We’ve been saying for a long time how important the housing industry is to the economy — how every home sold has a major and positive effect on industries far and wide.
Well here’s a great chart that makes that point crystal clear. It shows housing starts vs. the unemployment rate.
Unemployment began to skyrocket around January 2007, peaking about two and a half years later. Since mid-January 2009, though, it’s been going down.
Meanwhile, one-unit housing starts peaked around January 2006, plummeted for about three years, and only started rising again in early 2009 with the rest of the economy.
A bill being introduced in Congress by Reps. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Stephen Fincher (R-TN), and Gary Miller (R-CA) is trying to fix what the legislators feel is an unintended consequence of new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that cover "predatory" or "high-cost" loans.
Here’s the deal: Mobile or manufactured homes typically cost a lot less than a typical suburban property. Basic math means that the cost of originating and servicing loans for those properties might be the same in terms of dollars, but are much higher, percentage-wise, in a small loan.
Interesting story in the Financial Times about how immigrants to the U.S. have not only been key to the housing recovery, they will remain key to the market. It’s based in part on a report from Housing America and the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Some key points:
Kudos to the Bristol Tennessee-Virginia Association of Realtors for hosting a debate forum for for City Council candidates — something the association has been doing for many years.
Whatever your political views, it’s good for Realtors to be involved in local politics; it helps cement the idea that we are business and community leaders.
Hosting debates, running forums (fora, for you Latin speakers), and being involved in as many community activities as possible — keep up the good work.
We’ve told you before about the USDA’s rural-housing loan program, which provides no-down-payment loan for rural homes.
Now two U.S. senators hope to expand the program’s definition of “rural” even further, so more people can take advantage of the program.
Two major consumer organizations are urging Congress to enact a national “Homeowner Bill of Rights” to reduce foreclosures, “stabilize local housing markets, and protect homeowners.”
Pointing out how the lack of lender regulation helped cause the Great Recession, and that lenders have been reluctant “to engage in good-faith loss-mitigation before beginning the foreclosure process,” — the Center for Responsible Lending and Consumers Union issued a joint policy brief they say can both protect homeownership without putting undue burden on lenders.
The proposal takes into account other regulations — such as California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new lending rules.
To help fight homelessness in Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell has announced three grants that will create 19 new housing units for homeless and disabled people.
The grants (which come from a “special funding allocation” of the governor’s 2013 budget) total an even $1 million. They’ll go to apartment complexes in Fairfax County, Gloucester County, and Newport News.
In 2008, Virginia had an estimated 1,166 homeless families — about 3,600 homeless people — mostly in Fairfax County, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Arlington County.
This is a reminder — but an important one — about post-licensing curriculum changes. (It will mostly affect new real estate licensees, but brokers need to remember it.)
The PL curriculum is changing from three tracks (residential, property management, commercial) to a single-track system.
- The old system will be in place until December 31, 2013.
- The new system will be available starting July 1, 2013.
The overlap is what’s important.
You know you must take 30 hours of PL education within a year of getting your license. You must take those 30 hours under the current system or the new system — you cannot mix them.
The Virginia Association of REALTORS® thanks Governor McDonnell and the members of the General Assembly for working together to pass a sustainable transportation funding plan, resulting in HB 2313.
“We know the importance of an adequate, efficient transportation network. It enhances the quality of life in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Transportation impacts everyone: parents getting children to school, businesses aiming to attract customers, first responders and law enforcement responding to emergencies, and commuters on their way to work,” says Mary Dykstra, President of the Virginia Association of REALTORS®.
This transportation bill is not perfect, but a result of compromise and working together for the greater good.