Good morning! Today is Thursday, February 18. Millions of Texans are still without electricity after a brutal winter storm, with more blizzard conditions expected to sweep across the South and East this week. Japan appointed Olympic speedskating medalist Seiko Hashimoto to be its cabinet minister in charge of the Olympics, replacing Yoshiro Mori, who resigned after making sexist remarks. Facebook is banning all Australian news posts in reaction to proposed legislation that would require Facebook to pay to link to news outlets.
And in mortgage and housing news …
MORTGAGE APPS: Mortgage applications declined 5.1 percent for the week ending February 12, according to the weekly report released by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
COSTLY MISTAKE: Citibank was trying to make $7.8M in interest payments. It sent $900M instead, and a federal judge says the bank isn’t entitled to the return of that money.
MULTIFAMILY TRENDS: Multi-family construction is shifting to the suburbs.
LUXURY MARKET: Political power shifts could create changes in the luxury housing market.
ZILLOW VALUE: A case against the current price of Zillow stock.
ZILLOW COMMISSIONS: In a Facebook post, eXp Realty founder Glenn Sanford estimated that consumers are paying, on average, 11.4 percent in commissions when they sell to Zillow.
5-YEAR MORTGAGE: A Texas couple paid off their $300,000 mortgage in five years.
SELLING PRICES: Overpricing properties in New York often backfires. What’s the balance?
DIGITAL REAL ESTATE: Blockchain-based digital real estate is capable of delivering outsized returns due to its alignment with the rapidly growing crypto-investment universe, but it also appears likely to become a viable store of wealth, almost like real-world art and real-world real estate.
JUMBO MORTGAGES: Jumbo mortgage rates gain altitude in Bankrate’s latest survey.