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Author Archives: Steve Cook

Sellers Scale New Heights

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In March, sellers sold their homes for the highest average gain in price since December, 2007, the eve of the housing crash, according to a new report from RealtyTrac. This new peak is one of the most convincing achievements to date demonstrating how the housing recovery has turned around the fortunes of homeowners who suffered through nearly a decade of ... Read More »

The Mortgage Interest Deduction: Is the Sacred Cow Worthless?

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Chronically low interest rates may have accomplished something that the housing lobby has spent millions of campaign contributions and decades of political pressure to prevent. Did the mortgage interest deduction, long the holy grail of homeownership, become worthless eight years ago when low rates and falling prices so reduced the value of the interest that owners can deduct that the ... Read More »

Home Builder Labor Shortage is Worst in Seven Years

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Home builders struggling to fill demand for new single family housing face a labor shortage that resulted in the highest monthly count of unfilled jobs in nine years. The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector reached a post-Great Recession high in February. According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and an analysis by ... Read More »

Investors are Back Despite Higher Acquisition Costs

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Last year investor purchases rose for the first time in four years despite soaring prices paid by investors to acquire properties for flipping or converting into single family rentals. Investment-home sales in 2015 jumped 7.0 percent to an estimated 1.09 million from 1.02 million in 2014. The median investment-home sales price was $143,500, up 15.3 percent from $124,500 a year ... Read More »

HUD: FHA Sellers and Landlords Can’t Discriminate Against Criminals

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, released guidance on Monday for landlords and sellers on consideration of criminal records in housing, making it clear that blanket bans on renting or selling to anyone with a criminal record constitute illegal discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Instead, housing providers must have a policy that looks at ... Read More »

Tear Downs Are on a Tear

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Soaring home prices, shrinking inventories of homes for sale and a dearth of available lots for new home construction, especially in urban and close-in suburban locations, are creating a bull market for tear downs across the nation. Approximately 7.7% of single-family home starts in 2015 were attributable to tear-down related construction, according to the latest estimates from National Association of ... Read More »

Price Realities are Blowing Away Forecasts

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  This was supposed to be a year of “moderating” prices and a “return to normalcy.”  Instead, upward price pressures have not abated, and red-faced economists are scrambling to crank up their forecasts as price trends at the outset of the buying season knock their protections into a cocked hat. The culprit? Most forecasters predicted three years of rising prices ... Read More »

Lower Priced Homes lag in equity and sales growth

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Equity growth among lower priced homes is falling behind more expensive segments as sales performance for more affordable homes declined on a quarterly basis. Black Knight reported today that though negative equity rates continue to improve on the national level, the recovery is decidedly imbalanced regarding both home price levels and geography.  Borrowers whose homes are in the lowest tier ... Read More »

Redfin: Shortages are Killing Demand

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It’s no secret that chronicle inventory shortages are curtailing home sales.  Now Redfin reports evidence that buyers are getting the message and buyers are staying away. The Redfin Housing Demand Index fell 5.5 percent to 97 in February from a year earlier, marking the third consecutive month of year-over-year declines in demand. The drop in demand was a result of ... Read More »

Freddie: Low Income Levels Slow the Recovery

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Many of the nation’s housing markets are getting back to normal heading into the spring home buying season but many are not, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Multi-Indicator Market Index. Large pockets of weakness linger, particularly in the Great Lakes Region and the South outside of Florida and Texas. The national MiMi value stands at 82.7, indicating a housing market ... Read More »

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