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Builder Incentives Kept April Home Sales Strong

May 31,2020
by admin

As was reported last week, new home sales in April were much, much better than expected. There may or may not be a cause and effect going on here, but two recent posts in the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB’s) Eye on Housing blog indicate that builders are at least trying to preserve some market momentum.

While builder confidence cratered in April and housing starts declined, Rose Quint reports that there is anecdotal evidence that builders were lowering the prices of newly constructed homes in April and that more than half report making sales accommodations in May.

The latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) survey shows that about 22 percent of builders cut home prices in April 2020 in order to bolster sales and/or limit cancellations. Regionally, builders in the South (26 percent) and Midwest (23 percent) were the most likely to have reduced prices, compared with much smaller shares in the West (13 percent) and Northeast (12 percent). Again, there may be no relationship, but the Census Bureau reported that new home sales were up 2.4 percent in both the South and Midwest and down 6.3 percent in the West compared to March. However, sales were also up 8.7 percent in the Northeast, the region with the lowest reported incidence of price cuts.

Builders were much more likely to cut prices during earlier economic downturns. Fifty-two percent reported they had done so in May 2007 and 49 percent in March 2008. The reduction reported thus far during the pandemic averages 5 percent, again much smaller than cuts in both May 2007 (7 percent) and March 2008 (8 percent)

Quint says only 12 percent of builders think price discounts are ‘very effective’ in bolstering sales/limiting cancellations. Fifty-eight percent say they are only ‘somewhat effective,’ and 17 percent say they are ‘not at all effective.’ The remaining 13 percent are unsure.

In May, the HMI survey found 52 percent of respondents were using concessions or incentives to either bolster single-family home sales and/or limit cancellations. The chart below shows the complete list of specific incentives being used, however Quint says those must frequently employed are options or upgrades at no or reduced cost and payment of closing costs or fees, each reported by 19 percent of builders, and price discounts or margin reductions (18 percent.) of those using incentives, most report paying for closing costs/fees is the most effective strategy. Twenty-seven percent rated it ‘very effective’ and 56 percent ‘somewhat effective.’

Again, incentives were much more widely employed during the last housing recession, with 73 percent and 71 of builders, respectively, reporting their use in May 2007 and March 2008. By April of 2019, (we assume this period relates to the build-up of new home inventories as interest rates moved higher) the share had fallen to 64 percent . The current 52 percent providing incentives in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, is essentially the same share as back in April of 2003. What Quint does not say is that it was only in mid-March that the COVID crisis begin to impact the economy and builders have not had a lot of time to assess the damage nor formulate a response.

UI Takes a Deep Dive Into May’s Mortgage Market

May 31,2020
by admin

The Urban Institute (UI) releases a regular report, Housing Finance at a Glance, a “chartbook” loaded with charts and commentary on mortgage activity. Much of the May chartbook’s material, is retrospective, reaching back as far as Q4 2019 where there is a time lag in data collection. Much of it, residential construction data, home price indices, negative equity reports, etc., has been covered by MND from original sources, but we have cherry-picked a few items that may have otherwise escaped your and our notice.

The total value of the housing market, as outlined in the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Fund Report has gradually increased since 2012, driven primarily by growing home equity. The Q4 2019 numbers show that while total home equity was steady this during that quarter at $19.7 trillion, mortgage debt outstanding grew slightly from $11.1 trillion in Q3 to $11.2 trillion in Q4, bringing the total value of the housing market to $30.9 trillion. This is 20.7 percent higher than the pre-crisis peak in 2006. Agency MBS account for 61.6 percent of the total mortgage debt outstanding, private-label securities make up 3.9 percent, and unsecuritized first liens 30.0 percent. Home equity loans comprise the remaining 4.5 percent of the total.

Nonbank agency originations have also been rising steadily since the housing recovery really took hold in 2013 and by April of this year this nonbank share stood at 70 percent. The GinnieMae nonbank share has been consistently higher than the GSEs, rising slightly in April 2020 to 87 percent. Fannie and Freddie’s nonbank shares grew to 66 and 62 percent, respectively (note that these numbers can be volatile on a month-to-month basis.) Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all have higher nonbank origination shares for refi activity than for purchase activity.

Credit access heading into the COVID-19 pandemic was already tight, especially for those with lower FICO scores. The March 2020 data reflect mortgage application activity in January and February, before any pandemic impact and the median FICO for purchase loans was about 40 points higher than the pre-housing crisis level of around 700. The 10th percentile, which represents the lower bound of creditworthiness to qualify for a mortgage, was 647 in this data, high compared to low-600s pre-bubble. The median LTV at origination of 95 percent also remains high, reflecting the rise of FHA and VA lending. Although current median DTI of 39 percent exceeds the pre-bubble level of 36 percent, higher FICO scores serve as a strong compensating factor.

With the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac portfolios well below the $250 billion size they were required to reach by year end 2018, the strategies of the two GSEs have diverged. Fannie is continuing to shrink its portfolio; it contracted by 12.7 percent between March 2019 and March 2020. By contrast, Freddie has held its portfolio constant; it has actually increased by 0.9 percent over the same period. Both GSEs are continuing to shrink their less liquid assets (mortgage loans, non-agency MBS).

Fannie Mae’s average g-fees on new acquisitions rose from 57.0 bps in Q4 2019 to 59.4 bps in Q1 2020 while Freddie Mac’s rose from 58.0 bps to 59.0 bps. The gap between the two sets of fees was only 0.4 bps in Q1 2020, the smallest since Q4 2016. Today’s g-fees are markedly higher than g-fee levels in 2011 and 2012 and have contributed to the GSEs’ earnings.

Overall mortgage insurance activity via the FHA, VA and private insurers increased by 93.1 percent between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020, even as the private insurance numbers declined. The total value of that insurance grew to $259 billion in the first quarter of 2020 from $134 billion a year earlier. In the first quarter of 2020, the value of private mortgage insurance written decreased by $15.88 billion compared to the previous (Q4 2019) quarter while that written by FHA and the VA increased by $3.32 billion and $6.89 billion, respectively. During that period, the VA share grew from 29.1 to 31.9 percent and the FHA share increased from 28.6 to 30.0 percent. The private mortgage insurers’ share fell significantly, from 42.3 to 36.3 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Houston Real Estate After Harvey

May 31,2020
by admin

by Bill Baldwin

A few years ago, I heard the artist James Surls describe Houston as “a city that lives on its next risk.” Its next flood, its next hurricane, its next threat of recession. I thought this was a marvelously poetic way of capturing how our complex geographical and economic landscape uniquely positions us as both one of the great global port cities and one that must learn to meet those risks with resilience. High risk, high reward, high resilience.

As we continue to deal with the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget that we are also at the beginning of what is expected to be a particularly busy hurricane season with the possibility of up to 15 named storms. What lessons have we learned about real estate during the pandemic that we can apply to another Memorial Day-, Tax Day-, or Harvey-like flooding event?

The only constant is change. Disruption is, somewhat paradoxically, our new normal. We as licensed professionals must be prepared to pivot at any given moment.

The housing market is highly resilient, but that is no happy accident. It takes good, informed Realtors giving sound, educated advice.

There will always be a tension between private and public interests. Sometimes we have to bear a little bit of a cost for the collective good.

There is no shying away from these subjects. We can’t avoid flooding, we must learn to live with it. Our revised Floodplain Development Ordinance is still in play and continues to be enforced.

Our regulatory flood risk maps and rating systems will still get an update at the federal and local levels. Falling behind on educating ourselves on these topics isn’t just putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage, it is putting the lives and livelihoods of our clients and communities at undue risk. It is not enough to simply react when the next storm is on our doorstep. We must plan and prepare now so we’ll be ready to meet that next challenge when it arrives.

I hope you will take the time to join me for a webinar on July 28th as part of HAR’s Broker Series on the most important topics impacting our industry and housing market locally this year and beyond. I will once again be presenting on Flooding and the Future of Houston Real Estate as an update and preview of my continued and constantly evolving 2-hour CE course The Realtor’s Survival Guide to Houston Flooding & Floodplains. I look forward to “seeing” you there virtually, but please know that you can always reach out to me with any questions at

Bill Baldwin is the broker/owner of Boulevard Realty. He is also an HRIS Board Member, City of Houston Planning Commissioner, and a past recipient of HAR’s John E. Wolf Service Award. He currently teaches two TREC-approved courses for HAR.


Houston Real Estate After Harvey: Where are we today?

This webinar will provide Houston-area Realtors with an understanding of where we are in the wide world of flooding and flood risk as we approach three years after Harvey. In addition to reviewing the state of funding and infrastructure for resilience, we will also review regulatory changes like the revised Seller’s Disclosure and City of Houston Floodplain Development Ordinance, focusing on how they affect your daily real estate practice. We will also discuss pitfalls that arise for tenants and homeowners because of inadequate flood risk and claim history disclosure.

Date: July 28

Time: 10 – 11 a.m.

Investment: FREE


Source: Houston Association of REALTORS®

Engage your attendees!

May 31,2020
by admin

Several HAR members have reached out and asked me for ideas on how to keep their teams and agents interested and engaged during online meetings.

With the coronavrius pandemic resulting in people working from home or rotating days in the office, homeschooling, practicing social distancing and wearing masks when needed, it can be a challenge to keep people’s attention for long.

Brokerages’ weekly office meetings have changed, from in person to online almost overnight or so it seems, via Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeetings to name just a few of the many options out there.

Here are a few suggestions to keep your meetings productive and have attendees return for the next one:

Set simple ground rules. As the meeting host, it is your responsibility to run the meeting and state several ground rules at the start to keep the meeting flowing and relevant. Suggestions: do not interrupt others while they are speaking, raise your hand to ask a question or use the online chat feature, and be brief in your comments. No one wants to hear someone drone on and on in any meeting setting, in person or online. Your attendees will thank you for sticking to these rules.

Start on time and end on time – there is nothing worse than a meeting starting late to accommodate people that are always tardy or dragging on past the published end time for no apparent reason. People are busier than ever in this “new normal” and meeting organizers need to respectful of everyone’s time. Be the one to end the meeting on time and on a positive note so someone else does not have to do your job.

Brevity is best. Keep meetings brief and to the point, cover what you need to cover and set another meeting if an offshoot topic proves to be one worthy of a second meeting.

Keep people’s interest by occasionally asking a question and having everyone answer either by a poll you place on the screen or a question you ask in the chat feature. You want people to participate and not just sit there with a blank stare on their face.

Speaking of faces, share a few ideas with your attendees beforehand and suggest they select the option when they sign on to the meeting to view their appearance before it is shared with the entire group, if that feature is available on the videoconferencing platform you have selected, and to speak into the camera and not into the screen. Suggest they have their camera positioned so it is at eye level and not down lower, that is typically not a flattering angle for most people, unless wearing a scarf or a turtleneck! Let participants know to have their room lighting located in front of and not behind them, so to avoid glare which causes their face to appear washed out.

Invite a special guest speaker to share a brief 10-15-minute presentation with your attendees on a topic that would benefit them from a business perspective. Since most presenters are not traveling and working from home right now, a lot of industry experts are available for a quick meeting with your agents. You want your meeting to stand out and be worthwhile for your attendees.

Say thank you. Be sure and thank everyone for their time and input and to provide whatever follow up you promised in the meeting, be it links to resources or a contact phone number.

Have you managed your meetings in an interesting and productive manner? Please share in the comment section so we can all learn and improve from each other.

Source: Houston Association of REALTORS®

Pivoting with Purpose

May 31,2020
by admin

“Surreal” is the first word that comes to mind when looking at all the changes the world has undergone due to coronavirus. The vision for 2020 did not include disaster response to a pandemic, however, it is nothing short of amazing to watch how people are responding to the “new normal.” As usual HAR was at the forefront, quickly shifting gears to accommodate its members while adhering to governmental regulations to protect the safety of the community.

For the past three months, the HAR Governmental Affairs and Advocacy team has been working with elected officials to ensure HAR membership was in the loop on all critical changes surrounding coronavirus. This includes working at the local, state and federal level to ensure “real estate services” were included as “essential services” in orders to stay at home. Additionally, HAR members who serve on the Governmental Affairs Advisory Group (GAAG) have been meeting virtually to ensure HAR is at the forefront of not only coronavirus issues, but all issues that impact the real estate industry such as keeping down property taxes and staying on top of ordinances that impact residential home rentals.

Make a difference, virtually…

A key issue the HAR Governmental Affairs and Communications departments are working on is the 2020 Census. Right now, getting appropriate funding to support the population in the Houston Region is critical. We have been working with HAR board member, Shad Bogany, for the past six months to ensure that members and the community complete the 2020 census. Shad is working with the 2020 Census Bureau and can provide additional clarification and information if you want to get involved. By now you should be receiving your forms in the mail to complete the census, if you have not received a paper form, you may complete the form online at

Source: Houston Association of REALTORS®

MBS Week Ahead: Can Bonds Confirm The Breakout?

May 31,2020
by admin

A resilient performance at the end of last week means that bonds have easily staked a claim to a sideways range that’s been intact for more than 2 months now. We had been following a slightly negative trend in Treasuries (seen in the yellow lines below), but even that trend was completely contained by the prevailing sideways range. As of Friday, 10yr yields were making a case to part ways with the negative trend by ending the day below the yellow line for the first time since the trend began in mid April.

20200601 open

The bottom portion of the chart has a slow stochastic oscillator–a technical overlay that helps track momentum. As far as stochastics are concerned, negative momentum topped out and reversed course last week, but there’s a catch. There are two catches actually. First off, stochastics don’t predict the future. They can often give false positives on reversals. More importantly, this was a very weak signal compared to past examples. It’s more a byproduct of the sideways range.

If we zoom the chart out, we can see how this reversal signal stacks up versus stronger examples.

20200601 open2

The week ahead brings what has traditionally been the most important slate of econ data on any given month (ISM reports and the Jobs report on Friday). We have yet to see a meaningful market reaction to the data, largely because it has been too soon. As quarantine policies ease throughout the country, it will be interesting to see whether markets view this as an informative shift in the data or still something that was to be expected. I would lean toward “to be expected.” The broader sentiment on risk has clearly been a motivation for both stocks and bonds and the ramp-up in expectations for an official QE announcement from the Fed next week has helped bonds stay in their sideways range even a stocks suggest more bond market weakness.

Processor, LO Jobs; Referral, Accounting Products; Webinars and Training

May 31,2020
by admin

I was speaking to a successful long-time real estate agent this weekend who is as busy as she’s ever been. Couples are weary of working from home in a one-bedroom apartment. In talking about families leaving the city, she observed, “No family wants to push an elevator button to go home.” Redfin is in the news, not only talking about bidding wars, but also how its mortgage company has moved into Arizona, Delaware, and New Hampshire (state MBA organizations should hit it up for membership!) and certainly butting up against Zillow’s Mortgage Lenders of America. Chatter in the airwaves suggest that May was a) another month for the record books for fundings for many lenders, and b) with the volatility of March a few months in the rearview mirror, lenders are adding to their capital reserves. Talking about months, we still have over five (5) months until the November election, assuming it isn’t delayed for whatever reason, and the rhetoric is as strong as ever as curfews around the nation have escalated. And coming out Friday, May’s drop in nonfarm payrolls is expected to be 8 million! And for the unemployment rate to climb to 20%!

Lender Services and Products

Caliber Home Loans recently sponsored an inspirational and heartwarming documentary, “The Greatest Bond,” which aired on PBS on May 22. The film highlights the journey of disabled veterans whose lives are forever changed through the unconditional love of service dogs that have been expertly trained by female prison inmates in the Patriot Paws organization. Caliber is proud to continue its partnership with Patriot Paws and has sponsored a service dog, aptly named “Caliber” who will support a veteran who is facing physical and emotional challenges. Patriot Paws provides a sense of family and enables veterans to enjoy the freedom that they fought for. Dennis Irwin, Co-Chair of Caliber’s Military Veteran Resource Group stated, “I am grateful to work for a company that supports Patriot Paws, an organization that is focused on helping veterans that have given so much for our country. Saving veterans, saving lives.”

Top 20 National Mortgage lender FBC Mortgage, LLC now has an unprecedented look into their financials, with real-time data at their fingertips by utilizing Loan Vision. “Our executives always want to know where we are at this very minute and with Loan Vision, we’re able to make that happen,” expressed Dyron Watford, CFO at FBC Mortgage, LLC. “In today’s market especially, analyzing data at a speed where you can make an appropriate decision is a must. I have the confidence in this system that when I provide that data, it’s real-time and it’s correct.” Read more about FBC Mortgage’s success with Loan Vision here, then contact Carl Wooloff with Loan Vision for more information on how the accounting solution can help your finance department.

HomeBinder: Stay connected post-close, safely. As we emerge from our COVID-19 lockdowns, we need new tools that keep us connected with homeowners post-close without physical contact. Enter HomeBinder. Drive agent referrals by co-branding HomeBinder with the real estate partners you work with. Integration with Encompass automates the entire process (including loan docs!) Learn more today.

Webinars & Training

ARMCO Launches QC NOW Web Series to Support QC Professionals: Educational web series to provide insights and tips for quality control professionals to navigate changes to the current financial services and lending environment. The series launched on May 28, 2020 with “QC Operations in the New World – A Look Into the COVID-19 Era,” and is now available on-demand. The next webinar “How to Ensure Data Integrity with HMDA Reviews” will launch June 4th at 11:00am PDT. Register Today!

Are you ready for VA IRRRL and FHA Streamline refinance opportunities in this market? Learn how to efficiently submit your files once for a final approval! Join Freedom Mortgage Wholesale for one or more of our live webinar training sessions on VA IRRRL or FHA Streamline mortgage products and origination processes. Ideal for new or experienced government originators. Sign up for a VA IRRRL or FHA Streamline webinar June 5 (VA IRRRL), June 8 (FHA SL), June 10 (VA IRRRL), June 12 (FHA SL), June 15 (VA IRRRL), and June 19 (FHA SL).

MBAC is offering Freddie Mac’s COVID-19 Webinar Series on Mondays in June addressing questions about appraisal requirements, forbearance, and income requirements during the COVID-19 situation. June 1stCOVID-19 Temporary Appraisal Flexibilities. June 8thCOVID-19 Temporary Income and Employment Requirements. June 15thCOVID-19 Relief: Forbearance and COVID-19 Payment Deferral.

National MI’s upcoming June Webinarsare brought to you by its MI University. All webinar attendees will be entered in a random drawing and are eligible to win a National MI branded gift. On June 2nd, register for 5 Habits of Highly Effective Salespeople: Habit #1, with Bruce Lund, Ph.D. Mortgage Insurance 101, with Nancy Early will commence on June 3rd. The lineup of other webinars and registration information is available here.

FAMC published its June 2020 Wholesale “Customer Training Calendar”, including Loan Processing Using the Redesigned URLA, Faster Closings, Positive Negativity, Preventing Mortgage Fraud: Taking a Closer Look, 5 Habits of Highly Effective Salespeople, Habit #1, Detecting and Avoiding Fraud Schemes. Click here: Franklin American Mortgage Wholesale Customer Training Calendar.

Upcoming Plaza webinars: June 3: How to Use the Reverse Mortgage to Purchase a Home. June 8: Making the Most of Your Remote Day. June 18: Taking a Deeper Dive in to Plaza’s Cooperative (Co-Op) Program.

Genworth Mortgage Insurance provides complimentary webinar courses in June to help customers manage, protect, and grow their business, delivering you-centric solutions that matter. Dive into summer with new training webinars. Hosting Fannie Mae for Condo Conundrums with Condo Reviews and offering courses to help you succeed as you manage through the pandemic: 9 Things to Embrace Today and Positive Negativity.

On June 4th, FHAis hosting a live, virtual interagency discussion in response to the COVID-19 National Emergency. This event provides an opportunity for lenders, servicers, housing industry professionals, and other interested stakeholders to learn more about the actions these government agencies are taking to support struggling homeowners while ensuring sustainable homeownership during the pandemic. Updates on ongoing efforts to support the housing finance sector will be discussed, followed by a Q&A session to address questions submitted in advance.

With the current focus on all things digital, Join the Mortgage Coach webinar on Thursday, June 4thWinning in Today’s Virtual Lending Environment.

The Valuation 20/20 Conference has gone virtual…the new dates are June 16th-17th. Join from wherever you may be as technology lets you meet Exhibitors face to face. General Session brings you all the policy makers, Land Shark Pitches brings new product demos plus more. Registration is now open.

Join Metrostudy on June 23rd for a webinar to discuss Strategies to Win Builder Business in the New Mortgage Market. In this webinar, Chief Economist, Ali Wolf, and VP of National Sales, Nicollette Chapman will provide strategic insights and economic analysis of what is affecting the mortgage industry.

Originator Connect is a 3-day weekend event designed around one purpose: help you realize your goals. Originator Connect is focused solely on the origination community at brokerages, banks, and credit unions. With exclusive programs like Build-A-Broker and Your First Million Dollars, our unique Certified Military Home Specialist certification class in conjunction with Boots Across America, compelling and high profile speakers, and a complimentary NMLS renewal course, you’re sure to come out feeling prepared, motivated, and energized to become the best originator you can be… August 21st-23rd in Las Vegas.

TMBA’s Reverse Mortgage Day is being held in conjunction with the Mortgage Symposium, September 14-15, 2020 at the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel, Plano, TX. You MUST register separatelyfor Mortgage Symposium, Reverse Mortgage Day and TWMB.

Todd Duncan’s Sales Mastery 2020 will be a LIVE Digital Experience September 16-18 with an incredible line up of 40 game-changing presentations with world-class keynote speakers, relevant panel discussions, and interviews and conversations with trusted industry experts.

Capital Markets

For only a four-day workweek this past week, it seemed much longer, with many explosive headlines. President Trump intensified his confrontation with China over its pandemic response and the crackdown in Hong Kong, as he moved toward revoking Hong Kong’s special trade status. Hong Kong is vital to the global economy, acting as a major port, trade center, and market for capital flows between the U.S., Europe, and mainland China, and has previously been exempt from the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods. Nothing that President Trump said in his news conference is likely to deter Beijing by truly slowing trade. He also said the U.S. will terminate its relationship with the WHO, accusing it of being under China’s “total control,” though threats to end contributions to the global health agency have raised questions about whether he has the authority to do so without Congressional assent. He did not institute sanctions on Chinese officials, however, as was anticipated. And the announced measures didn’t include withdrawal from the “phase one” trade deal signed in January. Looking into actions, Trump might do something in the future, but markets weren’t worried too much about that in the now. All of that weighed on risk tolerance, and Treasury yields rallied across the curve. The 10-year closed Friday -6 bps to 0.65 percent, down -1 bp for the week.

As far as economic releases to close last week, U.S. consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of our economy, plunged in April by the most on the record (going back to 1959). On the bright side, the personal savings rate, as a percentage of disposable income, jumped to 33 percent, representing a lot of pent-up spending potential. What is done with those savings will be paramount to the recovery trajectory, as it could either be spent or continued to be saved preparation for a long recovery and extended period of high unemployment. Separately, the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment missed expectations for May as it dropped from April.

This week sees the usual start-of-the-month releases, capped by May’s payroll data on Friday. Today: final May Markit manufacturing PMI, May ISM manufacturing PMI, and April construction spending. Zip tomorrow. Wednesday sees the usual Weekly MBA Mortgage Index, as well as May ADP Employment Change, April Factory Orders and May ISM Non-Manufacturing Index. Thursday brings jobless claims figures, Q1 Revised Productivity and Unit Labor Costs, April Trade Balance, as well as May prepayments after the close, before the weekly calendar concludes with May Employment figures and April Consumer Credit on Friday. Fed appearances are limited ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting, while the RBA, Bank of Canada and ECB will be out with their latest respective decisions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The NY Fed will conduct two FedTrade purchase operations today totaling up to $4.47 billion starting with $1.5 billion GNII 2.5 percent and 3 percent followed by up to $2.970 billion UMBS30 2 percent through 3 percent. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices down/worse a few ticks versus Friday and the 10-year yielding .68.

Employment an established mortgage lender, is seeking experienced, smart, and friendly Loan Processors. Work onsite in our Irvine, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, or Dallas locations, or remote from your home.Family-owned and in business for 25 years, we have a keen focus on treating our team members like family. With manageable pipelines of approximately 50 loans while funding 2/3 of the pipeline monthly, you can make over $150K while setting your own hours. Management lets you set your own pace, working as much or as little as you like. We provide best in class technology and tools to keep you working efficiently. We require 2 years minimum loan processor experience. Benefits Include, Company Match 401K, Healthcare, Dental, Vision, Life and Disability Benefits. Big company benefits, small company feel. A place where everyone knows your name. Email us at”

Agility 360 is a mortgage recruiting and project staffing firm based in Dallas, Texas, with a proven record of matching qualified candidates with employers for long-term employment or short-term contract. With interest rates at historical lows, matching staffing levels to meet demand continues to be a big profitability driver. Since 2014, Agility 360 has leveraged its unique methodology and proprietary candidate network to place experienced processors, underwriters, and other originations personnel across the country. We always meet our goal of finding “the right person for the job” because THIS IS ALL WE DO. By focusing on the mortgage industry, we’ve created and tested a highly successful model that consistently delivers results for our clients. If you want to stop wasting time and money with other companies please contact Raj Sharma (469-208-6337).”

Recently named among Top 5 Best Mortgage Companies to work for by National Mortgage News, Geneva Financial, Home Loans Powered By Humans, is filling 500 Branch Manager and Loan officer positions in 43 states. Geneva strives to humanize every aspect of its business from the inside-out. With a culture-forward mindset, management focuses on loan originators and support staff to ensure an unbeatable experience for their customers. Their Geneva Gives, BE A GOOD HUMAN, and Hero of The Year initiatives deemed them a recipient of this year’s AZ Business Magazine’s Excellence in Banking Award for Community Impact. In 2019 Geneva was ranked a nationally fastest growing company in the financial sector, mortgage industry and all industries categories. Geneva consistently hit record-breaking months, doubling volume in most. Geneva Financial is excited for another historic year, with no plans on slowing down. Explore Branch and Originator opportunities here.

In other news and in a personal note, congratulations to Rebecca Sommer who is taking over in managing the Great West Region for Wells Fargo Funding from 26-year veteran Shana Chrisman.


May 31,2020
by admin


The Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation is the exclusive global designation of NAR®. This premier designation is awarded by NAR’s Member Development Team to REALTORS® who complete the coursework and meet practical experience criteria that demonstrate knowledge and familiarity with global clients.

The five-day Institute is offered each year at HAR and only an elite number of REALTORS® have earned the CIPS designation in the state of Texas. It takes commitment and time to place the letters CIPS after your name. (Public Service Announcement: pronounce CIPS by saying each letter separately, the same as you do for HAR.)

The CIPS Designation is the only designation of its kind in the real estate community. It is synonymous with advanced global expertise, a distinct understanding of a global buyer, and comes with powerful brand recognition, with designees in nearly 40 countries. If you and an agent in another country both have the CIPS designation this can prove invaluable for a global transaction.


The state of Texas is fast becoming a destination for investment and relocation for people from India, Mexico and Canada, as well as other countries to our south and in Europe and Asia. International homebuyer activity added $7.8 billion to the Texas economy from April 2018 to March 2019, according to the 2019 Texas International Homebuyers Report released last fall by Texas REALTORS®.

Texas ranked third in the nation for homes sold to international buyers, behind Florida and California. Texas accounted for 10% of all homes purchased by international homebuyers in the United States, with 18,310 home sales out of 183,100 nationwide. Texas was particularly popular with buyers from Mexico and India. Of all homebuyers from Mexico, 28% purchased a home in Texas. The next closest state, California, had 10% of the total homebuyers from Mexico. Among buyers from India, 13% chose Texas—just behind first-place Florida, with 14%.

In February, on, global visits to the website were from Canada, India and Mexico, with The UK, The Philippines, Germany, Australia, Pakistan, Viet Nam and The Netherlands rounding out the top 10. On the commercial side of real estate, Texas is the third-most popular destination for buyers who work with REALTORS®, according to the 2019 Commercial Real Estate International Business Trends report from the National Association of REALTORS®. Dallas was the fifth-most popular U.S. market for commercial real estate purchased by international buyers with a dollar volume of $2.9 billion, and Houston was ninth at $2.2 billion.

Texas is seen as a solid state for investments due to its strong economy, business environment and large metropolitan areas. Investors are interested in residential and commercial real estate in Texas where they can deploy their resources to make an attractive return. Specifically, international investors are looking at Texas for large-scale investments in subdivisions and master planned communities. The world continues to see Texas as a strong environment for international real estate investment opportunities.


When you become a CIPS designee, you gain immediate access to business-enhancing products and services that are offered exclusively to CIPS designees. In addition to joining the CIPS network and use of the prestigious and internationally recognized CIPS logo and brand, you will receive:

“Find a CIPS” Directory Listing on the NAR Global website: Be easily found by referring agents and consumers alike with a featured profile in the enhanced CIPS Directory.

Include your designations/languages/cultures on Be sure and enter any designations you have as well as if you speak another language or specialize in another culture so HAR members and consumers can find you in the searchable database on

Referral Contract Form from NAR: This NAR referral contract form will help you define the terms and conditions of a referral transaction.

Global Listing Agreement from HAR & listings featured in Area 82 of the HAR MLS: Form 301 found in HAR Forms manager can help you with your global listing agreements so your international listings can then be entered into Area 82 of the HAR MLS.

NAR Global Marketing Center: An online platform that enables you to access and print all the materials from one location. This platform enables you to easily customize, download and print CIPS-branded marketing materials and reports. Carry out your next marketing campaign in just a few clicks by uploading your mailing list, printing, and shipping directly to potential clients—all from the website.

NAR Private CIPS Online Communities: CIPS designees have access to a private Facebook page for facilitating referral and knowledge exchange.

Invitations to Exclusive Events at NAR Meetings: Join fellow CIPS designees for networking and referrals at exclusive events during REALTORS® Conference & Expo and Midyear Legislative meetings.

Invitation to the Annual HAR CIPS reception in the Greater Houston area: Meet the CIPS designees located in the Greater Houston area to exchange ideas and for referrals.

Testimonial: “The return I’ve had from the CIPS certification has already far exceeded the cost of the courses. Among our circle of friends, a foreign national couple decided to work with me over another REALTOR® close friend. I believe this is primarily due to their confidence in my ability to better service their needs thanks to my CIPS training. We just closed escrow, within 6 weeks of me getting my CIPS, so yes, it was definitely worth it!” Kelly Mazola, CIPS Henderson, Nevada


In addition to completing 5 CIPS courses you must submit a CIPS designation application demonstrating your experience in global real estate. This application requires that you earn 100 points in elective credits. Elective credits can be earned by speaking other languages, possessing additional NAR designations, attending international conferences and education sessions, and international transactions. Applications are accepted by NAR throughout the year; a one-time only processing fee of US$75, along with prorated dues are required when you submit your designation application. Once approved, you must maintain your designation by paying dues annually. Annual CIPS designation dues are US$220.

The coursework at HAR in June includes the following one-day classes:

Day 1: The Local Markets course is an analysis of the international real estate business environment, including capital flow, currencies, government regulations, and cultures. The practical aspects of international brokerage, networking, marketing and selling are discussed.

Day 2: Transaction Tools provides the tools needed to present investment information to international clients in their currency and area. Students will learn how to measure investment performance, prepare financial projections, and understand the effects of taxes and exchange rates on investments. This course is waived for CCIM designees.

Day 3: The Americas and International Real Estate course centers around professionals who work with Caribbean, North, Central and South American investors. Historical and cultural influences, regional relationship and investment opportunities are covered along with a special focus on Mexico. (Our course instructor, Richard Miranda, CIPS, currently serves as the Presidential liaison to Mexico for NAR and is experienced in conducting real estate transactions there.)

Day 4: Europe and International Real Estate covers the logistics of how to conduct real estate transactions with clients from the European countries.

Day 5: The Asia/Pacific and International Real Estate course covers the real estate practices for Asia and the Pacific. Emphasis is placed on culture influences, economic trends and assessing investment opportunities. A special chapter on working with the Japanese is included.


The CIPS Institute will be offered in a virtual classroom setting at HAR this month. The dates are June 18, 19, 22, 23 and 24. There is a weekend between the first two days and the last three so members can have a break and catch up on their business during that time. Unique activities along with special guest appearances have been planned.

Due to reduced overhead costs, (this year, breakfast and lunch and snacks will not provided each day for five days), HAR can offer this year’s Institute at a 33% discount, ($499 vs. $749), so if you have ever thought about earning the CIPS global designation, this is your year! Visit to register.


Simply register and we will “see” you in class on June 18!

Source: Houston Association of REALTORS®


May 31,2020
by admin

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing take a toll on home sales and rentals,but pricing holds up

HOUSTON — (May 13, 2020) — The Houston real estate market’s strong start to the new year was abruptly interrupted in April as the full impact of the coronavirus outbreak was felt across Texas and the rest of the country. Stay-at-home directives and social distancing weighed on the market as Realtors® began transitioning to virtual open houses and virtual property showings that enabled consumers to safely and conveniently market and tour homes on

Prior to April, home sales had been outpacing 2019’s record volume as consumers took advantage of historically low interest rates. Despite the slowdown in April, year-to-date sales are still running 1.4 percent ahead of last year’s level.

Homes in every pricing category suffered losses, with the steepest declines at the low and high ends of the market. Leases of single-family homes also took a hit.

According to the latest monthly Market Update from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), 6,199 single-family homes sold in April compared to 7,666 a year earlier, representing a 19.1 percent decline and ending a nine-month run of positive sales. Pricing, however, showed little impact. The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 2.4 percent to $251,000, the highest price ever for an April. The average price was statistically flat at $310,331.

Sales of all property types totaled 7,192, down 21.6 percent from April 2019. Total dollar volume for the month fell 20.4 percent to slightly more than $2.1 billion.

“We were bracing for a rough report and we got it, and the numbers are likely to remain this way until more Realtors® and consumers adapt to the use of virtual technology through to safely market, tour and purchase or rent homes,” said HAR Chairman John Nugent with RE/MAX Space Center.“There is definitely no lack of consumer interest in real estate, as property listing views on are up almost 60 percent from this time last year.”

In his revised Houston economic forecast on April 30, Stewart Title Chief Economist Ted C. Jones, Ph.D. predicted that second quarter homes sales would show declines of 35 percent as a result of the pandemic and full-year 2020 sales would be down 25 percent. Dr. Jones’ complete forecast, entitled “And the Beat Goes On: Pandemics & Seismic Events,” is available as a video on the HAR Facebook page.

Lease Property Update

The coronavirus pandemic also slowed lease property activity across the greater Houston area in April. Leases of single-family homes fell 4.1 percent year-over-year while leases of townhomes and condominiums dropped 9.5 percent. The average rent for single-family home was down 1.7 percent to $1,765 while the average rent for townhomes and condominiums was down 1.2 percent to $1,565.

April Monthly Market Comparison

The COVID-19 effect on the Houston real estate market drove most gauges into negative territory in April. Single-family home sales, total property sales and total dollar volume all declined compared to April 2019, however the median price rose to a new April record. Pending sales fell 17.6 percent due to market uncertainty, but total active listings, or the total number of available properties, were statistically unchanged at 41,151.

Single-family homes inventory was down as strong demand during the first quarter sopped up housing supply that was never backfilled by new listings. Inventory registered a 3.6-months supply in April, down from a 3.9-months supply a year earlier. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. stands at a 3.4-months supply, according to the most recent report from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update

Single-family home sales tumbled 19.1 percent in April with 6,199 units sold throughout greater Houston compared to 7,666 a year earlier. That ended nine consecutive months of positive sales that had the 2020 real estate market outpacing 2019’s record volume. However, positive sales momentum during the first quarter of the year kept year-to-date sales 1.4 percent ahead of 2019’s record volume in April. The median price reached the highest level ever for an April, increasing 2.4 percent to $251,000. The average price was statistically unchanged at $310,331.

Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, remained unchanged at 58 days. Inventory registered a 3.6-months supply compared to 3.9 months a year earlier, but is above the current national inventory level of 3.4 months reported by NAR.

Broken out by housing segment, April sales performed as follows:

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 34.3 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 34.7 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: decreased 19.1 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: decreased 12.1 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: decreased 15.3 percent
  • $750,000 and above: decreased 31.4 percent

HAR also breaks out sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 4,854 in March, down 19.8 percent compared to the same month last year. The average sales price was unchanged at $299,899 while the median sales price edged up 3.3 percent to $237,500.

Townhouse/Condominium Update

Townhome and condominium sales, which staged three strong months until a 1.5 percent year-over-year decline in March, plunged 37.5 percent in April, with 376 units sold compared to 602 one year earlier. The average price jumped 11.9 percent to $227,577 while the median price soared 12.2 percent to $181,750. Inventory grew slightly from a 4.4-months supply to 4.5 months.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in April

  • Single-family home sales fell 19.1 percent year-over-year, with 6,199 units sold, ending nine consecutive months of positive sales;
  • The Days on Market (DOM) figure for single-family homes was unchanged at 58days;
  • Total property sales dropped 21.6 percent, with 7,192 units sold;
  • Total dollar volume dove 20.4 percent to $2.14 billion;
  • The single-family home median price rose 2.4 percent to $251,000, reaching an April high;
  • The single-family home average price was flat at $310,331;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory was at a 3.6-months supply, down from 3.9 months last April but above the national inventory level of 3.4 months;
  • Townhome/condominium sales plunged 37.5 percent, with the average price up 11.9 percent to $227,577 and the median price up 12.2 percent to $181,750;
  • Lease properties staged a negative performance, as single-family home rentals fell 4.1 percent with the average rent down 1.7 percent to $1,765;
  • Volume of townhome/condominium leases fell 9.5 percent with the average rent down 1.2 percent to $1,565.

Source: Houston Association of REALTORS®

CommGate Launches New HotSheet Alerts

May 31,2020
by admin

Commercial Gateway ( has launched a new email HotSheet alert, which is designed to inform the commercial real estate community about new and recent activity in the market.

The CommGate HotSheet will help buyer’s agent and brokers stay on top of new listings that hit the market. Brokers and agents can share HotSheet alerts with their clients, or they can drill down into any of the listing detail pages for more in-depth reporting. CommGate reports include nearby retailer maps, drive-time maps, flood maps, demogrpahic reports, and more.

The CommGate HotSheet will also help agents and brokers who have active listings. The alerts will give agents an opportunity to discuss market conditions with their clients, particularly when new listings come on the market that are similar in size and in the same area. CommGate will also send HotSheet alerts that feature sold and leased listings, highlighting the brokers and teams involved in these transactions.

CommGate staff members will select several listings to feature in each emailed HotSheet. Listing agents and brokers may also request that their properties be added to the list. CommGate HotSheets will not replace the email broadcast system, which allows brokers to send out emails to the entire membership roster. The CommGate HotSheets is one of the many tools that are available to help members stay informed and guide their clients through the ever changing the commercial real estate market.

Source: Houston Association of REALTORS®