Home Prices Continue to Climb

BY BRAD BECKETT ON OCTOBER 27, 2016

The latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index says that for August, 2016 home prices continued to rise across the country.  The report showed a 5.3% annual gain in August, up from 5.0% last month.  In addition, their 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.1% the previous month and their 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.1%, up from 5.0% in July.

“…While the stock market recovery has been greater than the rebound in home prices, the value of Americans’ homes at about $22.3 trillion is slightly larger than the value of stocks and mutual funds at $21.2 trillion.”  Said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Click here to read the full report on S&P Indices.

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Best & Worst Cities to own Investment Properties?

BY  ON OCTOBER 3, 2016

Recently financial information site GOBankingRates.com surveyed 61 of America’s 100 most populous citiesto determine which cities they believe are the best and worst for owning rental property.  Using data from Zillow and the U.S. government, they looked at four major factors in their evaluation;  Employment Growth, Population Growth, Increase in home values, and Years to pay off property.  As with all data like this, take it with the appropriate amount of salt.

Click here to read the full story.

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Flippers turn to the crowd for quick cash

BY  ON SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Crowdfunding is hot….and getting hotter.  We’re even starting to see more & more success stories and positive media about it.  Recently, an article on Bloomberg talked about how home flippers have turned to crowdfunding for their funding needs with great success.  Using platform sites such as RealtyShares, LendingHome, PeerStreet and Patch of Land home flippers and developers have learned that financing can be quicker and easier than going through traditional banks.

“[A house flipper] crowdfunded nine deals totaling more than $9 million through RealtyShares over the last two and a half years. A July deal for $1 million took him just 12 hours.  “Generally, raising money takes so much time….This offers so much flexibility and time savings.  It’s so much better than going to family offices, banks or Wall Street firms.’’ 

Click here to read the full story on Bloomberg.com

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HUD releases 2017 fair market rents

Legislative Update

In late August, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced their new FY 2017 Fair Market Rates (FMR’s) which are used to determine payment standards for many housing assistance programs, including Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) and Project-Based Section 8 programs.  HUD’s legal notice indicates that the proposed FMRs will take effect on October 1, 2016 unless interested parties request reevaluation of their FMRs by September 26, 2016.

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Airbnb plans to partner with Landlords

by  ON SEPTEMBER 14, 2016

Coming on the heels of numerous reports about tenants home-sharing their apartments without landlord knowledge or approval, Forbes is reporting that Airbnb has been working on a new program that will bring owners and landlords of multifamily buildings into its home-sharing service.  Airbnb calls it the Friendly Building Program, a new initiative that will let building owners sign up to work with Airbnb and tenants to allow home-sharing on their properties according to mutually agreed upon rules.  Airbnb will collect and pay applicable taxes and as well as paying the hosts and the landlords – reportedly around 5% – 15% of their tenants earnings from the program.  Not too shabby.

“The program works like this: Building owners—provided they operate in a jurisdiction where short-term rental laws are clear, meaning that there’s no ambiguity nor potential for a regulatory mess—apply for the program. Once accepted, the owner then decides the terms (which units, for how long, revenue division, etc.) under which tenants can rent out their homes and submits them to Airbnb as well as amends its tenants’ leases. Eligible tenants in that can then sign up for their building’s program through Airbnb, and become part of the regular reports the company sends to the landlord.”

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.com

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Housing Starts up 4.8% from May

BY  ON JULY 19, 2016

According to new data from the U.S. government, privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,153,000.  This is 1.5% above the revised May rate of 1,136,000, but is 13.6% below the June 2015 estimate of 1,334,000.  Single-family authorizations in June were at a rate of 738,000; this is 1% above the revised May figure of 731k.  Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 384,000 in June.

Privately-owned housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,189,000. This is 4.8% above the revised May estimate of 1,135,000, but is 2.0% below the June 2015 rate of 1,213,000.  Single-family housing starts in June were at a rate of 778k; this is 4.4% above the revised May figure of 745k.  The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 392k.
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Legislative Update

National REIA June 2016
Seller Finance:  HR 5301 has been introduced in the US House of Representatives by Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX).  Titled as the Seller Finance Enhancement Act, the bill will increase the ability of seller-financed properties from 3 per year to 24 per year.  The 2 per month average was considered a reasonable request to the excessive restriction put in place by Dodd/Frank legislation during the recession.  Additionally, HR 5301 would require the Treasury Department to study the housing finance market over the next 3 years and report back to Congress with suggestions for steps to improve the sales and financing of these homes, especially those with valuations below $150,000 or 60% of the regional median housing value.
 
HR 5301 keeps in place key consumer safeguards set in place by Dodd-Frank such as limits on interest and balloon payments.  The Seller Financing Coalition , which National REIA is a member has been working diligently to see this bill come forward and will continue to grow the number of sponsors as passage is ultimately sought.
 
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Legislative Update

National Real Estate Group: HUD goes too far!

BY  ON APRIL 5, 2016

The following media release was issued by NREIA in reposnse to HUD’s recent guidelines regarding criminal background checks for potential tenants. 

NREIA Says Guidelines Will Have Chilling Effect on Criminal Background Checks

(Cincinnati, OH) The National Real Estate Investors Association(NREIA) said today that new guidelines issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development go too far and will have a chilling effect on criminal background checks used to screen potential tenants. According to HUD, because a disproportionate number of African Americans & Hispanics have criminal records, they face potential discrimination in housing options based on race, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. National REIA believes this would severely restrict a landlord’s ability to protect residents from predictable harm & violence.

From every Congressman who rents an apartment in DC, to the poorest of their constituents in every district, has just been made less safe with HUD’s pronouncement that makes criminal background checks tantamount to discrimination.

Fair Housing Discrimination is a serious issue. No person should be discriminated based upon race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. For HUD to claim that an individual’s criminal behavior should somehow be protected is a gross violation of the Fair Housing Act, and undermines the First Amendment protection of Free Association.

HUD’s flawed argument on “Discriminatory Effects Liability” makes the case that Safety, is neither a substantial nor a legitimate concern. In fact, according to HUD’s theory, until a property has residents raped, rapist shouldn’t be banned. Similarly, unless there have been murders at the property or community, murderers shouldn’t be banned. Ironically, HUD recognizes that convicted drug manufacturers and distributors can be banned, because of specific federal language, only to make exceptions for those who use drugs, or are convicted of any other criminal act!

The approach recommended by HUD, to individually consider each applicant flies directly in the face of HUD’s stated policy and directive from Congress, to treat each person equally. Today’s guidance does little more than try to make the criminal class a protected class – beyond the scope of congressional authority granted by the Fair Housing Act.

Charles Tassell, Chief Operating Officer of NREIA said “While we agree that an arrest is not a justifiable reason to deny housing, after all a person is innocent until proven guilty, the banning of convicted criminals is an entirely separate issue.”

Tassell further stated that “the safety of the renting public should not be sacrificed.”

 

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Market Trends

Zombie Foreclosures down 30%

 

This week real estate data powerhouse RealtyTrac released their 2016 2nd quarter U.S. Residential Property Vacancy and Zombie Foreclosure Report that shows nearly 1.4 million residential properties (1 to 4 units) representing 1.6% of all residential properties were vacant as of May 2016, up 2.7% from the previous quarter when 1,361,628 U.S. residential properties were vacant.  The report also shows that 19,187 U.S. residential properties actively in the foreclosure process were vacant (zombie foreclosures), representing 4.7% of all residential properties in foreclosure — down 3.1 percent from the previous quarter and down 30.1%  from a year ago.

States with the most vacant “zombie” foreclosures were New Jersey (4,003), New York (3,352), Florida (2,467), Illinois (1,074), and Ohio (1,064).

“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory over the past year, evidenced by 12 consecutive months of increasing bank repossessions ending in February and now evidenced by these numbers showing a sharp drop in vacant zombie foreclosures compared to a year ago….As these zombie foreclosures hit the market for sale they are providing a modicum of relief for the pressure cooker of escalating prices and deteriorating affordability that have defined the U.S. housing market in recent years,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac.

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Legislative Update

HUD Budget
HUD unveiled their proposed budget for FY 2017 that includes over $11 billion in new mandatory spending as well as over $48 billion in gross discretionary funding.  The budget will require Congressional support and will undoubtedly undergo many changes & twists before something is finally approved. Some takeaways:
  • $20.9 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program
  • $10.8 billion for the Project-Based Rental Assistance program, which supports 12 months of funding for rental assistance contracts with public and private owners who maintain affordable rental housing for 1.2 million families.
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