VAR Board of Directors announces gift to Homes for Our Troops

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® has raised funds to partner with Homes for Our Troops (HFOT). The VAR Board of Directors unanimously approved a gift to Homes for Our Troops in June, establishing an annual partnership that unites REALTORS® in support of housing for severely injured Virginia Veterans.

The request for partnership was made by the 2015 Class of the Virginia Leadership Academy, following the fundraising effort extended to all VAR members. In announcing the contribution to secure the partnership, 2015 VAR President Deborah Baisden thanked all those REALTORS® and peers who had contributed to the campaign, donating tens of thousands of dollars in just a few short weeks. The board’s gift completes a sponsorship exceeding $61,000. REALTOR® support of Homes for Our Troops honors Veterans throughout the state. Sharing details about the organization during the June meeting of the VAR Board of Directors, HFOT’s President and CEO, Major General Timothy McHale said, “This is REALTOR® stuff. We work with partners to find the right place for a moderately sized home and together we are giving these veterans a chance to further their lives.”

Funds are still accepted online and will contribute to the ongoing sponsorship.

For more information, please contact Jenny Wortham, VAR Director of Community Outreach, at

Homes for Our Troops is discussed at the VAR Board of Directors meeting.

Homes for Our Troops is discussed at the VAR Board of Directors meeting.


National Night Out is August 4th

August 4th marks an important occasion nationwide. Communities across the U.S. recognize National Night Out, an annual community safety effort that promotes “police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie” to make neighborhoods more secure and better places to live. Localities throughout Virginia will host events on Tuesday night to connect citizens with public safety officers – be on the lookout for a block party, festival, parade, or exhibit where you live. REALTORS® are critical to keeping the community safe and to keeping their neighbors in the know about what is happening and how to get involved. The Dan River Region Association of REALTORS® has taken a leading role in facilitating this year’s event with local police and emergency responders. It’s a great opportunity to support an important initiative and to promote the compassion and expertise of REALTORS®.

REALTORS® are community ambassadors, committed to identifying and following through on opportunities to impact and improve the lives of their neighbors. For more information on REALTOR® involvement in the community, email Jenny Wortham, VAR Director of Community Outreach, at



5 ways the housing market is recovering

The nation’s recovering housing markets are recovering at their own pace – and in their own way.

Few of the biggest housing markets share the same quirks, according to a study by personal finance site, which analyzed data from U.S. Census Bureau’s “American Housing Survey” and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Looking at everything from the levels of equity in homes to the size of down payments and years left on a mortgage, it gives a complex picture of where the U.S. housing markets strengths and weaknesses lie in the 25 biggest metro areas.

Click here for the complete story.


Return Buyers: Many already here, many more to come

NAR analyzed the nearly 9.3 million homeowners that underwent a foreclosure, received a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or short sold between 2006 and 2014 to estimate the amount of creditworthy borrowers expected to re-enter the housing market as a return buyer in upcoming years.


  • The deep wounds inflicted on the housing market during the downturn are finally beginning to heal as distressed sales continue to decline and home prices in some parts of the country have bounced back to their near-peak levels.
  • As a result, some formally distressed owners have returned to the market and more will likely become eligible in coming years.
  • Nearly a million (950,000) formally distressed owners have likely already purchased again, and an additional 1.5 million are likely to become eligible over the next five years, representing an additional source of buyer demand for the housing market.
  • However, because of low credit quality, millions more will not be able to re-enter.

Click here to read the complete story.



Millennials favor walkable communities, says new NAR Poll

Millennials prefer walking over driving by a substantially wider margin than any other generation, according to a new poll conducted by the National Association of Realtors® and the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University. The 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey found that millennials, those aged 18–34, prefer walking as a mode of transportation by 12 percentage points over driving. Highlights include:

  • When choosing a new home, respondents want transportation choices. 85% said that sidewalks were important, followed by easy access to the highway (82%) and being within an easy walk ofplaces (79%).
  • Millennials placed more importance on being within an easy walk of places and having public transit nearby, compared to the other generations.
  • When asked to choose between a more conventional suburb and a walkable community, respondents were about evenly split.
  • Many people want to live in a more walkable neighborhood than they do now. Overall, 25%currently live in a detached, single family home, but would prefer to live in an attached home in a neighborhood where they could walk to places & have a shorter commute.
  • People who currently live in neighborhoods with lots of places to walk to nearby are more satisfied with the quality of life in their community.

The poll also found that millennials show a stronger preference than other generations for expanding public transportation and providing transportation alternatives to driving, such as biking and walking, while also increasing the availability of trains and buses. Millennials likewise favor developing communities where people do not need to drive long distances to work or shop.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®


Virginia’s second quarter home sales surpass $10 billion

The Virginia residential real estate market experienced its strongest second quarter since the 2008 recession, with sales volume reaching nearly $10.6 billion during the April through June time frame. This sales volume represents an 11 percent increase relative to the second quarter of 2014. The second quarter boost is due largely to a June sales surge, which reflects an atypical month-over-month jump of 21 percent from May sales. April and May 2015 outpaced the same months of 2014, but not as drastically as the June to June comparison. Annualized residential sales, a rolling sum of the home sales closed in the preceding twelve months, indicate steady improvement in Virginia’s housing market with three consecutive quarters of increase in this measure. Length of time on the market decreased substantially from the first quarter, as is industry-cyclic. Relative to the same quarter last year, the number of days on the market decreased by 6.8 percent, showing a slight quickening to the seasonal pace. Virginia’s pace is on trend with national listing data for days on the market.

VAR President Deborah Baisden says: “This data showcases the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of our 30,000 REALTORS® who are helping to drive the economic engine of the Commonwealth one transaction at a time. The strength of these second quarter results point to sustained improvement in Virginia’s residential real estate market.”

Click here to download the Virginia Association of REALTORS® Second Quarter 2015 Home Sales Report.



Current Outlook: real estate and the economy

NAR’s Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun, visited the Lynchburg Association of REALTORS® on Tuesday morning to share insights on the status of real estate and the economy. Before a large crowd of REALTOR® members, public officials, and community leaders, Yun described conditions of the national economy and their effects on housing and the real estate market. Job growth and average earnings are key elements in determining individual access to housing, and key pressures on shaping housing stock over the long term. Where economic clustering attracts rapid population growth, housing prices rise as demand outpaces available inventory. Housing prices differ, of course, in communities with de-concentrated economy or job attrition. Emerging from the recession, the real estate industry has become even more local, Yun explained. REALTORS® are evermore essential in providing expertise not only on the process of home-buying, but on the particular conditions of local markets.  

Dr. Yun closed his remarks with a personal anecdote. Having been born in South Korea, he described special appreciation for the dedication of REALTORS® in helping their clients achieve a dream that is distinctly American – homeownership. It is through homeownership that Americans are able to build net worth and create opportunity for the generations to come.


Trend shows why mobile marketing is key

The total amount of time consumers spend on smartphones has surpassed PCs, with more than 50 percent of all digital time now spent on mobile devices, according to data from

“Mobile Internet usage is growing faster than Internet usage in general, up 23 percent compared with just 8 percent,” reports MarketingLand. “In addition, the mobile ad industry as a whole grew 34 percent year over year, while desktop digital advertising grew 11 percent.”

Time spent with digital media has increased to 5 hours and 38 minutes a day, with 2 hours and 51 minutes of that time spent on mobile, according to eMarketer.

The findings should inform the way real estate professional present their advertising and listings. After all, 50 percent of home buyers used a mobile website or application in the homebuying process last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Source: “Buyer Behavior Trends Driving the Digital Shift Toward Mobile,” (June 18, 2015) and “Over 50 Percent of all Digital Time Now Spent on Mobile,” RISMedia (July 21, 2015)


Reminder: REALTOR® Safety

Over the past couple of years, there have been several high-profile instances where REALTORS® have been harmed on the job. In many of these situations, the victim was lured into the property through contact from a potential “client” who wanted to see the property.

In response, the Virginia Association of REALTORS® pushed for legislation to stiffen penalties on perpetrators who lure or trap REALTORS® into these circumstances with intent to do harm. The legislation, initially introduced by Delegate Jackson Miller and Senator Mark Obenshain, ultimately passed out of the Virginia General Assembly unanimously. The law, which went into effect on July 1, 2015, gives prosecutors extra tools to make sure predators get what they deserve.

Despite the new law, it is still incumbent upon individual REALTORS® to take precautions to protect themselves while doing business. Back in May, the National Association of REALTORS® issued the 2015 Member Safety Report, which noted that 38 percent of REALTORS® had taken a self-defense class and that just 18 percent had participated in a REALTOR® safety course.

NAR Member Safety Report

For more information on safety classes and other safety resources, be sure to check out NAR’s REALTOR® Safety site.

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Virginia REALTOR® Awards: Nominations due August 3rd

Do you know a colleague who deserves some recognition? Someone who has gone above and beyond the call?

The Virginia Real Estate awards recognize outstanding leadership, accomplishments, and professionalism in our industry — recipients will be recognized in a ceremony during the 2015 Real Show in October (and throughout the year after that). Help us recognize the best in the business by nominating a colleague by August 3rd. Categories of recognition include:

  • Virginia REALTOR® of the Year
  • Virginia REALTOR® Hall of Fame
  • Code of Ethics Leadership
  • VHDA Service to Virginia
  • George Rink Outstanding Real Estate Educator
  • Appraiser of the Year
  • Ann Swearingen Property Manager of the Year
  • VAR Manager of the Year
  • Virginia CRS of the Year
  • VAR Honor Society

Click here to nominate a distinguished REALTOR®.