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Homeowner headlines

MRIS and other MLSs to add new-home listings

A number of multiple listing services across the country — including MRIS, which serves a large portion of Virginia — will be adding new construction and new-home communities to the listings accessible by members.

Builders Digital Experience — a joint venture between Realtor.com operator Move and homebuilder consortium Builder Homesite — says that 16 MLSs will feature new-home communities as well as floorplans in a “new home channel.” BDX already powers Realtor.com’s “New Homes & Communities” section.

The new information will be a customized version of what’s available on BDX’s NewHomeSourceProfessional.com, which bills itself as having “the largest collection of new homes” searchable by real estate agents.

Study: Virginia most affected by government shutdown

A study by personal finance site Wallet Hub found that Virginia is the state most affected by the government shutdown.

Using data from Realtor.org as well as the Department of Education, the Brookings Institute, FedsDataCenter.com, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, Wallet Hub examined a number of factors that would make a state more or less impacted by the shutdown.

Some mortgage brokers are offering closing-cost help

An article in the Washington Post explains how consumers shopping for mortgages may be offered “substantial credits” from mortgage brokers. Lenders, the article explains, may be able to offer similar help with closing costs, but do not always advertise the fact.

This is because the mortgage brokerages, unlike lenders, are required by law to pass certain monies back to their clients, according to the Post. They are trying to use this fact as a tool to attract customers, it says.

As the article explains:

Government shutdown and mortgages — what you need to know

If Congress shuts the government tomorrow (i.e., tonight at midnight), how will that affect mortgages? With Fannie and Freddie backing 90+ percent of them, and FHA loans being so popular, it’s an important question.

CNN has the answers, but here’s the gist:

Fannie and Freddie will continue to operate. They aren’t funded by the government; they make their money via fees.

However, FHA, VA, and USDA loan applications won’t be processed.

Housing demand prevails over seasonal decline

Sales numbers can look bleak as the market begins to experience its seasonal decline, but the market it still looking strong in Virginia. Sales are holding steady compared to previous years. In fact, Virginia has seen more sales this summer than it has since 2007.

Virginia cities, schools, businesses in the rankings

A few of the recent rankings reports released had Virginia well represented, so I figured I’d share.

First, seven Virginia cities were added to the National Association of Home Builders’ Improving Market Index – it "tracks housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health."

Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach are on for the first time; Richmond and Williamsburg were already on the list. The only cloud: Danville dropped off the list this month.

Preparing for the boomerang buyers

VAR editor, Andrew Kantor recently wrote a great Op/Ed on Virginia’s housing market which ran in the Virginian-Pilot out of Hampton Roads, VA. Check it out!

A coming change to the housing market is an opportunity to kick the economy back into high gear – but, if we don’t all work together, it could stagnate the housing market and maybe the rest of the economy as well.

Thousands of people who lost their homes to foreclosure are reaching the point where their credit has cleared enough for them to re-enter the market.

Unfortunately, just as these “boomerang buyers” are beginning to get on their financial feet, there aren’t enough homes for them to buy.

That’s fixable, but it still puts us at a crossroads of the economic recovery.

New video: Q2 Homes Sales Report

Don’t just read the Q2 Homes Sales Report. Experience it. Well, watch the video, anyway.

Check out our own Stacey Ricks’s overview of the numbers, including the big one: We passed a major milestone, and the market is now performing better even than it did than in the second quarter of 2010 when it got a boost from tax incentives.

In other words, this is the best the market has been with or without the added tax-incentive boost.

stacey_q2_report

Asking prices are up, but the rising is slowing: Trulia

Every month, Trulia looks at asking prices for homes and asking rents for rentals. And they’ve been going up for a while now.

In its latest report, for example, Trulia found that asking prices were up 11.0 percent in August from a year before (and up 1.2 percent month to month).

But the company adds an important note: It found that the rate of those price jumps was slowing.

When it looked at the numbers in three-month chunks (e.g., May-June-July vs. June-July-August) numbers, it found that price rises were tapering off.

Feb-Mar-Apr: +4.0 percent
May-Jun-Jul: +3.2 percent
Jun-Jul-Aug: +3.0 percent

Fannie Mae to (finally) recognize short sales

Fannie Mae is going to fix a small problem with its software. It turns out, the company’s computers don’t recognize short sales.

What that means is that short sales (which typically keep someone from buying a home for two years) had to be labeled as foreclosures (which typically keep someone from buying a home for seven years).

Oops.

That’s a huge problem in states with high short-sale rates, such as Florida. And that’s why Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) took up the cause. Working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Nelson got Fannie to agree to a fix.

By November 16, people who make short sales will have that properly labeled in Fannie’s system.