Tag Archives: Housing

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LendingTree: Student loan debt is driving Millennials to buy fixer-upper homes

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With more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, new LendingTree research shows an overwhelming majority of homebuyers are considering purchasing “fixer-upper” homes to combat costs. In fact, 88% of homebuyers that are grappling with student loan debt are now more likely to consider a “fixer-upper” home, according to the online lending marketplace’s data.

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NAR files motion to dismiss anti-trust lawsuit over buyer broker commissions

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In the last three months, the NAR has been hit with two nearly identical class-action lawsuits that claim its buyer broker compensation rules violate anti-trust laws. But the association isn’t going to roll over without a fight.

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Manhattan pending home sales surge as prices drop to 2015 level, StreetEasy report says

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Pending home sales in Manhattan spiked 27% in April from a year ago, reaching the highest level of signed contracts since the spring of 2015, as prices in America’s priciest urban neighborhood dropped, according to StreetEasy. “Early signs tell us that some sellers are finally pricing their homes more realistically and finding buyers when they do so,” said StreetEasy Senior Economist Grant Long.

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What’s your office’s air pollution level?

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You probably figure you don’t need to worry about air pollution unless you’re sitting in traffic.

Think again — the way you go about daily tasks in your office can actually create unhealthy levels of harmful air, putting you and your team at risk for respiratory diseases and other health issues. What can you do to stop the problem? Start here:

Go green.

A study from Portland Universityfound that “green” rooftops — those planted with vegetation — may cut down on indoor air pollution within office buildings because plants cut down on how much ozone makes its way inside. Talk to building management about this simple and inexpensive healthy fix.

Utilize portable air purifiers in your office space.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that these easy-to-use devices can lower indoor air pollution significantly. Air purifiers are inexpensive (under $70 apiece on average), can be used in multiples to cover large office space dimensions and are easy to use.

Avoid cleaning sprays when sprucing up your work area.

A study from the American Thoracic Societyfound that using any disinfecting or cleansing spray product a couple of times per week can, over time, cause a decline in lung function comparable to smoking.

Use liquid and powder cleansers around your desk instead and wear a mask when you clean to avoid any airborne irritation to your mucus membranes.

Open a window in your break room.

Researchers from the University of Colorado found that simply boiling water on a stove can create the same volatile chemical compounds that create air pollution in a city environment.

If you have a kitchen setup, inform your staff about this so they never cook in an unventilated area.

Weigh yourself.

Gained a few pounds lately? Ask your cleaning staff to check the products they use for the chemicals cadmium and tributyltin.

Not only are these chemicals bad for the air you breathe, but they’re “obesogens” — exposure to them can change the body’s ability to burn calories effectively, according to the European Endocrine Society. Ask your staff to switch to organic products without these ingredients.

Get your building tested for radon.

This odorless gas pollutes your home silently and can raise your lung cancer risk. A malfunctioning heating system can cause radon levels to rise.

Subsequently, in the summer, central air may circulate radon through your workspace. Get yours serviced if necessary.

Take smog seriously.

On days where air pollution levels are high, don’t open windows in small workstation areas — it’s worth it to crank up the air conditioning a little instead.

Not only will this action protect your employees’ health, it will show them you care to do so. That way, everyone benefits!

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Hey, Mr. President, what about removing lumber tariffs to make homes affordable?

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Canadian softwood lumber used to build U.S. homes currently carry tariffs of about 20%. That adds $9,000 to the price of a typical new home and more than $3,000 to the cost of a multifamily unit, NAHB said. At a time when all eyes are on U.S. housing affordability issues, the trade dispute with Canada is “needlessly driving up housing costs,” Greg Ugalde, chairman of NAHB, said in a statement.

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A silver lining: Most Americans still view housing as a good investment

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A majority of Americans – 65% – think it is still a good idea to invest in a home, according to the latest survey of consumer expectations of housing by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While this hasn’t changed much from last year, the attitudes of younger Americans have.

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Tariff wars: What do Walmart and Target prices have to do with the housing market?

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When a top executive at Walmart told Wall Street analysts last week that tariffs on Chinese goods would lead to higher prices for his customers, people who follow the housing and mortgage industry felt a sense of foreboding. Higher consumer prices lead to higher inflation, which leads to higher mortgage rates.

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American consumers, businesses set to suffer as trade war escalates

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It took three days for the Chinese government to retaliate against President Trump imposing new import tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion of goods earlier this month.

U.S. imports in China will face retaliatory tariffs, according to China’s Finance Ministry, rising from 10% to 20 or 25% on thousands of goods from alcoholic beverages to apparel. What does this latest move in the two nations’ escalating trade war mean for American businesses and consumers?

Douglas K. Barry is director of communications and publications for the U.S.-China Business Council, a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit group of about 200 U.S. firms doing business with China.

“New tariffs imposed by China will hurt U.S. manufacturers,” Barry told MultiBriefs in an email. President Trump ran for the White House in part on a plan to revive American manufacturing.

The data does not indicate that manufacturing revival is happening. U.S. industrial production dropped 0.9% from April 2018 to April 2019, according to the Federal Reserve Bank.

Meanwhile, the U.S. trade gap in goods with China hit $419 billion in 2018. That is, the U.S. exported to China goods valued at $120 billion, while China’s goods exported to the U.S. totaled $539 billion last year.

What about agricultural businesses in the U.S.-China trade tumult? “Farmers, already feeling the pain from an earlier round of tariffs, will be harmed even more,” Barry said.

Soybean farmers in red states that supported Trump in his successful campaign for president have been dealing with China’s imposing of import tariffs. The same red state farmers might take cold comfort in what agricultural interests in blue states such as California are experiencing.

“The real damage associated with the third Chinese tariff increase (effective June 1, the total tax and tariff on U.S. wine will be 91%) is the loss of market share in a rapidly growing market,” said John Aguirre, president of California Association of Winegrape Growers, to MultiBriefs in an email. “China was once the fastest growing market for California wines and had the potential to be a very large market for U.S. wines.”

In essence, China’s new U.S. import tariffs will slow consumer and business demand for California wine. Do you think that competitors are standing still, as California wine exports to China dropped roughly 25% in 2018? If so, you might think again.

“As the Europeans and Australians capture a greater share of the market, we can expect to see a much smaller market in the future for U.S. wines (compared to what would have been without tariffs).”

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and the U.S.’s biggest private-sector employer, expects that American consumers will pay higher prices. Macy has conveyed a similar forecast on price hikes for American shoppers.

It is unclear when talks between China and the U.S. will resume. Meanwhile, their trade war is heating up. When it will stop is anybody’s guess.

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NAR: Monthly existing home sales fall 0.4% in April

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In April, existing home sales fell slightly from the previous month, but growing inventory signaled improvement in the market, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said he is not overly concerned about April’s 0.4% dip in sales and expects moderate growth very soon.

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Mortgage Tech Rundown: Calyx Software, Finastra and Optimal Blue

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This week’s mortgage tech rundown highlights the latest news in mortgage technology, featuring product updates, integrations and announcements.

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