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Incentives for Maryland first-time home buyers

for sale sign outside houseMaryland first-time home buyers may soon have another program to help them buy a home. 

Two related bills are making their way through the Maryland General Assembly to create a first-time home buyer savings account. If enacted, Maryland would join a handful of other states that have already enacted such programs to incentivize home buying.

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Getting ready for the real estate disruptors

for sale sign outside houseI recently wrote about companies that are going through identity crises. Are they real estate companies or are they technology companies? Regardless, the big name real estate disruptors have changed the industry. Today’s home buyers are in control of their home search. Additionally, agent commissions are viewed much differently than they have been in the past. But the recent trend of real estate companies touting themselves as technology companies may be a signal that large real estate brokerages want more change. But are they mistaking the map for the territory?

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Housing likely unaffected by stock correction

for sale sign outside houseThe recent Wall Street volatility has triggered many into proclaiming that the sky is falling. Even some experts have speculated how the recent stock market activity would spill over to consumer spending, including the housing market. Reporting such as Jacob Passy’s recent article titled “Could Stock Market Volatility Cause House Prices to Fall?” (Marketwatch.com; February 8, 2018) makes for good clickbait. However, the details of the article would suggest otherwise. The consensus is that the recent Wall Street activity is not likely to impact the housing market.

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Flying under the radar once again

for sale sign outside houseMonday’s Reuters “exclusive” report about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dropping their investigation on the Equifax data breach caused quite a stir in DC (Exclusive: U.S. consumer protection official puts Equifax probe on ice – sources: reuters.com February 5, 2018). The exclusive cited unnamed sources. However, a spokesperson for Transunion (a credit repository) suggested that cybercrime is not within the jurisdiction of the CFPB. 

Later that day, Reuters cited Democratic Senators’ concerns and outrage over the alleged investigation pullback. The next day, Reuters reported that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin desired to meet with CFPB’s Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, based on its initial reports of dropping the Equifax investigation. In the same report, Reuters cited the CFPB’s spokesperson saying that the CFPB was working with other government agencies on the Equifax data breach.

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Finding a rental is not that easy folks

for sale sign outside houseSome housing experts are excited about the recent one-half of one percent uptick in the homeownership rate, saying it’s at a three year high. The Census’ most recent release of the Quarterly Residential Vacancies and Homeownership described the move as “not statistically different” from the previous quarter or year (census.gov). 

Essentially, the homeownership rate remains historically low. This dovetails with the Census’ most recent renter moving data indicating that the percentage of renters who moved in 2017 was the lowest since 1988. 

So, it should not be a surprise that rents are on the rise, and it’s becoming even more difficult to find a rental.

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The neutering of the Internet in 2018

for sale sign outside houseThe National Association of Realtors has always championed net neutrality. They have argued that net neutrality was a means for internet fairness for small businesses and consumers. A recent article for Realtor Magazine (the official magazine of the NAR) by Robert Freedman hits the same talking points of many recent NAR articles and statements (How FCC Plan to End Net Neutrality Hurts You; realtormag.realtor.org; November 21, 2017). Freedman wrote that a reversal of net neutrality rules would “make it harder for real estate companies, multiple listing services, and property data aggregators to provide their serices in a cost-effective way.”
 
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Bitcoin will change future real estate deals

for sale sign outside houseIs a Bitcoin mortgage in your future? Probably not. Mortgages will not be in Bitcoin in the near future.

But that doesn’t mean that the technology that underlies cryptocurrencies won’t be making the real estate transaction cheaper and more efficient.

Brad Finkelstein reported on the difficulties of a Bitcoin mortgage (Virtually No Chance Soon for Any Bitcoin Denominated Mortgages; National Mortgage News, 2014).

Cryptocurrencies have a history of volatility, Bitcoin most recently lost about a third of its value (see: Bitcoin at crossroads after shedding more than $27 billion in value; marketwatch.com; September 14, 2017). Instability of the currency is a major issue for a thirty-year mortgage.

Finkelstein stated that such short-term losses could cause the mortgage holder to “lose their shorts,” and cause the borrower to default. He also pointed out that regulatory hurdles will be difficult to transcend, stating that mortgage rules and closing disclosures are calculated in dollars. Not to mention the difficulty of appraising a home’s value in Bitcoin. Additionally, all parties that are part of the transaction (such as appraisers) need to accept payment in Bitcoin.

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Popularity of vacation homes are waning

for sale sign outside houseAccording to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey (nar.realtor), last year’s vacation home purchases plunged 21.6 percent!
Last year’s decline in vacation home sales comes at the heels of a huge drop in 2015, and has tumbled about 36 percent since the post-recession high marked in 2014.
Are the statistics telling us it’s it a good time to buy that vacation home you have been thinking about?
Or is it that Americans are rethinking their view about vacations and retirement?

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Self-driving cars and buying your next home

for sale sign outside houseTechnology has made homes more efficient and environmentally friendly, while also making them more comfortable.
Technology has made the business of real estate become increasingly easier through electronic communications and electronic signatures.
Technology has also made finding a home much easier too. It’s obvious that the real estate industry has been greatly impacted by technology, but will selfdriving car technology impact real estate?

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Getting some first time home owners assistance

for sale sign outside houseIf you are a would-be first time home buyer concerned about buying a home, you’re not alone. First time home buyers have had the most difficulty getting back into the real estate market after the Great Recession. Many would-be first time home buyers lack the financial resources, while others worry about the long term value. However, there is probably no better time than now to buy your first home.
You may be one of the many would-be first time home buyers who opted to continue to rent or live with their parents until the timing was right. Many would-be home buyers did the same, as a 2106 Pew Research Center report pointed out the millennial housing trend that may be associated with the decline in the homeownership rate since the Great Recession (For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds; pewsocialtrends.org; May 24, 2016). However, economic factors have significantly improved, and the housing market has stabilized. So what’s holding you back?

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