2024

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DOJ charges one of America’s top LOs in alleged mortgage fraud scheme

Housing Wire

Two former New Jersey -based mortgage loan originators have been charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger. Christopher Gallo has been noted as a top-producing loan originator, at one point being Scotsman Guide ‘s fourth-ranked LO in the country.

Mortgage 543
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What agents need to know about commission rule changes

Real Estate News

As a part of its proposed settlement, NAR agreed to significant policy changes that will impact how all agents do business — and how buyer agents get paid.

Agents 358
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Most Home Buyers Want One, Medium-Sized Home Office

Eyes on Housing

According to the latest What Home Buyers Really Want Study*, the vast majority of home buyers are looking for a home with at least one home office (or space dedicated to work/study). More specifically, 66% would prefer to buy a home with exactly one home office, 13% want at least two offices, and 20% want.

Buyers 217
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Strength in home prices helped boost Fannie, Freddie 2023 profits

Inman

With a combined net worth of $125 billion after earnings this week, the mortgage giants remain on a path that could lead to eventual release from government conservatorship if political winds shift.

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New Bill in Congress Targets Real Estate Investors—Here’s Why This Could Be a Big Problem

BiggerPockets

Another bill is targeting real estate investors—this time, with a goal to “help Main Street compete with Wall Street.” What's in the bill? And what are the consequences for investors if passed?

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TD Bank secretly launches discounted variable mortgage rate

Mortgagebroker News

Limited-time variable rate offers substantial savings and payment flexibility

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NAR settles commission lawsuits for $418 million

Housing Wire

The National Association of Realtors has agreed to pay $418 million in damages to settle the commission lawsuits. The story was first reported by the New York Times. NAR’s legal counsel approved the settlement agreement early Friday morning. It has yet to be filed in court. Lawyers for the trade organization told the Times that they anticipate the settlement will be filed in the coming weeks, however it will still be subject to court approval.

Legal 539
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NAR runs out of liability insurance coverage: Sources

Housing Wire

Three sources, who have asked to remain anonymous, have confirmed to HousingWire that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has run out of liability insurance funds. The news about NAR’s insurance predicament began circulating late Wednesday , with industry analyst Rob Hahn highlighting the news in the Thursday edition of his email newsletter NotoriousROB.

Insurance 544
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How housing credit is shaping housing inventory

Housing Wire

Housing credit channels directly impact housing inventory channels. What does that mean? Home prices escalated out of control after 2020 and when we look at why that happened, we can see that housing credit mattered more to inventory data than most people realize. Let’s see how this has played out in different stages of the economy. On March 18, 2020, purchase application data broke out to pre-cycle highs in demand.

Inventory 483
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Why is housing inventory growing with higher mortgage rates?

Housing Wire

The mortgage rate lockdown premise says that if rates rise, inventory can’t grow meaningfully. The idea is that nobody will trade their low mortgage rates to buy another home — even though this happened every week last year. Of course, I have a different view. My podcast partner, Editor in Chief Sarah Wheeler, disagrees, along with many others. You can see our debate on this topic here.

Inventory 532
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Spring housing market gets more inventory

Housing Wire

Active weekly housing inventory growth slowed slightly last week, but it’s still running at a healthier clip than in 2023. I have a simple model with mortgage rates being above 7.25%: weekly inventory data should grow between 11,000-17,000 per week. Last year, we never hit that target. We have now seen it for two weeks as inventory grew by 13,247. Weekly housing inventory data We’ve now had back-to-back weeks of healthy housing inventory growth and spring 2024 is much healthier than spring 2023

Inventory 498
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Warren Buffett: Real estate agent commission structure “has worked out very well”

Housing Wire

Legendary investor Warren Buffett and Greg Abel, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy , addressed the commission lawsuits and HomeServices of America’s recently announced settlement of the suits, during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday. “There is no question that the industry will go through some transitions because of the settlements — ours and every other major player in the industry settled, the National Association of Realtors settled for more than $400 million ,”

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Mortgage rates, inventory and demand rise as price cuts fall

Housing Wire

Housing inventory, new listing data and mortgage rates are all rising, but the price cut data percentages are falling. Traditionally at this time of year purchase apps rise and the number of price cuts fall. However, at the current trend, we will break below the lows in the price cut percentage data that we saw in 2023 in the spring of this year. I will watch for rising mortgage rates to see if they change the weekly data.

Inventory 541
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Are mortgage rates about to break out higher again?

Housing Wire

Will mortgage rates break toward 8% again, making another 2024 data line that looks like a carbon copy of 2023? It’s not part of my 2024 forecast, but since the Federal Reserve likes playing with fire , let’s look at where we are with mortgage rates and their impact on weekly housing data. Mortgage rates and the 10-year yield The 10-year yield is the key for housing in 2024.

Mortgage 533
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Fewer homes will take a price cut in spring 2024

Housing Wire

Will the number of homes that take a price cut this year drop below 2023 levels? Yes! If the current trends continue into the strong seasonal pricing period, we will see fewer homes that are discounted before selling. I believe this was the most overlooked housing story of the last year because even as mortgage rates rose all the way to 8% , the home price cut percentage data was always about 4% lower year over year.

Inventory 541
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Majority of recent homebuyers have regrets: survey

Housing Wire

A report released this week by St. Louis-based Clever Real Estate found that recent homebuyers, as well as people who are considering a home purchase in the next year, are experiencing a laundry list of difficulties. Last month, Clever surveyed a total of 920 Americans about their views of the home purchase process and real estate agents. The respondents included 420 people who bought a home in 2023 or 2024, and another 500 who plan to do so in 2024 or 2025.

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Finally, some healthy housing inventory growth

Housing Wire

Housing inventory finally hit my target level of growth last week with mortgage rates now over 7.25% , something I couldn’t get all last year. Of course, what is different this year versus last year is that new listing data is growing yearly instead of trending at the lowest levels recorded in history. This is something I talked about last week on Yahoo Finance.

Inventory 497
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Mortgage rates helped by the Fed’s moderate stance

Housing Wire

Mortgage rates had a chance to break to new highs this year, but the Federal Reserve took a moderate tone at the last Fed meeting. We saw the benefit of lower mortgage rates with the last two existing home sales reports, which showed growth. Then mortgage rates rose, facilitating five weeks of negative purchase application data. As rates were hitting year-to-date highs, the fear was that the Fed would go hawkish in their March meeting, which could push mortgage rates toward 8% and tank 2024 dema

Mortgage 510
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Number of price cuts drops as housing inventory rises

Housing Wire

Last week, housing inventory grew and the number of price cuts fell, which is expected at this time of the year. I hope the next thing we see is housing inventory grow at the level it typically does in January or February instead of being delayed until March or April. Last year at this time, inventory rose week to week and I was hopeful for a typical spring inventory year, but the seasonal bottom didn’t actually happen until April 14.

Inventory 531
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California commission suit alleges collusion in the City of Angels

Housing Wire

Lights, camera, lawsuit! A copycat commission lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles. The suit, known as Fierro, after its lead plaintiff Gael Fierro, a Californian home seller, accuses the real estate industry of colluding to artificially inflate real estate agent commissions. It was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Patrick Thurber, a California home seller, is an additional named plaintiff in the suit.

Realtors 528
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Mortgage rates dip to 6.6% to mark the lowest level since May 2023

Housing Wire

Mortgage rates continued their descent this week to mark their lowest level since May 2023, welcome news for homebuyers who have been waiting on the sidelines for rates to drop. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.6% as of Jan. 11, a decrease from last week’s 6.66%, according to Freddie Mac ‘s Primary Mortgage Market Survey released on Thursday.

Mortgage 527
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Powell makes it clear: No rate cuts anytime soon

Housing Wire

Today, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell made statements at the Washington Forum that indicate there will be no rate cuts anytime soon because the economy and the labor market are too strong with sticky inflation. This is a change from previous statements where the Fed talked about the rate cuts it expected to make this year — although that timeframe has changed several times.

Retail 492
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Gen X is already looking for housing appropriate for aging in place

Housing Wire

Baby boomers are exhibiting an overwhelming desire to age in place in their own homes, but their children — largely members of Generation X — are also making their desires felt by seeking out homes that can accommodate their needs as they get older, according to a recent report from the New York Times. Citing 2021 data from the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies that showed 88% of adults 65 and older are aging in place, many members of the following generation — primarily born b

Buyers 493
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Did lower mortgage rates slow housing inventory growth?

Housing Wire

My model for inventory growth with higher mortgage rates came crashing down last week. After two weeks of significant increases , inventory growth slowed dramatically and is far from my 11,000-17,000 growth model with mortgage rates over 7.25%. Did the recent dip in mortgage rates play a role here or is this the average choppy weekly data we have seen in past years?

Inventory 466
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Why are existing home prices rising when sales are still so low?

Housing Wire

Existing home sales fell in today’s report , which isn’t surprising, but one headline that shocked some people was that home prices are still up year over year, even with higher inventory and higher mortgage rates. From NAR : The median existing home price for all housing types in March was $393,500, an increase of 4.8% from the previous year ($375,300).

Inventory 483
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Housing demand rises as inventory falls

Housing Wire

Housing demand is up and it’s time to track the spring housing data and see what the selling season will bring. As I always stress, we are working from the lowest bar ever with demand, so let’s add historical context to the data. But, even with mortgage rates higher this year than last year, demand is rising. Purchase application data As we get closer to the end of the first month of 2024, forward-looking purchase application data looks good.

Inventory 516
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How will mortgage rates impact seasonal inventory in 2024?

Housing Wire

How will mortgage rates impact seasonal inventory in 2024? Is the seasonal bottom going to happen later than I want? Maybe. It’s not what I wanted to see in 2024, but I have to be realistic since we are already in February. In the last four years, we have had abnormal seasonal inventory data, meaning that the spring inventory bottom happens later in the year.

Inventory 513
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Barr: Fed is taking ‘thoughtful approach’ to Basel III rules

Housing Wire

Federal Reserve vice chair for supervision Michael Barr said the central bank is taking “a very thoughtful approach” to the Basel III rules (aka the Basel endgame), which would significantly increase bank capital requirements and, if implemented, affect the mortgage industry. “We gave the public extra time to comment on the rule because it was really complex.

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Why fewer homes are taking a price cut, even while inventory rises

Housing Wire

So far in 2024, fewer homes are taking price cuts than in 2023, and this trend is on the verge of breaking below the 2023 lows in price cuts percentages. While weekly inventory is still falling, we have year-over-year growth in total active listing and new listings data. This calls into question a mortgage rate lockdown, as mortgage rates are also higher year over year.

Inventory 510
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‘Find buyers before agents!’ Mortgage industry reacts to the NAR settlement

Housing Wire

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) settlement of commission lawsuits nationwide is expected to force mortgage lenders and loan officers to find new ways of approaching listing agents and borrowers, give LOs a more significant role in the home-buying process, and encourage housing professionals to pursue dual-licensing, industry experts told HousingWire.

Buyers 498
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Keller Williams faces three lawsuits tied to its profit-sharing program 

Housing Wire

Three agents formerly affiliated with Keller Williams Realty — Jerri L. Moulder, David L. Bueker and Robert E. Hill — have taken legal action against the real estate brokerage by filing three separate class-action lawsuits, Inman first reported on Tuesday. The lawsuits contest alterations made to Keller Williams’ profit-sharing program, with one of them seeking a court order to halt further payouts until the case concludes.

Brokerage 493
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Fidelity CEO says federal government’s title insurance proposals are ’misguided’

Housing Wire

Despite persistently high interest rates , big four title firm Fidelity National Financial recorded a much stronger start to 2024 than it did a year ago. In first-quarter 2024 , Fidelity reported total revenue of $3.299 billion, up from $2.474 billion a year ago. Its net earnings were $248 million, compared to a $59 million net loss in Q1 2023. The firm attributed its stronger results to better performance from both its F&G segment and its title insurance segment.

Insurance 438
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UWM cuts out title insurer with updated TRAC+ program, rolls out 0% down purchase initiative

Housing Wire

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has launched a new service to handle all the title work for its brokers on refinancings. As a result, brokers no longer need to deal with a title company or settlement agent to close a refi. The top U.S. mortgage lender announced the service on Thursday during an annual meeting with its broker partners in Pontiac, Michigan.

Insurance 423
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Many baby boomers live in “time capsules” that need renovations to age in place

Housing Wire

Fifty-five percent of surveyed baby boomers plan to remain in their existing homes as they age, but less than a quarter of those surveyed have any plans to renovate their homes to more safely and easily accommodate natural changes that come with aging. This is according to a new report from home improvement services company Leaf Home and market research firm Morning Consult , which enlisted responses from 1,001 baby boomer homeowners (aged 59–77) and 1,001 millennials (aged 27–42) in late Decemb