NAR News as of May 21, 2008

Published: May 21, 2008


Almost 50 Metros Show Home Price Gains
One out of three the metropolitan areas in the U.S. showed rising home prices in the first quarter, with only a small number of jumbo loan originations and higher foreclosures resulting in mixed conditions around the country, NAR’s quarterly survey shows. Median existing single-family home prices were up in the first quarter in 48 out of 149 metropolitan statistical areas; 100 had price declines; one was unchanged. “It’s more important than ever to examine what’s happening with home prices at the city and neighborhood level,” says NAR President Richard Gaylord said.

Commercial Real Estate Index Contracts
Although fundamentals are sound, activity in commercial real estate markets is expected to ease in the months ahead, according to a forward-looking index for the commercial real estate sectors published by NAR. The Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity edged down 0.7 percent to an index of 119.0 in the first quarter from a downwardly revised reading of 119.9 in the fourth quarter, and is 0.8 percent below the first quarter of 2007, when it stood at 120.0. “The moderate erosion in the index suggests that commercial activity, as measured by net absorption and the completion of new commercial buildings, will be positive but somewhat weaker over the next six to nine months,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Private nonresidential investment in structures is likely to subtract one-third to one-half percentage point off GDP growth. Along with the impact of the credit crunch, a weakening in leasing and building sales activity should come as no surprise because commercial real estate follows changes in overall economic activity.”

BOD Report: Property Library Advances
The NAR Board of Directors at the association’s 2008 Midyear Meetings in Washington last week took actions to position REALTORS® for the future. Among other things, the directors gave the go-ahead for a ‘proof of concept’ of a national property repository and positioned NAR to advance real estate interests as Congress debates immigration matters. The directors also revised the national association’s nomination and election procedures. Read about the board’s key actions in the Special INS distributed immediately after the meeting.

Meet the 2009 Officers, Regional Vice Presidents
The board elected the national association’s slate of officers for 2009, headed by Charles McMillan of Texas as president, Vicki Cox Golder of Arizona as president-elect, Ron Phipps of Rhode Island as first vice president, and Jim Helsel, Jr. of Pennsylvania as treasurer. The association’s newly elected RVPs are, for Region 1, Bonnie Guevin, Manchester, N.H.; Region 2, Joseph Canfora, East Islip, N.Y.; Region 3, Dale Ross, Potomac, Md.; Region 4, Jayne Cox, Lancaster, Ky.; Region 5, Russell Grooms, Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.; Region 6, Cathy Sherman Bittrick, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Region 7, Stan Sieron, Belleville, Ill.; Region 8, Scott Louser, Minot, N.D.; Region 9, Doug Smith, Little Rock, Ark.; Region 10, Connie Kyle, Baton Rouge, La.; Region 11, Keith Kelley, Las Vegas, Nev.; and Region 12, Toby Bradley, Santa Barbara, Calif.


Stimulus Clears Hurdle with Senate Committee Passage
NAR-backed legislation to stimulate the economy through an expanded use of FHA mortgage insurance, a new tax credit for home buyers, and reform of FHA and the secondary mortgage market companies’ oversight has passed the Senate Finance Committee, positioning the bill for consideration on that chamber’s floor. The House passed its version of the bill earlier. Should the legislation pass the Senate, the two versions will have to be reconciled. Among the differences: the Senate tax credit is for $7,000 and applies to foreclosed property purchases (for principal residence only, not investment), and the House version is for $7,500 and applies to all properties (as principal residence) but buyers must be first-timers. “Our 1.2 million members appreciate the hard work and commitment of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Ranking Member Richard Shelby, R-Ala., for advancing legislation that will help people buy and keep their homes,” NAR President Richard Gaylord said in a statement.

Declining Markets Reversal to Help Stressed Areas
Fannie Mae will no longer require borrowers to put up an extra 5 percent down payment when purchasing homes in areas deemed “declining markets,” the country’s largest secondary mortgage market company said last week. Fannie Mae had been hearing concerns from REALTORS® and others for months that the policy was bad for housing because it discouraged consumers from buying in markets hardest-hit by foreclosures. NAR met several times this spring with Fannie Mae officials and sent letters reflecting members’ unease with the policy. “We heard the concerns of NAR and we reviewed and determined that changes in our policy were needed,” Gwen MuseEvans, Fannie Mae vice president for credit policy and controls, said in a statement. Under the policy change, borrowers can get loans up to 95 percent loan-to-value, even in markets in which prices have been falling. Prior to the change, borrowers could only get loans up to 90 percent to give lenders a 5-percentage-point cushion to protect against possible price declines in the future. The new policy takes effect June 1, and Freddie Mac has said it also is scrapping its policy.


State-by-State Fiscal Conditions, Loan Performance
NAR Research has several research products to help you understand underlying market conditions in your state. Two new ones of interest to your members are “State Fiscal Conditions and Taxes,” which looks at state budget shortfalls and examines how property tax and transfer tax increases may affect home sales and values, and “State Subprime ARM Performance,” which looks at expected resets this year and next and the depth of potential problems in your state.

President Gaylord Interviews Ebby Halliday
Learn how long-timeTexas broker Ebby Halliday has thrived during her 63 years in real estate brokerage and how the 97-year-old real estate icon remains at the forefront of the industry. Watch her popular interview with NAR President Dick Gaylord at the 2008 NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo last week.


Firm Can Represent Multiple Buyers
A brokerage didn’t breach its duty to its client by representing multiple buyers competing for the same property, the Court of Appeals of New York ruled.

FSBO Web Site Doesn’t Need License
The State’s licensing real estate brokerage licensing requirements did not apply to a FSBO Website, the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire ruled.

No Fair Housing Immunity for Roommate Web Site
An apartment finding Web site that requires users to disclose their housing preferences wasn’t protected by a federal statute from alleged violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled, partially reversing the trial court. It remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings on the question of whet.

Last modified: May 21, 2008 at 10:44 am | Originally published: May 21, 2008 at 10:44 am
Printed: September 28, 2020