Meet Tim Holmes, creator of Nurkl Toys, who is on a mission to help kids stay creative! In his recent video, Tim showcases how sticks can be transformed into endless possibilities for kids to enjoy. Check out the video!

 

 

Posted On Friday, 01 March 2024 13:09 Written by

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.94 percent.

"Mortgage rates continued their ascent this week, reaching a two-month high and flirting with seven percent yet again,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The recent boomerang in rates has dampened already tentative homebuyer momentum as we approach the spring, a historically busy season for homebuying. While sales of newly built homes are trending in a positive direction, higher rates and elevated prices continue to pose affordability challenges that may leave potential homebuyers on the sidelines.”

News Facts

  • The 30-year FRM averaged 6.94 percent as of February 29, 2024, up from last week when it averaged 6.90 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.65 percent.
  • The 15-year FRM averaged 6.26 percent, down from last week when it averaged 6.29 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.89 percent.

The PMMS® is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. For more information, view our Frequently Asked Questions.

Freddie Mac’s mission is to make home possible for families across the nation. We promote liquidity, stability, affordability and equity in the housing market throughout all economic cycles. Since 1970, we have helped tens of millions of families buy, rent or keep their home. Learn More: Website

Posted On Friday, 01 March 2024 09:47 Written by

You only have two options when it comes to the future of technology in marketing:

First, which is unfortunately appealing to many, you can hunker down, sticking to the old marketing tactics to drive sales. In doing so, you decide to let others deal with advancements in digital technology while you sit on the sidelines and see what happens. This strategy seems safe because others are taking the risks, not you.

But the issue here is that simultaneously, your competition and their marketing team is taking calculated risks based on Hard Trend future certainties, and while doing so, they are also reaping the benefits and advancing into the future. Not only will your brand sit idly by, but your sales will stagnate. 

But of course, there is a second option. This option is much more beneficial to your bottom line and is the key to being the disruptor instead of the disrupted.

Instead of letting others take a risk that seems dangerous, look at the future of marketing with an Anticipatory mindset and think critically about how new technologies can advance marketing strategy and, thus, drive sales in exponential ways with exponential thinking about those future certainties! 

The Future Is Predictable — Something Marketers Must See

Our world is full of uncertainty regardless of how you view the future. Shifting to an Anticipatory mindset is not about stopping the unknown from heading our way — it is about leveraging the countless things that we can be certain about.

And for those in marketing, today’s world of digital transformation means staying ahead of technological advancements and learning to leverage them now. This is far more crucial than most realize, allowing those who work in marketing to help their organization avoid disruption to their business model and, most importantly, sales.

Technology is changing at an exponential rate, especially with the influx of Artificial Intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT and AdCreative.ai. But when you have the certainty that you know where customer expectations and preferences are headed as well as what the next technological advancement will be, you can leverage that information to pre-solve problems before they occur. 

In this case, marketers already know that AI and the applications involved will continue to grow. With that Hard Trend future certainty, you can have the confidence to make better decisions with your marketing efforts and how to leverage it to your advantage.

Speeding Up the Process

If we were to focus on the advancement of AI applications and their role in the marketing industry, one in the industry may still balk at a thought.

It all goes back to the fear of being displaced, right? Because a “computer can do it,” somehow a marketing professional becomes unnecessary or, worse, we start losing pay because our duties are getting simpler.

I want all those who work in marketing to understand that AI applications like ChatGPT, AdCreative.ai, and the like are not here to replace your job. Will AI get more efficient and digitally more intelligent and progress beyond the stage that it is currently sitting at now? Absolutely! But you have the power to grow with it, leverage it now, and be ahead of the curve in how it improves your marketing efforts, whether you work for an organization or work for a marketing company.

ChatGPT is like a wrench to a plumber. The plumber does not need to loosen bolts with their bare hands — they use a wrench to get the job done faster and more efficiently. Some bolts would be impossible to loosen without a wrench!

The same principle applies here. ChatGPT and other content creation software is a tool for the marketing industry. 

Be an Exponential Thinker as an Anticipatory Marketer

What this all goes back to is the concept of exponential thinking, just as I teach in my Anticipatory Leader System.

Exponential thinking very much involves recognizing a Hard Trend future certainty and adapting it to your advantage, seeing the different ways it can help develop your business or organization.

Aside from evolving with the times as a marketing professional working alongside AI as it grows, you should also think exponentially about it. How can the different AI applications applied to the marketing and advertising process be used to tell the story of your brand in ways you never thought of before? Can AI applications speed up the content creation process? Will it help you reignite that creative spark that some struggle with on a Monday morning?

Marketers and advertising professionals are artists at heart. And much like a musician with a piano, the tool of AI provides boundless creative opportunities to be innovative in exponential ways. The piano only has 88 keys, the guitar only has so many strings, and a singer has one voice. But the way in which human beings use those instruments exponentially makes for thousands of new songs every day around the world.

You have the Hard Trend in your hands. Now it needs to be adapted to you and your team, rather than you adapting to the technology. You are the artist, so take control with certainty!

Posted On Tuesday, 05 March 2024 00:00 Written by

Lending Tree's latest survey found that nearly two-thirds of homebuyers or sellers who asked their real estate agent for a lower commission fee were successful. Here's what else they found.

  • While just 31% of homebuyers or sellers have attempted to negotiate real estate agent commission fees when buying or selling, 64% of those who asked successfully reduced theirs. Additionally, 36% say they weren’t aware negotiating was an option but would have tried if they were. Overall, 84% of Americans believe real estate agents should be flexible with their commission.
  • Among homebuyers or sellers, 48% admit they don’t know what percent commission their agent received in their last transaction. 44% of those who do know say their agent received between 3.00% to 4.99% in their last transaction, while 30% say it was 5.00% or higher. 
  • 64% of Americans believe a real estate agent is at least somewhat necessary when buying or selling. However, 44% say they would attempt a real estate transaction without an agent. When asked if they think online tools and services have made agents less necessary in transactions, 64% agreed.
  • 11% of Americans said the buyer should be responsible for the entire commission, and 20% said the seller. Over a third (35%) of homebuyers or sellers say they’ve been asked to pay the other party’s real estate agent fees in a transaction — more commonly the buyer than the seller.

You can check out our full report here: https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/real-estate-survey/

LendingTree's Senior Economist and report author, Jacob Channel, had this to say. 

"Remember, real estate agent fees aren’t necessarily set in stone. While most home buyers and sellers don’t attempt to negotiate fees, a majority of those who do have gotten their fees lowered. This goes to show how important it is to advocate for yourself during all stages of the homebuying/selling process. If you don’t ask for a better deal, you’re unlikely to get one."

Posted On Thursday, 29 February 2024 08:32 Written by

Florida’s condo market is faltering as the increasing intensity of natural disasters pushes up home insurance costs, and HOA fees soar in the wake of the 2021 Surfside condo collapse

Prices of condos in major Florida metros are dropping year over year, and sales are declining, according to a new report from Redfin (redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage. New condo listings are soaring as sellers try to offload their properties. That differs from the U.S. as a whole, where condo prices are rising, sales are holding steady and new listings are increasing at a much slower rate.

In the Jacksonville metro, for instance, the median condo price declined roughly 7% year over year in January, sales declined 27%, and new listings increased 32%. The story is similar in Miami, where condo prices fell 3%, sales dropped 9% and new listings rose 27%.

Florida’s market for single-family homes is faring better. Take Miami as an example: The median sale price of single-family homes increased by double digits from a year earlier in January, sales rose 9% and new listings increased 13%.

Florida Redfin agents say climbing costs are making condo ownership unattractive

Redfin agents report that Florida’s condo sales are slow because the cost of buying a condo has shot up, and listings are skyrocketing because the cost of owning a condo has shot up. The average cost of homeowners insurance across Florida increased by about 40% in 2023 alone, according to reports, and homeowners association (HOA) fees are multiplying for many condo buildings. In addition to slowing demand, the rising cost of insurance and fees are pushing prices down.

While condo prices are down from a year ago, they’re still much higher than they were before the pandemic—an affordability challenge that’s being exacerbated by rising insurance and HOA expenses.

“Condo costs are shocking,” said Juan Castro, a Redfin Premier agent in Orlando. “Condos that used to have a $400 monthly maintenance fee may now have a $700 fee. It’s causing buyers to rethink their plans.”

Florida’s HOA fees are increasing because there are new condo regulations in place this year in the wake of the 2021 Surfside condo collapse. The regulations require HOAs to regularly assess the safety of condo buildings, and in many cases collect more money for maintenance and repairs. HOA fees typically include a condo owner’s portion of insurance costs for the exterior of a building, while homeowners have a separate policy covering the interior of their condo.

In some situations, it’s also more difficult to attain a condo mortgage than a single-family home mortgage, even though condos are often considered a more affordable option. That’s because lenders require borrowers to have enough money to cover HOA dues, and also take into consideration the financial health of the condo building before writing a loan.

Home insurance costs are skyrocketing in Florida due to the increasing intensity of hurricanes and other natural disasters, with some insurance companies leaving the state altogether. Homeowners’ insurance costs three times more in Florida than the national average, making it the most expensive state in the U.S. to insure a home.

“Condos are sitting on the market much longer than they used to, with less interest from buyers,” said Jacksonville Redfin Premier agent Heather Kruayai. “Sky-high HOA costs are pushing buyers out of their monthly budget.”

To read the full report, complete with a table that includes more data, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/news/florida-condo-prices-dropping/

Posted On Tuesday, 27 February 2024 05:38 Written by

As mortgage professionals, we must deal with many things in our day-to-day business. Some of these things are controllable, some are not. One of the issues that we all have to deal with is market volatility. When the market moves, it can create a great deal of stress for us, our team, our referral partners, and of course, our clients. Interest rates can be a very emotional subject. People hate paying more, but also, fear things they don’t understand. So here are a few things we can look at to help ourselves, as well as our clients and referral partners, be aware of that may cause movement in the rate markets.

•  FED Meetings – ten times a year and they set the market for short term bank rates. They don’t have to raise or lower rates to impact the market, it can just be what they say they intend to do!

•  CPI – Consumer Price Index. Tracks inflation on typical consumer items. Inflation goes higher, rates go higher! Inflation goes lower, rates tend to follow! Once a month tracking the prior month.

•  PPI – Producer Price Index. Same as CPI but tracks costs at the wholesale level. Not as important as CPI because producer prices don’t always increase prices to the consumer.

•  Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims – Every Thursday (except holidays) we see these numbers. Higher claims mean the economy is getting worse, could push rates lower. Lower claims show the economy getting stronger and may push rates higher.

•  World Events – Stuff happens! War, Weather, political changes, or shifts in policy can often impact rates here in the US.

•  Lending Guidelines, Products, and Programs. At any point, the rules by which mortgage lending is regulated can change. From the federal level, down to state and local regulations. Sometimes without much warning, the rules can change, and rates will follow.

This isn’t everything that can move the markets, but just the ones I track on a regular basis and suggest for my clients to stay aware of. You can’t just trust the internet or social media posts to explain to you what is happening and why; it’s important that you know! If you have questions or comments, please let me know: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 04 March 2024 00:00 Written by

Home prices rose 0.5% month over month in January, on par with December’s gain, as the drop in mortgage rates at the end of last year gave buyers a bit more purchasing power

U.S. home prices climbed 0.5% from a month earlier in January, matching the 0.5% gain seen in both December and November, according to a new report from Redfin (redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 6.7%—the largest increase in a year.

This is according to the January Redfin Home Price Index (RHPI), covering the three months ending Jan. 31, 2024. Read the full RHPI methodology here.

“Price growth held steady last month because many of the home purchases that closed in January were negotiated at the end of last year, when mortgage rates posted the biggest drop since 2008. The decline in rates gave buyers more purchasing power, and for some, a sense of urgency to lock in a mortgage,” said Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari. “Prices also climbed because there’s still a shortage of homes for sale, which is fueling competition in some areas.”

New listings fell 1.2% month over month on a seasonally adjusted basis in January, the first drop since June, and remained far below pre-pandemic levels—contributing to the increase in prices. Listings are declining largely because many homeowners are hesitant to give up their rock-bottom mortgage rates; a majority of homeowners still have rates below current levels.

Prices Climbed Most in Montgomery County, Fell Fastest in Charlotte

In Montgomery County, PA, home prices rose 3.7% from a month earlier in January—the biggest increase among the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas. Next came Philadelphia (1.9%), Baltimore (1.9%), Cleveland (1.7%) and New York (1.6%).

Thirteen metros saw price declines. In Charlotte, NC, home prices dropped 0.7% month over month—the largest decrease among the 50 most populous metros. It was followed by San Francisco (-0.6%), Austin, TX (-0.6%), San Diego (-0.5%) and Sacramento, CA (-0.4%).

To view the full report, including charts, please visit:
https://www.redfin.com/news/redfin-home-price-index-january-2024

Posted On Friday, 23 February 2024 07:40 Written by

More than forty years being associated inside the mortgage and real estate communities has taught me a great deal. Working with some of the best professionals in these areas across the country can also remind me that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I have preached here before the value of situational awareness and that the true value of any professional is providing options for their clients and sharing multiple ways of getting things done. A recent conversation with one of my clients brought back the exact same scenario I had with a client more than 30 years ago and helped me understand very deeply about how much value we can bring to the table if we just look at all the details and provide objective options!

Quite simply, the story goes like this; a couple want to sell a house and buy another one that suits their needs much better for the next stage of their lives. Having a current home that has amassed a huge amount of equity, the couple goes to an agent who starts to show them houses that fit their new objectives. They see a number of homes and locations that would work well, and then go home and start searching the internet for solutions. UGH!!!

They discover that even with putting all of their equity down on the new house, the new payments would be far too high for them and assume that their dream is dead. When their agent calls to follow up, the clients share the story, and the agent suggests that they speak to my client to discuss their options. Still holding the desire to make their move, they reach out to my client for a conversation. After looking at ALL THE NUMBERS, it became obvious that their equity would be best used to eliminate outstanding debt, thus reducing their total monthly payments. This meant that they could get the house and location they dreamed about, but also REDUCE their total monthly financial obligations by a large amount! They listed and sold their current home, paid off their debt, bought the house they loved, and reduced their total monthly obligations! 

These people would never have known what they were capable of doing if not for skilled professionals providing all their options. You must establish that value if you are going to compete against the internet and social media! Differentiation matters! Questions or comments: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 26 February 2024 00:00 Written by

– Existing-home sales grew in January, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Among the four major U.S. regions, sales accelerated in the Midwest, South and West, and remained steady in the Northeast. Year-over-year, sales improved in the West, and decreased in the Northeast, Midwest and South.

Total existing-home sales[i] – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – elevated 3.1% from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.00 million in January. Year-over-year, sales slipped 1.7% (down from 4.07 million in January 2023).

“While home sales remain sizably lower than a couple of years ago, January’s monthly gain is the start of more supply and demand,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Listings were modestly higher, and home buyers are taking advantage of lower mortgage rates compared to late last year.”

Total housing inventory[ii] registered at the end of January was 1.01 million units, up 2.0% from December and 3.1% from one year ago (980,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.1 months in December but up from 2.9 months in January 2023.

The median existing-home price[iii] for all housing types in January was $379,100, an increase of 5.1% from one year ago ($360,800). All four U.S. regions posted price increases.

“The median home price reached an all-time high for the month of January,” Yun added. “Multiple offers are common on mid-priced homes, and many homes were still sold within a month. The elevated share of cash deals – 32% – indicated a market full of multiple offers and propelled by record-high housing wealth.”

REALTORS® Confidence Index

According to the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index, properties typically remained on the market for 36 days in January, up from 29 days in December and 33 days in January 2023.

First-time buyers were responsible for 28% of sales in January, down from 29% in December and 31% in January 2023. NAR’s 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in November 2023[iv] – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 32%.

All-cash sales accounted for 32% of transactions in January, up from 29% in both December and one year ago.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 17% of homes in January, up from 16% in December and January 2023.

Distressed sales[v] – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in January, virtually unchanged from last month and the previous year.

Mortgage Rates

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.77% as of February 15. That’s up from 6.64% the previous week and 6.32% one year ago.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales moved higher to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.6 million in January, up 3.4% from 3.48 million in December but down 1.4% from the prior year. The median existing single-family home price was $383,500 in January, up 5.0% from January 2023.

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 400,000 units in January, existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged from last month and down 4.8% from one year ago (420,000 units). The median existing condo price was $339,400 in January, up 5.7% from the previous year ($321,100).

Regional Breakdown

At 480,000 units, existing-home sales in the Northeast were unchanged from December but down 5.9% from January 2023. The median price in the Northeast was $434,300, up 10.1% from the prior year.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 2.2% from one month ago to an annual rate of 950,000 in January, down 3.1% from last year. The median price in the Midwest was $271,700, up 7.6% from January 2023.

Existing-home sales in the South rose 4.0% from December to an annual rate of 1.84 million in January, a decline of 1.6% from the previous year. The median price in the South was $345,100, up 4.1% from one year ago.

In the West, existing-home sales elevated 4.3% from a month ago to an annual rate of 730,000 in January and grew 2.8% from one year earlier. The median price in the West was $572,100, up 6.3% from January 2023.

“More listings will help Americans move,” said NAR President Kevin Sears, broker-partner of Sears Real Estate in Springfield, Massachusetts. “That’s why NAR has pushed for the passage of H.R. 1321 – The More Homes on the Market Act – which would lower the tax hit on home sales and bring additional inventory to the market.”

 

[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 Thursday, 22 February 2024 07:01 Written by

With mortgage rates and home prices as high as they’ve been, many would-be buyers stayed out of the housing market in 2023. But the latest LendingTree data shows that of those who remained active in the market, first-timers were much more common than those who already owned a home.

Through a nationwide analysis of mortgage offers given to users of the LendingTree platform in 2023, we found that nearly 2 out of 3 went to first-time buyers. Here's what else we found. 

  •  Nationwide, 65.25% of mortgage offers made on the LendingTree platform in 2023 went to those who identified as first-time homebuyers. 
  • The states where the highest shares of mortgage offers are given to first-time buyers are New York, California and New Jersey. 77.30% of offers in New York went to first-time buyers. The shares were 73.15% and 72.22% in California and New Jersey. 
  • The states where the lowest shares of mortgage offers are given to first-time buyers are South Dakota, Alaska and Arkansas. In South Dakota, 54.29% of mortgage offers went to first-timers. That figure was only slightly higher in Alaska, at 54.38%. It was 56.19% in Arkansas.
  • On average, loan amounts for first-time buyers across the 50 states are $49,021 smaller than those of repeat buyers. Credit scores are about 32 points lower while down payments are an average of $42,218 lower.

You can check out our full report here: https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/first-time-homebuyers-study/

LendingTree's Senior Economist and report author, Jacob Channel, had this to say:

"Even in the face of relatively high rates and steep home prices, first-timers on LendingTree’s platform still received a relatively large share of offers in 2023. While this goes to show that first-timers are still buying, it’s important to note that it doesn’t mean that the housing market was totally overrun by newbies. On the contrary, 2023’s housing market wasn’t very active compared to previous years. This means that first-time buyers weren’t necessarily flooding the market, so much as they just happened to make up a bigger portion of a smaller overall pool of would-be mortgage borrowers."

Posted On Wednesday, 21 February 2024 10:37 Written by
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