Guardian Residential Lending Industry News, May 9-16, 2019

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In the Know: A Roundup of This Week’s Local and National Real Estate Stories 

Condos, Floating Homes, the Average American’s Net Worth and More…

A bit of balance returns to the Portland region’s residential real estate market (Portland Business Journal, May 13)

That such stiff local competition among buyers has eased up isn’t necessarily a sign of a slowdown, but rather a return to a sense of balance in the residential real estate scene. Hot, close-in neighborhoods still spark bidding wars, but price increases have leveled out, inventory has fattened up and buyers are finding attractive options in areas once considered too fringe.

“Right now, it feels really nicely balanced,” said Cristen Lincoln, a broker with Living Room Realty. “Well-priced houses are selling, still with multiple offers, but overall I think there’s a nice balance.”

The latest numbers support the perception that the local residential real estate scene has flattened. According to March data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service, inventory was at 2.2 months; a year earlier it had been at 1.6 months, up from 1.3 months in March 2017. And though the average sales price in March climbed to $452,700 over March 2017’s $434,800 — an increase of about 4 percent — the price jumps have climbed more gradually. (Between March 2016 and March 2017, the average price jumped 12 percent, from $361,100 to $404,300.)

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Housing in San Francisco Is So Expensive Some People Live on Boats (WSJ, May 16)

Move onto water is latest sign of affordable-housing crisis

The median price for an existing single-family home in the San Francisco Bay Area has nearly tripled to $940,000 from $327,000 since 2009, according to March data from the California Association of Realtors, amid a surge in technology jobs over the same time.

The homeless population floating off the coast of wealthy Marin County, just north of San Francisco, has doubled in recent years to about 100, according to authorities. The ragtag collection of some 200 barges, sailboats, and other mostly decrepit vessels in which they live and store their belongings is a sign of an affordable-housing crisis in California that is being felt particularly acutely in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The boating homeless include some who are employed but say they can’t afford to live on land, some who prefer the independence and others who are jobless or mentally ill. The seafaring life isn’t easy for any of them.

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Rates Close In On Lowest Levels in Over a Year (Mortgage Daily News, May 16)

To be clear, mortgage rates haven’t dropped nearly as much as Treasuries, but at least they’ve dropped. The average lender is easily at the lowest levels since late March 2019. They’re also getting very close to breaking below those levels (it would only take another day or two like today). If that happens, rates would officially be at the lowest levels in well over a year, and the going rate on a conventional 30yr fixed loan would be just under 4% in the most ideal scenarios.

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The affordable housing crisis, explained (Curbed, May 14)

Blame policy, demographics, and market forces

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NAR: Home prices are rising but at a much slower pace (HW, May 14)

Home prices rise 3.9% in the first quarter of 2019

The national median existing single-family home price increased 3.9% annually to $254,800 in the first quarter, according to the latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors.

Despite this increase, Q1’s total now sits below the annual increase of 4% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

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Walk-in pantries, granite countertops, kitchen islands lead homeowners’ wishlists

Tankless water heaters, solar panels and “dog washing stations” are also in demand

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As it preps for Portland launch, Zillow Offers reports fielding more than $200M in deals a day (Portland Business Journal, May 13)

Since launching over a year ago, Zillow Offers receives a request for an offer to buy a home every two minutes, which represents more than $200 million in transaction value per day, Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman said in the announcement.

Unlike online brokerages such as REX and Seattle-based Redfin, which charge a fee of 1 or 2 percent to buy or sell a house, the convenience offered by services like Zillow Offers, Opendoor and Offerpad costs a bit more. Zillow Offers charged an average service fee of 7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the company.

In comparison, Offerpad charges a service fee that ranges from 6 percent to 12 percent of the sale price, and Opendoor typically charges between 6 percent and 7.5 percent.

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Zillow’s home-flipping business could be good for buyers. Is it good for Zillow? (Curbed, May 14)

The company announced massive home flipping revenue and massive home flipping losses

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Condo Mortgage Business – Poised for a Breakout (Mortgage News Daily, May 9)

Condominium loans represent only about 8 percent of total mortgages, a share that has remain fairly stable for several years. However, CoreLogic says they are poised to play a much larger role.  Jacqueline Doty, writing in the company’s Insights blog, says the loans, which are overwhelmingly (80 percent) conventional, have enjoyed recent gains.

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Tax changes have impacted only the wealthiest U.S. housing markets (HW, May 13)

Prices may fall in the highest segment of luxury market, First American report says

The real estate industry was concerned about the impact of two items in the 186-page law: limiting the mortgage-interest deduction to $750,000, down from $1 million, and capping the deductibility of property taxes to $10,000. So far, the only casualty has been the priciest end of the luxury market in some of the wealthiest U.S. towns, according to a report Monday from First American.

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Oregon’s Fastest Growing Cities (Portland Business Journal, May 13)

The city of Portland has earned plenty of attention for its growth over the last two decades.

Indeed, the warp-speed growth rate between 1980 and 2015, during which the region nearly doubled in size, to 2.4 million residents, seemed unlikely to continue. Metro officials projected in 2016 that the region will grow at a rate about half that speed, reaching the 3.5 million mark, by 2060.

  1. Happy Valley
  2. Molalla
  3. Wilsonville
  4. Bend
  5. Roseburg

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Here’s the net worth of the average American family (CNBC, May 15)

Americans say, on average, that it takes a net worth of $2.27 million to be considered “wealthy,” according to a 2019 survey from Charles Schwab. Net worth means assets minus liabilities, so this is a picture of your total savings, including the value of your home, 401(k) and any other assets you may have, minus any debt.

How does that compare to the net worth of the typical American family?

The average net worth of all U.S. families is $692,100, according to The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. If you look at the median, or those at the 50th percentile, the amount is significantly lower: $97,300 — and that may be a better gauge, since the super-rich can pull up the average.

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Just for Fun

Iconic Portland floating home on the market for just under $1 million (KGW, May 16)

One of the most photographed floating homes in Portland is available

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Thanks for reading!