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Century 21 Launches ListTrac for Analytics on Portal Marketing
In an email blast to Century 21 brokers and agents last week, Century 21 released the Golden Ruler powered by ListTrac, a reporting tool that allows sellers, agents, and brokers to see the engagement that a property is getting across the Internet. Portals like Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, and Homes.com are shown side by side with Century 21's family of sites and partner sites along with MLS systems, consumer sites and HomeSnap. In fact, any real estate website can easily have ListTrac monitoring configured.
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On G-Suite: Google Data Studio Continues to Improve
Google continues to enhance the tools available with a G-Suite subscription. My eyebrows frown when I learn an organization's marketing or operations teams are not taking advantage of one of the Business Intelligence (BI) tools like Google Data Studio. Last week, the Data Studio team just released a bunch of new enhancements and training for their G-Suite customers. Last fall, Google Data Studio came out of beta as a primetime BI data visualization tool. What is even more impressive is the almost weekly cadence of new features being introduced by Google. This simply displays Google's commitment and emphasis in developing tools for easy insights into the data we all own. These are just a few new features and highlights recently released by Data Studio. Data Studio Reports Scheduled to Your Inbox Two weeks after Data Studio came out of beta, the feature of downloading reports as PDF files were made available. A new feature this month is to schedule email delivery of Data Studio reports. Data Studio allows sharing of your reports for online viewing. So, why the need for scheduled email delivery? The schedule email delivery feature just makes it easier to consistently send a report for review. It's a nice benefit for the busiest of executives who can easily open the report from their inbox. If questions arise, they can dive deeper or begin to ask the owner of the report about the information. Version History Keeping version history is vital in controlling the lifecycle when creating content. How many times did you wish there was a way to go back to or reference a previous version of a document? It happens often—we put version numbers, letters, our initials, date and all kinds of characters to demark that a document has changed. The benefit of version history is to only have a single file or report in your folders or shared folders. Data Studio captures a history of changes as you edit reports or data sources. You can view the previous version, who created the version, and the date. You have the ability to recall any previous version and make it current. Other Enhancements or New Features Within the first 12 weeks of the year, Google has improved Data Studio with eight releases—a nice cadence with more coming. Here are a few other niceties from the Data Studio team: Improved formatting of tables Custom rolling dates Get a report link to share, use in web pages, or anywhere else you can use links. Showing missing data as blanks Chart-level aggregations – median, standard deviation, and variance Custom date comparison – this is a nice new feature for additional information in a report. I need to mention that your development team also has the ability to create custom data connectors—a very important feature to pull your own internal data or any of your technology partners' API endpoint data into Data Studio. Data Studio Training Google just released "Introduction to Data Studio." This is a great start for marketers, business owners, technologists, operations, accounting, and business analysts to learn how to visualize and gain insights from their data. The course curriculum teaches you how to connect to the data, creating meaningful reports, and how to share a report with others in your organization. If your organization is on G-Suite, this would be a great opportunity to task someone to learn this tool, even if it on a part-time basis. Why the Frowning Eyebrows? Over the last year, WAV Group has been talking about the importance of knowing your data. There is an old saying: Data builds information, information creates knowledge, and knowledge is power. Leveraging tools such as Data Studio creates observations that can power the direction of the company or enlighten a marketing campaign. My frowning eyebrows are because I am amazed at how many people are not using Data Studio or Microsoft Power BI. Now is the time to dig deep into data and find the meaning within it. Getting started is easy with Data Studio created templates of their products. Start with these templates and look at the community templates. There is one for your Facebook Ad. I know all brokerages, teams of agents, and agents are using Facebook to advertise. Use this template to evaluate and share the performance of your Facebook campaigns. Creating a BI strategy in a brokerage is only going to enhance the competitiveness of your business. Tools like Data Studio and Power BI are skill sets that are not just "nice to have" but are a "must have." The WAV Group has experience in data engineering and data analysis to craft a BI strategy. Contact us to determine which products and insights are a benefit for your business. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Do You Know Your New vs. Returning Visitor Ratio?
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The Big Data Picture: The Bird's Eye View of Your Market
The Buck Doesn't Stop There You likely understand that Big Data is really a very (VERY) large collection of data points surrounding all sorts of world events. Mostly, we consider these to be consumer actions such as purchases or even sales inquiries, which nearly every product or service provider can use to better target their end consumers with offers or other pertinent opportunities. But all too often, we stop here when describing Big Data. Why? Well, for the most part, people see that alone as an immediate value proposition and consider that the end of the conversation. But are what the other advantages surrounding the sorts of business insight that Big Data can provide? If you're intrigued, then you might be interested in learning more about the Big Data picture.
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Keys to Buying Market Analytics Products
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The Latest Trends in Market Analytics
Perhaps the most significant disruption in real estate market analytics has been the launch of Zillow's Zestimate. The Zestimate is an automated valuation model that uses mathematical algorithms to speculate what a home's value might be. In the banking industry, these mathematical algorithms are called AVMs, or Automated Valuation Models. As consumers gained access to the Zillow Zestimate, it sent the industry into a tailspin. "The Zestimate is too high," or "The Zestimate is too low," shouted the crowd of industry pundits, REALTORS®, and consumers alike. The tailspin was created by opening up the dark box of real estate data that had previously only been available to real estate professionals. On a property by property basis, real estate agents would carefully sift through dozens or hundreds of properties on the market, under contract, or recently sold in the process of establishing a market value for a home. This remains true today, and the real estate professional who painstakingly performs this analysis continues to be the authority in helping sellers price homes or supporting buyers with successful offers. So the battle is on. Real estate agents have a strong challenger in Zillow, who aims to become the source of real estate information on property values. The good news is that software vendors in the real estate industry continue to raise the bar for REALTORS® by delivering a wide array of products that not only enable the agent to gain astute insights into market data, but analyze and report on that market data with exceptional professionalism. Used correctly, the agent can continue to maintain their position as the most trusted source of what is happening in the real estate market. The challenge is adoption. We have seen an enormous effort expended by the National Association of REALTORS® to maintain the advantage of the REALTOR by the development of the RVM®, or REALTOR Valuation Model. It is like an AVM, but only available to members of NAR. The RVM is created by NAR though their subsidiary, Realtors Property Resource®. This is certainly nothing new, but it is a significant trend in the industry because of its enormous evolution. The product has gotten really advanced in the data available, its ease of use, and certainly the quality of its reports. Frankly, RE Technology believes that RPR is among the most advanced mobile tools available to real estate professionals today. Another enormous development in the real estate industry has been in tax systems. CoreLogic has shifted their development of REALIST® from a standalone solution and opted to focus on Matrix 360, a fully integrated MLS and tax system in one. Alongside this trend, we have seen CRS Data completely rebuild their tax interface and become one of the newest tax systems in real estate. These systems, along with the marketing focused tax system Remine, have splintered the strategic direction of off-market data accessed by real estate professionals. Of course, data quality as measured by accuracy (typos), depth (number of fields), and timeliness (speed of update from the recorder's office) varies by county. No matter how good the software or reports are, the underlying data is the most important resource. Agents and brokers continue to tie market data into their CRM and leverage market reports in lead generation forms for "What's my home worth?" In this regard, we have seen a lot of activity by leading CRM providers like Inside Real Estate, Contactually, Top Producer's Market Snapshot, Boston Logic, Booj, Real Estate Webmasters, Gabriels, and so many others. It is the most powerful drip marketing report with soaring open rates, some hitting as high as 40 percent because consumers are starving for this information and expect it from their agents. Want to learn more about how to make market analytics work for your business? Download our FREE Success Guide to Marketing Analytics today!      
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REally! Agent Tool Usage Reporting Is Behind the Times
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How to Forecast Sales Like a Chief Operating Officer
Forecast. Budget. Calculate. We hear a lot about business plans and sales projections this time of year. And though we can find plenty of helpful articles, or can draw from experience, maybe we should think of sales forecasts like Chief Operating Officers (COOs). In real estate, we always have one question to answer: How much money are we going to make this year? Most of us don't have consistent paychecks. We don't have a set salary. We're paid by the number of real estate transactions. So, defining what this year looks like for business is a top priority. Now, I'd like to make a quick interjection. I'm not saying think of sales forecasts like a Chief Financial Officer. I'm saying think of it as a Chief Operating Officer. Here's why: Because COOs are looking at the business and market as a whole. Whether you're a real estate agent or a broker, you want to know how much money you're going to earn (this month / this quarter / this year). Historical data and averages lose impact if they're not used within context... i.e., how you plan your business efforts. You're not just financially planning. You're acting on it with your day-to-day decisions. In real estate, we often double as strategist and soldier. We plan, but we also do the dirty work. Let's jump into the mindset of a COO and begin sales forecasting... Goals are second. Past Data is first. We're always ready to set ambitious goals. "I want to close 10 deals this month." or "I want the team to sell $200 million in units." Those are random goals if you don't have data to back up those decisions. And randomness costs money, because it impacts how you market yourself or how much money you spend in advertising. It's going to hurt when you realize you can't handle the number of leads it takes to close 10 deals. Sales forecasting starts with historical measurements. You can't forecast if you don't understand market behavior—the same way meteorologists understand the behavior of certain storms. They can estimate which way hurricanes will move because they have models to guide them—models built on past data. You need the same in real estate. Here's what data you should gather: 1. Measuring Agent Workload Gauge your your agents' bandwidth based on the number of leads and deals you handled each month, averaged. Then rate the workload. Was it too much or too little? Could you easily handle more leads or would you need an assistant? 2. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) To determine customer acquisition cost, examine how much you spend to generate leads. Then look at how many leads turn into actual clients. Understanding how much money it'll take to generate transactions will help you budget your finances, and ultimately estimate how many deals you'll close per month. 3. Market Growth Lastly, track and analyze how your real estate market is growing. What percentage growth did it see last year? Over five years? What does the market activity look like? If homes are being sold quickly and listings are available at a steady pace, then what does that mean for opportunities this year? Can you expect to aim for higher goals or do you need to prepare for stagnation? Most of this data can be found with your local MLS organization, housing sold information, etc. Next Step: Finding Trends As you look at historical real estate data — how many deals you closed, what costs accompanied your deals — you can begin sales forecasting. On a monthly basis, how many transactions were completed? Now, can you achieve more (i.e., is the bandwidth/workload available)? Then — thinking like a Chief Operating Officer — what's the business strategy? Do you need to hire help or maybe increase your marketing budget? Or perhaps, improve your workflow. As a real estate agent or broker, this is where you decide what goals you want to set—and then how to reach those goals. Answer these questions: What is the historical data showing me? What are achievable goals for this month/quarter/year — based on the data? How will I achieve those goals? Example: I'm a real estate agent. The data is showing me I can close five deals a month within a $500 advertising budget, and with relative ease. If I want to close 10 deals a month, I know I'll need to raise my marketing budget and maybe hire an assistant. Advice for Forecasting and Setting Large Goals A common mistake many agents and managers make with forecasting and setting goals is this: They think it's a one-time deal. "I've set my goals and business plan. Now, I just flow with the current." NO! You don't. Chief Operating Officers know plans go astray. Things happen between today and tomorrow. Between January and June. No plan or forecast is set in stone. Like the weatherman, every day they track where the storm is headed and make adjusted predictions. You need to do the same (though not every day). What happens is people make a plan and then focus on making it come true. You will stop thinking about other possibilities. You've decided 'this' plan is the best and your name is on it. You will defend it because it's 'yours.' But really, set time periods to analyze your goals and business plan throughout the year. Be willing to adjust it. Scrap it. Or re-write it. Flexibility is key to winning any real estate market. Analyze and adjust regularly. There's no such thing as a 'perfect' plan. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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Today's Online Business Intelligence
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The Big Deal With Big Data
As machine learning and predictive analytics become more sophisticated, companies can base decisions on evidence, and deep learning will push the boundaries even more with better problem-solving and language comprehension. Are you ready? Experts predict that the universe of data—or 'dataverse'—will reach 180 zettabytes by 2025. It's a truly mind-boggling number, highlighting the exponential growth of big data. Bernard Marr, author of Data Strategy: How to Profit from a World of Big Data, Analytics and The Internet of Things, offers some perspective, noting that 90 percent of existing data in the world has been generated in the last two years.
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Business Intelligence Tools: Investment for 2019
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3 Reasons Reporting Analytics Are Imperative for Brokerages
Real estate is a numbers game and because of this, it is imperative for brokerages to have the data they need to determine where their brokerage is succeeding and in what areas they can improve. Here are three reasons reporting analytics are imperative for brokerages.
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Are Brokerages Using BI Visualization Tools?
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ShowingTime's MarketView Broker to Compete with BrokerMetrics, TrendGraphix and Collateral Analytics
A few years ago, ShowingTime purchased a number of companies that focus on market stats. Those products were listing-centric, providing brokers with the capability to look at the market activity around a single property, neighborhood, city/town, zip code, etc. The charts are beautiful, and easily embedded into a broker's website. Track Competition and Market Share With this new product, ShowingTime is developing market charts that change the focus from listings to the brokers and agents that sell them. You can look at the trend of an agent or broker's production either on the buy side or the sell side, and dice that market penetration however you like – you can look at company market share by county, zip code, neighborhood, or agent.
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How to Enter REAL Trends 'The Thousand'
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Are You Market-Smart? Prove It with a Branded Market Report
Never has so much information been available to consumers on the residential real estate economy, especially on market trends important to buyers and sellers. Buyers and sellers are self-educating themselves about market conditions long before they hire a real estate agent. This wealth of information can be confusing and even contradictory, proving once again that there's a big difference between information and knowledge. Perhaps that's why consumers want agents who are as smart—or smarter—than they are about market trends. "Knowledge of the real estate market" consistently ranks higher than people skills, technology skills and even negotiation skills among the qualities that buyers consider to be very important when shopping for an agent.
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Public Transit Access Drives Up Real Estate Value in Key Markets
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Totomic Shows Who (and How) to Target During Home Sale
Best Buyer report gives agents a major digital edge, saving precious time and money With the inception of the Moxi Works open platform, our sole purpose is set to helping brokerages innovate and future-proof their businesses. We've added a lot of tools and services lately, but only those that are the brightest and best in the industry. With that spirit in mind, we want to announce another best-in-class service integrated into the Moxi Cloud open platform: Totomic, which helps guide agent marketing tactics through an in-depth analysis of big data. To learn more about Totomic, sign up for this FREE upcoming webinar on Sept. 5!
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How Predictive Analytics Can Match Your Listings with Buyers
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The Pros and Cons of AVMs in Real Estate
AVMs have been a integral part of real estate technology since Zillow launched the Zestimate. Controversy seems to follow AVMs wherever they pop up, so we wanted to take a moment to lay out the pros and cons of using an AVM in your real estate business. What is an AVM?
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Where's the Real Value in Automated Valuation Models (AVMs)?
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May's Hottest Real Estate Markets
Summer Real Estate Market Heating Up Temperatures are rising, but there will be no lazy lolling on the beach for would-be home buyers this summer. According to new data from realtor.com®, prices for residential real estate soared to new heights in May—and homes were swiftly scooped off the market by a lucky few. Earlier this spring, the nationwide median home list price pushed above $250,000 for the first time. Now at $275,000, the median list price is 10 percent higher than one year ago. And prices show no signs of easing. In addition to rising home prices, inventory also increased slightly from April to May with 560,000 new listings, but that was still a drop of 11 percent from May of last year. Tough news for buyers, but great news for real estate professionals!
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See SmartTargeting in Action
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Build Your Brand by Leveraging Market Analytics and Online Videos
Video marketing, when done right, is 53 percent more likely to generate a first-page Google ranking than traditional SEO tactics. It's no wonder, then, that recent research shows that video marketing is now a firmly established strategy and the fastest growing advertising format. But some brokers and agents shy away from employing video in their client outreach plan because it seems too overwhelming to create and track the return-on-investment. That's why the Market Analytics section of our online Technology Guide features best-in-class solutions for nurturing leads and customers with informative, branded videos that drive traffic to your website. Professionally created real estate videos tend to rank higher on online searches than traditional content online. Google and other search engines are striving meet consumer demands by providing a mix of content types in their search results, including articles, images, videos, and even maps. But since there's a dearth of video content available, and, even more, only a fraction is properly submitted to the search indexes, search engines have to give a higher ranking to videos in order to balance their content delivery. This makes video content a marketing gold mine for Realtors! In order to harness the power of video for your marketing arsenal, however, videos need to be posted online correctly. Unfortunately, many Realtors make the mistake of posting video content on YouTube, which is built specifically to direct traffic to their site—not yours. One company, Terradatum, solves this problem by empowering brokers and agents to attract original and regionalized video content straight to their own website. The video can then be shared on multiple portals, including broker or agent blogs, eNewsletters, social media channels, and, yes, even YouTube.
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Next Year's National Housing Market Forecast
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Down on the Farm with Data
The most famous mash-up of valuation data and marketing applications was Zillow's "Zestimate," the centerpiece of Zillow's national launch in 2006. Zillow's PR folks at the time positioned their new tool aggressively. I was VP of Public Affairs at NAR at the time, and I will never forget the phone calls we received from national reporters suggesting that maybe now consumers would no longer need Realtors to sell their homes because they could find out their home values online. Though the early Zestimates needed further refinement, there's no doubt that the launch was a tremendous PR success. Automated valuation models (AVMs) like Zillow's multiplied like rabbits, not just because they can be great traffic generators but because they are also hugely profitable ways to generate leads for brokers and loan officers. Over the past decade, the marriage of real estate data and marketing tactics has taken different forms. I worked for Allan Weiss for several years to support his extraordinary Weiss Analytics maps and reports on individual properties. Unlike most other valuation tools, Allan has assembled a massive Big Data database covering millions of homes and uses four repeat sales indexes to create extraordinary accuracy at the house-by-house level. Over the past year, Allan has joined with Brad Inman to create what may be the best valuation tool ever developed for real estate professionals. It not only gives current values based on house-specific data, but it also forecasts near term valuation trends on a micro level—information worth its weight in gold for sellers, buyers, and investors.
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Property Reports Increase Client Retention for Fox and Roach
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Aculist for Brokers: Big Data, MLS Powered
There are a few companies that have developed analytic and business intelligence tools for real estate. Terradatum, RBI, 10k, Altos Research, Trendgraphix, Realtors Property Resource, and others. But this past year, one of America's leading MLSs, MLSListings, launched a new product called Aculist. Based in San Jose, Calif., MLSListings has some of the most advanced software developers in America, and they have leveraged those resources in ways that only MLS operators can. Aculist is something that is truly special. MLSListings is a broker-governed MLS. It is important to understand that because it sets the scene around why an MLS would invest in a business intelligence product rather than purchasing one off the shelf. Board members representing firms like Coldwell Banker NRT, Alain Pinel, Intero, Keller Williams, Sotheby's, Berkshire Hathaway, RE/MAX, and others demand more information that allows them to better manage their brokerage business. Aculist is different than many of the other solutions in two ways. The first is design. Great design comes from the user interface of an application and from the user experience. Aculist is very easy to use and the reports look terrific! The second component of Aculist is its connectivity to the live MLS database. It operates in real time. Many solutions in the marketplace today update only once a month, others once a day. Aculist is happening in real time.
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How Deeper Market Insights Can Give You the Competitive Edge
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Impact of the CoreLogic and Graphiq Deal
Earlier this month, CoreLogic and Santa Barbara-based Graphiq announced an agreement between the two companies. As it turns out, Graphiq had been providing services to other areas of CoreLogic before expanding their relationship to the real estate solutions group managed by Chris Bennett. Graphiq is a company that takes big data and turns it into something they call Visualizations (think graphs and charts). Two features make Graphiq unique. First is that Graphiq can handle CoreLogic's volume of property data and, second, they provide visualizations that are embeddable, update dynamically, and can be accessed using an API. For example, if you build a chart that displays something like price per square foot over a 10-year period of time, the chart will never go out of date. This allows a chart to be easily embedded into a web page or report. This deal allows Graphiq to expand their existing real estate product offering, which already includes location data such as schools, demographics, local businesses, and crime. The target audiences for this product are real estate portals, MLSs and brokers looking to combine CoreLogic market data with MLS data to communicate facets of market analytics to agents and consumers. The pricing is based on consumption of the API, making the pricing very affordable for small firms and scalable for enterprise. Sales are handled through both the Graphiq and CoreLogic sales team.
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See SmartTargeting in Action (9/7)
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See SmartTargeting in Action (8/10)
Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT Join our top Sales Manager Adam Long for a tour of SmartTargeting, the platform agents across the country use to increase their listings business. See first-hand how predictive analytics identify top seller prospects, and how targeted marketing campaigns help you engage and convert these homeowners when they are ready to sell. Register now!
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See SmartTargeting in Action (7/13)
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Market Analytics: Who Is the Best?
Each year, RE Technology publishes a technology guide. The goal is to highlight some of the technology firms that deliver success to their clients by being leaders in their product category. The Market Analytics Section of the 2016-17 Technology Guide begins on page 35. To access the guide for free, visit techguide.retechnology.com. In alphabetical order, we highlighted CRS Data's MLS Tax Suite that has recently been redesigned to deliver great data in beautiful reports. Realtor's Property Resource, or RPR, has also continued to expand their line-up of market data, extending beyond residential real estate market analytics to include deeper commercial reports that are landing kudos from commercial agents. Rounding out the team is Terradatum, perhaps the most trusted market analytics programs enjoyed by brokers and agents alike. If you like looking at market analytics from every angle, Terradatum may be your best bet. Visit the Technology Guide website; you will find that it works beautifully on your mobile device. You can even select a group of products that you like and create your own magazine.
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See SmartTargeting in Action (6/8)
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Real Estate Around the Nation
Home building has been the last area of the real estate market to recover from the recession. Generally, it's believed that builders were hit the hardest during the recession. Many builders use leverage to purchase land and take loans for home building. When the investment market for these loans dried up and the value of the land collapsed, many were forced to downsize, cease operations or, in some cases, shutter everything. Coming out of the recession, builders have been slow to get started. It took a number of years for the market to work through the distressed and bank owned properties. Meanwhile, population growth continues in America and lack of inventory remains a key issue. Last month, CoreLogic reported that about 1.7% of homes are for sale. This is about half of the normal inventory amount. The lack of inventory is driving transaction prices up even as unit volume remains steady. Home builders play a key role in supplying inventory to the market. Here are the home builder stats around the nation for March.
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Introducing RPR’s Market Data Tool for Brokers, Owners and Managers
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Using Market Data to Drive Media Coverage
Are you getting published in your local media? Is your firm shaping the way opinion leaders and real estate consumers view critical issues in your housing market? Associations, MLSs, and brokerages have access to the best local data ever available on trends in their local markets. Sales, prices, inventories, time on market—every day real estate professionals interpret these and other data to win the confidence of their customers and clients. You have a significant opportunity to turn market data into news that attracts business and establishes credibility. National data services like RealtyTrac and CoreLogic as well as sites like Realtor.com, Zillow and Redfin have perfected the practice of building awareness by creating news from their data. As a result, it is easier for consumers to track the non-existent "national" real estate market than their local marketplace. They are hungry for a better understanding of current trends where they live. Market trends aren't always positive. Lower sales, falling prices, distress sales and tight inventories are part of the real estate business, but they can also generate negative coverage. If you are a credible source and on top of the market, you can mitigate potentially damaging data by putting it into perspective. Remember, the market is always working to someone's advantage. Lower prices advantage buyers and first time home buyers. Distressed sales create opportunities for property management and investors. Tight inventories drive consumers to sign up with brokers for new listing notifications. Great communications programs highlight the good in everything.
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The Evolution of AVMs
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Fox and Roach Broker Site Sets Bar Above Portals
Love them or hate them, property search sites like Zillow® have set the bar very high in terms of the information that is made available to the consumer. I choose Zillow because they have hung their hat on the Automated Valuation Model (AVM) that they call the Zestimate™. Real estate brokers have built their websites off of IDX data. That started to change with the launch of Zip Realty and Redfin that display web pages for every parcel in America. In this way, they are like the portals. Recently, websites like Howard Hanna have begun to do the same. Joining them is Fox and Roach. The key feature here is that every property has information to satisfy the consumer, and it helps with search engine optimization, too. With public record data, Fox and Roach has caught the portals. But there is more! Fox and Roach pushes past the portals with some key features on off market properties. They call it the Home Valuation System™. Rather than a simple of display of the Zestimate®, fraught with its issues of accuracy, Fox and Roach includes three AVMs. You gotta check this out. Visit http://www.foxroach.com Select the What Is Your Home Worth tab Search ‘231 Chamoun’ (I intentionally did not complete the address because I want you to experience the smart search auto-fill)
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Top Real Estate Markets Predicted for 2016
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Real Estate Statistics for 2016
Every new year, we take it upon ourselves to publish a list of real estate stats and figures that we think—no, we know—that Realtors will find handy in the coming year. Since the winter tends to be a quiet time for the real estate sector, it's a great time to take a look over the statistics and brainstorm some ways that you can utilize them to your advantage in 2016. We gleaned our statistics from a variety of sources, and it sure looks like technology rules all when it comes to real estate in 2016. But it doesn't mean that you should pack up your bags and stop reaching out personally to your potential clients; you just need to find another outlet to do so. We've now entered the era of social media. And in this era, where 72% of all online adults are active on Facebook, it's time for you to get active on Facebook too! Are these numbers convincing enough for you to turn more towards technology for your business?
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Different Ways to Interpret Local Data Behind a Recent US News Story
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Better Market Reports
Graphs, actives, pendings, recently sold, yadda, yadda. I have been reviewing the market reports across a variety of brokerages recently. They all seem to be missing the same little touch of information – an AVM. What is a Market Report? The definition of a market report is hard to pin down. They are automated reports that tend to change based upon the state of the consumer. If the consumer is actively looking to buy or sell, the market report is like a listing alert. If the consumer is not in the market, the market report is like a stock portfolio summary. Why Brokers Need to Deploy AVMs Automated Valuation Modeling, or AVMs were developed to help banks measure their loan portfolio. You put hundreds of thousands of homes into a mathematical equation and it spits out estimated home values. These AVMs are considered excellent when they come within 5 percent of the value of a home 90 percent of the time. In other words, the best they can do is get close enough for horseshoes. Perhaps you may have had experience with AVMs on Zillow®. Their AVM is the Zestimate™. When Zillow launched their Zestimate, they crashed their servers. Consumers were so excited that they overwhelmed the young start up. They replaced a lead form on broker and agent websites. That was in 2006, nearly a decade ago. Today, only a scarce few number of brokers have Zestimates on their website.
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Can You Predict Housing Trends Better than NAR?
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Are You Ready to Become a Predictive Farmer?
The 2015 NAR Annual Meeting in New Orleans was, at many levels, a far different experience than any of its century of predecessors. There was a clear and consistent vibe that after all of the years of talking about transition and disruption that the long predicted tsunami of change had indeed arrived to create something "far different." Moreover, that this far different thing was going to be broker centric with a strong consumer flavor rather than consumer centric with a strong broker flavor. You could hear it in the presentations and programs. You could sense it in conversations and hallway huddles. You could feel it in the demeanor of the late night gatherings. Interestingly enough, one came to understand that those who were not receiving this vibe were also those who were probably never going to get it. Perhaps it was the specter of the recent News Corp related purchase of Move.com. The realization that the industry demographic had expanded to include yet another team of powerful global experts for whom the industry's traditions and legacies paled in comparison to its long denied financial potential. One could not help but feel the gaze of Rupert Murdoch looking down on the trade show floor, working a checklist of what was relevant and what was fluff. At the same time, the vast expanse of brilliant white and generally unoccupied carpet that comprised the massive Berkshire Hathaway exhibit area served as another reminder that the industry dynamic also includes a major player for whom the annual meeting might be seen as more of a cultural event than a business opportunity. The Berkshire booth reminded one of the presence of a king's massive yacht at the Cannes film festival--hauntingly beautiful yet mysteriously vacant. There was work being taken care of elsewhere.
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Housing Markets – The Right Measure?
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Millennial Marketing Madness
The fervor about marketing to Millennials peaked for me during the National Association of REALTORS® Convention in New Orleans last week. Surely you've seen some of the recent headlines: "Millennials could hold the key to housing recovery," "Millennials need to be wooed," "Insights about Millennials' path to homeownership," etc. One of the seminars at NAR had this in its title: "Generating Referrals from Millennial Home Buyers." Say what? Try this headline: Millennials are broke. Yes, Millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y), those who ages range from about 19 to 38, may comprise the largest segment of the U.S. population at 86 million strong, but they don't have any money. They are student debt rich and cash poor. Worse, they don't make much either. Millennial Malaise I was awakened by this fact by one of my favorite daily bloggers, economist Elliott Eisenberg, Ph.D. who pens a 70-word blog five days a week (see econ70.com). He shared these facts: In 2010, households headed by those under age 35, the Millennials, had median income of $37,600, now it's just $35,300. Worse, 41.4% of them have student loans, up from 33.6% in 2007 and 23.3% in 1998 Their student loan balances are up from $10,000 in 1988 to $17,300 in 2013. Moreover, just 38.6% hold equities, down from almost half in 2001. Their median net worth is a paltry $10,400 Re-read these numbers: Median income is $35,300 and median net worth is $10,400.
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AVMs and the Weather Forecast
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Market Analytics 101
A real estate professional can look at the market much as a doctor approaches a patient. Your doctor will assess your health on a variety of different levels and use a battery of tests to determine how well each of these levels is functioning. So, too, do real estate professionals assess the "health" of their local market – but instead of an MRI or blood test, you use market analytics tools. Instead of cells, organs, and bones, you are examining specific properties as well as neighborhoods, regions, counties, and the nationwide market. And, of course, your insights are possible thanks to data collected about taxes, sales histories, demographics, schools, zoning, and more. Just as a doctor needs accurate information to cure a patient, a REALTOR® needs complete and accurate information to serve their clients. This is where market analytics tools can help – but it's imperative to find the right solution for you. So, let's make sure you're armed with the questions you need to ask and take a look at a few of your options. Choosing the Right Tools If you're considering a market analytics tool, there are questions you can ask to evaluate which option is right for you, like: What are the data sources for this tool? What is the geographical range of the data? Is the data for my local market available? Is nationwide data available? What reports are available? Are the reports easy to understand? Do I want to use this tool to create materials to give to sellers or buyers? If so, can the technology support this functionality?
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The Paradigm Shift: Making the Most of a Changing Market
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Product Review: Market Videos for Brokers
Last year, we took our first look at Terradatum and VScreen’s collaboration: MarketVideos.com. This month, we had the opportunity to revisit this exciting product, as well as their Market Videos for brokers, and take a look at real estate professionals that have been successful using the service. To refresh your memory, the basic concept behind MarketVideos.com is to offer market data for a specific region in an appealing video format. The data shared in the videos includes median listing price in the region, days on market, and other key metrics. Data comes directly from the local MLS; Terradatum has agreements with many MLSs and will work with you if your MLS does not yet have an agreement in place. The videos are aesthetically appealing, include a pleasant voiceover as well as music, and fit a great deal of useful information into a short format. They are updated automatically every month (on the 6th of the month). This means that you won’t need to remove an embedded video on your website and embed a new video each month. Rather, you can set it and forget it.
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Stats, Stats ... We All Love Stats
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The December Slump
In the final hours of the year, real estate hits the skids. Even in 2013, when the threat of newly imposed mortgage regulations gave consumers strong reason to buy before year-end. The WAV Group index measures month-to-month changes in online performance across its brokerage clients. Given that the traffic is in the millions, it is probably statistically relevant, but you may want to use this data more as a benchmark to contrast against your data. Listing counts are down about 30% between November and December. This is a common reality. Many sellers living in their home have little interest in showing their property during the holiday season. Additionally, many REALTORS® enjoy a holiday vacation. Broker website traffic dipped just under 40% from November to December. Interestingly enough, some third party website reports from portals saw traffic numbers in broker regions dip by as much as 60% in some areas. Traffic drops on upstream websites like the MLS and other third party websites impact broker website performance by causing a drop in referral traffic.
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Deciphering Forbes' "most expensive" zip codes
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Redfin study shows top school zones are pulling big premiums
While you would probably assume top school districts correlate with higher prices, would you have guessed people are paying an average of $50 per square foot more? A new Redfin study showcasing data from Onboard Informatics, Maponics, and GreatSchools dives into how housing prices are affected by the quality of the local school zones. The study evaluated school districts nationwide based on its test scores and proved that, in school districts with good test scores, homes were more expensive. Although this isn't shocking news, the magnitude of the pricing inequalities across school districts is. What Redfin found is that, even if the only attribute separating homes of equal sizes and accommodations is one school boundary zone and less than a mile of distance, price differences can still be as drastic as $130,000. Even if a school's test score percentile is diminished from a 90 to an 80, housing prices in that district can plummet by over $60,000.
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Choosing a Market Analytics Tool
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How Craigslist Taught Me About Real Estate Pricing
Guest contributor Mike Sparr of Goomzee says: I had an interesting epiphany recently, thanks to some recent sales on Craigslist and deeper analysis of my company's data feeds in real estate markets around the U.S. There appears to be a direct correlation between median listing price in a market, and the quantity of price reductions throughout the life of the listing. I mention my Craigslist experience because I recently listed some football season tickets and an 8-year-old four-wheeler for sale and noticed interesting analogs to the negotiations leading to the sale of both items. On a whim, I wanted to see if I could sell off an unused pair of season tickets to our local college football program. I have three pair and typically only use two pair. I posted the tickets for sale on Facebook first and immediately had interest, questions, and even a couple low-ball offers. If I were desperate to sell these tickets, I may have entertained or negotiated some of the offers, but they were several hundred dollars less than what I desired (despite the fact the season opener was days away and the full season tickets' package value would decrease). I then decided to post the tickets for sale on Craigslist to expand my potential audience. The interest came in a little slower, but these people were more transaction focused. I had an offer the first day, but it was for the season less the first game, and they wouldn't increase their offer to match my desired price less what I knew I could sell the first game for. I declined the offer and waited. A day later, I had a full price offer from someone in Great Falls, MT (160 miles away) and we met that Saturday before the game and made the exchange. I secured my full price sale with only one day remaining before my package value would drop, but was rewarded for my patience.
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Delivering a Simple but Compelling Message that Will Boost Your Lead Engagement
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The Epidemiology of an Emerging Market
Classic epidemiology is the study of the patterns, causes and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone of public health, and is used extensively to guide both public and private policy decisions and evidence based health care practices by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventative care. Epidemiologists control this process by designing, collecting, analyzing and interpreting health data. Epidemiology and epidemiologists are always at the front lines when their assigned populations begin to demonstrate health related symptoms and behaviors that suggest the potential of a mass outbreak of a particular malady AKA; an epidemic. With the information gained from their collection and analysis, epidemiologists undertake to develop strategies and tactics to control, or perhaps manipulate, the disease conditions in a manner that is consistent with the health, political or economic policies under which they work. As we discussed in last week's article, there is every evidence that the American real estate industry appears poised to experience an epidemic of its own in the shape of what is now being called the "hyper-market." The statement that establishes the vital link between epidemiology and real estate and its relevancy moving forward is simple; brokers who wish to take advantage of the new market must quickly move to understand and practice market centered economic epidemiology. In other words, every broker in the country must start this new era by making a decision to be either an observer, and ultimately a victim or, in the alternative, to exercise knowledge and leadership by taking advantage of the unique opportunities and challenges being created by the new "hyper-market" environment.
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Real Estate News: Tightening SFR Rental Market Presents Broker Opportunities
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Swing State Housing Scorecard: Who Wins the Presidential Election with Real Estate Voters?
Guest contributor RealtyTrac says: Much like any presidential election in recent memory, the 2012 contest boils down to a select group of swing states that could go either way based on myriad factors impacting the voters in those states. One of those factors is the housing market, which although a taboo subject for the candidates in all three debates, nevertheless should be a key consideration for many voters, whether homeowners or not. We wanted to know which way voters in the swing states would vote based solely on the state of the housing market — and ultimately which candidate would ultimately win the election under that real estate-centric scenario. With that goal in mind, we took a closer look at five key housing market metrics in each of the eight swing states as identified by CNN and others. In a series of articles this week, we've awarded the electoral votes of each of these swing states to either Romney or Obama based on the admittedly not-iron-clad assumption that voters will pick Romney if the housing market in their state is worse off than four years ago (change is needed) and will pick Obama if the housing market is better off than four years ago. The outcome was Romney winning the larger number of swing states and electoral votes in swing states, but Obama winning enough of the swing states to push him over the top to narrowly win the election by an electoral vote count of 274-264.
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How Everybody Wins, Starting with the Consumer
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Connecting the REALTOR® and the Mortgage Lender
Since RPR's formation as an Advisory Board in 2008, and its subsequent evolution into NAR's wholly owned technology corporation in 2009, we have had two main objectives. Create a national database designed to reinforce the core competencies of NAR's one million REALTOR® members through cutting-edge technology with advanced analytics and dynamic reports that agents and brokers can provide to their clients and customers. To provide accurate and timely information from this REALTOR® owned and operated technology system to the governmental agencies and lending institutions tasked with providing much-needed liquidity for home financing. Today, RPR is available to the majority of NAR's REALTOR® members. In 2011, RPR began to place greater focus on the communications and relationships needed to engage the entities responsible for mortgage liquidity. With the support of NAR's Washington D.C. based Legislative Staff, RPR has been participating in numerous meetings with various governmental agencies and financial institutions. The purpose is to provide them with advanced analytics and valuation tools created by RPR to reinforce confidence in property valuations. This has the potential to bring stability to the market and thereby provide more capital to the housing industry.
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Real Estate Marketing: Spread the News! July Price Increases Best Since 2006
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Product Review: Listings 360°insight Advisor for Brokers
We were excited to get a sneak peek at the new Listings 360°insight Advisor from Onboard Informatics. This innovative product is still in beta, rolling out in several technologically savvy MLSs (including MRED and CTMLS) within the next few months. However, the team at Onboard Informatics offered to let us take a look. As you join us on the tour, please bear in mind that the product is still being fine-tuned and users can expect some minor tweaks in the final version. Better Data, Better Insight, Better Business DecisionsOnboard Informatics sees their role as partners to the MLS and broker community. With Listings 360°insight Advisor, the goal was to create a platform that would provide unparalleled understanding about online consumer behavior and crystal-clear visibility of listing performance. They wanted this technology to speak to the needs of each of the unique subgroups in our industry – MLSs, brokers, and agents. The solution they crafted has three key characteristics that should be mentioned: The visibility gained from Listings 360°insight Advisor is comprehensive and universal. Professionals see data from participating  “online places” where listings appear, this includes the MLS system, the MLS consumer facing site, third party websites, agent websites, broker websites, and so on. Everywhere listings appear, Onboard is  tracking and sharing standardized results through 360°insight Advisor- providing users with true, comprehensive perspective of what’s happening online Listings 360°insight Advisor is tech-agnostic. It can integrate with whatever technologies are already being used (for syndication, compliance, licensing, and more); making it part of the MLS and brokers’ overall listing distribution solution rather than another standalone destination the real estate professional needs to go to. In addition, Onboard continues to integrate with new kinds of technology – for instance, their new integration with ShowingTime will soon incorporate showing data with other listing data. The data is presented in an easy-to-understand way. Listings 360°insight Advisor relies heavily on graphical representations of data in order to make the information more palatable and less intimidating. The user interface itself is also simple and clean, making navigation and use of the platform easier. If questions arise, the numerous “help” buttons throughout the system offer guidance.
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Market Data Marries Video
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Real Estate Statistics Determine Top 10 Sellers Markets: 5 Markets Located in California
This post comes to us from the Showing Suite blog: With home prices being at record lows in most of the country, it is refreshing to see more real estate markets beginning to progress back in favor of home sellers. In these markets, home sellers are more likely to sell their home for close to the asking price and spend less time on the market. Zillow recently released a market report based on May 2012 real estate statistics which analyzed several sets of data to determine whether buyers or sellers had the advantage in a given real estate market. The report revealed that five out of the ten markets where sellers have the upper-hand are located in California. Surprisingly, only one out of the ten markets are located on the east coast. Take a look at the top ten real estate sellers markets: 1. San Jose, California 2. San Francisco, California 3. Las Vegas, Nevada 4. Sacramento, California
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Real Estate Technology: Throw Away That Wide Net
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Family Circle’s 10 Best Towns for Families 2012, powered by Onboard
Since 2007, Onboard Informatics and Family Circle have been working together to sift through local trends and identify the top areas to call home for families. This year's edition of the 10 Best Towns for Families is on newsstands today in Family Circle's August issue. The results of the comprehensive survey appear in Family Circle's August 2012 issue. The project began with a parameter of 3,335 cities and towns with populations between 11,000 and 150,000 people. The list was narrowed to 1,300 towns that have a high concentration of households of median incomes between $55,000 and $96,000 before the next rounds of consideration. Affordable housing, green spaces, strong public school systems and giving-spirited residents were important to Family Circle. Click here to see which towns made the top 10 list this year! To view the original article, visit the Onboard Informatics blog.
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Real Estate Marketing Analysis: Where’s the Bottom of the Market?
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Monthly Real Estate Showings Data: April 2012
This article comes to us from the Showing Suite blog: Everyone has their own opinion on the current real estate market, whether it's recovering or still in a downfall. There are many contributing factors that are influencing the current market conditions, including how many real estate showings, or "foot traffic" a home gets. We've compiled our CBSA real estate showings data for the United States throughout April 2012 and it proves to raise a few questions about where the market is headed for the rest of 2012. Real estate showings were steadily on the rise from January 2012-March 2012, but saw a large drop in April. Compared to the previous months of 2012, real estate showings in April are down 3% compared to March 2012.
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Give Prospects a Nudge With The New Real Estate Productivity Web App
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As Predicted, Case-Shiller October 10- and 20-City Composites Show Annual Depreciation
This artice comes to us from the Zillow Real Estate Research blog. This morning, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed that the not-seasonally adjusted October 10- and 20-City Composite declined -3.0% and -3.4% on a year-over-year basis, in line with Zillow’s forecast, which we released last week. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the 20-City Composite fell 0.6% from September to October while the 10-City Composite fell 0.5%. The table below shows how our forecast compared with the actual numbers.
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U.S. Home Values Continued Fall in October; Rate of Decline Stabilizes
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HARP 2.0
Guest contributor Ted Jones posts the following on the Stewart Title blog: Fannie, Freddie & MBA Forecast Changes Oct 2011 to Nov 2011 The President announced a change to the HARP program (essentially loan modifications to borrowers with loans that are currently held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that are performing but underwater).  The real key to these modifications is that now the lender is no longer responsible to purchase the loan back from the GSEs if something goes askew.  Economists have estimated that from 1 to 2 million homeowners would refinance under this new program that otherwise would not been able to lock in at almost record low interest rates under the prior version.
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Home Prices
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Diminished Lending Volumes Ahead Per MBA
Our new guest contributor, Ted Jones, shares this article from the Stewart Title blog. The Mortgage Bankers Association just released their latest forecasts for the remainder of 2011 and 2012 and there is both good news and bad news.  Good news is that the MBA has raised their forecast for refinance activity lending volumes for the remainder of 2011.  Bad news is that total lending in 2011 is forecast to decline from $1,572 billion in 2010 to $1,109 billion in 2011 and decline to $931 billion in 2012 (the lowest level since 1997).  And there is really nothing on the horizon today portending any significant gains in lending volumes or sales of existing homes and new homes.  The table below also includes what I term Effective Lending which is the sum of purchase lending plus 60 percent of refinance activity.  Given the reissue credits in title insurance for refinance loans and that typically a refinance transaction does not include an owner’s title policy, Effective Lending gives a better look at probable title premiums and revenues – hence a more apples-to-apples comparison.  Essentially, an increase of $100 billion of purchase lending equates to a greater level of title revenues than a $100 billion in refinance lending.
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Broker Marketing: CoreLogic Short Sale Study Signals Investor Buying Spree
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Get Ready for a Weak Recovery
Some markets are stabilizing now and on the macro level, the housing recovery is not far away, according to Sam Khater, senior economist at CoreLogic. But the long awaited recovery won't be much to get excited about, at least initially. Negative equity is the culprit and it will continue to dampen demand and prices for months to come. Like other sectors of the economy, housing has excess capacity that must he absorbed before demand pushes prices upward. Khater says it may take many months, if not years, for a robust housing economy to return. In an interview with Real Estate Economy Watch, Khater said that the stimulating economic effects of last year's tax credit and the Administration's HAMP program to modify delinquent mortgages are virtually past and now the organic market forces driving housing markets have taken prices close to the bottom, as measured by fundamentals like purchase vs. rent or price vs. income comparisons.
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Luxury Homes for Sale Skyrockets Above 30,000 Nationally
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Zillow Launches City Real Estate Reports
I enjoyed getting my first Monthly Real Estate Report for Arroyo Grande from Zillow today. I guess that in today’s market, enjoy may be a stretch as the market seems to still be going down. The features of the report are straightforward. There is a sentence that says, “According to Zillow’s Real Estate Market Reports for {current date}, {city name} values were {up or down} {percentage rate} compared to {last month} and {up or down} {percentage rate} compared to {same month last year}. Here is mine:
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