In this real estate news in brief you’ll get a quick overview of the hottest real estate news of the week. Topics include a potential “drop” in mortgage rates, a huge contingency of U.S. Realtors in Washington, D.C., and a warning about a DocuSign breach.
Starting off with economic news from Market Watch:
- Homebuilder sentiment is back up to 70. The National Association of Home Builders reported on Monday, that the Home Builders Index gained 2 points for its May reading. Anything above 50 is considered “positive”.
- But construction of new homes “fell” for the second month in a row. The Commerce Department reports on Tuesday, that housing starts dropped 2.6% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units. Analysts had expected 1.26 million starts.
- Mortgage applications were also down in April. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports a 20% drop from March. That could be due to a tight inventory for lower-priced homes.
- Building Permits were also down for April.
Next Week: We’ll get numbers for new and existing home sales in April along with a revised GDP number for the first quarter of this year. Consumer Sentiment also comes out next Friday. Last month, the reading was a healthy 97.7.
Other Real Estate News Making Headlines:
Freddie Mac is reporting that interest rates fell slightly this last week, to 4.02%, but will likely head even lower next week. They typically follow the treasury yield, and when the stock market took a nose dive on Wednesday due to political turmoil in Washington, D.C., the 10-year Treasury note lost 2.24%.
As you likely know, the latest scandal involves President Trump’s firing of FBI Chief James Comey, whether he did that to impede the investigation into potential Russian interference with the election, whether the “firing” amounts to obstruction of justice, and whether the President revealed top secret intelligence information to Russian diplomats during a recent White House visit. All that, while the President fans the flames of controversy with his Twitter attacks. The short of it — we may get lower interest rates next week.
Realtors in Washington, D.C.
An estimated 9,000 Realtors and industry leaders descended on Washington D.C. this week to talk to members of Congress and regulators about crucial industry issues.
One is the re-authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program which is set to expire on September 30th. People across the nation need this insurance to protect themselves against catastrophic flooding “and” to satisfy lender requirements. Realtors are urging lawmakers to take action to prevent a “gap” in coverage that could disrupt the mortgage market.
Tax reform is also at the top of their agenda, and the role that the mortgage interest deduction plays in the housing market. They are concerned that a higher standard deduction combined with low interest rates will eliminate a tax incentive for consumers to buy homes.
They are also concerned about changes to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act that could affect the stability of the mortgage market and the sustainability of U.S. homeownership.
DocuSign Phishing Scam
There’s a warning about malicious emails that appear to come from DocuSign. The company says that hackers got into a non-core part of its computer system and stole some 100 million email addresses. No other information was stolen.
DocuSign says that hackers are using the emails for phishing scams and that users should beware of emails with certain phrases in the subject line about wire transfers and accounting invoices. They say the emails contain a link that will expose users to malicious software.
If you get one of these emails, you should forward it to DocuSign, and of course, make sure your antivirus software is up to date. DocuSign provides electronic signature technology that is used by many people in the real estate industry.
Zillow List of First-Time Homebuyer Markets
Zillow came out with a list of top-markets for first-time homebuyers. Topping that list is Orlando and Tampa. Homes are more affordable in these metros compared to other U.S. markets and they have more inventory. Other metros that made the list include Indianapolis, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, and Cleveland.
Zillow created the first-time homebuyers list based on five metrics including the need for a lower down payment due to lower home prices, strong indicators that home values are about to rise, higher inventory than other markets, a shorter time for the borrower to “break-even” on a mortgage as compared to renting, and a larger number of listings with “price cuts”.
Those are good metrics for both first-timers “and” investors. The Real Wealth Network has teams in place in more than half these markets to help investors buy and manage rental properties that provide cash flow and financial peace of mind. Give us a call for more information about how we can help you.