When the world shut down because of COVID-19, few people thought their work routine would change so drastically. It’s now more than a year since the virus forced people into a remote work environment, and with the pandemic threat diminishing, there are big questions about the best way to shift to a more hybrid model that combines workplace with work-from-home.
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending March 27th, 2021… the state of the economy from Treasury Secretary Yellen and Fed Chief Powell, what some see as a co-working rebound, and a new demand for golf course homes.
The push continues for a solution to lumber shortages and skyrocketing lumber prices. A large number of sawmills were shut down early last year, creating a major shortage of lumber for the construction industry. While there’s hope that sawmills will return to full capacity as people get vaccinated and social distancing mandates are relaxed, the National Association of Homebuilders is urging policymakers to find solutions right now.
Individuals across the U.S. are getting a new round of stimulus checks worth more than $410 Billion. This is the third time the government has handed out money because of the pandemic. While many people are still suffering financially, the economy is also recovering, and that’s raising a lot of questions about whether people should save, spend, or invest their checks.
So what should individuals do with their stimulus checks? I thought I’d cover some of the ideas and recommendations I’ve been seeing in the news, and what many people say they are planning to do with their checks.
New risk reduction policies at Fannie Mae could make it harder to get loans for single-family second homes and investment properties. The GSE sent letters to lenders saying it will impose a new 7% limit on the acceptance of those kinds of loans. Fannie is currently accepting a higher percentage. So what does that mean for investors?
Dozens of New York City landlords are being accused of discriminating against people with housing vouchers. A housing rights watchdog group filed a federal lawsuit against 88 brokers and landlords after an undercover operation that involved recorded phone calls.
The state of New York made it illegal to discriminate against tenants based on their source of income in 2019. That includes people who use Section 8 vouchers to pay their rent as well as other forms of assistance like child support, alimony, foster care subsidies, and veterans benefits. There are a few exceptions that include rentals in one- or two-family homes but only if they are occupied by the owner.
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending March 13th, 2021… a $1.9 Trillion economic rescue, iBuyer 2021 rebound, and a Zillow hiring spree.
We begin with economic news from this past week, and the approval of a $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 relief package. The National Association of Realtors is applauding the high-dollar stimulus plan because there are several provisions that will help the housing market, including another $21.55 billion in rental assistance. Landlords who are owed back rent will benefit from those funds, and the previous $25 billion approved in December. $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals will also help the back rent situation. There’s also money to help homeowners struggling to pay mortgages, as well as small businesses, schools, and local governments that are low on cash.
The pandemic has increased renter preferences for certain amenities, and one New York City website has come up with an interesting list of “must haves.” It’s a top 10 list that was compiled from search results in December and January by apartment listing website StreetEasy.
People have been spending more time at home since the start of the pandemic, and that’s changed a lot of priorities about our home space. Although there are many preferences on this list that are geared toward apartment buildings, several apply to any kind of rental situation.
“The 2020’s will be the decade of the hyperloop.” Those are the words of Virgin hyperloop co-founder Josh Giegel just a few months after the company conducted its first passenger test. Giegel was one of the two people on board the. Virgin now expects its system to be up and running for the public by the end of this decade.
1 - https://virginhyperloop.com/
2 - https://www.radio.com/kxnt/articles/press-release/virgin-hyperloop-has-successful-test-in-nevada-desert
3 - https://virginhyperloop.com/press/results-midwest-hyperloop-study
4 - https://www.star-telegram.com/news/coronavirus/article244517722.html
5 - https://gizmodo.com/north-carolina-is-eyeing-a-hyperloop-one-system-for-the-1836318917
6 - https://www.forbes.com/sites/geekgirlrising/2020/12/08/san-francisco-to-la-in-35-minutes-virgin-hyperloop-moves-closer-to-reality/?sh=4f2dfc8b5274
7 - https://clevelandmagazine.com/in-the-cle/news/articles/cleveland-to-chicago-in-28-minutes-hyperloop-moves-forward?fbclid=IwAR2QRUk2mumJxqU1uaSTbi1Cxtq4k9hnqnvaQBkp-g1bm2XbLKDT_XrRBxw
8 - https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Car-Rental-News/Hyperloop-travel-appears-to-be-on-the-fast-track-to-reality
Selling a home is about to get cheaper as the result of an antitrust lawsuit. Because of a settlement between the National Association of Realtors and the Department of Justice, the fees that sellers pay to buyers will be publicly displayed on listing pages. Redfin is already doing it in many markets, and other real estate websites are expected to follow suit in the coming months. That kind of transparency typically results in more competition and lower rates.
A Texas judge has ruled the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium is unconstitutional. It’s been in effect since last spring because of the pandemic, and has put some landlords in a tough spot because they can’t afford to support tenants who aren’t paying rent. The ruling stopped short of an injunction, and it’s now being appealed by the Department of Justice.
California landlords may face a new excise tax. AB 1199 would impose a tax on landlords to pay for the privilege of renting or leasing property in California. Some people feel it’s an end run to the failed Proposition 15 in the last election which would’ve eliminated Prop 13 protections for commercial property. AB 1199 would also create a public registry of rental property information including the names of the individual property owners.
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending February 20th, 2021… how rents are doing in smaller markets, whether Opportunity Zones are turning profits, and an easy place to find flood risk data for individual properties.
Every year, California residents face a profusion of new laws, and this year, there are several new laws that will have a big impact on real estate. I’ve covered a few of them before, but they are important enough to mention again along with a few others for our California listeners and for people interested in what California is doing as a potential trend-setter for other states.
The numbers keep going up for the housing market. Redfin reports that competition is so fierce among buyers that a majority of homes are going under contract within two weeks. That’s also driving home prices to new record highs.
Redfin reports that median asking prices are up 10% from a year ago, to a new all-time high of $334,770. It also says that median sale prices are up 15% year-over-year to $318,750.
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending February 13th, 2021... new comments from the Fed Chief on the risk of inflation, a new extension for government forbearance programs, and a forecast on homebuyer demand.
We begin with economic news from the past week, and Fed Chief Jerome Powell’s commentary about inflation. He spoke before the Economic club of New York saying he doesn’t expect a big jump or a sustained increase in inflation right now. He says: “Inflation has been much lower and more stable over the past three decades than in earlier times. In the 1970’s, when inflation would go up, it would stay up.”
Will it be another great year for single-family homes? After a surge in demand for single-family homes last year, the big question on many investor minds is whether this is “a fad or a real trend.” The Urban Land Institute and PWC just published a yearly report on real estate trends, with some insights on where the single-family market may be headed.
With eviction moratoriums in place for nearly a year now, one might assume that investing in rental property would not be prudent. If people lose their jobs and can't pay rent, how can the landlord pay for their bills like the mortgage, property taxes and insurance? Yet, in spite of these unprecedented challenges, some metro areas have actually seen rents rise - according to a recent CoreLogic report that tracks rent collections.
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending February 6th, 2021... new record-highs for Houston real estate, good news about renter credit scores, and a big “first” for the 3D printing of homes.
We begin with economic news from this past week and the latest job market reports. New applications for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in nine weeks. The government says that 779,000 people filed for state unemployment benefits during the last week of January.
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending January 30th, 2021… the Fed’s latest policy decisions, more good news about home sales, and a Zillow forecast on home values.
We begin with economic news from this past week, and another meeting of the Federal Reserve that ended with no policy changes and signs that short-term interest rates will stay right where they are for several years. The Fed also said it has no plans to taper its monthly purchase of $120 billion in bonds until it sees “substantial further progress” in a job market recovery, along with inflation that sits above 2% for some amount of time.