Happy Friday! Remember, weekends don’t count…
Unless you spend them doing something completely pointless!
It’s time to grab your cup of coffee and join us for this week’s Realtor’s Weekly Roundup.
Here’s what’s inside:
- Latest Economic News—it’s all about Jackson Hole!
- Hispanic Home Ownership Trends in the U.S.
- Current mortgage rates as of this morning.
- Has real estate giant Compass lost its way?
- Which virtual tour software is the best?
- And everyone’s favorite—this week’s Brain Teaser!
(If you like our newsletter, we encourage you to share it with your SOI. We think they’ll love it!)
“Customers are like teeth. Ignore them and they’ll go away.”– Jerry Flanagan.
Latest Economic News—All Eyes on Jackson Hole!
This week’s big economic news is the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium (usually just called “Jackson Hole”) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
In case you’re not up to date on your economic symposiums, Jackson Hole is an annual meeting of international central bankers, academics, journalists, and politicians—a veritable who’s who of economic big shots.
There’s always news that comes out of Jackson Hole, but the most important is often the comments made by the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve on the last day of meetings.
Jay Powell is the current head of The Fed and he’ll be making his final-day comments later today.
This is important because we MAY get a hint about what The Fed is planning to do next with interest rates.
The Fed has been aggressively raising rates to battle inflation, which has increased mortgage rates and slowed the real estate market.
Powell’s comments can move markets, so we’ll be paying close attention to any signals he may give today, about what The Fed plans to do with rates at their next scheduled meeting on September 20th.
And of course, we’ll explain it all in next week’s newsletter!
Hispanic Home Ownership Trends in the U.S.
The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) recently released their “2021 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.”
This is the twelfth year the NAHREP has published this report which “coalesces data and research across a broad cross-section within and outside of the housing industry. It serves to evaluate how the U.S. Latino population is faring in terms of homeownership acquisition and to review the primary opportunities and barriers to future homeownership growth.”
Among the report’s findings:
- Latinos were responsible for 51% of U.S population growth over the past 10 years, and this growth was not isolated. Every U.S. state saw at least 6% growth in their Latino population.
- The number of Hispanic owner households has increased dramatically since the year 2000, from 4.2 million to 8.8 million in 2021.
- Latinos are the youngest racial or ethnic demographic in the U.S. With a median age of 30, they are in their prime home buying years.
- 41% of Latino adults aged 45 and under are mortgage ready.
- More than 50% of Hispanic home buyers are first time buyers.
- The Urban Institute predicts that Latinos will account for 70 percent of homeownership growth over the next 20 years.
- 75% of real estate transactions involving Hispanics were conducted primarily in English.
For any real estate professional interested in current and future residential housing trends, this is a must read (download here).
(The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals is the nation’s largest Hispanic business organization, with over 40,000 members and 100 local chapters. You can find out more here.)
Current Mortgage Rates as of This Morning
Mortgage interest rates edged up a bit this week.
The current national averages (as of this morning) are:
- 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 5.88% (last week’s = 5.66%)
- 20-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 5.80% (last week’s = 5.62%)
- 15-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 5.08% (last week’s = 4.91%)
- The average 10-year fixed-rate mortgage currently sits at 5.13% (last week’s = 5.02%)
- Today’s average 5/1 adjustable-mortgage rate is 4.34% (last week’s = 4.29%)
Overall mortgage activity dropped slightly last week, but applications for government-backed mortgages increased.
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly report for the week ending August 19th showed mortgage applications decreased by 1.2% from the previous week.
“Mortgage applications continued to remain at a 22-year low, held down by significantly reduced refinancing demand and weak home purchase activity. Last week’s purchase results varied, with conventional applications declining 2 percent and government applications increasing 4 percent, which is potentially a sign of more first-time homebuyer activity. The average purchase loan size continued to trend lower, as purchase activity at the high end of the market is weakening,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting.
Is Compass Pointing in the Right Direction?
Real estate mega-broker, Compass Inc., may be facing some challenges in today’s market.
Compass launched in 2012 with the promise of using technology to disrupt the industry.
They made an early splash—raising $1.5 billion in seed funding from some of the biggest names in the investment world.
Compass went public in 2021 with a valuation of over $8 billion.
The stock (NASDAQ ticker symbol COMP) traded as high as $20+ per share in its early days as a public company, but has steadily declined and it currently trades around $3 per share.
Compass is currently in 71 markets, with over 300 offices and more than 25,000 agents.
In 2021, they brokered 251 million dollars in residential real estate and ranked #1 in volume among all real estate brokerage firms in the United States (according to Real Trends rankings found here).
However, not everything has been rosy for Compass.
In June, they laid off 450 employees (10% of their staff) and may have to take further cost-cutting measures.
As a public company, Compass has never made a profit. In 2021, they reported $6.4 billion in revenue, but lost $494 million.
The recent downturn in housing sales volume is probably not helping.
However, Compass’s founder and CEO, Robert Reffkin, was quoted in a recent Bloomberg article (found here) as saying, “We have a platform that we invested over $900 million in and no one’s going to recreate in the foreseeable future. I’m hopeful that we will see in a downturn Compass gain market share largely driven by the investments we made when times permitted those investments.”
Reffkin also said they currently intend to recruit more mid-level agents in their current markets, while pausing their geographic expansion.
A rival CEO sees the situation differently. Bess Freedman of Brown Harris Stevens, was quoted in the same article as saying, “What they’re doing, it doesn’t make sense. They’re not a technology company. They’re a real estate brokerage company that just spent far more than they were making. The question now is, how is it sustainable?”
Time will tell if Compass’s big bet will pay off.
Matterhorn vs. The Other Guys: An In-Depth Comparison of 3D Tour Software
No longer considered a gimmick, virtual tours have ingrained themselves into the public’s perception of what the selling experience should look like.
In fact, according to a recent Zillow report (read here):
- Most sellers say that including a virtual tour in their home listing is very or extremely important (60%).
- Sellers who included a virtual tour in their home listing were more likely to report receiving at least 1 all-cash offer (70%) than sellers who did not include a virtual tour (56%), and they typically sold for 22% more.
- Most sellers say they are more likely to hire an agent who includes virtual tours and/or interactive floor plans in their services (70%).
It’s no surprise virtual tours have exploded in popularity. The power of 3D cameras coupled with virtual tour software allows buyers to “tour” homes from anywhere in the world!
But, which virtual tour software provider is best for you and your clients?
We found what might be the most detailed comparison video to date. It compares similar 3D tour providers like Matterport, Metareal, Asteroom, Pivotour, EyeSpy 360, and Immoviewer:
It is a lengthy video (~46 minutes) but if you haven’t committed to a VR software company yet, it’s well worth your time.
Video creator, Ben Claremont, compares each company against several factors such as their price, “dollhouse” experience, 3D transition quality, virtual staging options, and more.
Ben ultimately prefers Matterport over its competitors, but what he values in features and spiffs may not be what you are looking for in a software provider.
In our opinion, all six companies featured in this video will get the job done. If you can’t decide, don’t let these details keep you from jumping into the world of virtual tours sooner than later!
You can watch the video here.
The Cheap & Easy Secret to Better Videos
If you’re creating video content for your business (or thinking about starting), we’ve got a quick tip to help you take your results to the next level.
While I’m sure you’ve given lots of thought on how to make your videos look good, how much have you given to making them sound good?
If you’re like most folks, the answer is “little or none.”
So, if you’re still using the built in mic on your phone or camera, thank goodness you’re reading this. 😀
We’ve all become used to (and forgiving) of lower quality video, but crummy audio is a sure turn off.
Fortunately, fixing this problem is cheap and easy.
The solution is called a lavalier microphone.
A lavalier is a small microphone that attaches to your recording device on one end and to you on the other. They come in both wired and wireless varieties.
Using a lavalier will produce clear and crisp audio, while limiting environmental noise. It’s a game changer for producing better audio!
Here’s a website that offers reviews of some of the most popular lavalier microphones.
There are a range of price points for these microphones, but when we’re filming out of the office, we usually use something like the Boya (pictured below) which you can find online for around $25. It’s inexpensive and produces good quality audio.
Just make sure to choose one that’s compatible with the recording device you’ll be using. Android phones and iPhones have different input ports, so you’ll want to verify you’re buying one that will work for you.
Take our advice and use a lavalier for your next video. We promise you’ll never go back!
You’re driving down the highway and you come to a fork in the road. One way leads to a guaranteed million dollar listing. The other leads to a tire kicker with a 400 credit score.
There are two brothers at the fork who both know where each road leads. One always tells the truth. The other always lies.
You can only ask ONE brother ONE question to make your decision.
What question should you ask to ensure you choose the path to the guaranteed listing?
Click here for the solution!
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If you enjoy our weekly roundup of real estate news, we invite you to share it with your clients and co-workers. They’ll think you’re super smart! 🙂