Roofstock – Startup Wants to Sell “Shares” of a Home

According to the Wall Street Journal, startup Roofstock wants to make investing in real estate as simple as the stock market. The idea is that a home could be owned in “shares”, possibly in stakes as little as 10% of single family rental homes.

The idea is to take advantage of rising rental rates and home appreciation as an investment, without the burden of being a landlord.



Mortgage Rates Up Slightly This Week

Freddie Mac reported that the average interest rate for a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage raised slightly this week  to 3.75% from 3.73% last week. This compares to 4.52% a year ago.

Interest Rate Cut Coming?

Kate Davidson of the Wall Street Journal reported on June 13 that nearly 75% of 46 economists polled by the WSJ believe that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates. This is up from 50% in May.  This would immediately affect adjustable rate mortgages and could, indirectly, affect longer term mortgages.

Gov. DeSantis signs bills on open permits, online notaries

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 7, 2019 – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signed two bills into law last week, HB 447 and HB 409 – a move applauded by Florida Realtors®.

HB 447: Open and expired permits

HB 447 allows local governments to close a permit six years after issuance, as long as no apparent safety hazards exist. It also prevents local governments from penalizing property owners for an open permit applied for by a previous owner.

“Open and expired permits bring uncertainty to real estate transactions and can delay the closing, and in some cases, prevent a home purchase,” says 2019 Florida Realtors President Eric Sain, a Realtor and district sales manager with Illustrated Properties in Palm Beach. “That’s why we applaud the leadership of Rep. Ben Diamond and Sen. Keith Perry to sponsor this legislation, and Gov. DeSantis’ decision to sign it. It will go a long way in helping homebuyers and sellers fulfill the American Dream in Florida.”

The signed the open and expired permit remedies become effective on Oct. 1, 2019.

HB 409: Online remote notaries

“Many states throughout the nation allow the use of online remote notaries in real estate transactions, making them easier, faster and more convenient for distant consumers,” says Sain. “Thanks to Gov. DeSantis’ signature and the leadership of Rep. James Grant and Sen. Jeff Brandes to create and pass this legislation, Florida now joins this crop of modern, forward-thinking states.”

In addition to authorizing the use of online remote notaries, HB 409 also contains measures that protect the integrity and security of documents being notarized. The use of online remote notaries becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2020.

© 2019 Florida Realtors

Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved

NAR: Pending home sales trail off 1.5% in April

WASHINGTON – May 30, 2019 – Pending home sales declined in April in a modest change from the growth seen a month before, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Only one of the four major regions – the Midwest – experienced growth, while the remaining three regions reported a drop in their respective contract activity.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) – a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings – fell 1.5% to 104.3 in April, down from 105.9 in March. Year-over-year contract signings declined 2.0%, making April the 16th straight month of annual decreases.

“Though the latest monthly figure shows a mild decline in contract signings, mortgage applications and consumer confidence have been steadily rising,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “It’s inevitable for sales to turn higher in a few months.”

Yun says a tight inventory of lower-end homes and an increasing number of higher-end homes are part of the equation.

“Home price appreciation has been the strongest on the lower-end as inventory conditions have been consistently tight on homes priced under $250,000,” he says. “Price conditions are soft on the upper-end, especially in high tax states like Connecticut, New York and Illinois.”

The supply of inventory for homes priced under $250,000 stood at 3.3 months in April; homes priced $1 million and above recorded an inventory of 8.9 months in April.

“We are seeing migration to more affordable regions, particularly in the South, where there has been recent job growth and homes are more affordable,” Yun says.

April pending home sales regional breakdown
The PHSI in the Northeast declined 1.8% to 88.9 in April and is now 2.1% below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index grew 1.3% to 96.8 in April, 2.4% lower than April 2018.

Pending home sales in the South fell 2.5% to an index of 124.0 in April, which is 1.8% lower than last April. The index in the West dropped 1.8% in April to 93.5 and fell only 1.5% below a year ago.

© 2019 Florida Realtors

Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved.

NFIP flood insurance extended through June 14

ORLANDO, Fla. – May 30, 2019 – Some last-minute moves in Congress extended the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for two weeks – until June 14, 2019 – after it appeared on Thursday afternoon that it would expire at midnight on May 31.

While the NFIP extension had broad, bipartisan support in Congress and was widely expected to pass, it was attached to a $19 billion disaster relief bill that encountered technical difficulties at the last minute.

The disaster relief bill (HR 2157), which also includes relief for hurricane-ravaged areas of Florida’s Panhandle, passed the House and went to the Senate, which added an amendment and also passed it. The changed bill again needed House approval, though, and a single lawmaker was able to stop the process right before Congress disbanded for a long weekend break. That put the flood insurance extension in jeopardy.

When it became clear that HR 2157 would not pass right away, however, Congress passed a stopgap bill extending flood coverage under a fast-track procedure. In theory, the two-week extension should keep the national flood insurance program operating long enough to pass the larger bill – and continuous coverage for homebuyers and existing homeowners.

HR 2157, which is expected to pass perhaps as early as next week, extends NFIP through September.

The two-week extension now goes to President Trump for his signature.

© 2019 Florida Realtors

Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved.

Mortgage Rates Drop Five Weeks in a Row!!

According to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac 30 year fixed-rate mortgage rates averaged below 4% for the first time since January 2018.

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.99 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending May 30, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 4.06 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.56 percent.
  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.46 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.51 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.06 percent.

2019 MLS Statistics – April

A quick recap of the Brevard County Residential Report for April 2019:
  • Closed Sales are up 10% for April 2019 in which the number of units closed was 998 compared to 907 in 2018, with an increase in cash sales of 14.3% compared to April 2018.
  • New Pending Sales are up 10.7% and New Listings are down -5.9%.
  • The Median Sales Price for Brevard Single Family homes is up 4.6% to $238,000 compared to a year ago, which was $227,500.
  • Months Supply of Inventory is up 6.9% to 3.1 months, an increase from 2.9 months in April 2018.
  • Traditional Sales are up 8.2%, with a median sales price of $240,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales are up 121.4% with 31 sales and a median sales price of $179,900.
  • Short Sale Closings are down -50%, with 3 sales and a median sales price of $150,000.

Courtesy of Florida Realtors® Industry Data and Analysis Team

HUD working on verification plan for service animals

WASHINGTON – May 16, 2019 – Landlords and property managers are entitled to “reliable verification” of a tenant’s need for a service animal and can require proof beyond an online certification, a Department of Housing and Urban Development official said Tuesday at the Realtors® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.

Lynn Grosso, director of HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Enforcement Office, told the Land Use, Property Rights & Environment Committee that a predatory cottage industry has developed for assistance animal certifications.

Consumers are being misled to believe that an online verification letter – often provided by unlicensed medical professionals at a cost of a few hundred dollars – guarantees them the right to have an animal in multifamily housing regardless of pet policy, she added.

“HUD does not recognize these pay-to-play certifications as reliable,” Grosso said. “You should not feel held hostage by a policy where tenants don’t have to demonstrate in a reliable manner a legitimate need for the assistance of an animal.”

Grosso said HUD is developing new guidance that will address for the first time what “reliable verification” means as it pertains to tenants’ service animal requests. It’s not clear when the guidance, which is currently under federal review, will be released.

But Grosso offered some clarity to the committee Tuesday on the substance of the guidance:

While landlords and property managers are legally prohibited from inquiring about the nature or severity of a tenant’s disability, they can express concern about the reliability of a service animal certification letter and provide steps for the tenant to take for further verification. This may include asking the tenant to provide additional documentation from their medical provider. The most reliable form of verification is a letter from a medical provider who has a history of treating the tenant, and the letter should name the tenant’s disability and the animal most qualified to assist him or her, Grosso said.

“It’s best to have a policy on this issue rather than doing it on an ad hoc basis,” she added.

But Grosso also added a warning: If you can “readily observe” that a tenant has a disability and an animal that provides a service, it’s wise not to push the issue of additional verification, she added.

Grosso said that the not-yet-released guidance will also address exotic animals, such as alligators, and the number of animals each individual tenant can request in their unit.

It’s important not to trivialize the issue of service animals because of abuses of the law, Grosso said. “Very often, there is some nefarious attribution to people who request assistance animals. But many times, there are people with significant disabilities who legitimately need the assistance of a service animal. They bear the burden of the effects of service animal abuses.”

Source: National Association of Realtors® (NAR), Graham Wood

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved.

Are hybrid appraisals becoming the new normal?

WASHINGTON – May 17, 2019 – Appraisals, a critical part of real estate transactions, have customarily been done in-person by an experienced appraiser. However, with advancements in technology and the rise of big data, alternatives to the traditional appraisal field are beginning to become more prevalent in the U.S.

Traditional appraisal alternatives – like hybrid appraisals, broker price opinions and data-driven automated or desktop valuation models – can be useful and cost-effective tools. However, many in the industry, including the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), urge caution when waiving traditional, onsite appraisals for home transactions to ensure purchases are based on sound financial principles and don’t put undue risk on consumers or the market.

Read more at:

Additional information and resources for real estate professionals about appraisals can be found at

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved.


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