Video email can help real estate agents make a lasting impression on prospects. Here are three reasons why you should consider incorporating video into email campaigns.
- It improves communications, keeps clients invested in a relationship with you, and lets prospects get to know the agent on a personal and professional level.
- Video messages can be added to automatic email campaigns. Agents can give monthly market activity updates, for instance, on the same day each month via video email, then track open rates and clicks.
- With such tools as BombBomb, which integrates with Realtors Property Resource®, agents also can attach market data to their videos to reinforce their messages.
Source: “3 Reasons to Send Prospects Video Email,” RISMedia (April 10, 2014)
While housing affordability rose from January to February in some select markets, it’s lower year-over-year as home prices continue to rise while wages stay mostly stagnant, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest Housing Affordability Index. The index is based on median home prices, family incomes, and average mortgage interest rates.
The median single-family home price is $189,200, up 9 percent from year-ago levels. Mortgage rates have also been on the rise, up a full percentage point from year-ago levels. Meanwhile, income levels have risen 1.9 percent in the past year.
Affordability is up slightly from a month ago in the Northeast and Midwest, while the West and South saw a minor drop in February month-over-month, according to NAR’s index. However, affordability is down in all regions from year-ago levels. The West has seen the largest decline in affordability in the past year, due to a 17 percent price gain.
Source: “Latest Housing Affordability Data,” National Association of REALTORS®’ Economists’ Outlook blog (April 11, 2014)
“It’s a promising sign to see areas like Los Angeles and San Jose joining the top ten largest [metros] showing a recovery,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “We still expect 2014 to be a strong year for housing and to aid in the overall economic recovery. The job market continues to mend and, with that, we will see a steady release of pent-up demand of buyers.”
The index shows that 59 of the 350 metro markets tracked by the index have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity.
The index examines current housing permit, price, and employment data to see how close markets are performing at their historical normal levels.
Also, 28 percent of metro areas tracked had their score rise this month. Eighty-three percent have shown an improvement over the past year as well.
“Things are getting slowly better overall,” says NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly. “And with the housing market now entering the spring buying season, the fact that the nation’s economy is headed in the right direction is a very promising sign.”
Source: National Association of Home Builders
Consumer attitudes are reflecting greater optimism in the housing market heading into real estate’s traditionally strong spring selling season, according to Fannie Mae’s March 2014 National Housing Survey.
In the poll of 1,000 people, 38 percent say it’s a good time to sell a home, up from 26 percent a year ago. The poll also shows that 69 percent of those surveyed say it’s a good time to buy, and 52 percent say it’s easier today to get financing for a home.
Americans feel more confident about their personal finances: An all-time survey high of 40 percent say their personal financial situation has improved during the past year.
“The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum. However, we see several positive signs going into this year’s spring home-buying season, compared with last year. For example, consumers are less pessimistic about their personal finances and more optimistic about the current selling environment and their ability to get a mortgage. Still, those who are pessimistic about buying or selling a home today tend to point to economic conditions as the primary issue, and most consumers continue to say the economy is on the wrong track. Looking forward, we expect to see a pickup in economic growth later in the year, and this may boost the confidence of prospective buyers and sellers.”
Source: Fannie Mae
As the spring market heats up, more buyers are finding higher home prices than they may have expected, CNBC reports.
“People quite frankly came out and got sticker shock … they picked up the price sheet and saw, ‘Wow, that’s way more than I thought’ because home prices had gone up so much in 2013,” Brad Hunter, chief economist at Metrostudy, told CNBC.
Existing-home prices were up 9.1 percent in February above year ago levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Meanwhile, incomes are up just 2.1 percent from a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Home builders also have been raising their prices over the past year. For example, D.R. Horton, one of the nation’s largest builders, announced earlier this year that it planned to raise home prices in some of its markets this spring. In January, the builder said the average price of its homes under contract was up 10 percent in the past year.
Buyers also are facing rising mortgage rates and tighter credit conditions.
Still, while prices have been on the rise, home prices are well off their peak from the housing boom in 2006, housing experts note. Inventories remain constrained in many markets as some home owners wait for higher home prices before they list.
Source: “Homebuyers Face Spring Sticker Shock,” CNBC.com (April 4, 2014)
Mortgage rates ticked up slightly this week, as the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.41 percent – more than a full percentage point higher than it was a year ago at this time, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for the week ending April 3:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.41 percent, with an average 0.7 point, up slightly from last week’s 4.40 average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.54 percent.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.47 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.42 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.74 percent.
- 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.12 percent, with an average 0.5 point, up from last week’s 3.10 average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.65 percent.
- 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.45 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 2.44 percent average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.63 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac
Home owners have been enjoying big home price rises across the country, but those increases – often by double-digit percentages – will likely level off soon, according to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, which reflects February data. The index, which also includes distressed sales, was up 12.2 percent in February compared to year-ago levels.
“As the spring home-buying season kicks off, house price appreciation continues to be strong,” says Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist. “Although prices should remain strong in the near term due to a short supply of homes on the market, price increases should moderate over the next year as home equity releases pent-up supply.”
The National Association of REALTORS®’ most recent existing-home sales report showed that the median existing-home price for all housing types was $189,000 in February, a 9.1 percent rise over February 2013. “Price gains have translated into an additional $4 trillion of housing wealth recovery over the past three years,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement.
Source: CoreLogic and “Home Prices Will Keep Rising, But Level-Off Soon,” Mortgage News Daily (April 1, 2014)
Multifamily real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are becoming real estate’s “red-hot category,” and it was the most profitable sector of commercial real estate in the first quarter of 2014, according to CNBC.
Apartment REITs are rebounding after a sluggish 2013 and are now posting returns of 12.75 percent, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. Equity REITs in the first quarter were up slightly more than 7 percent. The continued growth in apartment demand is a big driver behind the rise in multifamily REIT stocks.
“We’ve seen a big increase in construction from the very depressed levels that we had during the depths of the recession, but in terms of overall construction, we’re barely back to what a trend pace would be with a national population the size we have in the U.S.,” says Calvin Schnure, vice president of research at the National Association of REITs.
Nearly 42,000 new apartment units were completed in the fourth quarter of 2013, the highest since 2003, according to REIS Inc. About one-third of new housing units being built are rental apartments, which is the highest level in 40 years, according to the U.S. Census.
Demand is expected to increase too as the job market improves and more younger Americans move out on their own.
“People are concerned about competition of multifamily with the improving housing market, but this is really a situation where a rising tide lifts all boats,” says Schnure. “The rising tide being the number of people who are going to be looking for a place to stay.”
Source: “Real Estate’s Red-Hot Category: Apartments,” CNBC (March 31, 2014)
Convenience, livability, and energy efficiency are top priorities in the construction of new homes this year, according to the National Association of Home Builders, which recently released the most popular features in new single-family homes in 2014. Builders nationwide were surveyed to find out what features they were most likely to include a single-family home this year.
Among the features that are most likely to be included in a typical single-family home are:
- A walk-in closet in the master bedroom
- “Low-e” windows
- A laundry room
- A great room
Also, builders report more attention to energy efficiency in the construction of new homes. For example, Energy-Star rated appliances, programmable thermostats, and Energy-Star rated windows also were among the top of the list for features most likely to be included.
“These features help make the home more comfortable and can save the home owner significant money over the long term,” according to NAHB. On a median per-square-foot basis, home owners spent 78 cents per square foot per year on electricity, while owners of new homes spent 65 cents per square foot per year, according to data from the 2009 American Housing Survey.
Source: National Association of Home Builders.
Fixed mortgage rates were on the rise this week, “applying additional pressure for those markets that are already feeling an affordability pinch,” Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.
“Mortgage rates rose following the uptick on the 10-year Treasury note after comments by the Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated a possible increase on interest rates as soon as early 2015,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, explains.
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending March 27:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.40 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 4.32 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.57 percent.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.42 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.32 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.76 percent.
- 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.10 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.02 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.68 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac