Skip navigation
Virginia Association of Realtors » »

National

NAR President testifies on Capitol Hill

NAR President Gary Thomas testifies before Congress on October 29.

Speaking in support of the bipartisan “Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013” — which provides for an explicit government guarantee for the secondary mortgage market — NAR President Gary Thomas testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs today.

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.

The government shutdown and real estate

As you might expect, there are plenty of stories about how the government shutdown is affecting folks across the country. Let’s focus on the real estate market, though. Here are some of the stories making the rounds:

Mortgage Bankers Call for End to Government Shutdown (DSNews)
David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, urged an end to the shutdown:

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.

Pending home sales up for 28th (!) straight month

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (which measures contracts, but not closings) was up 5.8 percent in August from the year before, marking 28 months of annual increases. (It was down from July, but that’s typical — sales taper off after summer.)

NAR also expects total existing-home sales to be up about 11 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.

You can view and download the latest Virginia Home Sales Report right here on VAR's website.

What Virginia REALTORS® need to know

In a few days — on October 1 — the federal insurance exchange for Virginia will open, allowing Virginians who don’t have health insurance to begin researching the providers and plans available. (Remember, Gov. McDonnell opted out of having the state run the exchange itself, so the feds will do it for us.)

In short, if you need to buy insurance because of Obamacare, you can start the process then.

That said, what exactly is required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare?

Forbes ranks Virginia #1 for business

Forbes has ranked Virginia the number-one state for business. We had been #2 since 2009.

This contrasts (or contradicts) the CNBC ranking from earlier this year that had us slip to #5.

Here’s part of what Forbes had to say:

NAR releases its 2013 "Profile of Real Estate Firms"

NAR’s 2013 "Profile of Real Estate Firms" is out (and available free for members), and it’s more than 70 pages of data and stats about real estate firms in the U.S. Here are a few highlights — pick up the full thing through Realtor.org.

* * *

What the firms do: 80% are primarily residential; residential property management, commercial sales, and appraisals are the most popular secondary specialties.

Who owns them: The vast majority are small and independent.

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.