Financial Friday

May 4, 2018

Pending Home Sales rose just 0.4% in March as buyers struggled to afford what little inventory is available. There were about 9% fewer homes on the market in March compared to a year ago, pushing prices up 8%, according to Zillow.

Regionally, pending home sales in the Northeast fell 5.6% and were 8.1% below a year ago. In the Midwest, sales rose 2.4% monthly and fell -6% annually. Sales in the South rose 2.5% monthly and were 0.3% higher than last March. Sales in the West declined -1.1% monthly and were -2.2% below a year ago.

With rents up 2.7% compared to a year ago, it is becoming more difficult for first-time homebuyers to save for a down payment. We offer a wide range of loan products that have a low down payment requirement, so if your clients find a home, I can customize a loan product to finance their purchase.

Construction spending declined 1.7% in March. The housing sector is the weakness in the report with residential spending down 3.5% in the month including single-family homes down 0.4% and multi-units down 2.7%. Home improvements, which have been soft, fell 8.0% in March.

The Federal Reserve will not raise rates following its May meeting, even though economic activity has continued to strengthen along with the labor market. The market had only predicted a 6% chance of a rate hike in May. However, they are also placing a 94% chance of a 25 basis point increase at the upcoming June meeting.

How to Run a Successful First-Touch Marketing Campaign

When it comes to first touch campaigns, don’t make the mistake of spending your funds on mass outreach. Industry trends show that it’s a quality over quantity strategy that turns the right prospects into leads and eventually closed sales. A successful first touch campaign involves three key factors:

  1. Choose a medium that caters to the way your prospects best receive information. The majority of people who get direct mailers that are generic and impersonal throw them directly into the trash. Emails are effective when personalized but also run you the risk of ending up in someone’s Spam folder. Cold calls can be scary, but they also show that you have confidence and that you are willing to make an effort to connect with your prospective seller. Knowing the best way to capture and engage your desired sellers may take some research, but will likely return on your investment by saving you time and money in the long run.
  2. Thoughtful and helpful messages convey a sense of warmth and humility that appeals to many homeowners, even the ones that are not currently thinking about selling but might be interested in the future. Letting them know you’re the neighborhood expert will go miles further than a corporate branded postcard addressed to “Current Resident.”
  3. Following up your first touch campaign with letters or emails with seasonal home and garden tips, newsletters, or an invite to a local community event that you’ll be attending, show you care about your clients and their quality of life.

Focus On The Details When Creating Your Social Media Content

Use these tips to make your social media content cut through the clutter and stand out in your clients’ newsfeeds.

  • Vertical video: Doing vertical video is key to the various “story” platforms, e.g., Snapchat, Instagram, but if you plan to publish your video to mainstream channels like YouTube, Vimeo, your website, etc. do not do it in vertical mode. You’ll get the “black bar” effect on the sides of the video which makes the video harder to watch.
  • Know your platform: Each social media channel has their best practices for posting, such as image size and word count. Change your content to meet the best engagement for that channel.
  • Flyer content: 99% of the time one-page flyers do not translate to social. A flyer traditionally is produced for a PDF or printing a physical document. Taking a screenshot and posting it on LinkedIn will look bad and negatively impact your business.
  • Sharing content: If you are doing “blind shares,” you are missing an opportunity to “piggyback” your opinion/thoughts onto a trending article. People who follow you want to hear your perspective. Make sure you read the article you are sharing to form an opinion and engage in a discussion.
  • Canned content: There are a ton of services where you can get content to share. The problem is that your competition can, too. Instead of sharing canned content as is, take what they are providing you and edit it to add your perspective.

How Can New Construction Save The Housing Market If There Are No New Workers?

There were 250,000 unfilled construction jobs at the beginning of the year, according to NAHB. The dearth of construction workers is slowing down all stages of the business and overbooked contractors are further slowing the pace of homebuilding.

The shortage is also inflating costs for buyers and homeowners, with one Ohio builder stating that several subcontractors (siding, roofing, concrete) have already raised their prices by at least 10% since the new year.

With the next generation of laborers selecting computers or IT jobs rather than skilled trades, the construction industry is taking action to solve the problem. For example, the Home Builders Association in Colorado Springs, CO, recently partnered with the local school district to start a vocational program in six schools. Called Careers in Construction, it instructs over 350 kids in carpentry, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical trades.

How is the HBA in your state helping to train new workers?

Time To Review Your Company’s Performance And Get Ready For The Second Half

  • Start by looking at working capital. How much total cash do you have? How much of that is truly your cash? To find out, subtract restricted cash from total cash.
  • Revisit your goals. How are you progressing? Do you want to improve your client experience, invest in a new venture, or achieve team growth?
  • Sales: How are your actual vs. projected sales? What is leading to those results?
  • Gross Profit Percentage: Is your actual gross profit percentage in line with your budget? How is it tracking vs. your estimated gross profit percentage?
  • Percentage of Completion: How are you progressing building the homes sold over the last six months? If you notice delays or issues decide to pick up the pace or adjust your expectations.
  • Overhead is the total of all business expenses that are not direct job cost expenses that you have included in gross profit percent. Is overhead in line with your budget? Is it higher or lower than the previous fiscal year?



Information Courtesy of Jason Browning – Certainty Home Loans 

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