Life is good…
Especially on a Friday!
Before you saunter off into the weekend, you’ll want to check out this week’s Realtor’s Weekly Roundup.
Here’s what’s inside:
- Breaking financial news for the week, including tons of housing data.
- Screech! Home Builders slam on the Brakes!
- Current mortgage rates as of this morning.
- Is your zip code 🔥 🔥?
- You need more reviews. Here’s how to get ’em!
- And everyone’s favorite—this week’s Brain Teaser! (Fair warning – this one is a little tough.)
(If you like our newsletter, we encourage you to share it with your SOI. We think they’ll love it!)
“When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.”– Walter Payton.
Hot off the Press—Latest Economic News!
This week’s big economic data was focused on housing.
We had the release of July’s Housing Starts and Existing Home Sales.
July’s existing home sales were down 5.9% from the previous month, to an annualized rate of 4.81 million units. This marks the sixth month of declines.
(Scroll down a bit to read our article taking a deeper dive into the Housing Starts data.)
As National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun describes the situation (here), “We’re witnessing a housing recession in terms of declining home sales and home building. However, it’s not a recession in home prices.”
The stock market was back in “wait and see” mode, with the three major indexes all slightly higher for the week.
We’re a month out from the next meeting of The Federal Reserve, when they will announce their decision on raising interest rates.
Investors seem to be a bit cautious until we get clear direction from The Fed in September.
Home Builders SLAM on the Brakes!
The data for last month’s new housing starts in the U.S. was released this week, and it shows a major slowdown in the construction of new homes.
For July, overall new construction of single-family homes was down 10.1% and permits for future single-family homes dropped 4.3%.
Just 916,000 new single-family homes were started for the month, which is the lowest number since June 2020.
The biggest drops were seen in the Midwest and South, while starts in the West and Northeast actually increased.
It’s no surprise that increased mortgage rates, high material costs, labor shortages and general concern about economic conditions are blamed for causing the decrease.
The big homebuilders have a glut of inventory (the highest since 2010) and they’re not going to ramp up building any time soon.
According to Jerry Howard, chief executive officer of the National Association of Home Builders, “Despite the fact that there aren’t enough housing units in the country, builders are not willing to take the gamble that’s required to build them. They’re afraid that, in a recessionary environment, they won’t be able to sell them.”
All of this means the supply of homes on the market will probably stay tight through the end of the year (at least).
Which is good news for existing home prices. Even though higher mortgage interest rates have cooled buyer demand, the shortage of available inventory should provide a solid floor under home prices.
Current Mortgage Rates as of This Morning
Mortgage interest rates are up a bit this week.
The current national averages (as of this morning) are:
- 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 5.66% (last week’s = 5.54%)
- 20-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 5.62% (last week’s = 5.58%)
- 15-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4.91% (last week’s = 4.91%)
- The average 10-year fixed-rate mortgage currently sits at 5.02% (last week’s = 4.95%)
- Today’s average 5/1 adjustable-mortgage rate is 4.29% (last week’s = 4.20%)
After two weeks of slight increases in mortgage activity, there was a decrease last week.
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly report for the week ending August 12th showed mortgage applications decreased by 2.3% from the previous week.
“Mortgage application activity was lower last week, with overall applications declining over two percent to their lowest level since 2000. Home purchase applications continued to be held down by rapidly drying up demand, as high mortgage rates, challenging affordability, and a gloomier outlook of the economy kept buyers on the sidelines,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “However, if home price growth slows more significantly and mortgage rates move lower, we might see some purchase activity return later in the year.”
🔥 Hottest 🔥 Housing Zip Codes in America!
Realtor.com just released their annual report of “The Hottest Zip Codes of 2022,” and it shows buyers are bucking some of the most popular trends of the last decade.
Now in its eighth year, the report ranks the 50 “hottest” zip codes in the U.S. based on two factors:
- Market demand (as measured by unique viewers per property on realtor.com).
- The pace of the market (as measured by the number of days a listing remains active on realtor.com).
Realtor.com gets more than 100 million U.S. visitors to its website each month (second only to Zillow in the real estate website category), so they are certainly in a position to give us an accurate read on the real estate market
Here are the top ten zip codes on their list:
Evan Wyloge of Realtor.com explains the emerging trends (here), “No longer in vogue: moving as far from big cities as money will allow in a quixotic quest for mega square footage and better lifestyles. No longer possible: targeting only the best-known (and priciest) suburbs. Instead, buyers now seem intent to split the difference: They want to be in commuting distance of the larger urban areas. They’re focusing on smaller, less expensive neighborhoods where they can own a big house and still be close enough to the bigger cities if they need to go into the office a few days a week or just want a night out on the town.“
And, according to Danielle Hale, chief economist of Realtor.com, “People aren’t giving up on their dream home, but it’s moving even farther away from the big cities, past the suburbs, and into small towns where they can find a home that fits in their budget. People are looking for flexibility,” Hale says. While they might not be living in some bustling, urban downtown, they still want to be “close enough that they can get in a couple of times a week if they have to.”
To find out if you live in, or nearby, one of these hot zip codes, you can find the full list here.
Get More Reviews (Here’s How)!
When working with new clients, the first thing we tackle is beefing up their reviews and testimonials.
That’s because an agent’s reputation is the single largest determining factor for a buyer or seller when deciding who to work with.
Reviews and testimonials are also “sticky” meaning they will continue paying dividends long into the future.
So why isn’t every agent chasing reviews and testimonials like their lives depend on it?
Well, unless you have a solid process in place, getting reviews on a consistent basis can be difficult.
So, if you’re reading this and thinking, “I need to improve my reviews on Google, Zillow, and basically everywhere else I can!” you need to check out this video:
In this 11 minute video, “Grow with Will” shares five steps (plus one bonus step) to getting more reviews and testimonials.
If you’re running late for a showing and don’t have time to watch, here are his steps at a glance:
Step #1: Deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Step #2: Ride the wave of positivity.
Step #3: Stick to one Call To Action.
Step #4: Offer an incentive for their time.
Step #5: Send a follow-up message to non-respondents.
(Bonus) Step #6: Make sure that you are systemizing your ask for testimonials and reviews.
Will’s main takeaways are:
- Make things low friction for your customers.
- Make sure that you are “riding the highs” when you actually make your ask.
Generating positive reviews is an important part of building your business. So, if you don’t yet have a system in place to do this, get cookin’ and watch this video here.
The Secret to Creating Better Videos
If you’re creating video content for your business, 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.”
If you’re still using the built in mic on your phone or camera, you need to pay attention to this.
We’ve become used to (and forgiving) of lower quality video, but crummy audio is a sure tip off of an amateur.
If you’re still using the built in micro on your phone or camera, you need to pay attention to this.
Fortunately, solving this problem is easy and cheap.
The solution is called a lavalier microphone.
Here’s a website that offers reviews of some of the most popular lavalier microphone options.
Fortunately, solving this problem is easy and cheap.
Click here for the solution!
Your challenge is to get from the entrance to the exit by crossing the blue and red lines. However, you cannot cross the same color line twice in a row. (Hint: you can cross the same line more than once.)
Can you do it? (This one’s a little tough, so hit reply and let us know if you figured it out.)
Click here for the solution!
Sharing is Caring!
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 really smart! 🙂