BLOG

temp-post-image

It would be ideal if what sellers were asking for homes and what buyers were willing and able to pay matched up, but this isn't the reality in the current market. According to a new study released by realtor.com, there is still a large gap between these two figures, and it widens even more in certain markets.

The Gap Between What Home Buyers and Sellers Want

A new realtor.com study finds that half of all homebuyers are searching for a home priced below $288,000, but this is 9.1% short of the median price of all currently available homes. This demonstrates a significant gap for entry-level buyers.

Researchers estimate that the only way to achieve a balance between what is for sale and what buyer...

Read more

temp-post-image

The 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act created a new measure that was meant to encourage investment in certain low-income areas, or "Opportunity Zones," through various tax incentives. While enticing on the surface, the measure is full of restrictions and language that is unclear at best. Not as many investors have taken advantage of the program as anticipated, and one of the reasons could be the need for further clarification from the IRS.

Opportunity Zones Do Have Benefits...

Whether it's a single investment or an opportunity zone (OZ) fund that pools investor resources, the idea of these funds is to reduce risk even though they're putting money into so-called "risky" locales. The main attraction is t...

Read more

temp-post-image

Even though this nation's job numbers remain strong, slow wage growth compared to housing appreciation rates is pricing people out of homes. While U.S. home prices have gone up about 60 percent since 2012, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index, Bureau of Economic Analysis figures show that household income has risen just under 30 percent over the same period.

The housing affordability gap continues to widen for many consumers, but this varies depending on location. Studies show that some parts of the country are keeping pace with housing value growth by paying workers enough, and others are falling short.

What Is Considered an "Affordable" Home?

The long-used rule ...

Read more

temp-post-image

There are plenty of things to worry about when it comes to trends in the U.S. economy, and state of the yield curve is one of them. People fear a changing yield curve because an inverted one is a fairly sure sign of an impending recession. A flatter or reversed curve not only hurts lenders but also sends many investors into a panic.

The Yield Curve Concept

When a "normal" yield curve exists, the yield on long-term bonds is higher than those on short-term ones. This makes sense because someone lending money for a longer period would expect to get paid more for assuming that risk.

This is a simple enough concept that is illustrated in the usual rates on certificates of deposits. For example, the ...

Read more

temp-post-image

Homeownership rates have steadily increased since the 2008 financial crisis and following recession waned. However, higher home prices and rising interest rates have caused these rates to stall over the past year. Even so, the overall housing market is considered much healthier than it was a decade ago, and the mortgage climate is different as well.

Where once consumers generally approached their banks or credit unions for mortgage loans, a growing number are now using nonbank mortgage companies. There are advantages to certain borrowers to this arrangement, and new regulations are keeping the risk from these players in check.

Growing Market Share

Non-bank lenders or independent mortgage banks ...

Read more

The Federal government created the Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) program with the 2017 "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act." The program is meant to promote economic growth in struggling communities through tax incentives to investors.

U.S. states and territories, including Washington D.C., were able to nominate areas to be included in the QOZ program by census track last year. The U.S. Treasury and IRS recently finalized these selections. This program presents unique opportunities for real estate development and investment in the coming years.

temp-post-image

How Does the QOZ Program Work?

The goal of the Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) program is to provide financial incentives to investors that make long-term capita...

Read more

Housing affordability and availability continue to be prevailing issues across the U.S. The latest figures released by different agencies provide some mixed messages about the state of new home construction in this country. Homes continue to be built with continued shortages in some areas. The outlook on the mortgage front is encouraging.

temp-post-image

Housing Starts Slip But New Permits Are Up

According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing starts are down for May 2019, but permits for new residential construction are up.

Housing starts in May (1,269,000 units), which is the measure of builders breaking ground on new homes, trend...

Read more

Congress initially created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968 under the National Flood Insurance Act to provide property owners with affordable insurance coverage for losses or damages due to catastrophic flooding.

Today, this program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The program's goal is to lower the impact of flooding through insurance coverage as well as encourage communities to create and enforce regulations for floodplain management.

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 reauthorized the NFIP for five years. It has since been funded by a series of short-term measure...

Read more

The increase in robocalls in the U.S. has been so extreme that lawmakers are taking drastic measures with new legislation. According to the latest figures, the Federal Trade Commission received over 3.7 million robocall complaints in 2018, and the FCC received another 232,000 complaints.

While there remains a Do Not Call Registry that citizens can join to prevent certain calls, many robocalls are coming from fraudulent sources that don't care about the law. If the new legislation does pass, it won't have much of an impact on the businesses, such as mortgage service providers, that continue to act within legal guidelines.

temp-post-image

The Growing Problem of Robocalls and Spoofing

Most Americans today carry ...

Read more

The first tax season after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has come and gone, and many homeowners have felt an unexpected pinch. In high-tax states, some have been particularly hard hit this year thanks to changes in the tax laws.

There are new federal deductions limits on SALT, or state and local taxes, which are now capped at $10,000 per year. People who once used these deductions to help offset high income and property taxes in some states may soon rethink where they live.

temp-post-image

Taxpayers Hit by the New SALT Deduction Limit

It's a common misconception that these new tax law changes only impact high-income and wealthy Americans. In truth, part of it depends on where you live. The Treasury ...

Read more