Globally, the U.S. is a deal in luxury housing

CHICAGO – June 14, 2017 – Luxury real estate buyers may find bargains in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world. The U.S. is hardly the most expensive when it comes to home prices in its luxury market.

Instead, China takes the world crown in that arena for the fastest-rising prices in luxury residential real estate around the world. Luxury home prices in Guangzhou, the capital of the southern province of Guangdong, rose a whopping 36.2 percent from March 2016 to March 2017, according to Knight Frank’s first-quarter Prime Global Cities Index, which ranks the top 5 percent of luxury real estate sales in 41 large international cities.

Meanwhile, the U.S.’s single-digit increases in that time period may seem more modest in comparison.

The top three global cities to land on the list are Guangzhou, up 36.2 percent; Beijing, where luxury home prices rose 22.9 percent; and Toronto, prices up 22.2 percent.

The U.S. cities landing on the Prime Global Cities Index include Miami (at number 14 on the list with a 4.1 percent year-over-year price increase), Los Angeles (prices up 2.5%), San Francisco (prices up 1.8%), and New York (prices up 1.7%).

“We’re seeing steady and sustainable luxury price growth in the key U.S. markets,” says Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank. However, the cost of buying luxury homes isn’t rising quite as quickly in the U.S. as some other parts of the world because “there are a lot of major changes taking place both politically and internationally.”

Source: “The New Hot Spots for Luxury Real Estate Around the World,” realtor.com® (May 8, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

12M consumers may get July credit-score boost

 

WASHINGTON – June 22, 2017 – The three largest credit-reporting agencies will begin cleaning up credit reports in July, which could help lift the credit scores of about 12 million consumers.

In a survey by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one in four people say they spot errors in their credit reports, most commonly concerning tax liens and civil judgments.

Up to half of tax lien data on a credit report is inaccurate or incomplete, says Eric J. Ellman, senior vice president for public policy and legal affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association. Civil judgments – which means a court has ruled a person owes money – also tend to be ripe with errors or omissions on a credit report, experts say. Consumers can dispute the errors, but the process can be cumbersome.

Beginning July 1, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will automatically exclude tax lien and civil judgment records from credit reports if they are missing a person’s name, address, Social Security number or date of birth. Claims that do contain this key information, however, will remain on credit reports.

Six percent of Americans with a credit score – or 12 million – likely will see their score go up once the new policy takes effect. About 11 million could see an increase of about 20 points.

“A lot of people who have liens or judgments against them already have crummy credit to begin with,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage resource website. “A 10- or 20-point increase isn’t going to make a difference for a lot of borrowers.”

But borrowers who are on the cusp of qualifying for a home loan may stand to benefit the most. For example, Gumbinger says, a would-be buyer with a credit score of 570 who receives a 10-point uptick may be able to qualify for an FHA loan. FHA loans require a minimum 580 credit score.

Source: “Have a Bad Credit Score? It Could Soon Get Better – But Is It Enough to Buy a Home?” realtor.com® (June 22, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Affordable housing: Americans want help getting in

WASHINGTON – June 22, 2017 – Most Americans and Canadians say their nations aren’t doing enough to address and solve affordable housing needs, according to Habitat for Humanity’s Affordable Housing Survey. Escalating costs remain a top barrier preventing families from accessing decent homes with affordable mortgages, the survey says.

“In many ways, housing is an invisible crisis,” says Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “There are still too many families without access to safe, secure and affordable housing. This survey highlights the value all of us place on a decent place to call home and underscores the critical need to increase access to affordable housing.”

Owning a home is a key rung on the ladder of economic advancement. What happens if that rung remains elusive for many?

According to the survey, nine out of 10 Americans say owning a home is one of their greatest achievements in life. Also, 68 percent of U.S. renters say owning a home is one of their chief goals, according to the survey. PSB, on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S. and Canada to gauge their perceptions of, and challenges to, affordable housing.

Ninety-one percent of American homeowners credited owning a home with making them more responsible, and 44 percent said it helped them build a nest egg. Forty-one percent say homeownership has given them stability.

But homeownership remains out of reach for many. Nine out of 10 Americans and Canadians say it’s important to find solutions to the lack of affordable housing. At 59 percent, concerns regarding U.S. affordability in particular easily topped other housing issues like safety (16%) and quality (11%).

One major barrier to homeownership cited among survey respondents: the high cost of rent. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents said the high cost of rent was preventing them from buying, followed by 75 percent who said obtaining a mortgage was proving to be a big barrier.

Many of the survey respondents said they’ve struggled to pay housing costs at some point in their life. Among U.S. respondents, 27 percent of respondents said they struggled to pay housing costs in their 20s; 22 percent in their 30s; 11 percent in their 40s; and 9 percent in their 50s.

Source: “Nine Out of 10 Americans and Canadians Call for Affordable Housing Solutions,” Habitat for Humanity (June 20, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

U.S. consumer confidence rose a bit in June

 NEW YORK – June 27, 2017 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased moderately in June after dropping a bit in May. Overall, consumers have a rosier picture of their situation today, but they’re a bit less optimistic about the future.

The Index now stands at 118.9, up from 117.6 in May. The Present Situation Index increased from 140.6 to 146.3, while the Expectations Index that gauges attitudes about the short-term future declined from 102.3 last month to 100.6.

“Consumer confidence increased moderately in June following a small decline in May,” says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved to a nearly 16-year high (July 2001, 151.3),” Franco adds. “Expectations for the short-term have eased somewhat but are still upbeat. Overall, consumers anticipate the economy will continue expanding in the months ahead, but they do not foresee the pace of growth accelerating.”

Present Situation Index
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in June. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased from 29.8 percent to 30.8 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 13.9 percent to 12.7 percent.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 30.0 percent to 32.8 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 18.3 percent to 18.0 percent.

Expectations Index
Consumers, however, were less optimistic about the short-term outlook in June. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 21.5 percent to 20.4 percent, however, those expecting business conditions to worsen also declined marginally – from 10.3 percent to 9.9 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market remained mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.6 percent to 19.3 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 12.1 percent to 14.6 percent.

The percentage of consumers expecting an improvement in their income rose from 19.1 percent to 22.2 percent, but the proportion expecting a decline increased slightly from 8.7 percent to 9.2 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was June 15.

© 2017 Florida Realtors

Related Topics: Economic indicators

Downtown Ft. Lauderdale Redevelopment

Sun Sentinel

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

8 Behaviors That Separate Ultra-Successful People From Everybody Else Ultra-successful individuals demonstrate some similar traits that set them apart from the ordinary.

by  Elle Kaplan, CEO & Founder of @LexionCapital A Premier Investment Management Firm. Self Made Entrepreneur, Financial Expert, Animal Lover, Midwestern Transplant & Dreamer.

Ultra-successful individuals demonstrate some similar traits that set them apart from the ordinary.

Success has nothing to do with timing, luck or inborn talent, but rather a way of thinking and doing things to create a lifestyle of positivity and prosperity.

So why just sit back and admire ultra successful people when you could become one yourself?

There’s no microwave-ready recipe for success, so these aren’t five-minute fixes. But if you take this advice, you’ll be following in the footsteps of the entrepreneurial greats.

Embrace these eight behaviors to put yourself on a winning path:

They are continuously learning.

“Anyone who stops learning is old whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays strong.” — Henry Ford

Success can quickly come to a screeching halt once you decide that you’re finished learning.

No matter how much you think you may know, there’s always something that you don’t (trust me), and those who are super successful actually enjoy this constant pursuit. So don’t settle with the knowledge you have.

Ever. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go back to school to get new degrees or learn a new trade, but keep consuming information and learning from those around you. This constant stream of knowledge will help you to stay on your toes and evolve in both your personal and professional life.

They surround themselves with other successful people.

You’ve heard it before, “show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Ultra successful people tend to surround themselves with individuals who help to keep them focused and motivated. It’s true, however, that those whom you spend most of your time with gradually shape your behaviors and your mindset.

In fact, studies showthat our friends and colleagues greatly impact the choices we make, both for the better and for the worse. For this reason, we should be cautious of who we surround ourselves with. So take some time to analyze your current crew, cut out negativity and dedicate time to those relationships that will have positive effects on your life.

They constantly seek out people smarter than them.

In today’s hyper-competitive business world, one might think that billionaires wouldn’t even give each other the time of day.

The opposite tends to be true, like with Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz, who said “Don’t be threatened by people smarter than you.”

Whether it’s meeting with a competitor to exchange information, or seeking out a mentor, the path to billionaire status involves constantly seeking out brighter and more talented people, rather than trying to squash them.

They learn how to lead different personalities.

For billionaire and hospitality titan Tilman Fertitta, one of the key secrets to success is being an adaptive people person. It’s what helped his company, Landry’s Inc., become one of America’s most powerful and far reaching restaurant corporations.

“People want to be led, but you’ve got to know how to lead different people,” Fertitta says. “I treat everybody differently depending on how I’ve evaluated that person. And if you do it that way in business, you’re going to be a lot more successful.”

Billionaires and success stories know that EQ, and the ability to respond to others’ emotions, is just as important as IQ. The good news: This is a skill you can develop today.

They’re flexible.

Every successful billionaire knows that there is a skill in knowing how to pursue excellence while maintaining flexibility. Staying nimble and open to new opportunities is critical to continuing success.

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet, finds that being flexible and ready to strike are key elements to succeeding in the entrepreneurial world. “You cannot plan innovation, you cannot plan invention. All you can do is try very hard to be in the right place and be ready.”

First business models rarely pan out, but billionaires don’t throw up their hands and accept defeat when that happens. They adjust. They adjust thousands of times if they have to, until opportunity strikes.

They don’t care about being understood by others.

To state the obvious, mega-moguls do not get to where they are by following the beat of someone else’s drum. Often times, rejection and being misunderstood are the norm.

As Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corporation, says, “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.”

So don’t be discouraged to try something new. Perhaps you’ll get called crazy for it (I know I was when I started my own business), or perhaps you’ll find your way into an untapped market. You never know until you give your “crazy” idea a try.

They channel negative emotions.

“Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice.” — Stephen Covey

On our quest for success and happiness, it’s inevitable that things will not always go as planned. It’s important to remember that progress is largely driven by mindset. Negative thoughts and feelings can often be hard to shake, causing our ability to focus on a goal that much harder. The best thing to do is channel them into means of motivation.

Successful people know how to move on, to leave the past in the past and don’t allow themselves to get anchored. If you hold onto to your latest mistakes they will inevitably slow and bring you down. So instead learn from them, see challenges as opportunities (to even bigger challenges often), surround yourself with positivity and stop complaining.

They don’t take “no” for an answer.

“The only people who don’t tumble are those who never mount the high wire,” said Oprah Winfrey.

One thing all billionaires and big thinkers have in common is that they were told “no” at some point in their lives. The trick is to keep swimming against the tide.

Realize that “no” is just someone’s opinion, nothing more. The difference with these success stories is that they pushed forward past these bad experiences and rejections, and even used them as a springboard for success. They realize that no rejection is set in stone — it’s just one person’s (often flawed) viewpoint.

Call to action

Are there any other success behaviors you’d add to the list? Please leave a comment or give me a shout-out on Twitter!

Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com

LIFE LESSONS, PRODUCTIVITY, WISDOM, WONDER

FHA loans easier to get – but more in default

WASHINGTON – March 13, 2017 – Riskier borrowers are making up a growing share of new mortgages, pushing up delinquencies modestly and raising concerns about an eventual spike in defaults that could slow or derail the housing recovery.

The trend is centered around home loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that typically require downpayments of just 3 percent to 5 percent and are often snapped up by first-time buyers. The FHA-backed loans are increasingly being offered by non-bank lenders with more lenient credit standards than banks.

The landscape is nothing like it was in the mid-2000s when subprime mortgages were approved without verifying buyers’ income or assets, sparking a housing bubble and then a crash. Still, for some analysts, the latest development is at least faintly reminiscent of the run-up to that crisis.

“We have a situation where home prices are high relative to average hourly earnings and we’re pushing 5 percent-down mortgages, and that’s a bad idea,” says Hans Nordby, chief economist of real estate research firm CoStar.

The share of FHA mortgage payments that were 30 to 59 days past due averaged 2.19 percent in the fourth quarter, up from about 2.07 percent the previous quarter and 2.13 percent a year earlier, according to research firm CoreLogic and FHA. That’s still down from 3.77 percent in early 2009, but it represents a noticeable uptick.

While that could simply represent monthly volatility, “the risk is that the performance will continue to deteriorate, and then you get foreclosures that put downward pressure on home prices,” says Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s deputy chief economist. Such a scenario likely would take a few years to play out.

The early signs of some minor turbulence in the mortgage market add to concerns generated by recent increases in delinquent subprime auto loans, personal loans and credit card debt as lenders target lower-income borrowers to grow revenue in the latter stages of the recovery.

FHA mortgages generally are granted to low- and moderate-income households who can’t afford a typical downpayment of about 20 percent. In exchange for shelling out as little as 3 percent, FHA buyers pay an upfront insurance premium equal to 1.75 percent of the loan and 0.85 percent annually.

FHA loans made up 22 percent of all mortgages for single-family home purchases in fiscal 2016, up from 17.8 percent in fiscal 2014 but below the 34.5 percent peak in 2010, FHA figures show. The share has climbed largely because of a reduction in the insurance premium and home price appreciation that has made larger downpayments less feasible for some, says Matthew Mish, executive director of global credit strategy for UBS. House prices have been increasing about 5 percent a year since 2014.

At the same time, the nation’s biggest banks, burned by the housing crisis and resulting regulatory scrutiny, largely have pulled out of the FHA market as the costs and risks to serve it grew. Non-bank lenders, which face less regulation from government agencies such as the FDIC, have filled the void.

Non-banks, including Quicken Loans and Freedom Mortgage, comprised 93 percent of FHA loan volume last year, up from 40 percent in 2009, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. Meanwhile, the average credit score of an FHA borrower has fallen modestly since 2013. Mish says non-banks generally have looser credit requirements, and lenders have further eased standards – such as the size of a monthly mortgage payment relative to income – as median U.S. wages stagnated even as home values marched higher.

Here’s the worry: If home prices peak and then dip, homeowners who put down just 5 percent and are less creditworthy than their predecessors and will owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. That would increase their incentive to default, especially if they have to move for a job or face an extraordinary expense, Khater says. Foreclosures would trigger price declines that ignite more defaults in a downward spiral.

In turn, funding for the non-bank lenders from banks and hedge funds likely would dry up, and FHA loans would be harder to get, dampening housing.

Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, says such fears are unfounded, citing some complaints that FHA mortgage standards are too rigorous.

“The non-banks (bring) a welcome change,” he says. They must meet FHA standards, he says, and are overseen by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Bill Emerson, vice chairman of Quicken Loans, the top non-bank lender, says the credit standards of his firm and his peers are stringent by historical standards and seem looser only because banks tightened requirements after the housing crash.

“I don’t have any concerns about” a potential rise in bad loans, Emerson said.

Copyright 2017, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY, Paul Davidson

1 in 5 mortgage borrowers regret their decision

COSTA MESA, Calif. – Nov. 10, 2016 – Overall satisfaction scores have increased year over year, but a high percentage of homebuyers still have regrets about their mortgage lender, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.
The study found that 1 in 4 (21 percent) customers purchasing a home express have regrets about their lender, a claim voiced even more by first-time buyers (27 percent).
Among customers who regret their decision, there are two distinct situations:
Customers who have a poor experience. This group cites an above-average incidence of problems, lack of communication and unmet promises. While this group’s responses aren’t unexpected, they are often vocal about their displeasure, making an average of 9.0 negative comments compared with the study average of 0.7.

Satisfied customers who feel they made a decision too quickly. The second situation is more unexpected, according to survey authors. This group tends to be very price-focused and frequently obtains multiple quotes. However, on some level they feel the process itself was too complex, even though they were happy with the lender they finally chose.

Among customers who regret their lender selection, 72 percent say they were pressured to choose a particular mortgage product. Their final lender choice is often linked to financial reasons, such as getting a lower rate because they have a relationship with the firm (e.g., checking account with direct deposit).
“This ‘happy buyer’s remorse’ is in part due to customers feeling that circumstances out of their control drove them to a particular choice and that options weren’t totally clear,” says Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power. “Like a lot of consumers, they are happy with a good deal, but they can feel that they have to jump through hoops to get the deal. In the end, they may not fully understand exactly what they got, and the longer-term risk for lenders is that customers’ perceptions of the deal may change in the future.”
One potential contributing factor to this condition could be TRID (TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure). Over the past two years, much of lenders’ attention has been focused on complying with and minimizing the negative effects of these new requirements, which became effective in October 2015. Lenders feared that the new requirements would extend an already lengthy process and negatively affect satisfaction.
While various sources have reported increases in the total number of days for the lending process, findings of the 2016 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study show little change in the perceived speed of the process. Improved communication and setting expectations appropriately helped prevent negative perceptions.
“Whether it is a new regulation, shifting rates or new technology, lenders will continue to face challenges that require them to change,” Martin says.
Key findings
A higher percentage of customers this year said their loan representative always called back when promised, compared with last year (85% vs. 81%, respectively), and their loan closed on the desired date (81% vs. 79%)

Satisfaction is significantly higher among customers buying a home (840) than among those refinancing (821). In the 2014 and 2015 studies, the levels of satisfaction in these groups were nearly identical

Technology is becoming increasingly important, with 28% of customers saying they completed their detailed application online, up from 22% in 2015 and 18% in 2014

Top lenders by satisfaction
Quicken Loans ranks highest in primary mortgage origination satisfaction for a seventh consecutive year, with a score of 869. Quicken Loans performs particularly well in the application/approval process, interaction, loan closing, loan offerings and onboarding factors.

CitiMortgage moves up three positions from fifth in 2015 to second this year, with a score of 851. Ditech Financial, new to the study in 2016, ranks third with a score of 849.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (+52 points) and Nationstar Mortgage (+50 points) post the most significant year-over-year improvements in overall satisfaction.

Consumer advice
Plan ahead when researching mortgages. Satisfaction among customers who waited until they found a home to look for a mortgage is 92 points lower than among those who started before they began a home search.

Get more than one quote. Among the 32% of customers who received just one quote, overall satisfaction is 19 points lower than those who get multiple quotes. Satisfaction is 38 points lower among first-time buyers only getting one quote vs. those who get multiple quotes.

Choose a lender based on merits, not just price or affiliation. Customers who say they chose their lender primarily because of price/rate or based on a recommendation are significantly less satisfied than those whose choice is based on other reasons.

© 2016 Florida Realtors®

Average 30-year mortgage rate rises to 3.57%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Nov. 10, 2016 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week for a second straight week.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.57 percent from 3.54 percent last week. Rates remain near historically low levels, however. The benchmark 30-year rate is down from 3.98 percent a year ago. Its all-time low was 3.31 percent in November 2012.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, rose to 2.88 percent from 2.84 percent.

The rates reflect the mortgage market in the week prior to Republican nominee Donald Trump’s election as president. On Wednesday, the day the result became known, bond prices fell sharply. That sent yields higher.

Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which jumped to 2.06 percent from 1.80 percent a week earlier – exceeding 2 percent for the first time since January. Traders have been selling bonds more aggressively to hedge against the possibility that interest rates, which have been extremely low for years, could rise steadily under a Trump administration.

The sell-off in bonds continued Thursday morning, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rising to 2.12 percent.

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 was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year loan also held steady at 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages averaged 2.88 percent, up from 2.87 percent last week. The fee remained at 0.4 point.

AP Logo Copyright © 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

HUD charges Fla. landlord with discrimination

HUD charges Fla. landlord with discrimination
 

WASHINGTON – Nov. 10, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is charging landlords in South Florida with discrimination against tenants with disabilities. Rather than a tenant-based allegation, the charge reflects concerns about a visitor who travels with an emotional support animal.

HUD charged three entities in the Florida case: the owner of Hillcrest East Building No. 22, a multifamily development in Hollywood, Florida; the property’s management company, Rhodes Management; and a previous president of the homeowners’ association. The housing discrimination allegation claims they failed to make reasonable accommodations, published discriminatory notices and statements, and attempted to intimidate and retaliate against two family members who filed a housing discrimination complaint.

One individual lives at the subject property, and the other person, who has a disability, was allegedly prevented from visiting her cousin at the property because she requires the use of an emotional support animal.

HUD’s charge also alleges that the owners and managers discriminated against persons with disabilities by requiring personal and unnecessary medical information in order to grant reasonable accommodations, and by prohibiting emotional support animals and their owners from having access to the development.

The complete HUD charge is posted online.

The charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainants to compensate them for the discrimination and may assess a civil penalty

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate based on disability in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, including refusing to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services. In addition, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance

“Discrimination against people with disabilities continues to be the most common type of housing discrimination complaint we receive each year,” says Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “It’s unacceptable and the cases we’re announcing today reflect HUD’s commitment to making sure housing opportunities are available to every American, including those with disabilities.”
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