Fannie and Freddie for the Eventual Exit

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 12:04

Despite recent skepticism surrounding a possible exit from conservatorship for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, officials from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)—the overseer of both agencies—indicated that the door hasn’t yet been shut on the idea.

After more than a decade under federal government oversight, Sandra Thompson, the acting director of the FHFA, confirmed that the agency has been preparing the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) for life after conservatorship.

“We are preparing the enterprises to adjust to supervision in a way that they would be regulated outside of conservatorship,” Thompson said during an interview with Dennis Shea, head of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Terwilliger Center for Housing Policy.

The March 31 event covered several topics with Thompson outlining what was on the horizon for FHFA and the GSEs. Housing affordability and closing the racial gap in homeownership were among the issues being discussed, as well as the longstanding conservatorship relationship, which was a large part of the conversation.

It’s been 14 years since the FHFA took over Fannie and Freddie in response to the subprime mortgage crisis and Great Recession, where the organizations lost more than $200 billion in two years. Now, the enterprises are on the path to profitability, backing 62% of all conforming mortgages in 2020 and touting a combined net worth of $67 billion, according to September figures.

Still, Thompson admitted that the extended time under conservatorship exceeded expectations.

“I don’t think anybody expected the enterprises to be in conservatorship as teenagers,” she said. “That wasn’t the expectation that anybody had at the time that they were placed into conservatorship and going forward.”

While the door isn’t closed on the idea of Fannie and Freddie exiting their government oversight, Thompson also noted there are still several steps that need to be taken before the separation can happen.

“One, there’s the big-ticket items, the things that are obvious to everybody—certainly conversations with the Treasury as a significant shareholder have to take place,” she said. “I know that lots of people have views on that, but those conversations are not as easy as they could be.

“The nice thing is we’ve had precedential conversations given what happened in the Great Recession,” She continued. “So the issues, while they’re specific to Fannie and Freddie, are not necessarily new to the federal government at large.”

According to Thompson, the FHFA has been conducting a pricing review for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac products—admittedly the first time since 2015—as part of its preparation for an exit.

While Thompson didn’t indicate when the conservatorship would end, an audience member who claimed to have “started HUD 50 some years ago” and predicted that Fannie and Freddie would exit at their 17 year-mark in “a cicada event.”

A reluctant Thompson declined to comment on the audience statement when given a chance.

However, earlier in the event, she stated, “If the enterprises ever get out of conservatorship, everyone knows it’s going to be the largest IPO ever, but there are going to be questions that investors want to know.”

“There are just questions that investors are going to want answers to before they put any dollars in, and some of those questions I cannot answer,” Thompson explained.

Aside from discussions around GSE conservatorship, Thompson also delved into her take on promoting safe and affordable access to mortgage credit for borrowers.

“In my background at the FDIC, I have served during two crises, and I don’t want another one,” Thompson said. “Having said that, there are some lessons learned. One of the lessons learned especially from the most recent crisis—the Great Recession—is that safety and soundness are two sides of the same coin.”

She admitted that the Great Recession offered several lessons that the agency has heeded in recent years while overseeing the GSEs, including identifying and avoiding irresponsible lending.

“People thought that they were promoting access to credit, but the lesson that we learned is the ability to repay,” she said. “There is absolutely no point in giving someone a loan that they don’t understand and a loan that they can’t afford.”

Considering the number of borrowers that ended up upside down in their mortgages during the Great Recession, Thompson said that the FHFA and the GSEs had prioritized sustainability and affordability in their lending activity recently.

Access to credit was another aspect that touched on during the interview, and Thompson stated that the FHFA has worked with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide access to underserved areas safely.

Housing affordability remains one of the top issues plaguing the housing market, as lagging supply and strong demand enabled sky-high home prices in the past two years. With mortgage rates climbing from record lows to 5% in a little over a year, the affordability gap widens for millions of buyers.

According to Thompson, the FHFA and GSEs have been exploring ways that enterprises can contribute to the supply issues plaguing the housing market, including pilot programs to purchase accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and use the cash flow from the units in the underwriting criteria. The enterprises have set up similar programs for manufactured housing.

“We’ve really been thinking about ways that the enterprises can contribute to the supply issue,” she said. “When you talk about the lack of supply, you are also talking about historic increases in home prices. It is really—especially at the entry-level for homebuyers—affordability is a huge issue.”

Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him with your real estate news ideas at jgrice@rismedia.com.

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Existing Home Sales Fall for Second Straight Month

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 12:03

Existing home sales slowed yet again this month, falling under the six-million mark for the first time in seven months, according to new data released by the National Association of REALTORS®, down from 6.02 million in February to 5.77 million in March—a decrease of 2.7%. Year-over-year, sales are down 4.5%.

Single-family homes were down by 2.7% since last month, to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.13 million. Condos and co-ops fell by 3.0% to 640,000 units in March.

After home sales reached their highest level since the housing bubble in 2021, experts and real estate professionals have been closely watching data from the first few months of this year, trying to determine the direction of a still-turbulent market.

Existing home sales have been falling since December after rising month-over-month for most of 2021.

By Region:

Midwest
Existing-Home Sales: 1.27 million (-3.1% YoY)
Median Price: $271,200 (+10.4 YoY)

Northeast
Existing-Home Sales: 670,000 (-11.6% YoY)
Median Price: $390,200 (+6.8% YoY)

South
Existing-Home Sales: 2.62 million (-3.0% YoY)
Median Price: $339,000 (+21.2% YoY)

West
Existing-Home Sales: 1.21 million (-4.7% YoY)
Median Price: $519,900 (+5.4% YoY)

What the industry is saying:

“Housing demand remains robust, even in the face of fast-rising mortgage rates, which were near 4.7% in late March and have now topped 5%, as climbing rents keep potential first-time homebuyers motivated,” said Danielle Hale, realtor.com® chief economist.

“At the same time, the number of home sellers continues to trail what the market has seen in prior years meaning that relatively low numbers of homes for sale remain an obstacle for buyers, even as we move past the seasonal low-point in the number of options for homebuyers.  And against this backdrop, the typical home sales price continues to rise, outstripping even the 40-year high pace of consumer price inflation, which was up 8.5%. Home price growth and the rising cost of financing the home purchase is causing some homebuyers to think twice about whether or not a home is in their budget, especially when inflation is already stretching budgets thin from rising costs on everything from gas to groceries.”

“The housing market is starting to feel the impact of sharply rising mortgage rates and higher inflation taking a hit on purchasing power. Still, homes are selling rapidly, and home price gains remain in the double-digits…home prices have consistently moved upward as supply remains tight,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “However, sellers should not expect the easy-profit gains and should look for multiple offers to fade as demand continues to subside.”“Finding the right home in this market–from making an offer to eventually buying–is an intense process,” said Leslie Rouda-Smith, NAR president. “The current state of housing is indeed one of the most competitive markets that I have witnessed, but with patience and the assistance of a trusted REALTORS®, the outcome can be very rewarding.”

Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas, jwilliams@rismedia.com.

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Redfin Seals Its Deal for Bay Equities

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 12:03

Redfin has completed its big-ticket purchase of Bay Equity Home Loans.

The Seattle-based real estate tech company confirmed its $137.8 million acquisition of the national full-service mortgage lender in an all-cash transaction. According to company executives, the deal is expected to accelerate Redfin’s plans to become a “one-stop-shop” for consumers.

“As homebuyers struggle with affordability and bidding wars, it’s more important than ever for lenders and brokers to work together on every customer’s offer,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman in a statement.

To that end, Kelman said that Redfin and Bay Equity have already hit the ground running by getting both sides in tune with each other.

“In dozens of markets, Bay Equity and Redfin field organizations have already met, and the difference in our agents’ enthusiasm about recommending a Redfin mortgage to their customers is night and day,” he said.

Redfin first announced its plans to purchase Bay Equity in January and noted that it would lay off 121 employees in its mortgage business in preparation for the deal. With the transaction complete, Redfin indicated that it had begun winding down its Redfin Mortgage business.

The Seattle-based company is integrating all lending operations under Bay Equity, which will still operate under that name. According to Redfin, 52 Redfin Mortgage employees will move over to the Bay Equity team.

Bay Equity will maintain its headquarters in Corte Madera, California.

With the acquisition complete, Redfin agents across 91 markets can use the tech company’s software to refer consumers to a local Bay Equity loan officer. According to Redfin, agents and loan officers are partnered based on their location and number of customers.

Bay Equity is a licensed mortgage lender in 42 states and employs approximately 1,200 people, making it nearly ten times the size of Redfin’s mortgage business.

In previous statements, Redfin has indicated that the merger would help its lending arm match its brokerage, which employs roughly 2,400 agents.

“Our first priority is connecting Redfin’s approximately 2,400 lead agents to our 400 loan officers, so we can help Redfin’s customers win in this competitive real estate market,” said Bay Equity CEO Brett McGovern.

McGovern also stated that joining Redfin improves its customer reach and allows the lending company to offer better “competitive rates” and a seamless experience.

“We don’t expect Redfin’s agents to recommend us to customers because we’re part of the same company, but because of the value and service we deliver,” McGovern said. “Aligning with Redfin recognizes our 14 years of strategic growth nationwide and puts us on a trajectory to become a top 10 lender.”

Redfin has maintained that absorbing the Corte Madera-based lender would increase profits while maintaining lower rates since announcing the transaction.

In its fourth-quarter earnings call, Kelman said that the deal would “generate far more lending revenue, overall and from our brokerage customers, at much higher gross margins than Redfin’s original mortgage business.”

“The acquisition of Bay Equity Home Loans will have an even larger impact on our profits,” he said. “Bay Equity has the scale to serve Redfin’s 2,450 lead agents. And because Bay Equity supports loans that Redfin Mortgage previously had not, including veterans’ affairs and federal housing administration loans and far more competitive pricing for jumbo loans, Bay Equity can serve nearly every brokerage homebuyer.”

According to Kelman, Bay Equity earned more than $50 million in 2021 net income from more than $350 million in revenue. More than half of that revenue (53%) came from purchase mortgages rather than refinancings.

During the call, Kelman celebrated that figure while noting the recent changes in the mortgage environment that have seen a shrinking refi business for lenders as rates rise—this was before rates hit 5%.

“What we like best about Bay Equity is its culture, putting the customer first,” Kelman said. “We evaluated dozens of lenders before deciding to acquire Bay Equity. Many were eager to meet our customers, but most assumed we wanted to give those customers the worst deal possible, not the best. Bay Equity was different.

“What was equally striking to us was Bay Equity’s commitment to its own people,” Kelman continued. “Many of the lenders we met had binge-hired during the boom, but Bay Equity had grown revenues without adding many employees instead of investing in its culture.”

Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jgrice@rismedia.com.

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Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 12:01

With mortgage rates at their highest in over a decade, mortgage applications decreased 5.0% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 15, 2022.

Key findings:

  • The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 5.0% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.
  • On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 4% compared with the previous week.
  • The Refinance Index decreased 8% from the previous week and was 68% lower than the same week one year ago.
  • The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3% from one week earlier.
  • The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2% compared with the previous week and was 14% lower than the same week one year ago.
  • The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 35.7% of total applications from 37.1% the previous week.
  • The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 8.5% of total applications.
  • The share of total applications for:
    • The FHA increased to 9.9% from 9.5% the week prior.
    • The VA increased to 10.1% from 9.9% the week prior.
    • The USDA remained unchanged at 0.5% from the week prior.

Average contract interest rate increases:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 5.20% from 5.13%, with points increasing to 0.66 from 0.63 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.  The effective rate increased from last week.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $647,200) increased to 4.76% from 4.68%, with points increasing to 0.46 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 5.11 percent from 4.95%, with points increasing to 0.90 from 0.75 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.  The effective rate increased from last week.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.44% from 4.34%, with points increasing to 0.77 from 0.65 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • 5/1 ARMs increased to 4.09% from 4.06%, with points decreasing to 0.56 from 0.68 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The takeaway:

“Ongoing concerns about rapid inflation and tighter U.S. monetary policy continued to push Treasury yields higher, driving mortgage rates to their highest level in over a decade,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Rates increased across the board for all loan types, with the 30-year fixed rate hitting 5.2%, the highest level since 2010. The 30-year rate has increased 70 basis points over the past month and is 2 full percentage points higher than a year ago. The recent surge in mortgage rates has shut most borrowers out of rate/term refinances, causing the refinance index to fall for the sixth consecutive week. In a housing market facing affordability challenges and low inventory, higher rates are causing a pullback or delay in home purchase demand as well. Home purchase activity has been volatile in recent weeks and has yet to see the typical pick up for this time of the year.”

“The ARM share of applications reached 8.5% last week, its highest level since 2019,” Kan added. “As ARM loans typically have lower rates than fixed rate mortgages, and as this spread has widened, ARM loans have become more attractive to borrowers already facing home purchase loan amounts close to record highs.”

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What You May Not Know About Moving

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 12:00

Are you thinking about moving to a new city or state? If so, you should know a few things before making a move. Moving is stressful, so the better prepared you are upfront, the smoother it will go.

Have a plan, and make sure you are fully prepared for what lies ahead. Have all of your documents ready, know the estimated time it will take to pack and load, and be confident you can handle any potential bumps in the road.

Stay positive – no one wants to move, but it will go much smoother if you can keep a positive attitude. Remember that everything will eventually work out – even if it doesn’t look like it at first!

We will discuss three things you may not know about moving, so there are no surprises.

You’ll be expected to tip the moving company 

Like other service industries, the movers will be expecting you’ll tip them for a job well done.

Many folks will ask how much to tip the movers. The are many resources out there for checking on an appropriate tip amount. Maximum Real Estate Exposure has an in-depth article that explains everything you should know.

Keep in mind that tipping is optional. Nobody will come and arrest you if there is no moving tip provided. However, you will likely not be looked at favorably.

Tipping is commonplace unless the movers do an abysmal job or damage your valuables. Some folks will even go out of their way to provide drinks and snacks for the movers.

Keep in mind that moving is grueling work. The movers will appreciate any kind gesture.

There are specialized companies that will move your car

Did you know that not every moving company will transport your car? There are specific firms specializing in moving vehicles from one part of the country to another.

While it may not seem like a big deal to move your car, it is essential to get the right company to do the job.

It will be essential to figure out what type of service you want from them as there are different options.

For example, do you want open or enclosed transport? If you have an expensive car or SUV, you might want to pay a little extra to have your vehicle protected from the elements. If this is the case, go with enclosed transport to keep your car protected.

The typical cost to move a car is more than $700. Different factors will play a role in the final bill. If you aren’t moving the car far, you might pay around $400.

When moving long distances, it is not unusual to pay $2000-$3000, especially during the peak moving season.

Like hiring a mover, it is wise to plan ahead of time to lock in when you want their services.

Moving in the spring and summer will be more expensive

The peak season for moving is in the spring and summer. You can expect the cost of hiring movers during that time frame to be more costly.

The reason is more people are moving, and higher demand for services. When you’re on a strict budget, you’ll want to consider when you move.

If you want to attempt to save some cash planning a mover during off-peak times could be worth it.

Concluding thoughts

Moving is one of those things most people want to put out of their minds. Unfortunately, that is going to lead to problems. The smoothest moves occur when you’ve planned each step out in advance.

Things like changing your address, finding moving boxes, packing, getting a storage unit, and throwing things away should be done well before the moving truck asks for directions.

Keeping these things in mind will likely play a role in your moving day going off without a hitch.

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 35 years. Bill is the owner and founder of Maximum Real Estate Exposure. For the past decade, he has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England.

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Social Media and Marketing Tips for Your Real Estate Niche: FSBO

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 02:06

For some real estate agents, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties can be challenging to prospect. For others, it’s an opportunity. In fact, this can become a very lucrative niche for those willing to get to work for their next listing.

The reason that sellers opt for FSBO listings is often because they think they can earn more money, eliminating the commission from listing with a brokerage. Maybe these sellers have had a bad experience with an agent or broker in the past, and simply don’t trust the process. No matter what their reasons may be, more and more sellers think they can sell their home successfully on their own. But it is your job, as the expert, to show them otherwise.

With the rise of social media, especially in this industry, as well as the many listing websites that allow FSBO listings, it’s becoming even more common for sellers to list their own properties. However, you can use these technology and social media advancements to benefit your business, gaining more clients and listing in the process. Whether you’re experienced with prospecting FSBO listings, or if you’re looking to take on this real estate niche, here are some tips for finding—and winning—FSBO listings.

Do your research

Though there are many ways to prospect FSBO listings—drive around town, check the classified listings, visit a FSBO listing site—social media is a growing platform for these sellers to promote their homes. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start, but don’t discount Instagram. Even consider looking on websites like Craigslist, Ebay or other ecommerce websites for FSBO listings.

Utilize social media to your advantage when looking for FSBO listings by posting about your niche. Share past experiences and testimonials from sellers who started as FSBO, then ended up taking you on as their selling agent, and how it helped streamline the transaction process and ultimately, sold the home.

Showcase your value 

Taking on FSBO listings as a niche means that you must be expert in this realm of real estate. From market knowledge to marketing, you need to bring true value to the table in order to turn FSBO sellers into clients. One of the best ways to do this is by sharing the benefits of hiring a listing agent, and social media is the perfect place to educate these sellers and show them why you are the best option if they want to sell their home. Highlight marketing strategies, time management, local expertise, the value of MLS and knowledge of market pricing. Even sharing free home staging tips can change the mind of a FSBO seller.

On top of sharing the benefits of hiring a seller’s agent, another way to prove your value is by creating a pre-listing marketing package to share with FSBO sellers. Whether one of these sellers took the bait of your social posts, or if you get connected another way, this is a strong selling point that can help convert them. A pre-listing marketing package can include:

  • Estimated selling price – FSBO sellers often don’t understand or don’t have access to accurate market data when setting the price for their home. By offering this information, you are showcasing your expertise.
  • Marketing plan – Without giving sellers your marketing secrets, provide them with the number of social media followers you have, the number of emails you can connect to and other quantitative information that will demonstrate your reach.
  • Staging plan – Offer simple staging tips, and be sure to mention the multiple relationships you may have with professional listing photographers, videographers and staging companies.
  • Branding materials – Many FSBO sellers don’t understand the value of working with an agent or broker, let alone their branding. Share any branded marketing pamphlets or recent listings that will highlight your reach and marketing efforts.
  • Document checklist – A big reason why sellers choose the FSBO route is because they think it will be easier than dealing with agents. However, many don’t realize how much paperwork and time goes into the transaction process. Offer a partial checklist of some of the forms they will need to manage, and mention how working with you can take a major paperwork burden off of their plate.

Create graphics for your pre-listing marketing plan that can be shared across your social platforms to attract more FSBO sellers. Include positive testimonials from when you worked with FSBO sellers in the past, communicate how working with an agent or broker not only helped them sell their home, but assisted throughout the entire process, from marketing to paperwork.

Land the listing

If you’ve finally hooked a FSBO seller who is interested in your services, make an appointment to meet with them. Be sure they know that your goal for the appointment is not to list the home, but offer more information on how you can help. It is important that you respect their FSBO status, but are doing what you can to help them along. If the conversation or meeting goes well, and you have established a strong rapport, continue to build this relationship, both online and off.

Keep in touch over social media, email, phone calls and in-person. Be sure to continue to communicate your value each and every time you are in contact with these sellers. If you happen to convert them to your client, ensure you follow through with everything you presented them with, including all of the steps in your pre-listing marketing plan and continue to share helpful tips throughout the process.

If you have successfully converted a FSBO seller to a client, and get through the entire transaction successfully, be sure to get a testimonial so you can continue to promote your value as an FSBO real estate niche expert.

Paige Brown is RISMedia’s content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to pbrown@rismedia.com.

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Meet the Newsmakers: Power Brokers Make Their Presence Known

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 02:04

RISMedia’s 2022 Real Estate Newsmakers list is punctuated by some of the country’s top brokerage owners who carried their firms to great success during last year’s intense real estate market. Here are just a few of their leadership lessons.

INFLUENCERS

Andrew Linn

Broker/Owner

ERA Davis & Linn

Linn believes that being inclusive, collaborative and caring are keys to the company’s success. He describes his team this way: “One team empowering real estate professionals to build customer-centric and sustainable businesses opening doors for all to the safety, security and prosperity of a home.”

TRAILBLAZERS

Mayi de la Vega

CEO and Founder

ONE Sotheby’s International Realty

From leading the launch of an award-winning website to rolling out new marketing tools and technology, wellness programs and community fundraising initiatives, de la Vega’s top priority is keeping her team motivated and empowered. “Every choice we make matters. A choice can shut or open infinite doors.”

TRAILBLAZERS

Steven Domber

President

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley

As he continued to navigate through an unprecedented housing market, Domber’s firm—joining the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices family in 2021— closed over $1.54 billion in sales, significantly up from their annual average of $850 million. “Our company has been a pillar in the community with a reputation of stability, integrity, trust and philanthropy.”

MOTIVATORS

Kymber Lovett-Menkiti

President

Keller Williams Capital Properties

In 2021, Lovett-Menkiti became the first African American female and one of the youngest individuals to take on the role of divisional leader of Keller Williams Realty. She also heads the KW National Social Equity Task Force. She believes it’s important to find strength and courage within oneself, citing this quote: “She needed a hero, so that’s who she became.”

FUTURISTS

Thad Wong

Co-Founder and Co-CEO

@properties Christie’s International Real Estate

Wong massively grew the @properties umbrella in 2021, acquiring Christie’s International Real Estate and leading the acquisition or development of AI, centralized educational platforms and mobile apps. “We’ve come a long way over the past two decades. We’re so grateful for our agents and staff who are integral to our growth.”

Click here to learn more about this year’s more than 300 Real Estate Newsmakers.

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Here’s Why It’s Time to Throw Away the CMA

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 02:03

Despite innovation in nearly every other aspect of the real estate transaction—from online search to digital closings—the process of creating a comparative market analysis (CMA) hasn’t changed much in the last several decades. It remains a time-consuming and largely manual process to produce a report, which is quickly outdated in today’s fast-paced market.

According to a 2022 market research survey conducted by homegenius and the Residential Real Estate Council, the majority of real estate agents surveyed spend over half an hour on a single CMA, with 31% stating it takes them more than 45 minutes. While there are a lot of great CMA tools out there, the reality is agents still need to go to multiple sources to compile relevant information before organizing it in a professional format. Many agents may use five or more tools to get this done:

  • MLS to get things going and start pulling comps;
  • Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) to get deeper insights;
  • Public records for more detailed property information;
  • Their MLS’s or brokerage’s CMA tool (sometimes both);
  • A spreadsheet to put comps side by side for analysis; and,
  • Their brokerage’s intranet to pull listing presentations and other files to finalize the report

In addition to going to five or more places to get information and design a professional presentation, they are manually sifting through comp after comp, picture after picture, record after record, to ensure they are selecting proper comps for an accurate price estimate. It is a headache, to say the least. Not to mention, the final product has a limited shelf life. A fresh CMA becomes stale faster than ever in our rapidly changing real estate market.

As a result, busy real estate agents are only willing to spend the time and effort building a CMA for their short list of sellers who are ready to list. Most agents skip the whole process altogether for buyers. But this is a missed opportunity that is costing agents business.

With online resources at their fingertips, buyers and sellers are more informed now than ever before and have increasingly high expectations of their agent to deliver market knowledge and insights they can’t access themselves. They want a comprehensive market report that tells them more, is customized to them, and looks polished.

The traditional CMA just doesn’t cut it anymore. That’s why Red Bell Real Estate, LLC, a homegenius company, developed geniuspriceSM—a personalized property intelligence platform leveraging advanced technology and the latest developments in data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to generate a price estimate in minutes. geniusprice technology has made the traditional CMA obsolete by marrying advanced valuation automation with local property data to provide agents with next-level analytics and insights in a fraction of the time.

More accurate than a traditional CMA, faster than other tools, and smarter than other AI, geniusprice technology is an entirely new kind of business tool for the real estate agent. Visit homegenius.com to watch the geniusprice video or catch a replay of our technology demo and see just how easy it is to make geniusprice technology go to work for you.

Jose Perez has been a student of the real estate industry for more than three decades, taking on a variety of roles from franchise salesperson to SVP of Franchise Sales for Realogy as well as successfully running his own consulting firm for 11 years. Jose brings his extensive, in-depth real estate knowledge to homegenius, where he focuses his attention on leveraging the power of the Radian business segment, to provide unique value to real estate agents, teams, brokerages, and consumers.

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Rent Growth Extends Record-Breaking Streak in February

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 02:02

U.S. rent prices continued their double-digit gains in February, rising 13.1% from one year earlier to hit another new record as the highest in the history of the index, according to CoreLogic’s latest Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and across major metropolitan areas.

According to the report, warmer areas of the country again posted the largest price hikes, with rents in Miami up 39.5% from February 2021. A shortage of available rentals has contributed to the prolonged run-up in price growth, as has the low U.S. unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.8% in February. Also, robust home price increases, up 20% year over year in February, are likely contributing to more Americans renting rather than buying.

Key findings:

  • Nationwide, single-family rent prices were up 13.1% year over year in February, the 11thstraight month of record-level gains
  • The gap in growth between the lowest- and highest-priced rental tiers closed in February, with respective annual gains of 12.7% and 12.8%
  • Rent increases varied slightly by price-point:
    • Lower-priced(75% or less than the regional median): 12.7%, up from 3% in February 2021
    • Lower-middle priced(75% to 100% of the regional median): 13.8%, up from 3.2% in February 2021
    • Higher-middle priced(100% to 125% of the regional median): 13.9%, up from 3.6% in February 2021
    • Higher-priced(125% or more than the regional median): 12.8%, up from 4.6% in February 2021

The takeaway:

Rent increases were steepest along the sunbelt region. In addition to Miami’s staggering spike of 39.5%, “Orlando and Phoenix logged the second- and third-highest gains at 22.2% and 18.9% respectively…Meanwhile, the Washington D.C. area and St. Louis recorded the lowest annual rent price growth, both at 6.5%,” according to the report.

Prices for detached rentals grew faster than attached rentals in the wake of the pandemic, as stand-alone properties in low-density areas were more desirable. However, in the last year attached rental property prices grew by 12.9%, compared to the 12.8% increase recorded for detached homes. The report notes, “This is the closest that attached and detached growth rates have been since December 2019.”

“Single-family rents rose at more than three times the rate from a year earlier and more than four times the pre-pandemic rate,” said Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic. “Strong employment and low supply have pushed single-family rental vacancy rates to low levels and have contributed to the high growth in rents.”

To read the full report, click here.

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Year-Over-Year Rent Growth Begins to Slow

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 02:01

Ongoing inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are beginning to impact both economic growth and rent performance, according to the latest Multifamily National Report from Yardi Matrix.

Average U.S. asking rents rose $14 in March to an all-time high of $1,642, the report stated. However, year-over-year growth dropped 50 basis points to 14.8%—an indication that rents are beginning to slow after 2021’s record-shattering performance.

Rent prices broke record highs in January, but there may be good news on the horizon for renters whose budgets have been stretched thin. According to the report, even though rents for single-family rentals continue to rise month-over-month, growth is starting to ease up in that subsector. March is typically the beginning of spring seasonal growth, and that increase was slightly lower than 2021, when rents went up $18 (1.3%), though it’s still higher than a typical year.

Additional key findings:

  • The average U.S. single-family rent rose $14 to $1,999 in March, while year-over-year growth dropped 90 basis points to 14.1%.
  • Rent growth continues to be led by population shifts to the Southeast and Southwest. Miami, Orlando and Tampa, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona all recorded asking rent increases of 23% or more in March.

The takeaway:

“Rent growth is unlikely to keep pace with 2021, as last year’s explosive movement started in the second quarter,” state Matrix analysts.

“The big picture that emerges from March multifamily data is that the market remains healthy, though signs point to the inevitable deceleration in some markets,” states the report.  “Meanwhile, economic conditions and global events contain headwinds that justify the expectations of moderation and caution.”

“Signs point to demand in the Sun Belt and West cooling off slightly,” according to the report. “Occupancy rates in several markets have decreased over the last year as demand hasn’t kept pace with deliveries. Phoenix, Arizona showed the largest decrease in occupancy (-0.5%) in March, followed by the Inland Empire (California) and Las Vegas, Nevada (-0.4%) and Sacramento, California (-0.3%).”

To read the full report, click here. 

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Report Reveals Where to Get More Apartment Space for the Buck

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 02:00

As more renters have switched to remote work since the onset of the pandemic, apartment space is now prioritized over location, according to a new report from RentCafe, the online apartment listing service.

The report ranked the 100 largest U.S. cities by the size of apartments renting for $1,500. Not surprisingly, the study found coastal cities charge a premium for square footage, while the South and Midwest feature larger apartments for renters with smaller budgets.

The report also highlights that in most metro areas, the surrounding suburban markets featured larger apartments than central urban areas. According to Andrea Neculae at RentCafe, “Aurora, , is the only urban area to match its suburban counterparts when it comes to apartment space, taking first place in its metro with 792 square feet.” Meanwhile, in the Atlanta suburb, Clarkson, Georgia, $1,500 affords renters 1,413 sq. ft. of apartment space, while in Atlanta 821 sq. ft. apartments go for the same amount.

Additional key findings:

The top three cities where $1,500 affords renters larger apartments are:

  • Wichita, Kansas
    • Apartment space for $1,500: 1,597 Sq. Ft.
    • Apartment rent: $746
    • Average apartment size: 794 Sq. Ft.
  • Toledo, Ohio
    • Apartment space for $1,500: 1,482 Sq. Ft.
    • Apartment rent: $817
    • Average apartment size: 807 Sq. Ft.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
    • Apartment space for $1,500: 1,447 Sq. Ft.
    • Apartment rent: $852
    • Average apartment size: 822 Sq. Ft.

Bottom three cities where $1,500 affords renters smallest apartments are:

  • Manhattan, New York
    • Apartment space for $1,500: 262 Sq. Ft.
    • Apartment rent: $4,269
    • Average apartment size: 745 Sq. Ft.
  • Boston, Massachusetts
    • Apartment space for $1,500: 340 Sq. Ft.
    • Apartment rent: $3,589
    • Average apartment size: 813 Sq. Ft.
  • San Francisco, California
    • Apartment space for $1,500: 345 Sq. Ft.
    • Apartment rent: $3,242
    • Average apartment size: 746 Sq. Ft.

To read the full report, click here.

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