Today's Headlines - Realty Times
Posted On Friday, 22 September 2023 12:31
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Existing-home sales moved lower in August, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Among the four major U.S. regions, sales improved in the Midwest, were unchanged in the Northeast, and slipped in the South and West. All four regions recorded year-over-year sales declines.

Total existing-home sales[i] – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – slid 0.7% from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million in August. Year-over-year, sales fell 15.3% (down from 4.77 million in August 2022).

“Home sales have been stable for several months, neither rising nor falling in any meaningful way,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Mortgage rate changes will have a big impact over the short run, while job gains will have a steady, positive impact over the long run. The South had a lighter decline in sales from a year ago due to greater regional job growth since coming out of the pandemic lockdown.”

Total housing inventory[ii] registered at the end of August was 1.1 million units, down 0.9% from July and 14.1% from one year ago (1.28 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply at the current sales pace, identical to July and up from 3.2 months in August 2022.

The median existing-home price[iii] for all housing types in August was $407,100, an increase of 3.9% from August 2022 ($391,700). All four U.S. regions posted price increases.

“Home prices continue to march higher despite lower home sales,” Yun said. “Supply needs to essentially double to moderate home price gains.”

REALTORS® Confidence Index

According to the REALTORS® Confidence Index, properties typically remained on the market for 20 days in August, unchanged from July and up from 16 days in August 2022. Seventy-two percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 29% of sales in August, down from 30% in July and identical to August 2022. NAR’s 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in November 2022[iv] – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 26%, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data.

All-cash sales accounted for 27% of transactions in August, up from 26% in July and 24% in August 2022.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in August, the same share as in July and one year ago.

Distressed sales[v] – foreclosures and short sales – represented 1% of sales in August, unchanged from last month and the previous year.

Mortgage Rates

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.18% as of September 14. That’s up from 7.12% the prior week and 6.02% one year ago.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales waned to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.60 million in August, down 1.4% from 3.65 million in July and 15.3% from the previous year. The median existing single-family home price was $413,500 in August, up 3.7% from August 2022.

Existing condominium and co-op sales recorded a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units in August, up 4.8% from July but down 15.4% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $354,600 in August, up 6.2% from the prior year ($333,900).

Regional Breakdown

At an annual rate of 480,000 in August, existing-home sales in the Northeast were unchanged from July but down 22.6% from August 2022. The median price in the Northeast was $465,700, up 5.8% from one year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased by 1.0% from the previous month to an annual rate of 970,000 in August, down 16.4% from the prior year. The median price in the Midwest was $305,300, up 6.8% from August 2022.

Existing-home sales in the South faded 1.1% from July to an annual rate of 1.84 million in August, a decrease of 12.4% from one year ago. The median price in the South was $366,100, up 3.2% from August 2022.

In the West, existing-home sales slumped 2.6% from the previous month to an annual rate of 750,000 in August, down 15.7% from the prior year. The median price in the West was $609,300, up 1.0% from August 2022.

 

[i] Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR benchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

              The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

              Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

[ii] Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

[iii] The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

[iv] Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. The annual study only represents primary residence purchases, and does not include investor and vacation home buyers. Results include both new and existing homes.

[v] Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

Posted On Friday, 22 September 2023 09:03 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 21 September 2023 00:00 Written by

Today, we are in an era of drastic technological transformation. With the increasing use of digital technologies that include everything from 3D printing to various applications of extended reality, how we do business is constantly and dramatically transforming in ways that we have not seen since the industrial revolution!

While company leaders have long been questioning how to navigate this quickly changing landscape, Anticipatory Leaders are one step ahead, leveraging the ever-evolving digital landscape in front of us. In doing so, they are integrating artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), edge computing as it relates to data processing, and so much more.

As a business leader, it’s imperative to grasp that the ongoing technological revolution reshaping the business landscape is an indisputable future certainty—a Hard Trend that’s here to stay. While numerous technological innovations have already initiated substantial shifts in a wide array of business operations, some leaders and managers who prioritize adaptability over forward planning might entertain the notion of a forthcoming pause—a plateau where they can recalibrate and bridge any gaps. However, such a hiatus does not exist, nor will it ever materialize. The trajectory of technological evolution is constant and unceasing.

How we conduct business is changing right now and will only continue to do so with increasing velocity, so the key is to not only embrace the technological disruption, but to anticipate it and find a way to get your team excited about it! The second part of that should be easy, given the opportunities that are bountiful within the disruption itself.

Before all else, you need to transition into a role as an Anticipatory Leader to see where technology is headed in order to find the opportunity for your business. 

3 Hard Trends Transforming Technology and Business

Recently, there have been some specific technology sectors that are proving to be the most disruptive yet equally as beneficial for businesses and organizations that are leveraging them. These have been extensively explored in past blog posts I have written, but there are so many new applications for them that they are worth re-exploring.

  • Datafication 

Datafication involves leveraging data gathered from our daily activities to facilitate the creation of novel products or services, as well as the enhancement of existing ones. Our actions continually generate data across a spectrum of endeavors, ranging from the music we stream on platforms like Spotify to our interactions with digitally sophisticated vehicles during travel. In this context, edge computing stands out as a technological stride that enables data processing to occur in immediate proximity to its origin, presenting a substantial advantage. As 5G networks proliferate and data processing mechanisms streamline, the viability of such edge computing approaches is poised to amplify significantly.

While we are familiar with specific websites and smartphone apps that adeptly utilize your browsing history to facilitate ongoing purchases or engagement, like Amazon or Google, an even deeper evolution of customer service within organizations has been orchestrated by Vail Systems, Inc. This company employs basic data analytics extracted from customer phone calls to refine and enhance automated customer service systems. This innovative approach eliminates the need for painstakingly enunciating your responses when seeking assistance, heralding a more streamlined and efficient customer support experience.

  • Extended Reality

Extended reality may sound like an addition to mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR), but really, it is simply the umbrella term referring to any type of digital landscape or integration of digital assets into the physical world. Gaming and entertainment have certainly exploded in the past by incorporating MR, VR, and AR; however, I constantly find myself informing business leaders and executives of the many exponential ways these software applications can be utilized in their various industries.

The concept of any extended reality application is to create an immersive experience that brings the human sensory experience into the digital world on some level. But how can something like AR be used in something tactile like the beauty and cosmetics world — a sector said to be worth nearly half a trillion dollars by some? My Dior answered this inquiry with its smartphone app that projected lipstick colors on its users’ lips, allowing them to sample without ever hitting the “Buy” button!

  • 3D Printing

Another Hard Trend that has long been revolutionizing the business world is the rise of 3D printing, also referred to as additive manufacturing. Using a machine to produce three-dimensional objects off of a two-dimensional blueprint, 3D printing provides easy part customization options, quicker turn-around times, the ability to produce products on demand (minimizing having to ship products from overseas), and ultimately results in reduced manufacturing costs and a far more sustainable industry as a whole.

Auto manufacturers have slowly taken to 3D printed parts for many integral components of their vehicles, with Volkswagen being a notable leader. They not only produce parts for new vehicles, but they also have been known to 3D print tools and replacement parts for classic cars that are not in production any longer. When looking at the big picture, this can help preserve automobiles and ultimately cut down on large-scale litter of disregarded clunkers.

Find the Opportunity and Make It Your Own

Now that we have identified that the increasing use of datafication, extended reality, and 3D printing are fully predictable Hard Trend future certainties, the second step is to implement your own Anticipatory mindset in discovering exactly where these trends are headed for your industry and to find the opportunity they present to you and your team.

Unfortunately, many business leaders are afraid of where technology is headed, but it is my goal to ease this stress with the power of critical, exponential thinking and the many Anticipatory principles at your full disposal. I do not want you to fall behind the curve; I want you to be the disruptor instead of the disrupted!

What I hope this blog post has illustrated to you and your team is that keeping your opportunity antennae up is not only about looking at the digital disruptions themselves, but also being on the lookout for what other industries are doing with various technologies and how you might be able to adapt that to your industry. You may not be in the data processing, cosmetics, or auto industry, but there are indisputable ways that those same technologies can be critically leveraged to produce exceptional results for new products, services, or processes.

Also, it is time to do a deep dive into your current products, services, or processes themselves and see how today’s new technologies can help you redefine things — redefine your customer base, redefine your production methods, redefine your internal operations, and redefine your company overall. New is not always the answer, as sometimes you can simply rehash what already exists in profound ways.

Posted On Tuesday, 19 September 2023 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 19 September 2023 00:00 Written by
Posted On Monday, 18 September 2023 00:00 Written by

Reporting back from the street has been very positive when it comes to the reaction from accountants to the calls about tax extensions. These conversations have caused some meetings and a few immediate referrals, and we are just a week removed from the plan. It is very interesting to see how a simple phone call and a brief conversation can change the perspective of other professionals. Most accountants don’t have much use for mortgage professionals until they come across mortgage professionals who understands their business and provides an important value added to them and their clients.

I am also seeing continued results from the back-to-school conversations as the final wave of kids head back to school. I actually think this year has been the strongest in the past three or four years when it comes to seeing these conversations turn into opportunities. Between functional obsolescence conversations and the awareness of the monthly cost of getting what people want and need has really taken this talk to a whole new level. Being able to frame the conversation around total monthly payments and not simply arguing rates has proven productive and profitable!

Oil prices will become an issue with inflation if the Fed chooses to make it an issue. The Fed meeting coming up next week is likely not going to move rates all that much, even if they leave rates unchanged as expected, it will be more about the tone of their remarks and if they signal a “pause” or “the peak” of the tightening cycle. We will have to see the details and let the markets react. We are in a very strange cycle now and it’s impossible to get a clear long-term picture at the moment, but doing nothing at this meeting will certainly be a good step into the future! 

As always, if you have questions or comments, it’s This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 18 September 2023 00:00 Written by
Posted On Friday, 15 September 2023 12:34
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