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Updated: 2 hours 25 min ago

HUD Funding to Help Prevent Veteran Homelessness for 28 Native American Tribes

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:02

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has awarded $4.4 million in Tribal HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (Tribal HUD-VASH) grants to 28 Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs). This includes $1.0 million in expansion grants that will help house approximately 95 additional Veterans. The expansion grants were awarded to three existing Tribal HUD-VASH grant recipients and two new Tribal HUD-VASH grant recipients: Apsaalooke Nation Housing Authority and Fort Hall Housing Authority.

The Tribal HUD-VASH program provides housing and supportive services to Native American Veterans who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness by combining rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by the VA.

“Our nation’s Veterans made the ultimate sacrifice and are more than deserving of a decent and stable place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge in statement. “These grants allow Tribes to provide housing and supportive services to Native American Veterans and their families. Today’s announcement includes a strong expansion of this vital program that allows us to serve even more individuals in need.”

“It is exciting to see the growth of this program that serves American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans struggling with homelessness,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough in a statement. “The expansion of existing programs and inclusion of additional Tribal locations means that Veterans will have access to housing and case management supportive services close to home. These services reinforce the value of caring for our Veterans who courageously served our great nation.”

In 2015, Congress authorized funding for a Tribal demonstration program in order to expand the HUD-VASH program into Indian Country. HUD was directed to coordinate with Tribes, TDHEs, and other appropriate Tribal organizations on the design of this program and to ensure the effective delivery of housing assistance and supportive services to eligible Native American Veterans. Since its inception, the program has housed almost 600 Native American Veterans and has provided case management services to many more. Tribes will be able to reach more Veterans with today’s expansion of the program.

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Michael Saunders Keynotes ‘Women Empowering Women’

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:01

Women from diverse professional backgrounds came together to inspire and empower one another for an event hosted by the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce. Michael Saunders, Michael Saunders & Company founder and CEO, was featured as one of the keynote speakers of “Women Empowering Women.”

Approximately 100 attendees heard personal stories of overcoming challenges to reach success as a woman leader.

“Women said, ‘Yes we can,’ and we have done it in spite of challenges,” Saunders emphasized.

Experiencing potential roadblocks to her goals, she shared how rejection did not stop her from paving her own path to her future. After college, excited about reaching the interview phase for a law school fellowship, a harsh reality soon surfaced. Saunders learned she was only invited for this opportunity because her first name was believed to be that of a male. The outcome—she was turned down because the male-dominated board only gave the fellowships to men.

Another disappointment came when she was denied a $5,000 loan to start her own business. The reason for the denial—her gender.

“You are in a community that has been over the years a petri dish for women,” Saunders said.

Despite the financing challenge, in 1976, she opened Michael Saunders & Company on St. Armands Circle, now serving Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Saunders highlighted women pioneers like Mable Ringling, Emma E. Booker and Marie Selby, whose legacy lives on for future generations with their positive impact on the Gulf Coast.

Having deep local roots, Saunders credited her family for giving her a strong support system. She also stressed the importance of women leaders offering support to each other and harnessing their strengths to “nurture the future of this community.” Saunders also emphasized the importance of values including integrity, excellence and communication in order to meet professional goals.

The sold-out event was held on Friday, Sept. 17 at the Venetian River Club in North Venice.

Source: Michael Saunders & Company

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Regional Spotlight: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties Launches Initiative to Promote Housing Equality

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:00

The executive team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, including company chairperson Mary Lee Blaylock and President Martha Mosier, have decided to address the fact that many potential buyers believe they can never achieve the American dream of homeownership.

An internal group of managers and agents, with firsthand knowledge of the obstacles faced by people who have been systemically and economically marginalized when it comes to buying a home, launched the IMPACT Council, which stands for Inclusive Mindset Promoting Action to Change Things. The council is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable, and welcoming environment for agents, staff and the communities they serve.

“The IMPACT Council embraces the principles that we all have a right to belong, together we are better, and we encourage celebration of our beautiful and unique differences,” Mosier said in a statement. “Through community outreach, the council will educate agents on how to share homeownership information with potential clients who might not be aware of the financial programs and assistance available to them. We’re excited to put this effort into play, and excited for the deserving people who will benefit from it.”

The council’s founding members were selected based on their personal achievements of working toward diversity and inclusion within their communities. They are Chris Fryson, vice president, Human Resources; Nicholas Cacarnakis, manager of the Beverly Hills office; and Donna Belisle-Strecker, an agent in the Beverly Hills office. The members meet regularly to craft programs and guidance to educate the company’s 3,000 sales associates throughout Southern California.

“The council’s mission and mindset fosters diversity, inclusion, promotes equality and creates opportunities through our daily business practices, to assist all of our communities,” Belisle-Strecker said in a statement. “It feels good to work for a company that acknowledges there is still work to be done. We’re also working on an initiative to provide first-time homebuyers with down payment and financial aid assistance information, so everyone in all our communities can enjoy the opportunity of homeownership.”

Fryson said he appreciates that the company is focused on establishing a culture that embraces differences; and the council gives him and everyone the opportunity to know their thoughts and ideas matter, because they are all taken in and considered by the company. He looks forward to a future where everyone—regardless of their race, sex, gender, social economic background, preferences and thoughts—is embraced and enjoys a fair and equal playing field.

All Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties affiliates subscribe to the IMPACT Council’s principles so that clients receive the same level of compassionate service. The affiliates include Prosperity Mortgage, LLC, California Title Company, Pickford Escrow Company, and The Escrow Firm.

Agents and staff are steadfast in their commitment to providing the highest level of professional service to clients from all walks of life, Mosier noted. This commitment is upheld by all agents, managers, and staff. In addition, the IMPACT Council adheres to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics and all fair-housing laws.

For more information, please visit www.bhhscalifornia.com.

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COVID Protections Continue, FHFA Extends Multifamily Forbearance Deadline

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 03:06

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to offer COVID-19 forbearance to qualifying multifamily property owners as needed, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). However, this will be subject to the continued tenant protections FHFA has imposed during the pandemic.

This marks the fourth extension of the programs, previously set to expire Sept. 30, 2021. On Oct. 1, 2021, FHFA will allow Fannie and Freddie to continue offering COVID-19 forbearance to qualified multifamily owners, unless otherwise instructed by the FHFA.

“Given the uncertain nature of this pandemic, FHFA is taking further action to protect renters, property owners and the mortgage market,” said FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson.

Property owners with Fannie and Freddie-backed multifamily mortgages can enter a new or, if qualified, modified forbearance if they experience a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Property owners who enter into a new or modified forbearance agreement must:
– Inform tenants in writing about tenant protections available during the property owner’s forbearance and repayment periods
– Agree not to evict tenants due to the nonpayment of rent while the property is in forbearance

Additional tenant protections apply, including:
– Giving tenants at least a 30-day notice to vacate
– Not charging tenants late fees or penalties if they don’t pay their rent
– Providing tenant flexibility in the repayment of back-rent over time, and not necessarily in a lump sum

Source: FHFA

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Colorado Brokerage Seeing Inventory Challenges in His Resort Community

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 03:05

Michael Slevin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties Finding Across-the-Board Trends Like Inventory Shortages Even in Resort Community

Michael Slevin
President, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties
Vail, Colorado

Region served: Vail and Beaver Creek Resort, Breckenridge and Eagle County, Colorado
Years in real estate: 25
Number of offices: 9
Number of agents: 130
Work philosophy that you live by: It’s important in our busy 24/7 industry that we find balance—get out of the hustle and bustle a bit and enjoy what we have around us.

Paige Brown: What made you choose to work with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices?

Michael Slevin: It was an incredibly easy decision to align ourselves with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, an organization built on the values of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett and the strength, integrity and respect that his organization is known for. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is very much in line with our core values, and the brand resonates with a lot of people, especially our affluent second-home market.

PB: What do you like most about your region?

MS: Where we live is magical. It is unique in what it affords in terms of lifestyle and community. You have to make certain sacrifices to live and work here, but they are all worth it when you get to experience living in a small community that offers so many options in terms of activity, recreation and culture.

PB: What are some of the current trends in your market?

MS: As much as we’re a unique destination/resort community, we’re seeing some of the same challenges that the rest of the country is seeing, namely inventory being at an all-time low. We’re seeing the same trends in buyer activity, with more buyers than supply. There has also been a trend of younger individuals, couples and families moving to our area.

PB: As we continue through 2021, what are you most looking forward to?

MS: Finding some balance in the market. As prices have risen, it’s making it challenging for homebuyers. I’m looking forward to some more inventory coming to market, which will make our area attainable for more people. And as great as this market has been, it has also been incredibly taxing for our brokers and staff. Once we get through our summer selling season, I hope our group can take a collective breather and regroup for the winter season.

PB: How are you preparing your agents for the future of real estate?

MS: We were early and heavy tech adopters, but with that comes the need to deepen client relationships. It’s that very important blend of technology and becoming the go-to resource for clients who are either locals living here full-time or second homeowners. It’s not just about real estate, but rather, a concierge service for our clients so that when it comes time to make a buying or selling decision, without a second thought, they’ll reach out to their broker to help them not only get into a property, but serve them all the way through.

PB: Where do you find inspiration for new business strategies, and how do you go about implementing them?

MS: Inspiration comes from all places. The leadership at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is one of the places I go. Gino Blefari and our new CEO, Christy Budnick, are awesome inspirations. The network within Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is amazing as well. As a leader, you sometimes have to make decisions that you believe are for the benefit of the entire organization, but I very much rely upon a collective group-think within our organization. We are a very collaborative, horizontal organization where everyone has a voice and can contribute to our overall success.

For more information, please visit www.bhhs.com.

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

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5 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Payments

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 03:03

TNS—Social Security provides a secure, fixed income to retirees and others, helping many to afford their golden years. Given the fact that you get reliable money for the rest of your life, many people want to max out their monthly check. But how do you do that?

Broadly speaking, you have three levers to max out your Social Security income:

Work longer. The more years you work, the more money Social Security will pay, up to your best 35 years of income.

Earn more. If you pay more into the Social Security system, your payout later will be larger, up to a point.

Delay your benefit. If you wait longer to claim your benefit—up to age 70—you’ll claim a higher monthly payment.

But those methods are only part of the story, and those looking for a bigger benefit check have a few other ways to boost their payout.

1. Work more years.
While you can’t always earn a higher salary, you may be able to work longer, and that’s the first step for maxing out your Social Security paycheck.

“Social Security benefits are calculated from the 35 years of work in which your salary was at its highest,” says Mark Bodnar, CFP, wealth adviser at Octavia Wealth Advisors in Cincinnati. “This is important to consider, because if you have not worked for 35 years, zeros will be factored in, lowering your overall payout.”

But even if you have 35 years under your belt, adding some additional higher-earning years can boost your average.

“If an individual already has a complete 35-year earnings record, the additional earning can make a difference in future benefits only if it causes an earlier year’s lower earnings to drop off the record,” says Beth Lynch, CFP, financial adviser at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Later on in your career you’re probably making more than when you first started out. So if you can earn more and push some of those earlier years out of the calculation, you’ll get a higher Social Security benefit.

But working longer benefits you in a couple other ways: You’ll be able to amass more savings and delay the start of drawing down assets in your retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k).

2. Earn more money.
The next obvious lever to pull to get a Social Security paycheck is to earn more money. Social Security uses a formula that factors in how much you’ve paid into the system. The more you’ve paid in, the bigger your benefit—up to a point.

Social Security taxes your wages 6.2% each year, and your employer pays another 6.2%, up to $142,800 (for 2021) in income. Paying taxes on the maximum would give you the highest possible Social Security payout, all else equal. So if you pay taxes on the maximum, which tends to rise each year, then you’re topping out your contributions to the system.

For those who paid at the taxable maximum during their entire working lives and claimed their full benefits at age 70, the starting payout in 2021 would be $3,895. This figure gives you the top end of what they could expect, though that number should grow over time, thanks to adjustments.

But even if you don’t earn this much before retirement, you may be able to increase your check.

“Work during retirement to increase your benefit payout,” Lynch says. “A person who continues to work after claiming benefits may also be able to increase their benefits. Earnings during retirement continue to go on a person’s earnings record.”

3. Delay your benefit.
Delaying your benefit will increase your benefit check, but there’s a limit to how far it will go.

You can begin taking your Social Security benefit at age 62, though you’ll receive less than if you waited until full retirement age (67 years old, for those born in 1960 or later). If you want the biggest check, you can wait as late as age 70, but waiting beyond that won’t get you anything extra.

“Delaying benefits will earn an individual 8% in delayed credits for each year after full retirement age,” Lynch says.

So if your benefit at full retirement age were $1,000, you’d be able to claim $1,080 per month by waiting a full year. However, you need not wait the full year to claim some of the increase. That is, for every month you delay your benefit, you’ll receive a benefit that is two-thirds of 1% higher, which is just the 8% annual rate divided by 12 months.

So if your full retirement age is 67 and if you wait three full years, until age 70, you’ll be able to claim 124% of your full benefit.

Plus, by delaying your benefit, you’ll get another “raise”—the cost of living adjustment (COLA) that tends to increase the monthly payout over time.

“This will enable a person to start out with a higher benefit and receive bigger ‘raises’ each year, as the annual COLA is applied to the higher amount,” Lynch says.

4. Married? Divorced? You have options.
Social Security offers a lot of benefits to people in a lot of different scenarios, and some of the most complex choices occur if you’re married or divorced. So spouses and ex-spouses need to carefully consider the options and what works best for them, especially in the area of survivor’s benefits when one spouse predeceases the other.

“If married, you have to consider your spouse,” says Eric Bond, wealth adviser with Bond Wealth Management in the Los Angeles area. “How much the surviving spouse will receive at the passing of the first spouse will depend on when that [deceased] spouse started their Social Security.”

“The largest benefit stays in the household when a spouse dies,” says Beau Henderson, lead retirement planning specialist with RichLife Advisors in Gainesville, Georgia. “This is why we need to think about the impact of our claiming decision on both lives. There are a lot of scenarios and they need to be modeled to give you the best result.”

And just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you can’t claim Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s earnings. But there are specific requirements that you need to meet.

The existence of a spouse or ex-spouse complicates the planning process and means that you need to model more scenarios to see what maximizes your benefits.

5. Work with a specialized financial adviser.
“There are over 500 possible ways to claim your benefit, and most Americans claim with very little thought into this decision that represents on average 40 percent of their retirement income,” Henderson says. “Only 4% of people in the U.S. choose the optimum claiming strategy that would give them the most money over their life expectancy.”

For this reason, it could make sense to work with a financial adviser who specializes in claiming Social Security benefits, especially if you have an unusual situation.

“Social Security Administration employees are not allowed to give advice, and the majority of financial advisers are not helping with this benefit, because they are not educated in the area or because they are not compensated,” Henderson says.
Because of the program’s complexity—a result of trying to help people in many different situations—you may need specialized advice to find the best solution for you. And that could pay off handsomely, even though it could cost you a little bit of money upfront.

Bottom Line
It’s easier to get a bigger Social Security check if you’ve aimed toward that goal your entire working life. But even if you’re down to the wire with only a few years until you want to claim your check, you still have a number of things to do to boost your benefit, and waiting even a couple years can significantly increase your payout and do so permanently.

©2021 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Expands in Tennessee

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 03:02

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices recently announced its continued growth in Tennessee with the addition of Lakeside Real Estate Group. The brokerage will add 24 real estate professionals and one office and operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Lakeside Realty.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome Lakeside Real Estate Group to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,” said Christy Budnick, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, in a statement. “The market-leading agents joining our global network in Tennessee are known for their exceptional client service, and we can’t wait to have them representing the brand.”

Lakeside Real Estate Group joins the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network with more than 12 years of relevant industry experience. The brokerage has been introducing families to the leisure living of the Tellico Lake area since 1989. The company has exemplified quality and excellence in customer service in East Tennessee for more than 30 years.

“I have watched Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ growth and progression and continued to be impressed with the network’s global reach,” said Michael Ruppert, owner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Lakeside Realty, in a statement. “After seeing their continued success and stability, I knew this was the missing puzzle piece to help take our team’s reach to the next level. I am honored to be aligning with a brand that is changing the real estate industry for both agents and clients alike.”

Gino Blefari, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, also welcomed the company to the network, “Michael Ruppert and his team are perfect examples of Forever Agents to represent our presence in Tennessee. The state has seen strong market growth and we are excited to welcome them into the network and support them as they take their company to new heights of success.”

For more information, please visit https://www.bhhslakesiderealty.com.

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Century 21 Real Estate Names First Class of 2021 Relentless Agent Award Winners

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 03:01

Century 21 Real Estate LLC announced the Q1 2021 winners of the CENTURY 21® Relentless Agent Award.

This select group was chosen from almost 50,000 CENTURY 21®-affiliated U.S. agents, specifically identified by client testimonials written about their efforts to go above and beyond the standard call of duty.

The newest CENTURY 21 Relentless Agent Award honorees include:

– Wendy Chmielewski-Giordani, CENTURY 21 Clemens Group, West Hartford, Connecticut
– Nikki DiNardo, CENTURY 21 Excellence Realty, Canal Winchester, Ohio
– Kyle Kelley, CENTURY 21 Bushnell, Orem, Utah

The CENTURY 21 Relentless Agent Award was established in 2018 to recognize those professionals who have exemplified the brand’s mission to transform the real estate industry from one of transactions to one of delivering extraordinary experiences.

Using third-party customer ratings and testimonials, the brand identifies the most standout agents and elevates their unique stories onto a national stage with this program.

“In today’s ever-changing world of real estate, it’s almost impossible to predict what an individual client’s journey to that purchase or sale of a home will look like,” said Mike Miedler, president and CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC, in a statement. “No one understands that more than this group of amazing agents. They truly embody that go-getter, never give up, always give 121% attitude that defines the CENTURY 21 Brand and its affiliated sales professionals around the world. As we all continue to reimagine what home means to us today, these agents understand that it is their job to help clients achieve their own real estate dreams in the most seamless and memorable way possible. They represent the best of our industry and are helping to change the way real estate is done.”

As part of the program, this year’s CENTURY 21 Relentless Agent Award honorees will be showcased and celebrated across the CENTURY 21 Brand channels. In addition, the group of honorees will also be rewarded with an extraordinary hometown experience of their own to recognize their achievements.

For more information, please visit www.century21.com.

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Regional Spotlight: HGAR Makes Assistance Funds Available for Those Impacted by Hurricane Ida

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 03:00

The Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, Inc. (HGAR) has announced the availability of financial assistance to local residents impacted by flooding from Hurricane Ida.

Hudson Valley residents can apply for disaster relief assistance through the REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF), a charitable organization created by the National Association of REALTORS® to provide housing-related assistance to victims of disasters.

Eligible applicants can apply for financial assistance for a primary residence’s monthly mortgage expenses or rental costs due to displacement from a primary residence. Relief assistance is limited to a maximum of $2,000 per applicant, per household. The application submission deadline is Oct. 31, 2021, and funds will be distributed on a first-come, first served basis. For information and to apply, visit www.hgar.com/realtors-relief-foundation or email hurricaneidarelief@hgar.com.

The REALTOR®-driven mission was created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and helps communities devastated by unexpected disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. With the generous donations of individual REALTORS®, associations and affiliated organizations, RRF has helped more than 17,000 families stay in their homes following turbulent destruction. HGAR has donated $25,000 to the Relief Foundation in 2021.

“The flooding and damage from Hurricane Ida has wreaked havoc on our region and disrupted so many lives here,” said Crystal Hawkins-Syska, president of HGAR, in a statement. “Our REALTOR® community is proud to help our neighbors and give back when disaster strikes.”

For more information, please visit www.hgar.com.

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Newsmaker Spotlight: Kevin Levent on New Tools and Inspiring Agent Buy-In

Sat, 09/25/2021 - 03:00

Kevin Levent is the president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) Metro Brokers, where he leads daily business operations and growth for the Georgia-based company.

Leveraging more than 24 years of real estate experience, he’s helped launch new tech-enabled tools to help BHGRE and its 2,500-plus agents remain productive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here, Levent discusses what it means to be an RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker—individuals recognized for their positive contributions to the real estate industry—and ways to promote agent adoption of new tools and technology they’ve launched in the past year.

Jordan Grice: You were named a Luminary for our 2021 Newsmakers class; what were some of the more invaluable products you launched in the past year?

Kevin Levent: I would say some of the things that we did this past year focused on helping our agents reconnect, do business in the new world and meet their customers where they are.

We introduced something called Showing Room, which allows agents to go into our system and coordinate with other agents to show a house or group of houses for them. Any agent can grab that task, so if the initial listing agent is busy, they can get assistance from another agent. We have a set compensation that the company pays the agent that shows the home, and then we bill the agent they were showing on behalf of.

JG: What has the reception been like, as well as the results of Showing Room?

KL: Agents are relieved that we came up with a system and procedure that they can log on to and post what they need to be done so others can help pick up the task.

That keeps them doing what they do best—being out in the field—rather than putting off a customer that they can’t show a house to or trying to figure out how to compensate someone. We’ve shown hundreds of houses in the 90 days that we launched that.

JG: Agent adoption can present challenges to some firms looking to increase their tech offerings. How has BHGRE addressed these hurdles?

KL: We take a very hands-on and regimented approach when we launch something, and we want our folks to use it.

For example, we were an early adopter of Dotloop, and as soon as we incorporated it, I made it mandatory. If they didn’t use it, we wouldn’t recognize it as a transaction. If you don’t put your closing in Dotloop, it is as if it never happened.

Without that adoption, it costs more to run a brokerage, and everyone suffers as a result. Our folks adopt very well at a high rate because we generally only recognize one type of technology for a certain type of application.

JG: What advice would you give to agents and brokers on embracing tech without losing the human side of the real estate business?

KL: Only use tech to solve a problem. Never use tech to avoid the customer. This is still a human business, and you can’t do it without people. Folks won’t do business with someone they don’t know, like and trust.

The minute you take your eyes off of that, the customer will become someone else’s. When the agent value proposition declines, customers will find a new agent they feel more comfortable with, so tech is only to solve a problem, not to cut down the amount of time you have with the customer.

JG: What trends are you keeping an eye on in the Georgia housing market as we look toward the fourth quarter of 2021?

KL: Right now, we are looking at the trend of iBuyers and cash buyers. We are watching them very closely and watching their ability to maybe change the way people buy and sell real estate, but I can tell you that when we finish our assessments, we will be in front of that too.

JG: What are you most looking forward to as we head toward the end of 2021?

KL: A more normalized marketplace. That’s all I want. The best marketplace is one where there is an equilibrium between the motivations of a buyer and a seller. That brings about more stability.

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

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Recent Stock Market Volatility Dangerous for Real Estate? Experts Unconvinced

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 12:03

Real estate experts believe recent stock market volatility isn’t concerning as long as it’s temporary, despite a rocky start to the week for trading, as well as global events worrying investors.

According to Ruben Gonzalez, chief economist for Keller Williams, recent declines in the market are mainly due to fears on Wall Street that the Chinese property market could disrupt global financial markets. Those concerns prompted a stock market selloff that dealt a sizable blow to major U.S. stock indexes.

On Monday, Sept. 20, the S&P 500 posted its worst daily performance since May, falling 1.7%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its biggest single-day drop since mid-July with a 1.8% decline.

The effects have proven to be short-lived as indexes rebounded days later with ongoing signs of recovery, despite overseas issues. As of Sept. 24, The Dow and the S&P 500 concluded the week on Wall Street in better shape overall.

The Dow added 0.1% and the S&P 500 rose 0.15% at the close of trading on Friday.

“We don’t view short-term stock market volatility as a huge factor impacting real estate markets,” says Gonzalez. “However, as smaller investors look to park capital gains in a more stable environment, we could certainly see some of that money migrating into residential real estate.”

Watching the Volatility

A short period of shaky stock activity may not hurt the housing market. However, sustained volatility could pose a problem, particularly for homebuyers, according to Anthony Lamacchia, CEO of Lamacchia Realty.

“As long as it’s not ongoing, it’s nothing and won’t do anything to housing, but when it appears to be continuous, that’s when you see people pull back. “Lamacchia says, noting the 2020 COVID-induced recession as an example of the adverse impacts to market activity.

“People didn’t just pull back because they were stuck in their houses,” Lamacchia continues. “They also pulled back because their 401Ks were crashing to the ground. If [the volatility] continues, you’ll see buyers get a little more hesitant.”

Lamacchia isn’t convinced that will happen, and neither is Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an ATTOM company.

Sharga shared similar sentiments as Lamacchia, adding that a period of short-term volatility in the market could push more people to move their money into real estate.

“A period with a risk of a market downturn [could push] people to go to a safer haven, and that very often leads to more investment in real estate,” Sharga says. “You could have just the opposite of the effect. If we were to see a continued selloff in the marketplace, that does have a psychological impact on the market to where people get a little more conservative with their money.”

Fed Eases Nerves

Improvements in stock market activity are also tied to the recent Federal Reserve policy update, according to George Ratiu, manager of economic research at realtor.com®.

“There is always a maxim that holds for stock market activity which is stock markets abhor uncertainty,” Ratiu says, also noting ongoing issues with the Delta variant and slowing momentum domestically as factors in investors’ skittish behavior in recent days.

Ratiu thinks the uncertainty has cleared after the Fed announced plans to keep interest rates near zero and maintain the current pace of asset purchases.

The Fed also indicated that rate hikes could happen sooner than they projected in June.

Experts at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) say they aren’t surprised at the Fed’s plans to remove accommodation, in a statement following the FOMC’s Sept. 22 meeting.

“The job market has improved, inflation is running hot and supply chain constraints are persisting,” says Mike Fratantoni, SVP and chief economist at MBA. “The biggest news out of this meeting was the change in FOMC projections, with most members now seeing a first interest rate hike in 2022, which is faster than many market participants had previously anticipated.”

Fratantoni also notes that a pending taper and change to the monetary policy outlook will likely contribute to a modest increase in mortgage rates over the medium term.

Cautiously Watching

Despite optimism over recent market rebounds, there is a chance that volatility could continue, according to DataCore Partners LLC Chief Economist Donald Klepper-Smith, who suggests that the stock market is in “nosebleed territory.”

“This is an overextended market, and I don’t think it’s sustainable in the long run,” Klepper-Smith says. “Right now, the stock market is being propped up behind the scenes by the Federal Reserve, and the question is can they do this indefinitely?”

Klepper-Smith doesn’t think so, stating that at some point, “we are going to have to live within our means.”

“I think the stock market is usually a leading economic indicator of future activity, and my sense here is we are going to be watching a consolidation over the near term, so we’ll keep our eyes on it,” Klepper-Smith says.

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

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Post-Pandemic Luxury Trends Beginning to Emerge

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 12:02

A new report from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is shedding some light on what the post-pandemic luxury real estate market might look like as the travel restrictions and financial upheavals of the pandemic begin to settle and wealthy homebuyers begin assessing their preferences and needs in a changing world.

Of particular interest is a continued demand for vacation homes—where people are likely to spend significantly more time than they did previously—as well as a likely renewed interest in large metros like New York City and Dubai.

The report also examined geographic and demographic trends, honing in on what it referred to as the “millennial migration” of younger homebuyers flooding into non-traditional markets—places like Aspen, Colorado and Santa Barbara, California—driven by a desire for more space and flexible remote work schedules.

“What is interesting to me is that millennials are largely skipping the entry level home purchase and moving directly to a move-up home, or in many cases an aspirational home,” Christy Budnick, CEO of HSF Affiliates, LLC, tells RISMedia. “Since many millennials are purchasing their first home in their mid to late 30s, we are seeing an unusual percentage purchasing in the million dollars-plus range.”

Millennials also prefer less flashy, less opulent designs for their luxury homes, the report said, and value technology and smart-home amenities much more than previous generations.

Following the broader market, luxury buyers have also flocked to lesser-known cities in the Midwest especially, driving up prices and leaving scarce inventory.

Empty lots or tear-down homes in Coeur d’Alene are going for around $700,000, while prime locations along one of the area’s beautiful lakes are easily surpassing $2 million, according to the report. The median price for a luxury sector home in Austin blew past $2.75 million, the report said, and has seen a 66% increase in total sales in that sector.

Other hot cities in non-traditional luxury markets the report identified include Crested Butte, Colorado; Bozeman, Montana, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“With the ability for many to work from home or a mix of in-office/at-home work, homebuyers will continue to prioritize lifestyle and the ability to spend more time enjoying life in their second or vacation homes,” Budnick says .

Florida is another destination for younger luxury buyers, according to the report, as people flee high taxes in Atlantic states. The overall median home price in Miami rose almost 30%, and the threshold to be considered a luxury property nearly doubled from around $1 million to more than $2 million.

Florida is also the epicenter of the “half-and-half” trend, where homeowners are looking for an equal amount of two good things as they split time between two places, according to the report. Sparked by a pandemic restlessness that saw frustrated, unfulfilled city-dwellers seeking gratification when their traditional at-home indulgences were restricted, these people are likely to continue slipping in and out of new homes—which are designed to comply with their every need—year-round.

“Because of the pandemic, buyers are no longer using their vacation homes just for vacation. Instead, they are spending much more time working remotely and splitting their time between primary and secondary homes,” Budnick says.

Privacy and flexibility characterize this new practice, which is also popular along the Jersey Shore and California coastline. Having two spaces where they will spend roughly equal amounts of time—with both used almost interchangeably for pleasure as well as work—is the definition of the “half-and-half.” Vaccinations and a loosening of previously tight restrictions have done nothing to quell people’s enjoyment, or desire to at least try out this new experience, according to the report.

International vacation homes are another trend on the uptick in a post-pandemic world, as luxury buyers cast their eyes overseas as they look to snatch up more space for leisure. Those buyers have piled into more rural areas, again with an emphasis on space and privacy, though also an eye on how governments handled the pandemic.

The report cited Dubai and Canada as two destinations that have seen an increased interest at least partially due to their success at staying open and safe during the pandemic, according to the report. Canada in particular was rated highly for its “risk readiness” and “health management,” and buyers were also drawn to country-cottage style properties that can provide flexibility with home offices or so-called “granny suites.”

“Many luxury buyers did seek to attain a new nationality during the early days of the pandemic, particularly those in hard hit areas as well as those looking for more space, but also excellent health care,” Budnick says. “This is one of the reasons that Canada has fared so well, offering homes with wide open space outside of the city but access to an outstanding health care system in the event it is needed.”

A handful of swanky Toronto suburbs saw median home prices soar more than 50% year-over-year, according to the report, and Dubai’s most expensive properties spiked 230% in the first quarter of 2021.

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

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New-Home Sales Bump Up Monthly but Still Lag Behind Last Year’s Levels

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 12:01

New-home sales increased for the second consecutive month, up 1.5% to a pace of 740,000. Year-over-year, sales are down for the third month in a row.

Market breakdown:

New-Home Sales: 740,000
For-Sale Inventory: 378,000
Months’ Supply:  6.1 months
Median Price: $390,900

What the industry is saying:

“Sales of new homes registered below year-ago levels, for the third time in a row, but notched a second consecutive monthly gain, rising 1.5% to a pace of 740,000. Factors that are favorable for housing—a large number of young households near peak home-buying age, greater flexibility to work remotely that’s expanded the areas homebuyers are willing to consider and still low mortgage rates—have kept the recent new home sales pace above annual totals for each year from 2008 to 2019 and also contributed to the uptick this month.

“Nevertheless, the pace remains below highs seen earlier this year. Buyers show signs of having moved past a ‘land-a-home-at-all-costs’ mentality as rising home prices mean purchasing a home—whether new or existing—requires a larger share of the typical American’s paycheck. In fact, the median new single-family home sales price was $390,900 in August, up 20% from a year ago. Consumers this summer were recalibrating priorities, balancing the resumption of travel, vacations and dining out with big-ticket budget items like home-buying or renting—and doing so in the face of rising costs on just about everything. Additionally, many items remain unexpectedly hard to come by, including, in some cases, new homes.

“Months supply of new homes is higher than that of existing homes, (6.1 vs. 2.6 months) suggesting that there are an ample number of new homes for sale, but this comes with a big caveat. Many for-sale new homes are either under construction or not-yet-started—more than 90% in August. In other words, they’re not quite move-in ready, a less than ideal choice for buyers eager to get settled, especially when difficult-to-predict supply chain challenges make it harder to target new home completion dates. While the existing-home market may be a better choice for buyers with strict timelines for moving, those who can afford to wait may find relatively more options and somewhat less competition among yet-to-be-started new homes.” — Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, realtor.com®

“New-home sales increased for the second month in a row in August, mirroring gains seen in starts, which also increased this month. Robust demand continues to fuel strong sales, and interest rates have remained low, helping to counteract high sales pricing. August has historically been a slower month for sales than July, and this increase is encouraging and may indicate that the positive momentum that began in July may continue through fall.

“Builders still have a robust backlog to get through and the uptick this summer is a promising start to what may be a longer-term trend as supply chain issues begin to resolve. RCLCO expects home sales to remain strong overall because demographic factors continue to be favorable for the housing market as millennials hit peak family-formation years. Lingering effects of the pandemic have increased demand for larger living spaces and access to the outdoors, and the additional flexibility to work remotely or to return to a hybrid work schedule has expanded the area where households are seeking to purchase a home as commute time becomes less of an issue.” — Kelly Mangold, Principal, RCLCO Real Estate Consulting

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MBA: Impact of Climate Change on Housing

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 12:00

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA) recently released a report—”The Impact of Climate Change on Housing and Housing Finance“—which shows that climate change will be adding stress to “the complex system of allocating risks across housing and housing finance stakeholders.

Key findings:

– Climate change will place increasing stress on housing and housing finance’s sophisticated system of distributing risk across multiple stakeholders—including consumers, landlords, home builders, appraisers, originators, servicers, insurance companies, government agencies and the GSEs, and mortgage investors.

– The Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommends that firms divide climate-related risks into physical risks—adverse weather events and natural disasters, for example—and transition risks that firms face in a lower-carbon economy. Transition risks include policy and legal, technology, market and reputation risks.

– Climate change may alter the nature of flood risk and exacerbate the current challenges of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

– Along with increased flood risk and residential property damage, climate change may increase mortgage default and prepayment risks, trigger adverse selection in the types of loans that are sold to the GSEs, increase the volatility of house prices, and even produce significant climate migration.

– In addition to climate mitigation efforts to limit global warming, adaptation strategies are needed to make housing and housing finance more resilient.

– These strategies include incorporating building modifications into new construction (easier) and existing buildings (more difficult and more expensive) and increasing the resiliency of communities through infrastructure improvements and standards.

– Housing finance is likely to face increasing stress as the consequences of global warming mount and influence the behavior of portfolio lenders, the GSEs, the federal government’s FHA/VA programs and mortgage investors.

– The costs of mitigation and adaptation strategies pose significant challenges to their adoption.

– Firms in housing and housing finance face increased pressure to quantify the expected costs of future climate events, their climate change mitigation activities, and the burden of future regulations and laws.

– The report identifies three obstacles to quantifying the risk of climate-induced mortgage defaults: the choice of climate scenario, the lack of a recognized measure of climate risk, and the lack of a sufficient historical record of available climate risk metrics.

“The mortgage industry will not be spared by the growing impact climate change is having on the environment, governments and individuals. The physical destruction caused by flooding and other extreme weather events will continue to influence the behavior of portfolio lenders, the GSEs, the federal government’s FHA/VA programs and mortgage investors,” said Sean Becketti, author of the report and an industry veteran with over four decades of mortgage finance experience, in a statement. “Climate mitigation efforts are necessary to slow the adverse effects of global warming, and better and more standardized predictors of environmental risks are needed to make housing and housing finance more resilient.”

Added Becketti, “Projecting future climate change and its impacts remains challenging primarily because the outcome depends crucially on the actions chosen by governments, industries and households. Given the uncertainty over those actions, the future path of climate change could continue to get much worse.”

“RIHA’s study underscores the need for the mortgage industry to better address the growing impacts of climate change and prepare for increased reporting to regulators and investors on the quantitative estimates of climate-related risks,” said Edward Seiler, executive director, Research Institute for Housing America, and MBA’s associate vice president, Housing Economics, in a statement.


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Thoughts on Leadership: A Rescue to Remember

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 06:43

Keynote speaker Jessica Buchanan, a former humanitarian worker turned bestselling author, shared her story during a recent BHHS conference.

Of course, the networking and seeing people in person was fantastic (the Global Conference and Meeting team does an incredible job each year), but Jessica’s talk had everyone in the room glued to their seats. It was extraordinary. The standing ovation she received at the end of her speech was undeniably deserved.

Blinded by the hot Somali sun, warmed by the head scarf wrapped around her forehead, Jessica remembers every detail of being in the Land Cruiser. It was October 2011, and she was in Somali teaching, helping children learn how to avoid land mines. It was a day like any other, until it wasn’t.

Suddenly, mud splashes up on the windshield of the car. Jessica hears the harsh crack of an AK47 and the gun is then put to her head, the same one warmed by her head scarf.

She doesn’t know who he is or what he wants. She doesn’t know why he’s now driving the car or where he’s going. She just doesn’t know.

Her head slams against the car window. Jessica knows that no matter what happens next, her life will never be the same again. She also knows this is bad, so bad there’s no frame of reference for how bad it could be.

Jessica became a Somali hostage that night, forced to sleep out in the open, given one can of tuna to eat each day. She spent hours under bushes and shrubs in a remote part of the Somali desert, attempting to shield herself from the scorching sun. She is no longer Jessica Buchanan, the 32-year-old humanitarian worker, the wife, the daughter. She is a hostage of Somali bandits, kept alive just enough for the negotiations to continue that put a $45 million ransom on her life.

Her job now? To survive.

Miraculously, instead of crumbling like some might in such dire circumstances, Jessica took this horror as an opportunity to reflect, to discover, to change.

“Change is the author of our stories,” she said. “If you think about it, no great story has ever come about without change.”

Sometimes, that change is welcomed, even initiated by our actions. Sometimes, that change chooses us.

Jessica also learned that change isn’t simply one chapter in the story of life. Change wants to become the entire book. It tries to rewrite your existence, but the way to fight against change is by taking command of how that story is told.

There are studies that show we become more resilient when we identify choice and autonomy during times of change. This means if we can find free will, no matter how slight, we can combat the ill effects of change.

In the desert, Jessica thought about how people travel around the world to “get away,” to “find themselves,” and how they might pay thousands of dollars for flights, hotels or stays in remote huts. This was her chance to find herself, and the solitude of the desert landscape presented a unique opportunity for her to focus on controlling the change around her.

From this small thought, she identified a little bit of good amid the bad. She hurt a little less, she forgave a little more. She started planning and dreaming, and she dreamed about a time when her mom, who had passed away a year ago, took her to the movies. She imagined how the popcorn tasted, how sweet the soda was, how her mom’s teeth looked when she smiled.

Jessica started to set goals. The goals put her in charge.

It’s day 93. She’s been in the desert for more than three months, so sick with a kidney infection she can barely stand. She’s hallucinating from the pain. On this night, the moon doesn’t appear in the sky. The stars are especially bright. She had formed a habit of looking to the stars and praying to them, although she was really praying to her mom for help. On night 93, she did the same. She asked her mom to help her.

Jessica’s sleep was restless. She heard a rustling sound nearby. Moments later, the night exploded into bursts of gunfire. Jessica tucked herself into her blanket, trying to be as small as possible, trying to disappear. She was terrified.

She hears a voice, bright and clear, and words spoken with an American accent: her name.

“Jessica, Jessica. We’re the American military. You’re safe now. We’re gonna take you home.”

What Jessica didn’t know when she was planning and dreaming and contemplating the life-altering effects of change is that the American government, and even President Obama, knew where she was and had been designing an escape. The men who rescued her were from SEAL Team Six, and they risked their lives to save her own.

So, what’s the message? When you aren’t changing, you aren’t living, says Jessica.

Every element of nature, of our existence, of anything that ever happens shows that change is essential to life. It took Jessica 93 harrowing days in the desert to trust change would lead her to a higher purpose, and 93 days to tell change that in this story, she decides how it ends.

This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Expands in Pacific Northwest Region

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 03:01

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices recently announced its continued growth in Washington with the addition of Gala Realty Group. The brokerage will add seven real estate professionals and one office operating as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Walla Walla Realty. The addition marks the brand’s continued growth in The Evergreen State and the twenty-first franchise in Washington.

“When I sought out to align with a brand, I had two goals in mind: first, increase the tools and technology resources I could provide to my brokers and, second, to provide bigger and better marketing opportunities for our luxury clientele,” said Sam Galano, owner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Walla Walla Realty, in a statement. With Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we found both—plus the sophistication, growth and diversity—that I am confident will assist our footprint tremendously.”

Galano joins Berkshire Hathaway Home Services with over 20 years of real estate industry experience.

“We are elated to welcome such a highly-regarded team to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,” said Christy Budnick, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, in a statement. “The team that Sam has assembled effortlessly aligns with the brand’s core values of trust, integrity, stability and longevity. We look forward to advancing their businesses and complementing their talent in our quest to help people achieve their goals faster than they would in our absence.”

Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, also welcomed the company to the network, “Sam prides himself on working with a diverse clientele that appreciates his attention to detail, accountability and negotiating skills. He brings honesty, communication, knowledge and commitment to each real estate transaction, and a desire with each client to create a trusted relationship that will last a lifetime. This alliance is a match made for success.”

“With the dedicated team I have and their resilience to strive in the real estate industry and serve our clients with nothing but the best, I am excited to see our growth and progress through the next year and beyond,” added Galano.

For more information, please visit

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FHFA Highlights Importance of Data Disaggregation During Hispanic Heritage Month

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 03:00

As we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month—a celebration of Americans with ancestors in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America—we want to highlight how FHFA approaches race and ethnicity subgroup data. Latino Americans have historically faced barriers to homeownership, a problem that persists today for some Latino communities. Early land laws and other policies promoted segregation by race and ethnicity, enacted barriers to homeownership, and perpetuated the wealth gap.

Other obstacles Latinos face in the path towards homeownership include a lack of funds for a mortgage deposit. Lower down payments can result in higher interest rates and overall higher mortgage costs, which leaves less money for daily living expenses and savings for the future. Latinos who struggle with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) can also experience challenges to homeownership. Lenders are not required to provide oral translators for LEP individuals. And often, LEP borrowers will use their English-proficient child, who may not be familiar with mortgage lending terms, as a translator. As a result, this can leave the borrower without a full understanding of mortgage terms and conditions. Purchasing a home is a high-cost financial transaction that involves a great deal of liability; therefore, it is important that LEP borrowers have the same access and understanding of the home-buying process as non-LEP borrowers.

In May of 2018, FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac launched the Mortgage Translation clearinghouse. This online resource provides a repository of translated documents and tools to help mortgage industry professionals and LEP borrowers navigate the home-buying process. The collection now includes translated documents in Spanish, traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Tagalong. The clearinghouse also offers a list of industry resources who can provide oral interpretation services to borrowers at no-cost. Furthermore, in an effort to create consistent terminology and simplify translations for documents, FHFA, in collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, established standardized glossaries for each translated language.

Latino American subgroups, as well as Asian American and Pacific Islander subgroups, are often aggregated during data analysis. In some cases, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, and American Indian and Alaska Natives are simply categorized as “other.”  This is often due to the small sample size. These communities are far from monolithic, representing distinct cultures, immigration patterns and American experiences. Changing borders and immigration laws and policies have drastically shaped these populations by limiting when and under what circumstances migration and naturalization occurred. Both Latino Americans and Asian Americans have historically faced barriers to homeownership, a problem that continues today for some communities.

Recently, the Office of Fair Lending Oversight within the Division of Housing Mission and Goals and the Division of Research and Statistics collaborated on a data analysis designed to highlight these differences. Specifically, we disaggregated data to the furthest extent possible in order to uncover trends and potential disparities that are often hidden in aggregated numbers.

To demonstrate, we conducted analysis using the 2020 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Our analysis includes all single-family conventional and conforming loans. Figure 1 illustrates approval rates (for mortgage loans) by race and ethnicity groups.

Figure 2 presents the same information with additional subgroup context. Subgroup information provides additional context for analyzing race and ethnicity data and highlights the challenges certain Latino, Asian, and Pacific Islander groups face in accessing mortgage credit. It also underscores the diversity of the American experience.

For Lat​ino communities, we note that Mexican applicants have slightly higher approval rates than Latinos as a whole, but Puerto Rican and “Other Hispanic” applicants have lower approval rates. Among Asian-Americans, the Vietnamese, Filipino and “Other Asian” communities experience lower approval rates than white applicants, despite Asians, as a whole, having similar approval rates as white applicants. Similarly, when the Pacific Islander group is disaggregated, it becomes clear that Samoan and “Other Pacific Islander” applicants have significantly lower approval rates than Native Hawaiian and Chamorro applicants.

Source: FHFA

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Mortgage Rates: Little Movement Amid Slowdown in Global Economic Growth

Thu, 09/23/2021 - 12:03

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) was recently released, reporting that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate (FRM) averaged 2.88®.

Mortgage details:

30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.88% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Sept. 23, 2021, up slightly from last week when it averaged 2.86%. Last year, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.90%.

15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.15% with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.12%. Last year, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.40%.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.43% with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.51%. Last year, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.90%.

The takeaway:

Recent moves from the Federal Reserve suggest that interest rate hikes could occur as early as next year instead of 2023 as some forecasts have shown. While economic progress through stimulus activity is still being prioritized, experts say that by November, the Fed could slow down, beginning to moderate the pace of asset purchases and considering rate increases.

“The slowdown in economic growth around the world has caused a flight to the quality of the U.S. financial markets. This has led to a rise in foreign investor purchases of U.S. Treasuries, causing mortgage rates to remain in place, despite the increasing dispersion of inflation across different consumer goods and services.”

“On the housing front, homebuyers continue to snap up available inventory, which has improved modestly, and home price growth is moderating. However, the next few months will be choppy as several home builders are signaling that they are going to deliver less supply amid labor and materials shortages.” — Sam Khater, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac

“The Freddie Mac fixed rate for a 30-year loan rose two basis points to 2.88% this week as investors anxiously awaited clarity from the Federal Reserve amid a broad market selloff early in the week. The 10-year Treasury has been bouncing up and down in a narrow band for the last few weeks, which kept rates steady. Yesterday’s announcement from the FOMC reiterated that the Fed will maintain monetary stimulus through a low target rate. However, the Fed also clarified that it will begin tapering its $120 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities purchases, signaling that it views the economic outlook with guarded optimism. Markets are likely to price in expected tapering as indications of a timeline crystallize, which means that the days of sub-3% mortgage rates may be in the rear-view mirror by the end of 2021.

“For real estate markets, 2021 has been a year of record-high prices fueled in part by record-low mortgage rates. Moving into the last quarter of the year, the Fed’s stated intent to cut back on asset purchases is likely to begin nudging rates higher. The move will likely be gradual, giving buyers time to take advantage of still-favorable rates amid a growing number of homes for sale.” — George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research, realtor.com®

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HUD: $143M in Grants Will Support Multifamily Construction for Low-Income Seniors

Thu, 09/23/2021 - 12:02

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Multifamily Housing Programs recently announced that it has awarded $143 million in grants to non-profit organizations across the country to support the development of new affordable multifamily rental housing along with ongoing project rental assistance for very low-income seniors.

The awards were made under HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program and will help fund the construction and operation of 1,484 new deeply rent-assisted units for low- and very low-income seniors who will pay rent based on their income.  Several of the grantees will be creating mixed-income communities, building 701 additional affordable and market-rate units as part of these funded projects, for a total of 2,185 homes.

“These awards support the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to increase housing stability among the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including the very low-income seniors these grants will ultimately help,” said Office of Housing Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Lopa Kolluri in a statement.

Section 202 grants provide very low-income elderly persons 62 years of age or older with the opportunity to live independently in an environment that provides support services to meet their unique needs. HUD provides these funds to non-profit organizations in two forms:

– Capital Advances: This is funding that covers the cost of developing, acquiring or rehabilitating the development. Repayment is not required as long as the housing remains available for occupancy by very low-income elderly persons for at least 40 years.

– Project Rental Assistance Contracts:
 This is renewable project-based funding which covers the difference between residents’ contributions toward rent and the cost of operating the project. Section 202 program eligibility requires residents to be very low-income or earning less than 50 percent of the area median income. However, most households in the Section 202 program earn less than 30 percent of the median for their area.

See the grantees receiving funding awards here.

Source: HUD

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