June 1, 2018
Fed Indicates It Will Let Inflation Run Above 2% Goal For ‘Temporary Period’
Federal Reserve officials would be content to let inflation briefly run above their 2% target as the economy continues to recover, according to minutes from the May meeting. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the core personal consumption expenditures index, currently is at 1.9%, while the headline rate including energy and food prices is at 2%.
The minutes also pointed to an interest rate hike at the June meeting amid debate over how close the Fed might be getting to the end of this rate-hiking cycle.
Mortgage Rates Drop Slightly; Borrowers Fail To Respond
The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell to the lowest level since the start of April which saw mortgage interest rates slide back a bit, but that did nothing to increase borrower demand. Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 2% for the week but were 2% higher compared with a year ago. Homebuyers remain more concerned with low supply and high prices than interest rates.
How To Avoid Creating Discriminating Facebook Ads
The federal Fair Housing Act includes seven protected classes today: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. Many states, counties, and municipalities include additional protected classes, such as age and sexual orientation. The potential for illegal discrimination online can arise whenever you target a specific audience. “Real estate professionals have an obligation under the Fair Housing Act to not discriminate against any individuals within a protected class,” says Lesley Muchow, deputy general counsel at the National Association of REALTORS®.
While Facebook and many other online platforms enable advertisers to narrowly target their ads, to stay compliant it’s best to cast a wide net for prospects that will narrow organically based on the interested audiences. Facebook’s algorithm should display according to who is interacting with ads because it knows users’ behavior and purchase history.
Hands-On Experience Takes Agent Training To The Next Level
When it comes to real estate, it’s important to provide agents with hands-on experience, so they know what to expect in the field. Use these ideas to start hands-on training to build confidence, better habits and better skills so your agents can become more efficient and effective.
- Mock inspections give agents the opportunity to go through a home inspection and be exposed to the portion when the inspector speaks to the client.
- Lender Roundtable enables agents to sit down with
- Ask your lenders to sit with your agents to learn what their clients can expect throughout the home loan process. I have flyers highlighting the steps of our loan process that I can share with your agents and homebuyers.
- Tour homes to give agents practice showing a home to clients.
- Push the limits by challenging new and seasoned agents to break out of their comfort zone by practicing how to network in unfamiliar groups and record themselves for video marketing, e.g., Facebook Live, sharing a video on YouTube or in an email.
Texas Weighs Stronger Building Codes Post-Harvey
At the start of the 2018 hurricane season, homeowners in Texas coastal cities are pondering how far they should go in building sturdier homes that can better withstand natural disasters. Texas has no statewide building code, but now municipalities are considering whether to adopt new standards, given the widespread destruction after Hurricane Harvey, where newer homes tended to fare better than older homes.
A program dubbed “Fortified,” created by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, a research organization founded by insurers, is gaining more interest. The guidelines include an emphasis on protecting the roof, which can prompt significant damage if it fails. Homes earn gold, silver, or bronze certifications depending on which provisions builders adopt. Homeowners in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Mississippi, for example, who build to the “Fortified” standards are qualifying for insurance discounts or other incentives.
Alabama is seeing the largest growth in properties meeting the “Fortified” standards at about 7,000 that are designated out of about 8,200 total in the U.S.
Increasing Construction Worker Wages Don’t Match New Home Starts
Historically, average wages in the residential construction industry have been slightly higher than wages overall. Currently, residential construction worker wages are growing at a 5% annual pace, almost double the 2.9% pace of wage growth for all workers. As of March, the average U.S. residential construction wage nationwide was about 13.7% above the average private-sector wage, a gap on par with late-2006 levels.
Residential construction wages have picked up a lot more than construction starts. If the residential construction labor market today resembled the residential construction labor market of the mid-2000s, the country likely would be seeing substantially more new home construction than it currently is.