California Leads Luxury Market But That Could Change

By NICOLE MURRAY California continues to dominate the luxury homes market, but that could change as communities fight for the country’s wealthiest individuals. In a recent Point2Homes.com study, analysts looked at which cities in the United States have the highest share of luxury homes worth at least $1 million for sale. Results were categorized by large, mid-sized, and small cities. They found that listings above $1 million make up around 64% of the for-sale market in Los Angeles. LA also led the ultra-luxury sector, with almost 12% of its homes priced above $5 million. Glendale (66%), Huntington Beach (63%), and Oxnard (43%) in California were found to be the three most luxurious mid-sized markets with high percentages of the homes…

Hot Topic: Converting Office Spaces Into Residential Places

By KIMBERLEY HAAS With a lack of housing plaguing the country, it may be easy to jump to the conclusion that vacant offices could be the perfect fit for new apartments and condominiums, but industry leaders say there are a number of considerations to take into account with these projects. Adam Ducker is the CEO of RCLCO Real Estate Consulting, which offers strategic and tactical advice about property investment, planning, and development. They have offices in Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, and Washington, DC. Ducker said in a recent interview with The Mortgage Note that the concept of renovating office spaces into residential housing precedes the pandemic, even though it is a hot topic now. He authored a…

Housing Starts Exceed Expectations

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Privately-owned housing starts surpassed estimates in May, beating expectations as the housing market remains tight. The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the latest residential construction statistics on Tuesday morning. “Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,631,000. This is 21.7% (±14.8%) above the revised April estimate of 1,340,000 and is 5.7% (±10.8%) above the May 2022 rate of 1,543,000. Single‐family housing starts in May were at a rate of 997,000; this is 18.5% (±14.1%) above the revised April figure of 841,000,” a press release says. Principal Kelly Mangold of RCLCO Real Estate Consulting in Maryland said this is the second month in a…

Michael Parsons Joins First Home Mortgage

First Home Mortgage announced the appointment of industry vet Michael Parsons as branch manager of their new office in Gaithersburg, Maryland. First Home Mortgage is a full-service residential lender operating in 21 states, focusing on first-time borrowers, with more than 40% of its originations being new homeowners in 2022. Last year the company launched a reduced-rate program geared toward new borrowers. Parsons brings with him over 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry. As Branch Manager, Parsons will oversee the daily operations of the Gaithersburg office, as well as manage a team of loan officers to ensure that clients receive the highest level of service and support throughout the entire home-buying process. “I am thrilled to join the First…

Trends: Employees Return To The Office This Year

By CHUCK GREEN More people in business, including those in lending, are returning to in-person work after the pandemic. According to a survey released by Resume Builder last fall, 90% of companies will require employees to return to the office in 2023. Disney laid down the law at the start of the year, making it mandatory for corporate employees to show up at the office – starting March 1 – four days a week. Starbucks corporate employees were told to report to work in person at least three days a week by the end of January. Based on data from employers in 10 major U.S. cities, badge-swipe tallies collected by security firm Kastle Systems indicated office occupancy reached 50.4% for…

Helpers Can Be Found Throughout The Industry

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Leaders in the industry are committed to giving back during the holiday season and throughout the year. It was announced earlier this month that Down Payment Resource in Atlanta, Ga., will help a family in Memphis, Tenn., attain their homeownership dreams by donating $10,000 to the Homeownership Council of America’s Equity Down Payment Assistance program. They provide down payment and closing cost assistance for low-to-moderate income and minority first-time homebuyers. Leaders at Down Payment Resource say that is “a mission that aligns with our company’s founding goal of expanding affordable homeownership program awareness, understanding, and participation.” Rob Chrane, founder and CEO of Down Payment Resource, said in a statement for The Mortgage Note that they are supporting the program because…

Austin Home Values Equivalent To Ecuador’s Total GDP

December 2021 saw a record annual surge in US home value, the largest gain seen in any December since at least 2001, according to a new analysis of Redfin’s Housing Value Index. U.S. home value rose 18.6% year-over-year (YOY) to $38.6 trillion. Austin, TX, saw home values double that, jumping 39.2% YOY. That shakes out to $365.9 billion, roughly the 2020 GDP of Ecuador and the biggest gain of any metro tracked by Redfin. December marked the 17th consecutive month of double-digit price gains as inventory shrank to a record low. Cape Coral, FL, saw the second-highest gains (36.9%), followed by Grand Rapids, MI (33.1%), Phoenix (32.8%), and Boise, ID (32.8%). Cape Coral and Phoenix have consistently made the list…

A New Home For The Holidays? Buyers Are There Even With Some Sellers Waiting Until 2022

By KIMBERLEY HAAS It may be the week before Christmas, but that doesn’t mean potential homebuyers aren’t out searching for their perfect piece of real estate. Lewis Esposito, a licensed real estate professional at RE/MAX Preferred in West Chester, Pennsylvania, says buyers don’t want to wait until the new year and when asked if realtors are showing houses this week, he said if clients see a home they like then showings are being offered. “If you have a buyer, they’ll tend not to want to wait until after the new year. If they see something, they’ll jump on it,” Esposito said. Esposito, who works in the suburbs of Philadelphia, said he has a few clients who are holding off until…