Look At The Numbers: Adjacent Cities Grew During Pandemic

By CHUCK GREEN There are those who downright groove to the tune of a lifestyle embedded squarely in the middle of the action. You know, the big city, the vibe of being at the nexus of it all. Downright intoxicating. Conversely, others are swayed by the tranquility of a smaller city or town, finding it as relaxing as, oh, say, a running tab on hot totties. Oh, yeah. Pure nirvana. Now, for those who prefer to be where life can be chill but also gyrate to the beat of maintaining relatively close proximity to where it can be a regular buzzsaw of activity as well, the concept of adjacent cities just might speak their language. Adjacent towns or cities share…

Wells Fargo Downsizing Mortgage Business As Pandemic High Wears Off

By TYRONE TOWNSEND and KIMBERLEY HAAS Wells Fargo leadership has laid off employees in a move that is being blamed on a dramatically smaller originations market. In a statement to The Mortgage Note, Spokesperson Jennifer Langan said the latest Mortgage Bankers Association forecast has total originations for 2022 at $2.4T, down 40% year-over-year, with refinances down over 70%. “The home lending displacements are the natural result of cyclical changes in the broader home lending environment, as has been acknowledged by most mortgage providers across the industry. Employees affected by these changes have each been an essential part of our success. We are carrying out displacements in a transparent and thoughtful manner and providing assistance, such as severance and career counseling,”…

Bad Behavior In Lending: Sham Job Interviews, “Rampant” Fraud

By CHUCK GREEN Alleged bad behavior and fraudulent activity in the mortgage industry have made news headlines in recent years and despite attempts to get lending leaders to shape up their ships, at least one person who reports on these issues says problems are common, even “rampant.” One of the most recent examples of these alleged incidents involved sham job interviews for Black and female candidates at Wells Fargo & Company. Wells Fargo in California has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets. They serve one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the United States. According to former executive Joe Bruno, company leaders at Wells Fargo allegedly put minority candidates through the interview process for positions…

Labor Day Blues: Can The Average American Worker Afford To Buy A House?

By KIMBERLEY HAAS This Labor Day weekend, some workers are wondering what happened to the American Dream of earning enough from a nine-to-five job to buy their own home — with or without the white picket fence.  According to officials at the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median sales price of a new home in July 2022 was $439,400. The thumbnail measurement for home affordability is a house that costs roughly 2.6 years of your household income, or a 2.6 “price-to-income ratio.” Using the 2.6 price-to-income ratio, your household’s earners would need to bring in $169,000 a year to be able to afford a new home. That is higher than most U.S.…

Inflation Hits Builders As America Faces Housing Crisis

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The executive director of the New Hampshire Home Builders Association says the biggest problem they are currently facing is unstable prices due to inflation. In a recent interview with The Mortgage Note, Matt Mayberry explained that contractors are trying to stay within their budgets on projects but it is difficult because prices are volatile due to inflation and supply chain issues. It’s also difficult to bid on upcoming work. “How do we estimate jobs correctly? What are the metrics we use to do this?” Mayberry said. One thing that has improved, Mayberry said, is the waiting time for projects to be completed. During the pandemic, many projects were pushed out to a year and a half for…

Extended Stay America And Others Win During Pandemic

By CHUCK GREEN Now, how about a little, um, pop-up pop quiz? You. Put…the…iPhone….down. Okay, then. What did Marilyn Monroe. Elizabeth Taylor and, oh, say, Tennessee Williams, have in common? Whether compelled by business reasons — or simply because it was how they rolled – the trio lived in hotels. Probably beat the price of real estate. Even back then. Even for them. Seems they were onto something. Today, at least temporarily, a number of individuals – you know, us regular joes – also call hotels or motels la casa. Perhaps they’re working on location for relatively limited time on a short-term out-of-town job and, given the paucity of housing in many parts of the United States, other accommodations are…

What’s The Buzz About Portsmouth, New Hampshire?

By CHUCK GREEN Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Is it the place to be? Why not? Portsmouth’s a medium size coastal city with 22,277 residents as of July 1, 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The city’s rife with attractions including a new jazz club, theaters, restaurants, overall safety, outdoor living, and the school district has 6 schools with 2,531 students. Here’s the scene from Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club on New Year’s Eve: Happy New Year’s Eve from Portsmouth, NH! pic.twitter.com/5wwd4JU4sJ— Kimberley Haas (@KimberleyHaas) January 1, 2022 The Seacoast region has and will continue to benefit from market demand that is generated by people looking for a higher quality of life within an urban setting, Jim Goldenberg, principal of Cathartes,…

Multifamily Homes Needed: Will The Demand Be Met?

By CHUCK GREEN Home sweet… multifamily home construction? If, well, the spare bedroom fits. And that it seems to do in light of a new report from Construction Coverage showing a spike in construction of multifamily homes in the U.S. With a jump in multifamily housing projects, home building in the U.S. catapulted to a nine-month high last December, according to Reuters. There was a 2.4% hike to a rate of 737,000 units among multifamily homes under construction. “As long as supply chains remain stressed, builders will struggle to complete projects, slowing sales and likely limiting growth in the supply of new homes,” said Ben Ayers, Senior Economist at Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio. Earlier in the year, addressing the International Builders’ Show in…

Lumber Prices Are Toppling, But Will Home Prices Come Down With Them?

By CHUCK GREEN With lumber prices toppling, it might be the ideal time to knock on wood. Gently, though. It just might be a bit fragile at the moment. Year to date, prices have sagged around 50%, according to 7seasgroupusa.com. They recently sunk to their lowest point in nine months as they traded under the $600-per-thousand-board-feet mark. Conversely, a year ago, prices, fueled by pent-up demand for construction and home upgrades in the aftermath of COVID on the heels of a frenzy of speculation, reached $1,733, which was unprecedented.But as the housing market backed down in light of escalating interest rates, lumber prices have borne the brunt, receding more than 60% from their March highs, according to Business Insider. In May,…

Will Biden’s Housing Plan Make A Difference?

By CHUCK GREEN The President recently released a Housing Supply Action Plan designed to pull back the throttle on the challenges of housing costs over time by increasing the inventory of quality housing in every community. The plan bills itself as the most comprehensive effort to close the housing supply shortfall in history. It includes legislative and administrative actions that could help close America’s housing supply shortfall in five years. It will begin by creating and preserving scores of affordable housing units in the next three years. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there’s a national shortage of seven million homes. There’s fewer than four affordable and available rental homes for every 10 extremely low-income renter households and…