Monthly Archives: October 2016

Slowing home sales

And according to NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, one of the main causes for the decline is rising interest rates.

“The budget of many prospective buyers last month was dealt an abrupt hit by the quick ascension of rates immediately after the election,” Yun said in NAR’s latest report. “Already faced with climbing home prices and minimal listings in the affordable price range, fewer home shoppers in most of the country were successfully able to sign a contract.”

According to NAR’s report, pending home sales fell in November to their lowest level in almost a year as the increase in mortgage rates and a lack of available inventory impacted some prospective buyers.

NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 2.5% to 107.3 in November from 110 in October, which was the highest reading since July.

But after November’s decrease in activity, the index is now 0.4% below November 2015 (107.7) and at its lowest reading since January 2016 (105.4).

According to NAR’s data, only the Northeast saw monthly and annual pending sales gains in November.

Per NAR’s report, the PHSI in the Northeast inched forward 0.6% to 97.5 in November, and is now 5.7% above a year ago.

In the Midwest, the index fell 2.5% to 103.5 in November, and is now 2.4% lower than November 2015.

Pending home sales in the South declined 1.2% to an index of 118.7 in November, and are now 1.3% lower than the same time period last year.

The index in the West fell 6.7% in November to 101, and is now 1% below a year ago.

As NAR previously said earlier this month, the organization still believes that 2017 could see only a small gain in home sales, and November’s report buffets that prediction.

As Yun says, higher borrowing costs “somewhat cloud” the outlook for the housing market in 2017, but Yun notes that the forecast isn’t quite as gloomy as it may appear.

Choose for housing tips

In the September issue of HousingWire Magazine, our own Kelsey Ramírez wrote a feature story on the impact of Airbnb in New Orleans and asked whether the short-term rental industry is going to disrupt the entire housing market. For more on that story, click here.

A new report from Bloomberg furthers that point, and shows just how contentious the fight over Airbnb is becoming in certain expensive markets, like San Francisco.

As these types of fight always do, lawyers are involved. But it’s not just lawyers, private investigators are involved too.

Here’s Bloomberg’s David Levitt:

In a gentrifying neighborhood of San Francisco, a couple exit their cab and head toward an apartment, rolling suitcases behind them. Unbeknownst to them, a private investigator by the name of Michael Joffe sits in his parked car just across the street, discreetly snapping pictures.

This is not a divorce case waiting to happen or an international spy caper. Nothing that salacious or mysterious. It is instead an episode that provides a window into how bitter the feud between struggling tenants and home-sharing websites like Airbnb Inc. has become. Joffe works for a tenant lawyer who in turns represents a family that was evicted from their apartment — the one that the couple was entering that day.

The goal of the stakeout was to uncover, and document, smoking-gun proof that the landlord is violating city ordinances limiting the use of private homes for short-term rentals. It’s very lucrative work nowadays in San Francisco, the city that’s come to represent America’s shortage of affordable housing.

“Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, it’s a decent living in San Francisco right now being an investigator doing these kind of jobs, because here are so many of them,” Joffe, 48, said.

At issue is whether some landlords are booting long-term renters out of apartments to list those units on Airbnb instead.

Talk about Ohio based banks

In this case, the DOJ accused Union Savings Bank and Guardian Savings Bank, which are based in Cincinnati and share common ownership and management, of redlining “predominantly African-American” neighborhoods in Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Indianapolis.

The complaint alleged that from at least 2010 through 2014, the banks extended credit to the residents of predominantly white neighborhoods to a “significantly greater extent” than they extended credit to majority African-American neighborhoods in the same cities.

According to the DOJ, those neighborhoods are “easily recognized because each of the four metropolitan areas in which the banks operate has long maintained highly-segregated residential housing patterns for African Americans.”

The DOJ said the lending practices of Union Savings Bank and Guardian Savings Bank were in violation of the both the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

As part of the settlement, Union will open two full-service branches and Guardian will open one loan production office to serve the residents of the African-American neighborhoods in question, the DOJ said.

Additionally, Union and Guardian will invest at least $9 million in majority African-American neighborhoods in the Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis metropolitan areas.

According to the DOJ, that investment includes $7 million in a loan subsidy fund that will be used to increase the amount of credit that Union and Guardian extend to residents of majority African-American census tracts.

As part of the bank’s efforts to increase lending in the minority neighborhoods that “were not adequately served” previously by the banks, Union and Guardian will also invest $2 million in advertising, outreach, financial education and community partnership efforts.

According to the DOJ, the settlement also requires that both banks develop “robust internal controls” to ensure that the banks are in compliance with fair lending obligations. The banks are also required to conduct fair lending training for their employees.

The easy way to search for new CEO

They begin their search immediately.

This means, after 36 years of service,  current CEO Dale Stinton will retire from the association in 2017.

Stinton took over as CEO in November 2005.

Previously, he served as chief financial officer and chief information officer since 1998 and was named acting CEO and executive vice president in 1996.

In the email, NAR applauded Stinton’s leadership during the financial crisis.

“Dale Stinton has had a long and distinguished career at NAR and has made immense contributions to the association, and we thank him for his service,” said Chris Polychron, president of NAR in 2015 who is now serving as chair.

“This continues to be a dynamic time for the association and the industry, and I am confident that we will find and hire the best candidate to position NAR for long-term success as it continues the important role of advocating for Realtor members, consumers and the industry,” he added.

Additionally, Union and Guardian will invest at least $9 million in majority African-American neighborhoods in the Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis metropolitan areas.

According to the DOJ, that investment includes $7 million in a loan subsidy fund that will be used to increase the amount of credit that Union and Guardian extend to residents of majority African-American census tracts.

As part of the bank’s efforts to increase lending in the minority neighborhoods that “were not adequately served” previously by the banks, Union and Guardian will also invest $2 million in advertising, outreach, financial education and community partnership efforts.

According to the DOJ, the settlement also requires that both banks develop “robust internal controls” to ensure that the banks are in compliance with fair lending obligations. The banks are also required to conduct fair lending training for their employees.