The Real Estate News Brief: New Eviction Moratorium, New Opportunity Zone Legislation, and Seller Spy Cams
Manage episode 299868613 series 1248803
[Speaker] Kathy Fettke
In this Real Estate News Brief for the week ending August 7th, 2021... another single-family eviction moratorium, legislation to extend Opportunity Zones, and sellers who use spy cams at showings.
Hi, I'm Kathy Fettke and this is the Real Estate News for Investors.
We begin with economic news from this past week. The job market picked up speed in July with the creation of 943,000 new positions. Most of those jobs are for leisure and hospitality, but a large portion were also government jobs. According to MarketWatch, July’s hiring spree is the largest in about a year. It also helped reduce the unemployment rate from 5.9% in June to 5.4% in July. (1)
The weekly unemployment report also shows that fewer people applied for benefits. Initial state claims dropped to 385,000 for the last week of July. That’s the lowest number we’ve since the start of the pandemic. Continuing claims are down to 2.93 million. (2)
If you add all the benefits that people are collecting from eight state and federal programs, the total is 12.98 million. For reference, that’s still a very big number. Total weekly claims before the pandemic were less than 2 million.
Home prices continue skyrocketing. According to CoreLogic, the annual rate of growth hit 17.2% in July. That’s up from 15.9% in May. It’s also the largest increase in price growth since 1979. (3) CoreLogic CEO Frank Martel says that “home prices have been rising in the mid-single digits for some years now. The recent surge to double-digit price jumps reflect the convergence of exceptional demand and persistent low supply.”
Home builders are putting more money into residential construction. The Commerce Department says it was up 1.1% in June to an annual rate of $1.55 trillion. The overall outlay for all kinds of construction was just .1%. (4)
Mortgage rates sank a little bit lower last week. Freddie Mac says the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was down 3 basis points to 2.77%. The 15-year stayed the same at 2.1%. This is great news for people who need to refinance. The rates are drifting lower in step with the 10-year Treasury yield because investors are worried about the Delta variant of COVID-19. (5)
In other news making headlines...
Eviction Ban Extension for SFRs
The FHA announced a new eviction ban extension for single-family homes going through foreclosure. The CDC ban expired on July 31st. This new ban extends the moratorium another two months, through the end of September. (6)
Under this order, mortgage servicers for FHA-backed loans may continue with a foreclosure process but they can’t evict anyone who lives in the home, including owner occupants and tenants.
Opportunity Zone Extension
The Opportunity Zone program may get an extension past its current 2026 deadline. A group of representatives announced legislation called The Growth and Opportunities Act. California Representative Michelle Steel issued the press release. She says: “The beauty of America is that everyone has the opportunity to build their own American dream. Opportunity Zones are an important tool that give more people the resources they need to grow this dream.” (7)
Opportunity Zones encourage investment in distressed communities with tax incentives. There are currently more than 8,760 Qualified Opportunity Zones across the U.S.. This legislation would open the program to new Qualified Opportunity Zones every ten years. It would also restart a tax incentive timeline in January of 2027.
Sellers Use Spy Cams for Showings
Now here’s something that might put you on guard next time you go to an open house. A new Lending Tree study says that almost one-third of all sellers use spy cams during a showing. (8)
Survey participants offered several reasons for doing it. Almost half said they want to understand what home buyers like and dislike about the home. A little more than a third said they wanted to get information that would be useful during negotiations. And almost a quarter were doing it to spy on their agent, to see what he said about the home. Many were also monitoring their homes for safety reasons.
The survey found that owners were using doorbell and security cameras for the most part. Some also used baby monitors and nanny cams.
Sellers Taking the Kitchen Sink AND the Toilets
Sellers are also doing something else you might not expect. Many are taking fixtures, appliances, and even backyard fruit trees with them. The New York Times reports that expensive toilets are at the top of the seller’s “take it with them” list. High-end appliances are also disappearing with the seller. This is mostly happening because of the appliance shortage, and concerns about getting what sellers need for their new homes. (9)
One realtor told the Times that people selling a $2 million home dug up a pair of fruit trees for sentimental reasons, and left two big holes in the back yard. Another realtor involved with the purchase of a $15.5 million home had to tell the buyers that the sellers were taking all the kitchen cabinets.
Usually, anything “fixed” to the home or yard goes along with the sale.
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Thanks for listening. I'm Kathy Fettke.