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Renters are taking a dimmer view of home ownership as concerns over housing affordability and student debt have a larger influence on their attitudes, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

NAR’s latest Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey found a growing disconnect in the morale among home owners versus renters about home ownership. The share of renters who think now is a good time to buy a home dropped to 62 percent in the second quarter of this year — down from 68 percent in December 2015 — with those under the age of 35 expressing the least amount of confidence in buying. Eighty percent of home owners, on the other hand, believe now is a great time to purchase a home.

“Existing-home prices surpassed their all-time peak this spring and have climbed, on average, over 5 percent nationally through the first five months of the year — and even faster in areas with severe supply shortages,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Most home owners appear to realize that if they’re ready to sell, they’ll likely find a buyer rather quickly and be able to use the sizeable equity they’ve accumulated in recent years towards their next home purchase. Meanwhile, renters interested in buying continue to face minimal choices, strong competition, and home prices growing faster than their incomes. … Given these affordability pressures, it’s no surprise respondents earning over $100,000 and those living in the Midwest — the most affordable region of the country — are the most optimistic about buying right now.”

Student debt is making many people uneasy about taking on additional debt to purchase a home. Two-thirds of non-home owners and half of those under 35 with student debt say they aren’t comfortable adding a mortgage on to their debt load, according to the HOME survey. They also were less likely to believe they’d even qualify for a mortgage.

“It’s becoming very evident from this survey and our research released last month that the financial and emotional impact of repaying student debt is contributing to a delay in purchasing a home for many would-be buyers,” Yun says. “At a time of quickly rising rents, mortgage rates at all-time lows, and increasing housing wealth, a lot of young adults in their prime buying years are struggling to enter the market and are ultimately missing out on the stability and wealth accumulation that owning a home can provide.”

Economists are predicting that strong home-price appreciation will continue in the coming months throughout most of the country. As such, a growing number of current home owners — 61 percent — say they believe it’s a good time to sell compared to 56 percent who said so in the first quarter of this year. Survey respondents who live in the West were most likely to say now is a good time to sell but were also least likely to say now is a good time to buy, according to the survey.

“More home owners acknowledging this pent-up demand may perhaps mean we begin to see more supply come online in the near future,” Yun says.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®
Renters are taking a dimmer view of home ownership as concerns over housing affordability and student debt have a larger influence on their attitudes, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR's latest Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey found a growing disconnect in the morale among home owners versus renters
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Baby boomers and others aged 55 or older – several million current homeowners – plan to move to rental units in the next few years, according to Freddie Mac’s latest 55+ Survey of housing plans and perceptions of those born before 1961.

An estimated 6 million homeowners and nearly as many renters prefer to move again and rent at some point, the survey shows. More than 5 million say they are likely to rent by 2020.

“When a population this large expects to move into less expensive rental housing, we have to expect it will create significant new pressure on both the supply and cost of existing affordable rental housing,” says David Brickman, executive vice president of Freddie Mac Multifamily.

Seventy-one percent of nearly 6,000 homeowners and renters surveyed say they plan to rent their next home. The top factors that they say are “very important” in influencing their next move are: affordability (60 percent); amenities needed for retirement (47 percent), living in a community where they are no longer responsible for caring for the property (44 percent), and being in a walkable community (43 percent).

Respondents also say they don’t want to move far from their current location. Thirty-one percent say they would likely relocate to a different neighborhood in the same city, while 23 percent say they would like to move to a different property in the same neighborhood. Eighteen percent say they would like to move to a different city in the same state and 24 percent would move to a different state.

Nearly 60% of the 55-plus renters surveyed say they prefer to either move closer to their families or in with them. Hispanic single-family renters were most likely to say they would like to move closer to family, while Asian-American renters were the most likely to say they plan to move in with their adult children one day.

Source: Freddie Mac
Baby boomers and others aged 55 or older – several million current homeowners – plan to move to rental units in the next few years, according to Freddie Mac's latest 55+ Survey of housing plans and perceptions of those born before 1961. An estimated 6 million homeowners and nearly as many renters
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – July 6, 2016 – As South Florida property insurance rates climb this year, homeowners are paying more attention to everything that can affect their premiums.

More and more, that includes credit scores. A good score can lead to discounts. Customers with poor scores get no discount, and if they have poor scores and a history of filing claims, they’ll find fewer companies willing to compete for their business.

Most homeowner insurers in Florida don’t use credit checks, but a growing number do, including two of the largest – Heritage Property & Casualty and Universal Property & Casualty, covering one of every five houses in South Florida, according to documents the companies file with the state.

Others that use credit checks include Ark Royal, Florida Family, Olympus, Modern USA and American Traditions.

United Property and Casualty made credit scoring mandatory for its insurance applicants in 2015, documents show, while Sawgrass Mutual introduced it last year as well.

“More carriers are using it compared to 10 or 15 years ago,” said Jeff Grady, president and CEO of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. “Agents accept it but don’t necessarily like it because they have to explain it to their clients.”

Cooper City resident Michelle Goldenberg said she received a renewal notice recently with a premium increase of nearly $1,000. Her agent suggested she might be able to lower that cost by allowing her insurer to run a credit check.

She declined, saying she was recently a victim of identity theft and hasn’t filed an insurance claim since after Hurricane Wilma a decade ago. “I said, ‘No way are you going to do a credit check so you can raise my rates again. If I’m able to pay off my house, I must be doing OK.'”

Credit-based insurance pricing has been controversial in Florida for at least a decade. In 2008, Kevin McCarty, then Florida’s insurance commissioner, called it unfair to minorities, poor people and the elderly and went to Washington, D.C., to urge a congressional committee to support a nationwide ban.

A 2015 study by Insurancequotes.com found that insurers in 46 states commonly used credit ratings to help set premiums, much like auto insurance companies have used them for years. Tying homeowner insurance premiums to credit is illegal in only three states: California, Maryland and Massachusetts. Florida was the only state where researchers found the practice was legal but credit scores had no impact on premiums.

State insurance officials said that result probably occurred because the researchers reviewed data samples from only six major insurers representing 60 percent to 70 percent of the state’s insurance market.

And those insurers probably didn’t use credit scoring because state law forbids using it to determine prices for hurricane insurance – the most expensive part of Florida policies,

About a month after the report was released, Heritage revealed it had initiated credit checks for its renewing voluntary customers, but not on customers it acquired from state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. through Citizens’ depopulation program. Rather than penalizing customers with low credit scores with higher rates, Heritage would use the scores to reward customers with good credit with discounts, the company announced.

Heritage turned to credit checks because “we weren’t competitive in many parts of the state,” president Rich Widdicombe said in a recent interview. “We said, ‘Let’s put credit scores on this and you get better customers and give those customers a discount.'”

Heritage and other insurers subscribe to services that combine credit scores with claims histories to form “insurance scores.” Widdicombe said last year that a low insurance score wouldn’t trigger a rate increase, but a low credit score combined with a history of filing claims might cause Heritage to reject an applicant altogether.

A majority of companies might have avoided using credit scores because they knew the state insurance commissioner opposed it, said Jay Neal, president and CEO of the Florida Association for Insurance Reform.

Companies that don’t use credit scoring include Citizens, Florida Peninsula, People’s Trust, Security First, Federated, Homeowner’s Choice and Tower Hill, state filings show.

But McCarty retired this year, and insurers might see that as an opportunity to reconsider credit scoring, Neal said.

As mounting losses from non-weather-related water damages trigger rate increases this year for multi-peril coverage, some insurers may be rethinking use of credit scoring to help weed out bad risks, said Jim Lynch, chief actuary for the Insurance Information Institute of America.

Whether companies call credit-based pricing a discount for customers with good credit scores or a surcharge for customers with bad credit scores, the bottom line is the same: People with good credit are rewarded and people with bad credit pay more, Lynch acknowledged.

But that’s fair, he said, and studies have found correlations between low credit scores and increased likelihood of filing claims. Just as data shows that auto insurance customers with low credit scores are greater crash risks, it’s logical that homeowners experiencing financial problems will be less likely to repair their leaking faucet – setting the stage for future claims, he said.

Using credit scores to help set prices for customers with different levels of risk is “one of the things an insurance company has to do – set rates that reflect risk,” he said.

Neal doesn’t buy that. “Credit scoring looks at one thing: credit,” he said. “Not the ability to pay, your income or your collateral. It doesn’t differentiate between someone who lost their income or someone who went on a credit card spending spree.”

Yet it’s the agent who’s forced to tell customers with low credit scores why a company is charging them more or won’t insure their homes, Grady said. “The agent feels like a heel when a person is charged a high rate and the agent is unable to give them an explanation,” Grady said.

Lee Goredetsky, president of L&S insurance in Fort Lauderdale, said some companies won’t write policies for customers with recent bankruptcies, short sales, foreclosures or other financial problems.

Credit scoring is more palatable when presented as possibly entitling customers to a discount, he said.

“When we give them their quote, their quote is their quote. It could get better, but it’s not going to get any worse,” he said.
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WASHINGTON (AP) – June 30, 2016 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates slid to new lows for the year this week amid market upheaval stoked by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Rates are at three-year lows at the height of the spring homebuying season.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.48 percent from 3.56 percent last week. The benchmark rate is down sharply from 4.08 percent a year ago, and close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012.

The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.78 percent from 2.83 percent last week.

Stock prices plunged in the U.S. and worldwide Friday, when results of the shock British vote became known. Investors fled to the relative safety of U.S. Treasury bonds, driving prices up and yields lower. Stocks recovered this week. But uncertainty remains over the effects on the global economy and financial markets of Britain’s decision to leave the 28-country European bloc.

Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which plummeted to 1.52 percent Wednesday from 1.73 percent a week earlier. It fell further to 1.48 percent Thursday morning.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage fell to 0.5 point from 0.6 point last week. The fee for a 15-year loan eased to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages averaged 2.70 percent this week, down from 2.74 percent last week. The fee remained at 0.5 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) – June 30, 2016 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates slid to new lows for the year this week amid market upheaval stoked by Britain's vote to leave the European Union. Rates are at three-year lows at the height of the spring homebuying season. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the
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ORLANDO, Fla. – June 29, 2016 – Spurred by rising job growth and home construction, Florida’s economy is expected to continue to grow at a faster pace than the national forecast for the next four years, according to the latest forecast from UCF economist Sean Snaith, director for the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the UCF College of Business Administration.

“The fundamental underpinnings of the housing market in Florida continue to strengthen. Job growth in Florida is forecasted to continue outperforming the U.S. labor market and more baby boomers continue to reach the end of their working lives,” wrote Snaith in the second-quarter Florida & Metro Forecast. “This bodes well for continued population growth via the in-migration of workers and retirees.”

From 2016-2019, Florida’s economy, as measured by Real Gross State Product, is expected to expand at an average annual rate of 2.9 percent through 2019, outpacing the projected average for U.S. real Gross Domestic Product growth for the same period.

Nominal Gross State Product is expected to break the $1 trillion mark in 2018, according to the Florida & Metro Forecast, and climb to $1.074 trillion in 2019. That would make Florida’s economy the 16th largest in the world, as ranked by the World Bank.

The pace of Florida’s labor market recovery is expected to continue to exceed the recovery in the national job market through 2019. Labor-force growth will average 2 percent from 2016 to 2019 thanks to consistently robust job creation. Payroll job growth in Florida continues to outperform national job growth with year-over-year growth expected to average 3.9 percent in 2016, 2.4 percent in 2017, 1.1 percent in 2018 and 0.8 percent in 2019.

The improved outlook should entice more Floridians to seek employment while also attracting out-of-state job seekers, Snaith said. In addition, it should lift consumer sentiment and consumption spending.

However, Florida faces a growing single-family housing shortage due to the shrinking inventory of existing homes and a pace of housing starts that trails growth. The two trends are rapidly pushing prices up in the single-family market.

“While this looks like another housing bubble, it’s really just an old-fashioned shortage in the single-family market,” Snaith said. “It is expected to correct itself as new housing starts ramp up over the next few years.”

Median existing home prices have reached $213,000 compared to $122,200 during the housing crisis. Yet while housing prices have increased, global property information company CoreLogic estimates 15 percent of Florida’s mortgage holders are still underwater, meaning they owe more in mortgage debt than the value of the home. Florida is second only to Nevada (17.5 percent) in percentage of mortgage holders with negative equity.

Source: 2016 Florida Realtors®
ORLANDO, Fla. – June 29, 2016 – Spurred by rising job growth and home construction, Florida's economy is expected to continue to grow at a faster pace than the national forecast for the next four years, according to the latest forecast from UCF economist Sean Snaith, director for the Institute for Economic Competitiveness
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All major U.S. regions except the Midwest saw an uptick in existing-home sales last month, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Wednesday. As tight inventories continue to plague many markets, the median sales price for all housing types climbed to an all-time high of $239,700 in May — up 4.7 percent from a year earlier — as buyer demand outweighs housing supply.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, increased 1.8 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million in May. Sales are now up 4.5 percent from a year ago and are at the highest annual pace since February 2007. This is the third consecutive month for gains in existing-home sales.

“This spring’s sustained period of ultra-low mortgage rates has certainly been a worthy incentive to buy a home, but the primary driver in the increase in sales is more home owners realizing the equity they’ve accumulated in recent years and finally deciding to trade up or downsize,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “With first-time buyers still struggling to enter the market, repeat buyers using the proceeds from the sale of their previous home as their down payment are making up the bulk of home purchases right now.”

Yun says sales likely will maintain their current pace throughout the summer, assuming there are no further decreases in job growth that could prompt a pause among repeat buyers.

Here’s a closer look at how existing-home sales performed in May, according to NAR’s latest housing report:

• Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types was $239,700 in May, up 4.7 percent from a year ago. That also surpasses the previous peak in median sales prices of $236,300, set last June.

• Days on the market: Properties spent less time on the market in May, selling, on average, after 32 days. That’s below the average time on market a year ago (40 days) and the shortest time since NAR began tracking such data in May 2011. Forty-nine percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month, also the highest percentage since May 2011. Short sales were on the market the longest, at a median of 103 days in May, while foreclosures sold in 51 days. Non-distressed homes took 30 days.

• Housing inventories: Total housing inventory at the end of May increased 1.4 percent month-over-month to 2.15 million existing homes for sale. That is 5.7 percent lower than a year ago. At the current sales pace, unsold inventory represents a 4.7-month supply.
“Existing inventory remains subdued throughout much of the country and continues to lag even last year’s deficient amount,” says Yun. “While new-home construction has thankfully crept higher so far this year, there’s still a glaring need for even more, to help alleviate the supply pressures that are severely limiting choices and pushing prices out of reach for plenty of prospective first-time buyers.”

• All-cash sales: Buyers paying in cash accounted for 22 percent of all transactions in May, down from 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors account for the biggest bulk of all-cash sales. Investors purchased 13 percent of homes in May, down from 14 percent a year ago.

• Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales dropped to 6 percent of all sales last month, down from 10 percent a year ago. Foreclosures comprised 5 percent of sales in May while short sales represented 1 percent of sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 12 percent below market value while short sales were discounted 11 percent.

Regional Snapshot

Here’s how existing-home sales fared across the country in May:

• Northeast: existing-home sales rose 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 770,000, and are now 11.6 percent above a year ago. Median price: $268,600, which is 0.1 percent below May 2015.

• Midwest: existing-home sales fell 6.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.3 million in May but are still 3.2 percent higher than a year ago. Median price: $190,000, up 4.8 percent from a year ago.

• South: existing-home sales rose 4.6 percent to an annual rate of 2.28 million in May and are now 6.5 percent above a year ago. Median price: $211,500, up 5.9 percent from a year ago.

• West: existing-home sales climbed 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.18 million in May but are still 1.7 percent lower than a year ago. Median price: $346,900, which is 7.7 percent above a year ago.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2016 All major U.S. regions except the Midwest saw an uptick in existing-home sales last month, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Wednesday. As tight inventories continue to plague many markets, the median sales price for all housing types climbed to an all-time high
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The real estate market will always have its ups and downs, but real estate is an often-profitable investment. Real estate investors do their investing for various reasons. Some see a house as a place to hang their hats for years and years, while others look at properties as nothing more than investments.

Buying a home with the intent to fix it up and resell it is called a “fix and flip.” In such situations, investors buy homes at below-market prices before refurbishing the homes with the goal of recouping their initial investment and then some when the homes are ultimately put back on the market. Flipping has become popular for both expert remodelers and novice investors.

RealtyTrac, the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, noted in its “Year-End and Q4 2015 U.S. Home Flipping” report that 5.5 percent of all single family home and condo sales during the year were flipped properties. This marked an increase from the same time the previous year.

Investing in a fixer-upper requires a leap of faith and a vision of what the home can look like in the future. Turning a real estate lemon into lemonade requires certain skills and a good measure of patience. The following are some guidelines to get anyone started.

• Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make an honest assessment of your abilities and which renovations, if any, you can handle. If you are unskilled or inexperienced working with your hands, then it can be easy for an investment property to quickly become a money pit. Before purchasing a property, hire a trained home inspector to tour the home with you and point out all the areas that will need renovation. With this list, begin getting estimates on how much money the work will entail. Determine if this fits with your budget or not. You do not want to invest so much that it exceeds what you could feasibly recoup when it comes time to sell.

• Overlook cosmetic things when visiting properties. Cosmetic issues include all of the easily replaceable items in a home, such as carpeting, appliances, interior paint colors and cabinetry. Focus on the bones of the house, the architectural integrity and those little touches that you envision having a “wow” factor.

• Seek the help of experts. Some flippers think they’ll save the most money by doing all of the work themselves. This isn’t always the case. Professional architects, designers and contractors may help you save money. Contractors have an intimate knowledge of where to buy materials and may be able to negotiate prices based on wholesale or trade costs. In addition, experts can help you avoid common pitfalls because they’ve already done this type of work time and again. It’s smart to rely on expert advice, even if it means investing a little bit more.

• Save money by doing some work yourself. While the pros may tackle the more complex parts of a given project, such as rewiring electricity or changing the footprint of a home, you can still be involved. Ask to participate in demolition, such as taking down walls or removing old materials from the home. Such participation may be fun, and it can save you substantial amounts of money on labor.

• Recognize that not everything must be completely redone. In some instances, a coat of paint and some new accents may be all you need to transform a space. For example, if kitchen cabinets are in good condition, see if they can be refaced or painted instead of replaced entirely. Install new door pulls/handles to add visual interest. Look for some ready-made items, such as bookshelves, instead of installing custom carpentry.

• Think about what the buyer wants and not what you want. Renovate with an eye toward prospective buyers’ needs. Keep things neutral and accommodating. Research the latest trends to understand what buyers might be seeking in a home. You want potential buyers to envision themselves moving right in.

Renovating a fixer-upper takes time, but it can be a worthwhile project, and one that can help turn a profit in a booming real estate market.
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ORLANDO, Fla. – July 6, 2016 – “We are deeply saddened and shocked by the devastating tragedy that has taken place in our community, says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor® Association (ORRA). “Our hearts and thoughts remain with the victims and their friends and families. We are standing strong with Orlando and will not let this atrocity define our City Beautiful, our home.”

ORRA’s Board of Directors, in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting, undertook a series of community initiatives to show the association’s support for both the victims and the City of Orlando.

ORRA’s outreach steps

• ORRA will use its communications vehicles – including social media, website, and e-mail capabilities – to provide members with a link to the City of Orlando clearinghouse site to make donations and offer or request assistance.
• ORRA will change its five digital billboards from “Use A Realtor” messages to “OrlandoStrong” messages. The billboards are part of ORRA’s annual spring/summer public awareness campaign.
• ORRA will produce a large banner with an “OrlandoStrong” message to hang on the outside of its headquarters building on Lee Road.
• ORRA will produce 1,000 “OrlandoStrong” lapel pins for members. The pins are available for free, while supplies last, in the lobby of the ORRA building on Lee Road. In addition, the pin manufacturer is donating 10 percent of the pins’ cost to the victims’ fund.
• ORRA will reach out, confidentially, to individual members affected by the shooting to provide assistance through the Florida Realtors Disaster Relief Fund. ORRA will also reach out confidentially to offer its assistance to members engaged in their own relief efforts.

Source: Orlando Regional Realtor Association
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – June 30, 2016 – A number of bills passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott go into effect today. While the state’s new laws impact a wide range of topics, some have a direct connection to real estate-related issues.

Real estate related bills effect July 1

Statewide water policy
SB 552 (Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness) was one of the first bills passed by the Florida Legislature. It’s a complex bill that lays the foundation for a comprehensive water management program for the state.

Several aspects of the 134-page bill align with Florida Realtors’ view on how to preserve one of Florida’s greatest natural assets: (1) protect and restore fresh water springs; (2) give the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) oversight for scientifically-based water research programs; and (3) allow the DEP to oversee pollution control measures for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee Estuary, and the St. Lucie River and Estuary.

Separately, the state budget provides funding for other environmental projects: $159.7 million for Everglades restoration; $56.8 million for northern Everglades and estuaries protection; and $50 million for springs protection projects.

Sinkhole insurance
Property owners in “sinkhole alley” – Hillsborough, Hernando and Pasco counties – where current available coverage only includes catastrophic loss, may now be offered protection against less severe damage.

SB 1274 (Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater) allows insurance companies to offer a new line of sinkhole insurance that covers more moderate damage, such as sunken floors and cracked walls. Under the bill, policyholders would have to show that they made the repairs; they would not be able to collect insurance money and spend it on other expenses or purchases.

Challenges to property assessments
If a property owner disagrees with the value placed on their property, they may challenge the assessment before their county’s Value Adjustment Board (VAB). Currently, only an attorney or “agent” may represent the owner. However, HB 499 (Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah) expands that list of representatives to include a real estate appraiser or broker.

Faster lease approvals for members of the military
SB 184 (Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Jacksonville), a broad military/veterans affairs bill, took on a House amendment late in the session requiring landlords and condo/homeowners’ associations to approve or deny a rental application submitted by active duty service personnel within seven days.

If the application is denied, the prospective tenant must be told why. If the application is not processed within the seven-day period, the landlord and condo/homeowners’ association must lease the unit to the service member.

“If you are handling the screenings of tenants for landlords, it’s important for you to be aware of the tenant’s service member status so you aren’t inadvertently violating this new law,” says Meredith Caruso, manager of Member Legal Communications for Florida Realtors.

Source: 2016 Florida Realtors®
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – June 30, 2016 – A number of bills passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott go into effect today. While the state's new laws impact a wide range of topics, some have a direct connection to real estate-related issues. Real estate related bills effect July 1
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NEW YORK – June 29, 2016 – Quicken Loans has been fairly hush about its latest offering of a super low downpayment mortgage, even as rival bank giants like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase all tout their new 3 percent down mortgage products. But late last year, Quicken Loans quietly began offering 1 percent downpayment mortgages.

The program emerged from a partnership between Quicken and Freddie Mac in October 2015 and was structured as part of Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Advantage program, which requires a 3 percent downpayment.

However, Quicken Loans offers its customers a 1 percent down because it grants the extra money to the borrower, Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans’ vice president of capital markets, told HousingWire in an interview.

“We require 1 percent from a consumer and we give the consumer a 2 percent grant, so the client has 3 percent equity immediately,” Banfield told HousingWire.

The 1 percent downpayment loans are available only for those purchasing a home, and they can only be used on a single-family home or condo – second home and investment properties or co-ops aren’t included. They must have a FICO score of 680 or above and earn less than the median income for their county. Their debt-to-income ratio must be 45 percent or less.

“We want to try to help people and do it in a smart way,” Banfield told HousingWire. “For us, it was really a question of, if you want to provide access to credit, how do you do it responsibly? How can you help people? If first-time buyers are struggling, are there smart ways to help them while still balancing access to credit? … We wanted to have a conventional option to get people into more homes.”

Source: “Quicken Loans Now Offering 1% Down Mortgages,” HousingWire (June 24, 2016)
NEW YORK – June 29, 2016 – Quicken Loans has been fairly hush about its latest offering of a super low downpayment mortgage, even as rival bank giants like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase all tout their new 3 percent down mortgage products. But late last year, Quicken Loans quietly
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A record high number of American renters — about 21.3 million — are devoting 30 percent or more of their income to paying rent, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. What’s more, 11 million renters in 2014 paid at least half of their income toward housing costs, which marked another record high, the report shows. Most financial experts say consumers shouldn’t pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income for housing costs.

Rents, however, have been rising faster than wages for years now. “When you have to dedicate such a high proportion of your income to rent every month, it forces you to make difficult decisions,” says Dan McCue, a senior research associate at Harvard’s Joint Center. “It means spending less on essentials like food, clothing, and health care, as well as less opportunity to save for a down payment on a home or plan for retirement.”

In 2015, the median rent for a new apartment was $1,381, according to the report. That means a renter would need to earn at least $55,000 a year to afford the rent. Yet on average, renters earn about $34,000 a year — so for them, an affordable rent would be closer to $850.

Source: Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and “11 Million Americans Spend Half Their Income on Rent,” CNNMoney (June 22, 2016)
A record high number of American renters — about 21.3 million — are devoting 30 percent or more of their income to paying rent, according to the annual State of the Nation's Housing report from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. What's more, 11 million renters in 2014 paid at least half
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Eighty percent of baby boomers recently surveyed by AARP say they want to stay in their own home as they age.

In fact, by market level, baby boomers in Houston; Lansing, Mich.; and Tallahassee, Fla. prove to be the most adamant about aging-in-place, with 87 percent of residents saying they don’t want to move, according to AARP’s survey of residents age 50 and older in 11 metros across the country.

That said, looking at the markets evaluated, there are a few motivators that may make boomers think otherwise. In particular, many baby boomers said they’d be willing to move for functional or economic benefits.

Around 51 percent of respondents said they’d move from their current home if they found a home that would allow them to live independently as they age. Forty-nine percent also reported being swayed by moving to either a larger or smaller home.

Being close to family was less of a motivating factor for many boomers, just 35 percent said that was a major reason why they would move. Also, communal features such as public transportation and advanced health facilities aren’t big motivators either, at 21 percent and 20 percent respectively.

By market level, Washington County, Ore., respondents are most swayed by independent living features and moving to a different size of home. In Brownsville, Texas, baby boomers are most tempted by keeping close family ties as a reason to move. In Lansing and Philadelphia, baby boomers say they’d be more willing to move if they could lower their financial burden.

Source: “AARP: Most Boomers Want to Stay Put, But Active,” BUILDER (June 17, 2016)
Eighty percent of baby boomers recently surveyed by AARP say they want to stay in their own home as they age. In fact, by market level, baby boomers in Houston; Lansing, Mich.; and Tallahassee, Fla. prove to be the most adamant about aging-in-place, with 87 percent of residents saying they don't want
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