RPAC Training keeps on moving

This week Martin Johnson, chief of policy and advocacy and Kathy Felton, director of RPAC development/PFR were out and about in Virginia conducting RPAC training with several local associations.

On Wednesday, April 22, the Prince William Association of REALTORS® hosted training for their association members and those from the Dulles Area Association of REALTORS®, the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS®, and the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®.

The group welcomed guest speaker, VAR board member and state RPAC fundraising chair, Karen Smith.

On Thursday, April 23, Martin and Kathy visited the Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS®, which hosted training for their members and those from the Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS® and the Eastern Shore Association of REALTORS®.

Suzy Stone, NAR Participation Council member and the CHAIR of the VA-RPAC Trustees addressed the group.


2015 Influential Women In Housing deadline ends May 25th

housing wire woman awards-2

This August, HousingWire will honor high-achieving women across the U.S. housing economy – from residential mortgage lending, servicing and investments to residential real estate.

This unique annual program – now in its fifth year – was the first such national effort of its kind, launched to recognize the significant contributions of women to both mortgage banking and real estate. HousingWire is honored to have led the way.

The 2015 Influential Women  in Housing program will recognize the outstanding efforts of women in driving the U.S. housing economy forward.

The honors are given to individuals who are making notable contributions to both their businesses and to the industry at-large – with a specific focus on contributions made in the most recent 12 months. Their energy, ideas, achievements, as well as commitment to excellence and progress give us a look at the future of the industry.

If you know a woman making such an impact — and it could even be you! — Please complete the nomination process.


Return buyers expected to boost housing demand in coming years

return buyers to Virginia

Nearly a decade since the start of the foreclosure crisis, formerly distressed homeowners with restored credit are re-entering the housing market, but damaged credit profiles and lender overlays will greatly restrict the overall share of those eligible to buy, according to new research from the National Association of Realtors®. California, Florida and Arizona are expected to see the largest share of return buyers within the next decade.

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 findings reveal nearly a million of these former owners have likely already purchased a home again, and an additional 1.5 million are likely to become eligible and purchase 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 in the coming decade.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says there were two waves of defaults during the housing crisis: from subprime and then prime borrowers. “While loose lending standards in the mid-2000’s led to the rise in subprime buyers who ultimately became distressed owners, falling home prices and rising unemployment resulted in a large share of prime borrowers also defaulting or going through a short sale,” he said. “Now fueled by a gradually improving economy and the strong rebound in home prices, some of these former distressed owners have returned to the market, and more will likely become eligible in coming years.”

Several important factors were taken into account in NAR’s study, including the time necessary to repair a distressed seller’s credit, whether the distressed seller’s credit profile (at the time of purchase) fell below historic standards, if it met sound underwriting standards and whether they would meet credit overlays in the current stringent environment.

The findings show that roughly 950,000 former distressed owners of prime quality have become re-eligible for Federal Housing Administration or similar financing programs and have likely purchased again by restoring their credit to pre distress levels. Furthermore, 1.5 million formerly distressed owners will likely buy again over the next five years as they become eligible, with California, Florida and Arizona seeing the largest share of return buyers.

Despite the new source of housing demand from these return buyers, Yun says the considerable impact a distressed sale has on a borrower’s credit score will severely limit the overall number of those returning. “The extended time needed to repair credit scores or save for a downpayment, combined with other overlapping post-distress factors on credit quality such as missed auto loan or credit card payments, will limit the ability for many to buy in the current credit environment,” he said.

Looking ahead, because of the time that has elapsed and the fact that many distressed owners likely rented and paid utility bills in recent years, Yun says the use of new credit scoring models such as Vantage Score 3.0 and FICO 9 can help improve the ability of these buyers to become homeowners again while helping lenders further examine their credit risk to ensure safety and soundness in the market.

“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,” adds Yun. “Borrowers with restored credit will likely have the ability and desire to own again, encouraged by the long-term benefits homeownership provides in a stronger economy and more stable job market.”



NAR in the News: Squeezed renters (CBS MoneyWatch)


Yesterday’s release on rising housing costs and its impact of preventing renters from becoming homeowners is making major headlines today in national and local media outlets.

In case you missed it, NAR’s Research team found that in the past five years, a typical rent rose 15 percent while the income of renters grew only 11 percent in 70 metro areas throughout the country.

New York (50.7 percent), Seattle (32.38 percent), San Jose, Calif., (25.6 percent), Denver (24.14 percent) and St. Louis (22.26 percent) have seen the largest rent increases since 2009.

This morning’s CBS News MoneyWatch segment started off with our findings. Click on the video above or view it here.


Sign-up for the REALTOR® Safety Webinar: April 21 at 1 p.m. CST


REALTOR® Safety From a Law Enforcement Perspective

As a REALTOR®, it’s important to develop and maintain a personal safety protocol for your business. In this free safety webinar from NAR, you’ll learn to look at safety from the perspective of a law enforcement professional. Adrian Manzanares has more than 20 years of experience as an officer and criminal investigator. Now, he’s a real estate broker and he’ll share his years of knowledge with you so you can apply simple safety strategies into your business that will help you stay alert and safe while on the job. Click here to register for the webinar.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • To identify possible dangers you may face during client meetings and on property showings
  • How a lack of situational awareness can compromise your personal safety
  • To understand the mind set and mental preparation necessary to ensure personal safety during day-to-day operations
  • What a position of advantage is, how to use command presence and how to enact common safety practices in an effort to reduce the risk of compromising your personal safety

Adrian Manzanares is a REALTOR® in Colorado with more than 20 years of law enforcement experience. Prior to leaving law enforcement, he was a certified instructor in Field Training, Interview & Interrogation, and Firearms. In addition to being an active producer, Adrian provides REALTORS® across the state with safety training. With his unique perspective of both law enforcement and real estate, the information he shares is essential to your day-to-day activities.


Virginia named one of the top 10 states for encouraging innovation

Virginia is ranked among the top 10 states in the nation on a scorecard that grades  support for entrepreneurs and growing businesses. The inaugural Innovation Scorecard developed by the Arlington-based Consumer Electronics Association examined how the legal, regulatory and business climates of the 50 states and the District of Columbia welcomed and encouraged innovation during 2014. Click here  to read the complete report http://www.ce.org/scorecard.

“The future of growth and economic prosperity in this country is most vibrant in places where policies and political climates serve to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude that is part of our American DNA,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA, said in a statement. “Our hope is that states will use our Scorecard as a measurable guidepost to improve their policies supporting innovation.”

In addition to Virginia, the states receiving the highest grades are Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and the District of Columbia.

The CEA report issues grades on10 categories, including: right-to-work laws; policies that support new business models; tax friendliness; Internet speed; and size of the tech workforce.

Key findings include:

• Delaware leads the nation in providing the fastest average Internet speed, at 16,200 kbps;

• The District of Columbia leads the nation in tech jobs per capita;

• Massachusetts and California bring in the most venture capital investment dollars, more than $500 per capita, in the U.S; and

• Massachusetts, California, Washington, Connecticut and Delaware received higher R&D investment than other states.

Virginia received a grade of A+ for having right-to-work laws; A for having fast Internet; B for welcoming new business models, having a high per-capita tech workforce, attracting investment, granting STEM degrees and maintaining innovation momentum; B- for being tax friendly; and C+ for entrepreneurial activity. The commonwealth did not receive a grade for innovation-friendly sustainable policies.

Virginia Scorecard



Sales are up: local association presidents and chairs report positive year to-date numbers!

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR) informally polled the presidents and chairs of local REALTOR® associations around Virginia to find out how each region is doing year-to-date. Year-over-year sales in the Commonwealth continue to spring forward. In addition, agents say they are seeing higher sale prices and eager buyers. VAR has 27 local associations; more than 50 percent responded.

VAR president Deborah Baisden asked the local member association presidents and chairs to personally report on activity in their regions. “As a working REALTOR®, I wanted to hear what my colleagues are experiencing across Virginia,” she said. “I am seeing far more clients who want to buy or sell than in previous years in Virginia Beach. My home market of Hampton Roads reported in along with 15 other local associations to offer us a valuable perspective.”

Read what the associations (listed alphabetically) reporting in said.


New Land Markets Survey Shows Expected Land Sales Growth in 2015

Land prices rose steadily by eight percent in the last part of 2014, with individuals and families accounting for sixty-one percent of all buyers/investors in land sales transactions, according to the 2015 Land Markets Survey, conducted jointly by the REALTORS® Land Institute and National Association of REALTORS®. In addition, the survey revealed that fifteen percent of land purchasers were corporations/partnerships, twenty-three percent were investors, and nine percent were expansion farmers.

The 2015 Land Market Survey is aimed at developing accurate information on current trends in the land markets and on the general state of land sales. The results are representative of over six hundred land professional respondents from across the United States and Canada.

According to the survey, forty-seven percent of the purchases where individuals/families bought, the land was purposed for farm and ranch (twenty percent agriculture and seventeen percent ranch) and thirty-one percent for recreation. Of those surveyed, expansion farmers purchased eighty-eight percent of land for farm and ranch use (seventy-one percent agriculture and seventeen percent ranch). Investors purchased a diversified portfolio of land including: thirty-three percent agriculture, fourteen percent timber, twenty-one percent development, and five percent commercial. Of the land purchased by corporations, development land accounted for twenty-eight percent, commercial land accounted for twenty-five percent, and timberland accounted for five percent.

Terri Jensen, ALC Advanced, 2015 Institute National President of REALTORS® Land Institute, stated “The outlook appears strong for several land types and locations.  The demand from expansion farmers and investors exceeds supply—particularly in the Midwest states. Grassland/ranch land demand and prices continue to be strong.” Close to ninety percent of the respondents expect moderate to stronger sales growth in the first half of 2015, with prices rising at about three percent.

The results appropriately correlate to the findings that responding land professionals across the United States primarily focus their practices in agriculture (sixty-three percent), recreation (fifty-five percent), and development (forty-eight percent).

The 2015 Land Markets Survey was based on data collected in March 2015. The survey was emailed to one-thousand REALTORS® Land Institute members and approximately nine thousand five hundred non-members and generated six hundred and nineteen usable responses. The Institute has made the full survey available for free online.

Pages from land markets survey 2015 Land Prices Increased across all types


Community Matters: Virginia Housing Commission

The Virginia Housing Commission convened on Tuesday, April 14, to review the current condition and forecast of Virginia’s housing economy, and to hear expert perspective on land banks and trusts. Led by General Assembly members and housing leaders appointed by the Governor, the Commission exists to study and provide recommendations to foster the availability of safe, sound, and affordable housing for every Virginian. The Virginia Association of REALTORS® supports research that addresses housing, as well as real property issues and community development. For more information on the Virginia Housing Commission and housing policy, contact the VAR Policy and Advocacy team.

Housing leaders and public officials engage in the presentation of Virginia housing statistics.    Virginia Housing Commission logo

Housing leaders and public officials engage in the presentation of Virginia housing statistics.



Richmond REALTORS® strike deal with major listing sites

RAR President Laura Lafayette

A recent agreement between the Richmond Association of REALTORS® (RAR) and a national listing company helped prevent Richmond-area brokers and agents from seeing their properties go dark on at least two popular websites, Richmond BizSense reported today.

Last week saw the end of a data-sharing arrangement between real estate websites Zillow and Trulia and syndication service ListHub, which had been providing those sites with property listing data from various multiple listing services – including the Richmond Association of Realtors’ Central Virginia Regional MLS system.

A deadline set by the companies meant those listings would no longer appear on Zillow and Trulia as of April 7. But parent company Zillow Group, which acquired Trulia in February, spent recent months working with MLS systems around the country to secure agreements that would keep those listings on its sites.

Two weeks before the deadline, (RAR) struck such an agreement with Zillow, allowing CVRMLS listing data to be transmitted directly to Zillow, bypassing ListHub. And those agents who want to opt out can still do so.

The agreement, said RAR chief executive Laura Lafayette, was aimed at maintaining the status quo of listings on the widely popular Trulia and Zillow sites. The result, she said, has been little to no effect on the association’s members.

“We felt like we needed to maintain the status quo and retain that choice for our brokers,” she said, describing the CVRMLS as “agnostic.”

“They can send their listings or not. It’s the broker’s choice,” she said. “It’s our job to provide the tool for them to make that choice.” Read more