Warning iconJune 2016 — Consumers and Realtors® beware — there’s a new hacking/phishing scam that’s hitting the real estate market, according to information issued recently by the Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors®.

This isn’t your average run-of-the-mill email scam. This is a sophisticated scheme where hackers break into the email accounts of brokers, agents, attorneys, and title companies to gain information about their clients, including contact information and closing dates. Once obtained, they pose as the professional and send emails to the unsuspecting homebuyer. They’ll tell the client that the payment method has changed last-minute and to wire the transaction’s money, where it promptly disappears into the criminal’s hands.

SmartphoneMessageJune 2016 — "Realtor Party Mobile Alerts" is one of the best ways for Realtors to stay informed via text message when a Call For Action is launced.

By signing up for mobile alerts, NAR will send you short text messages when they need you to take action on important real estate issues.

Help yourself, your colleagues, your business and your industry by signing up today!

To sign up, simply Text REALTORS to 30644, or visit http://www.realtoractioncenter.com/realtor-party/realtor-mobile-action.html.

realtor logoJune 2016 — The term “REALTOR” is searched over 2 million times a month.

Help consumers easily find you -- a trusted source in real estate -- with a .REALTOR web address. Exclusively available to members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and the Canadian Real Estate Association, stay top-of-mind with prospects and clients by reminding them who you are and what you do! In a complicated online world, it doesn't get any easier than this.

.REALTOR is available to:

  • Members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) including International REALTOR® Members (IRMs)
    Members of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)
    Brokerage Firms
    State, provincial, and local REALTOR® Member Boards

For more information visit http://www.about.REALTOR

big houseJune 2016 — The Spring 2016 homebuying season marks the sixth year into the housing recovery. With steadily rising property values and homeowners' equity, the housing market continues to regain its footing while mortgage delinquency and home foreclosures are falling to all-time lows since the 2007 housing downturn.

Early estimate shows the average home price in April reached $231,000, up 7.4 percent from the same period a year ago. At the current pace of the recovery, this spring and summer will soon mark the first time that home prices will rise above the 2006-2007 peak levels.

However, the rate of price appreciation has notably tapered off from its double-digit days of 2012 and 2013. After dropping to its lows at the end of 2014, the year-over-year growth has since held up at an arguably more sustainable rate of 5 to 6 percent.

chart up blogMay 2016 — In March, U.S. home sellers sold their properties for an average of $30,500 more than their purchase price, a 17 percent average gain—the highest average price gain for home sellers in any month since December 2007 at the onset of the Great Recession.

These data are from RealtyTrac®'s March and Q1 2016 U.S. Home Sales report, based on publicly recorded sales deeds collected and licensed by RealtyTrac in more than 900 counties nationwide accounting for more than 80 percent of the U.S. population.

Among 125 metropolitan statistical areas with at least 300 sales in March, home sellers realized the biggest average gains compared to purchase price in San Francisco (72 percent average gain); San Jose, Calif. (60 percent); Boulder, Colo. (53 percent); Prescott, Ariz. (51 percent); and Los Angeles (48 percent).

storm blogMay 2016 — In March, the SBA approved long-term, low-interest disaster loans for Super Storm Sandy relief. These loans are available to homeowners, renters, and businesses that are still struggling, either economically or with repairs, to complete their recovery. In addition, these loans can be used those people in your community that own rental properties along the shore that may still need assistance for the repair or possible elevation costs.

Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of disaster damaged or destroyed real estate which may include elevation costs. Homeowners and renters are also eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

The filing deadline is Dec. 1, 2016.

MoneyMay 2016 — All-cash buyers of single family homes and condos nationwide paid 23 percent less per square foot than all homebuyers, but that cash buyers in 9 percent of local housing markets paid a premium price per square foot. These data come from the recently released RealtyTrac® Q1 2016 U.S. Cash & Institutional Investor Housing Market Report.

Nationwide all-cash buyers purchased single family homes and condos for a median $91 a square foot in the first quarter of 2016, a discount of 23 percent below the median $118 per square foot for all home purchases.

“While large institutional investors and other cash buyers continue to shrink as a share of U.S. home sales, these buyers still typically beat out traditional buyers using financing — in some cases even when they submit a lower offer for a home,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “Additionally cash buyers are often willing to take on properties in poor condition that may not readily qualify for standard financing, another reason why cash purchases normally sell at a lower price per square foot.

WaveMay 2016 — On April 1, the National Flood Insurance Program began implementing additional flood insurance program changes resulting from reform legislation. These changes may significantly affect what homeowners pay for their flood insurance. While some property owners may see minimal policy cost increases, others will experience larger premium increases. Overall, average premiums will increase by 9 percent and buildings newly mapped into a high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area will receive premium rate increases using a FEMA multiplier that will change every January 1.

Fore more information, visit:

https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

train blogMay 2016 — While recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter, April data has experts predicting housing will maintain its momentum in 2016 and be an economic engine of growth. This insight comes from data recently released by Freddie Mac. The report shows that recent declines in mortgage rates have also boosted refinance potential.

"We've revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy,” says Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac. “However, we maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity, particularly refinance."

Based on new data, first quarter 2016 real GDP growth has been revised down from 1.8 to 1.1 percent.

paintbrush1April 2016 — There’s no season like springtime to refresh, renew (and redo!) a home — and one of the simplest ways to breathe new life into it is with a fresh color palette.

“Spring embodies the saying ‘Out with the old, in with the new,’ and provides the opportunity for consumers to apply this mantra in a favorite room in their home,” says Katie Reynolds, an Atlanta-based design expert for Ace Hardware. “This is the perfect time of year to use unexpected pops of color and experiment with fresh, new design ideas."

Reynolds, along with fellow Ace design experts Nathan Fischer and Julia Richard, list these spring shades to try:

• Pink is having a moment! Pair blush tones with crisp whites—the combination will make a big impact in any room. Mix in as an accent by painting a dresser or chest in a soft pink shade.

• Turquoise never seems to go out of style. Use it sparingly to highlight other subtler colors in any room.

• Bright shades of coral will bring your home to life. Paint coral on an eye-catching accent wall or introduce it through tabletop accessories. Pair with neutral clay-brown tones to even out its intensity.

hipsterbeardApril 2016 — While the definition of hipster continues to evolve—with hipsters always one step ahead of those who try to define them—there remains at least one incontrovertible truth as it relates to the real estate needs of this particular tribe: they need a place to live.

RealtyTrac identified the top 30 hipster zip codes nationwide for profitable home flipping based on average flipping returns along with demographic data from the U.S. Census. All 30 of these zip codes met five criteria that brand them not only as hipster hot spots but also as highly profitable for home flipping. RealtyTrac ranked the zip codes based on the share of the population aged 20 to 34 in 2014.

“Hipsters typically aren’t looking for just any place to live; they are looking for a place that matches their particular vision of what a city, a neighborhood and a home should look, sound, feel, smell and taste like,” says Daren Blomquist, SVP at RealtyTrac. “When they find that vision, they are willing to pay a premium to experience it, which represents a boon for home flippers operating in those areas appealing to the hipster aesthetic — especially given that many of the hipster hot spots are urban core neighborhoods with plenty of older homes in need of major renovation.”

Five Criteria for a Hipster Home Flipping Hot Spot: