12th April 2019

Home Sales Are Expected to Stabilize as Affordability Improves, Fannie Mae Reports

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WASHINGTON, DC – Full-year real GDP growth is estimated to come in at 2.2 percent in 2019, unchanged from the prior forecast but down markedly from 2018’s 3.1 percent, according to the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group’s March outlook. The expected deceleration in growth is largely attributable to the fading fiscal impact from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as well as continued sluggishness in business investment and consumer spending. Economic growth in the first quarter of 2019 is forecasted to slow to 1.3 percent in part due to consumer caution following significant volatility in households’ financial assets in the fourth quarter. The ESR Group also noted that risks to its forecast exist primarily on the downside, including slower global growth and ongoing U.S.-China trade uncertainty, but that sustained improvement in productivity and the central bank policy response to fourth quarter volatility will play an important role in shaping the full growth picture.

The ESR Group also continues to expect home sales to stabilize in 2019, with housing demand supported by a solid labor market and strong household formation.  Affordability, too, has improved by slowing house price appreciation and more attractive mortgage rates. Purchase mortgage originations are expected to expand in 2019 while refinancings contract.

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10th April 2019

C&W Predicts Continued CRE Strength, Liquidity

Three themes anchor the U.S. commercial real estate investment outlook: U.S. economic performance, cycle maturity and the monetary policy outlook, said Cushman & Wakefield, New York.

“By and large these elements combined with the broader economic outlook point to continued strength and liquidity in the commercial real estate investment realm,” Cushman & Wakefield Chief Economist Kevin Thorpe said in the firm’s U.S. Macro Forecast. “With the threat of rapidly rising interest rates unlikely, most immediate valuation concerns have abated. However, a mature cycle still means that late-stage strategies are becoming more common and that the performance of the commercial real estate investment market will only become more nuanced.”

The report called sales activity “very robust” last year, the third-strongest year on record largely due to significant merger and acquisition activity. “Generally investment volumes saw sustainable growth across single-asset, mega-deal and portfolio sales–trends that are expected to continue–whereas we expect entity transactions to revert to more typical levels as a base case,” Thorpe said.

Retail and hospitality volumes increased more than other CRE sectors last year, reversing several years of declines for both. Cushman credited the retail sector’s increase entirely to merger and acquisition, but called the recovery in hospitality volumes more broad-based.

“The most favored asset classes at this point in the cycle continue to be multifamily and industrial, strength that seems set to continue,” the report said. “Suburban office sales appear to be stabilizing near record highs while central business district office sales recovered on margin following a sharp slowdown in 2016 and 2017.”

As the cycle continues to mature and fewer asset types and geographies see appreciation, aggregate pricing will likely decelerate, Cushman said. The Real Capital Analytics pricing index rose 6.5 percent in 2018, but the report predicted that index will increase 5.0 percent this year and only 3.8 percent in 2020.

“Although downside risks persist, the most probable scenario is that the U.S. expansion will continue, the momentum will continue and 2019 will be another healthy year for the property markets,” Thorpe said.

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3rd April 2019

Domain Renewal Scams

I have noticed a big uptick in domain renewal scams going out to our members over at the Appraisers Club, but other real estate appraisers have contacted me about this as well.

I am sure most of you check the validity of all bills that come to your company, but this one seems to be focusing on real estate appraisers for some reason. Who knows why, maybe we pay our bills without asking too many questions?

So if you have a website and you get a notice in the mail to renew your domain name, make sure it is your company domain name first. Check every character, maybe even type it in to your browser to make sure it pulls up your website. I have seen notices going out that are very similar to your domain name and they are trying to trick you in to buying it through them.

If it does match your domain name, make sure that is the same company you purchased the domain name from in the past. Log in online if possible and renew the domain name there if needed. Many of the letters that are sent to you in the mail are stating they are for a ‘renewal’, but it is actually requesting you to transfer the domain name to their company. They are not trying to take ownership of the domain name, just have you pay to ‘register’ it with them.

There really is no need to change a ‘registrar’ unless you want to change it yourself. Most of these companies are just trying to scam you in to paying a higher annual fee.

Most places like Moniker or GoDaddy will be the registrar for only $10-$20 a year.

When it comes to domain name billing, always take a close look, these scams have been going around for decades, but they seem to be targeting real estate appraisers now.

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29th March 2019

Most business economists now predict a full-blown recession by 2021

The sky will fall, economically speaking, on that most economists agree.

Where they do differ, is when exactly they expect America’s economy to suffer two straight quarters of negative economic activity and what factors may lead up to a future recession.

In the latest survey from the National Association for Business Economics, 281 members reported their economic predictions.

“Three-fourths of the NABE Policy Survey panelists expect an economic recession by the end of 2021,” said NABE President Kevin Swift, CBE, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council. “While only 10% of panelists expect a recession in 2019, 42% say a recession will happen in 2020, and 25% expect one in 2021.”

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28th March 2019

Court Denies Louisiana Appraisers Board Petition for Review

The United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit dismissed on Feb. 28 the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board’s petition for review of a Federal Trade Commission decision that disallowed the LREAB from asserting its state-action immunity defense in ongoing administrative proceedings. The court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the petition. A stay of action by the FTC has been in place pending the outcome of the review petition.   

In dismissing the petition, the court noted that the Federal Trade Commission Act only allows it to review cease and desist orders issued by the FTC, stating, “The Commission’s order denying the Board’s motion to dismiss and granting the FTC’s motion for partial summary decision is not a cease and desist order, [so] the statute does not expressly authorize us to exercise jurisdiction here.” 

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22nd March 2019

No Hearing on Residential Appraisal Threshold Increase

The Appraisal Institute on Feb. 19 received notice from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that a request for a hearing on the proposal to raise the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000 was denied. AI was one of six valuation organizations that submitted a letter Feb. 4 requesting the hearing. “After reviewing your letter and considering the discussion in our conference call, we do not believe that holding a public hearing would elicit relevant information that could not be conveyed through the comment process,” the agencies stated in their letter. “While the agencies are, therefore, declining your request for a public hearing, we will carefully consider your written comments.” The comment period closed Feb. 5. In addition to the Appraisal Institute, the letter requesting the hearing was signed by: 

  • American Guild of Appraisers, OPEIU, AFL-CIO;
  • American Society of Appraisers;
  • American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers;
  • MBREA | The Association for Valuation Professionals; and
  • RICS.

Read the original letter requesting the hearing.

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21st March 2019

Average U.S. Home Seller Profits at 12-Year High of $61,000 in 2018

IATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database, today released its Year-End 2018 U.S. Home Sales Report, which shows that home sellers in 2018 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $61,000, up from $50,000 last year and up from $39,500 two years ago in 2016 to the highest level since 2006 — a 12-year high.

That $61,000 average home seller profit represented an average 32.6 percent return on investment compared to the original purchase price, up from 27.0 percent last year and up from 21.9 percent in 2016 to the highest average home seller ROI since 2006.

…continue reading the rest of this post: Average U.S. Home Seller Profits at 12-Year High of $61,000 in 2018

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20th March 2019

Zillow awards $1 million prize for making Zestimates more accurate

The Zestimate that appears on every listing on Zillow is about to get a little closer to the expected sales price of a house, and all the online real estate giant had to do is give away more than $1 million.

Beyond that, Zillow also awarded $100,000 to the second-place team, and $50,000 to the third-place team.

But Zillow is hardly chalking this exercise up as a loss. Just the opposite, in fact.

Zillow said that it will incorporate parts of the winning team’s model, along with other contest entries, to improve the accuracy of the Zestimate that appears on the listings for 110 million homes on Zillow.

According to Zillow, the improvements to the Zestimate will decrease its current nationwide error rate of 4.5% to less than 4%, meaning that half of all Zestimates will be within 4% of the selling price, and half will be off by more than 4%.

Put another way, Zillow claims that on average, the Zestimate is $10,000 off of the actual sale price for a typical home, but with the improvements from the contest, future Zestimates could be approximately $1,300 closer to the sale price.

The Zestimate has long served as a contentious issue between real estate professionals and consumers.

…continue reading the rest of this post: Zillow awards $1 million prize for making Zestimates more accurate

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19th March 2019

Unconventional loans surge in 2018: Housing trouble ahead?

Homebuyers are increasingly opting for nontraditional mortgages – Opens a New Window.which helped precipitate the housing crisis about one decade ago – potentially foreshadowing trouble as high prices continue to weigh on housing affordability.

Throughout the first three quarters of last year, unconventional mortgages – those that don’t require borrowers to show typical income or other asset verifying documentation – rose 24 percent to $34 billion, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. While unconventional mortgages accounted for just 3 percent of overall originations during that period – traditional mortgage loans declined.

…continue reading the rest of this post: Unconventional loans surge in 2018: Housing trouble ahead?

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15th March 2019

Renting a Home More Affordable Than Buying in 59 Percent of U.S. Housing Markets

Home Prices Outpacing Wages in 80 Percent of the U.S. Housing Markets

IRVINE, Calif. – Jan. 10, 2019 — ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database, today released its 2019 Rental Affordability Report, which shows that renting a three-bedroom property is more affordable than buying a median-priced home in 442 of 755 U.S. counties analyzed for the report — 59 percent.

…continue reading the rest of this post: Renting a Home More Affordable Than Buying in 59 Percent of U.S. Housing Markets

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