Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Metro Denver Has Two Spots in Top Ten 'Work From Home' Counties in U.S.


Colorado is in the top 10 again, twice.
The real estate industry is closely watching the remote work trend as it could have a big influence on clients' future homebuying decisions. More Americans have been working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some areas of the country may offer more prime remote work conditions.

Colorado has 2 spots in the top 10 according to a new study on the best places to work from home, released Tuesday by the National Association of REALTORS®.

NAR assigned “Work from Home” scores to 3,142 U.S. counties, identifying the best places for working remotely. The study considers internet connectivity, the percentage of workers in office-related jobs, home affordability, urbanization, and a county’s population growth.

“The coronavirus pandemic greatly accelerated the number of workers who are able to work from home,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Possibly a quarter of the labor force may be permitted to work from anywhere outside of the office even after a vaccine is discovered—compared to only 5% prior to the pandemic—and this will greatly change the landscape of where people buy homes.”

Texas leads all states with seven counties among the top 30 for remote work, followed by Virginia with four, and Colorado and Georgia with three each.

NAR identified the following top 10 counties for working from home, out of 3,142 counties:

  1. Forsyth County, Ga.
  2. Douglas County, Colorado
  3. Los Alamos County, N.M.
  4. Collin County, Texas
  5. Loudon County, Va.
  6. Hamilton County, Ind.
  7. Williamson County, Tenn.
  8. Delaware County, Ohio
  9. Broomfield County, Colorado
  10. Dallas County, Iowa

“With some organizations expanding remote work options and as more people show an ability to remain productive from home, we may see buyers see larger properties that offer space for a potential home office and other features that have become more valuable as a result of this pandemic,” says Vince Malta, NAR’s president. “The growing trend and historically low mortgage rates are spurring potential home buyers to consider a broader range of options and rethink what’s important to them in the long term.”

The growth of remote work will undoubtedly have an impact on the commercial real estate and office sector too, potentially changing the future office sizes and locations.

“The commercial real estate outlook appears uncertain as office spaces may get smaller and organizations consider moving from having a central business district headquarters to several suburban satellite offices,” Yun says. “However, in the retail sector, one can reasonably expect to see some growth in the number of smaller stores in the top 30 counties coming at the expense of similar establishments near downtown office buildings.”

-National Association of REALTORS, Realtor Magazine

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Denver Among Top 5 Markets in US Doing Better Now Than Before the Pandemic


There's no point in sugarcoating it: The U.S. economy is a hot mess. The continuing coronavirus pandemic has led to scores of business closures, the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, and the steepest economic contraction on record. 

Yet, despite it all, the U.S. housing market has come back—and then some. After monthslong pauses in many parts of the country, bidding wars and offers over asking price have returned. Cooped-up buyers seeking larger homes and wanting to cash in on record-low mortgage interest rates are battling it out over a very limited supply of properties for sale. Median list prices are up more than 9% over last year, a result of the lack of homes on the market, according to weekly realtor.com® data. (The median home price nationally rose to an all-time high of $349,000 in July.)

“Housing tends to be immune from economic downturns and slowdowns," says realtor.com Director of Economic Research Javier Vivas. That's excluding the past recession, which was caused by a housing bubble. “Right now we’re seeing markets recover faster where they’re able to contain the virus better. Markets with strong technology sectors have been more resilient.” 

So where are these comeback kids—the housing markets rebounding the most since the start of the COVID-19 crisis? 

Realtor.com found that more than half of the largest metropolitan areas have recovered from their pandemic lows.

A score of 100% means the market is performing the same as it was in January. Anything higher shows how much better it's doing. (The list was narrowed to just two metropolitan areas per state to ensure geographic diversity.)

These are the markets that have recovered the most since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Boston, MA, 122.52%
  2. Seattle, WA, 113.73%
  3. New York, NY, 112.74%
  4. Philadelphia, PA, 112.35%
  5. Denver, CO, 111.66%
  6. San Francisco, CA, 109.27%
  7. Los Angeles, CA, 108.78%
  8. Las Vegas, NV, 107.710%
  9. Rochester, NY, 106.61%
  10. Memphis, TN, 105.9%
-Realtor.com

Monday, July 20, 2020

June 2020: Most Pendings in Denver HISTORY (!?)


Metro Denver hit an all-time record in June: highest number of homes that went under-contract EVER, with 7,676 homes/townhomes/condos that went pending in June. That is 27% more than June 2019, and the most in any month in Denver HISTORY! I'm seeing this first-hand as I've been in constant bid-wars for buyers and receiving multiple competing offers for sellers, all $15,000 to $30,000 over asking-price! It's a ruthless shark-frenzy out there, but fortunately I've been able to make my buyers the winning offer, and get my sellers extremely high offers and excellent terms for their homes. One of my listings had 12 extremely strong offers in less than 30 hours! This is actually not a seller's market: it is hyper-seller's market. 

What is causing this HUGE demand for housing
in an unstable economy?
I think one of the main reasons for this huge demand in housing is the experience of the quarantine. Families and roommates are much more aware of the need for the security of a home during things like a global pandemic, and the necessity and functionality of different spaces in a post-COVID world: spaces where kids can play or do school work, offices where adults can actually work in peace (which aren't the master bedroom...or bathroom lol!), basements which can provide a whole other recreational flex space, backyards to be able to get out of the house, garden, and enjoy sunsets and cooler evenings. The psychology of a home and our understanding of it is returning back to its original value and essentiality: it is so much more than a place to store your stuff and sleep, or be "tiny": it is your safe place where much of life actually happens.


A few other interesting stats:
  • There were 57% more closings in June than May (COVID-induced lull for May)
  • There is half a month of inventory from $200k to $500k which is about as scarce as it gets in real estate. There is 1 month of inventory from $500k to $750,000.  $750k-$1MM has 2 months of inventory (still a hot seller's market), and $1MM+ has 4.3 months of inventory, which actually represents a "balanced market."
  • The averaged closed price was 2% higher than June 2019 at $509,736
  • The average number of active listings from 1985 to 2019 was 16,376. There were 6,383 active listings at the end of June.
  • 2,427 homes went pending in the last 7 days. There are currently 8,237 homes under contract. June's all-time record may be broken by July. 
  • There are only 5,573 active homes for sale right now.
  • Interest rates are at 3.125% today for a 30-year loan! 
Who is this market good for: renters to get in at lowest interest rates in history, and sellers to upgrade from small home to bigger home, realize serious equity, and have a similar monthly payment on the bigger home because of their equity and low interest rates. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Some Economists Claiming this as Shortest Recession in History

Jobs Numbers and Unemployment rocked the news this week with numbers that defied the recession.  ADP Jobs Report came out first on Wednesday SIX million lower than expected pushing the Nasdaq just shy of a record high and recouping all of its losses for 2020.  
Thursday's Jobless Claims released on Thursday on the other hand showed while initial claims dropped again, the continuing claims rose as some returned to work, but others are hanging onto their COVID unemployment pay.
Friday's May Unemployment Rate took the prize though.  Surprising almost everyone by dropping from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May.  Many economists were expecting the bottom to hit in May.  The report showed we hit the bottom in April instead.  We had a gain of 2.5 million jobs as restaurants, hotels, and yes.. even Universal Studios reopen.  Let's face it.. American's want to travel, we want to be entertained.  

Did the stock market know before the economists?  Seems so!  Watch out though.. Greed returns to Wall Street as the Fear-Greed Index just tipped over to Greed this week.  Are we in store for a correction? 

Regardless, the metro Denver housing market is still strong, with less than 2 months of inventory, and buyers and sellers coming back quickly, seen by multiple offers on many new listings.   

Lending Programs RETURN

As the economy settles, the forbearance curve flattens and the financial markets become more stable, we are seeing loan programs return.  Such GOOD NEWS for our clients. 
  • Jumbo loans are back for buyers and refinance clients up to an 80% loan to value and a 720 credit score
  • CHFA and our other state DPA programs return with NO restrictions!  This is the program I am most excited about as we help more people move into home ownership and building wealth.
  • Renovations loans are back in full hammer swing!
  • Broker loans and Non-QM are slowly returning as well.
All of those first time home buyers did NOT go away!  In fact, loan applications for FTHB had a 50% less decline than move-up buyers in April, and are DOUBLE the amount of repeat homebuyers in May. Inventory is low, and demand is high. The housing market is as strong as ever. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac will allow borrowers who took forbearance to refinance their mortgage


While many people were speculating that the millions of mortgage forbearances would lead to a foreclosure wave, this is more evidence against that assumption. 

-Housing Wire: The most recent data shows that there are approximately 4.1 million borrowers in forbearance on their mortgage, but a lack of clarity in the wording of the CARES Act was leaving many of those borrowers unable to take advantage of the recent record lows in interest rates.
But that’s not the case anymore.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Tuesday morning that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will now allow borrowers who went into COVID-19 forbearance to refinance their loan or buy a new home with the support of the GSEs as long as they’ve made three straight months of payments after their forbearance ends.
That’s much different from the previous thinking that a borrower may not be able to get another GSE mortgage for as many as 12 months after they exit forbearance.
The CARES Act stipulates that mortgage servicers “shall report the credit obligation or account as current” on any loan that goes into COVID-19-related forbearance.
But, as HousingWire’s Kathleen Howley reported last week, some borrowers were seeing notations on their credit reports like “Account in forbearance, payment deferred.’’
That was creating a problem for borrowers who were ready to exit forbearance or those who got put into forbearance by accident. As Howley wrote, the sentiment among loan officers was that any notation of “forbearance” on a borrower’s credit file would prevent them from getting another GSE-backed mortgage, either through a refi or buying a new home, for 12 months.
Now, the GSEs are shaving nine months off of that waiting period, which would allow more borrowers to take advantage of the market’s low interest rates instead of being shut out for a year.
According to the FHFA, borrowers are now eligible to refinance or buy a new home with GSE backing three months after their forbearance ends as long as they’ve made three consecutive payments under their repayment plan, or payment deferral option or loan modification.
Also, borrowers who went into forbearance (either of their own volition or by accident, as happened to some borrowers) but continued to make their mortgage payments are eligible to refinance or buy a new home as long as they are current on their mortgage.
Here, from Fannie Mae, are more details on how borrowers who either requested and/or accepted forbearance may be eligible for a refi or new mortgage:
Under the temporary eligibility guidelines, effective immediately, homeowners who missed payments and entered into a loss mitigation solution – such as a repayment plan, payment deferral, or loan modification – are eligible for a new refinance or purchase mortgage after three timely payments.
There is no waiting period for borrowers who missed payments due to a COVID-19 financial hardship but have since completed reinstatement by repaying the full amount of the outstanding payments missed during the forbearance period.
There also is no waiting period for borrowers who requested forbearance due to a COVID-19 financial hardship but ultimately were able to make all their payments in full and on time.
“Homeowners who are in COVID-19 forbearance but continue to make their mortgage payment will not be penalized,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said. “Today’s action allows homeowners to access record low mortgage rates and keeps the mortgage market functioning as efficiently as possible.”
But that’s not the only change the GSEs announced today.
Last month, Fannie and Freddie announced that they would begin buying loans that went into first-payment forbearance, meaning those where the borrower went into forbearance within one month of the loan closing.
That policy was set to expire on May 31, but the FHFA said Tuesday that the GSEs are extending it through August 31, 2020.
“The Enterprises are now able to buy forborne loans, with note dates on or before June 30, 2020, as long as they are delivered to the Enterprises by August 31, 2020 and have only one mortgage payment has been missed,” the FHFA said Tuesday. “FHFA and the Enterprises will continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus national emergency on the housing finance market and update our policies as necessary.”

Friday, May 15, 2020

2019 vs 2020: Let's Compare Showings and Newly Added Listings

Good chart from First Alliance Title of showings this time 2019 vs 2020, and newly added listings this time 2019 vs 2020. After stay-at-home orders were lifted showings sky-rocketed even passed 2019 numbers (because of less houses to see), and newly added listings started increasing.


Monday, April 6, 2020

Understand How the Coronavirus Stimulus Package Can Help You







The National Association of Realtors made an easy-to-understand summary of all the relief and aid in the $2 trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package.  

Whether you are a home-owner, business-owner, employee, renter, or student, THIS CAN HELP YOU. 

Check out details below:














Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Colorado Resources for COVID-19 Unemployment, Jobs, Rent, Bills, Mortgage and Other Assistance!


Here is an excellent list of resources for anyone in need to tap into! Pass it on!

(Disclosure: claiming unemployment or asking for mortgage or rent forbearance may negatively impact your ability to qualify for a loan in the future). 

Unemployment Assistance - FAQs, Info
U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200312-0
Colorado Unemployment Insurance Info and App: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/file-claim
Find a Job: Many companies are looking for employees now!
Mortgage Assistance:
On March 18, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suspended all foreclosures and eviction actions on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for the next 60 days. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also suspend all foreclosures and evictions for the same 60 day period.
Rent Assistance:
On March 18, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suspended all foreclosures and eviction actions on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for the next 60 days. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also suspend all foreclosures and evictions for the same 60 day period.
Utility Assistance:
Many utility and service providers across the nation are suspending disconnections and offering special allowances or payment plans at this time. First and foremost, reach out directly to your service provider to ensure no disruption in service and to make necessary arrangements.

Denver:
https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/housing-information/resident-resources/stay-in-your-home/rent-utility-help.html

Small Business Assistance and Loans:
Small Business Disaster Loan Assistance Program: The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Washington small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). For more information or to apply: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

SCORE is a nationwide nonprofit organization of thousands of volunteer business counselors trained to serve as advisors to business owners.
https://www.score.org/

Federal Income Tax Filing and Payment Deadline Extension: The federal tax return filing deadline is now July 15, 2020. For tax payments of up to $10 million, the IRS has also extended the deadline for both individuals and businesses to July 15, 2020. Estimated tax payments for 2020 originally due on April 15 will now be due on July 15.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program: Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries due to the effects of COVID-19. Not much information is currently available, but sign up to be included as more comes available here:
https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants?ref=alias
Denver Small Business Emergency Relief, program offers cash grants up to $7,500 to business in industries particularly hard-hit by COVID-19, including restaurants, retail shops, babershops and nail salons. Grants will be distributed monthly and the first applications are due by March 31. Interest Form here: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/environmental-health/news/coronavirus-info/support-services/small-business-emergency-relief-program-form.html

Other (Student Loans, Food, Internet Resources):
Student Loans Deferment: Student Loan Deferment or Forbearance
Information from the Department of Education:
https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus

Internet Resources:Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country are available to anyone who needs them for free, including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit
www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, you can select the "xfinitywifi" network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.

Industry-Specific Assistance:Bartender Emergency Assistance Program Grant through the United States Bartending Guild Foundation for eligible industry workers that have been displaced during COVID-19:
https://www.usbgfoundation.org/

If you are a bartender, barback, bar server, or are otherwise engaged in the service or preparation of alcoholic beverages, you are eligible.

Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation (RWCF), its COVID19 Crisis Relief Fund has been established to:
i) Immediately direct money to organizations leading on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community, ii) To bolster our impact investing budget to provide zero-interest loans to businesses to maintain payroll during closure or re-open once this crisis has passed. iii) To establish a relief fund for individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19.
https://www.restaurantworkerscf.org/news/2020/3/15/restaurant-workers-community-foundation-announces-the-formation-of-restaurant-workers-covid19-crisis-relief-fund

RWCF has assembled an impressive list of resources for restaurant workers here:
https://www.restaurantworkerscf.org/news/2020/3/15/resources-for-restaurants-and-workers-coping-with-the-covid-19-emergency

One Fair Wage, Emergency Coronavirus Tipped and Service Worker Support Fund, providing free, cash assistance to restaurant workers, delviery drivers and other tipped workers and service workers.
https://ofwemergencyfund.org/help

Air Force Aid Assistance, Air Force Aid Society, offering no-interest loans and/or grants to members of the Air Force, Airmen, and families;
https://afas.org/how-we-help/emergency-assistance/

American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund, offering financial assistance for rent, utilities, mental health, and medical care; as well as other basic living expenses for any AGMA member in good standing or on honorable withdrawal;
https://agmarelief.org/eligibility/

And many many more. Great collection of nationwide industry specific programs available here:
https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/research/where-find-financial-help-during-coronavirus-pandemic/

Eviction or Foreclosure Information:
On March 18, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suspended all foreclosures and eviction actions on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for the next 60 days. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also suspend all foreclosures and evictions for the same 60 day period.
While there is not yet a statewide shutdown of the court system, many counties are individually deciding to postpone hearings. Additionally, many Sheriff's offices, including Denver County are delaying evictions. Cases may still be filed however the timeframe to process will likely be drawn out. The Governor and Attorney General have called upon Landlords and banks to refrain from displacing tenants until this has passed.

Useful Websites and Other Resources:
211.org - Get Connected. Get Help. A national network providing a wealth of resources and assistance spanning from food assistance to monthly housing needs. Visit http://211.org/services/covid19 to find your local 211 and learn the assistance available to you.

Salvation Army, check in with your State's Salvation Army for what is being coordinated near you:
https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/covid19/