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Zillow: $40 Billion to Flood Into Housing Market, Even as Homeowner Incentives Limited

Americans’ earnings, generally, have gotten a lift on payday as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. With cuts come more discretionary spending—and, although there are changes to homeowner incentives, almost $40 billion of it is going into the housing market, according to a new report by Zillow.

“Despite new limits to two longstanding tax benefits for homeowners, the typical American taxpayer saw their tax burden fall in 2018 as a result of tax reform,” says Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “Some of these tax savings will still find their way into the American housing market, even though they were not explicitly targeted there, as renters and homeowners decide to use their tax savings to rent or buy a bigger home, or renovate their existing home.”

Approximately $13.2 billion is estimated to flood into market as owners and renters trade up, while $24.7 billion is expected to be invested in remodeling projects, the report reveals. With an average $1,610 saved per taxpayer (according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center), homeowners are projected to spend 15 cents on the dollar to renovate; renters, 11 cents to trade up.

The disparity between dollars for remodeling and trading up is in line with a growing trend: homeowners are forgoing moving up and investing in projects instead of purchasing. While the existing housing stock is in need of updates, when homeowners stay put, inventory shrinks—and currently, inventory is at its lowest on record.

According to the report, compared to higher-income households, Americans in the bottom income tier—who average $60 in savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—are allocating more of those savings to trade up.

“Lower-income households will spend more of their tax cut on buying or renting a bigger home, adding demand to an already rapidly appreciating housing market,” Terrazas says.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Appreciation Linked to Population Rise

Appreciation and demand go hand in hand, and for investors, both are key to profit, according to a new report.

Assessing the association between growing interest and mounting prices, analysts at HouseCanary found that appreciation is higher where inbound migration numbers are swelling. Boise, Idaho, for example, has had a high influx of new residents, and a corresponding increase in prices across all property types—from 2010 to 2017, Boise greeted more than 57,600 new residents, while apartments appreciated 7.7 percent year-over-year, condo prices rose 7 percent year-over-year, and prices on single-family steepened 5.7 percent year-over-year.

In addition to Boise, HouseCanary found the migration pattern-price relationship in the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., metros (a combined 404,000-plus new residents); the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev., metro (approximately 181,900 new residents); the Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Calif., metro (approx. 99,200 new residents); the Salt Lake City, Utah, metro (approx. 71,200 new residents); and the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., metro (310,560 new residents).

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Beyond the correlation between demand and prices, apartments and condos, generally, have faster-growing prices than in the single-family segment, according to the report.

For more information, please visit www.housecanary.com.

DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Hawaii Volcano Victims Can Get Relief on Mortgage Payments

(TNS)—If you live in an area of Hawaii that’s been impacted by the Kilauea volcano eruption, your mortgage lender may offer you relief. The eruption has destroyed 26 homes (at press time), and more homes are still at risk.

Wells Fargo and Bank of Hawaii have implemented disaster relief policies for those affected by Kilauea. If your home was destroyed or damaged by the eruption, call your mortgage lender to see if it’s offering assistance.

Wells Fargo will postpone payments for up to 90 days when the customer contacts them to discuss their situation.

“During this time, all negative credit bureau reporting, late fees, collection calls, and foreclosure referrals and sales are also suspended,” says Paul Gomez, vice president of Corporate Communications at Wells Fargo.

Bank of Hawaii offers a grace period for borrowers who either can’t make their mortgage payments or are facing foreclosure.

“We are definitely suspending foreclosures and evictions during this time of hardship, says Stafford Kiguchi, media representative for Bank of Hawaii. “The initial period of time is for the length of the emergency loan program, which is six months for forbearance; however, we will work with each borrower to suspend foreclosure for as long as it takes to recover their repayment capacity. If the hardship turns out to be more than a temporary situation, we have other, long-term relief programs, such as our loan modification program, which permanently lowers a borrower’s monthly payment.”

Bank of Hawaii is also making cash accessible for people in need through special loan programs. Some features include low interest rates; deferred payments for the first three months; fast approval; reduced payments, with loan terms up to 60 months; and loan amounts up to $25,000.

Qualified borrowers can use funds for:

  • Emergency supplies and living essentials
  • Home or vehicle repairs or replacement
  • Bridging working capital needs

Bank of Hawaii customers may also be eligible to receiving forbearance and extensions on loans.

When homes are damaged or destroyed by fire, even if lava flow causes it, standard homeowners insurance policies should cover the damage, says Kirk Christman, principal at the ACW Group, headquartered in Hawaii.

Standard homeowners insurance policies are usually “all risk” policies, which cover any risk except for specifically excluded perils. Excluded risks typically include events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods.

“Because most of the damage is caused by fire due to the heat from the lava, homeowners should be able to file a fire claim, which is normally covered in most policies,” Christman says.

Be sure to turn in your claim to your insurance company and let them determine coverage.

If your lender is not proactively offering forbearance or other help, you can go directly to the websites of the Federal Housing Finance Agency or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to see what type of relief you might be eligible for, and then bring it up to your lender. You also can use these sites to find the name of the lender that owns your mortgage and where to go if the company doesn’t cooperate.

Just because a lender provides “relief” does not mean it’s forgiving you for any of the mortgage debt you owe. Even with the forbearance programs backed by the government, the amount that is deferred will be owed down the road.

Be cautious of calls from people claiming to offer mortgage relief on behalf of a government agency or asking for fees upfront for a loan or service.

When talking with the lender, ask for written confirmation and contact information in case you have any follow-up questions or concerns.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Amazon Experience Centers Look to Transform Smart-Home Shopping

Amazon is making moves yet again. As a way to market its smart-home business segment without having to invest in conventional store locations, the online marketplace giant has partnered with Lennar Corporation to provide connectivity demos of Alexa-enabled products—everything from video doorbells and smart shades to lighting and scheduled deliveries—within the homebuilder’s model homes, calling these showrooms Amazon Experience Centers.

“Amazon’s ability to bring a home to life with Alexa smart-home experiences, entertainment and services—coupled with their obsession with customer experience—is a natural extension of our Everything’s Included approach to home-building,” said David Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures, in statement. “We picked Amazon because of our shared commitment to customers, their Amazon experts across the country, and their ability to connect customers with thousands of service providers through Amazon Home Services.”

These Centers are already open to the public in certain Lennar communities, including in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Within these model homes, prospective buyers can test-control thermostats, lights, shades, locks, televisions and more using Amazon’s trademark smart speaker, Echo, and Alexa AI.

“We wanted customers to experience a real home environment that showcases the convenience of the Alexa smart-home experience, great entertainment available with Prime and Home Services,” said Nish Lathia, general manager of Amazon Services, in a statement. “We are excited to extend our relationship with Lennar with the launch of Amazon Experience Centers. As one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, Lennar offers the potential to enable this experience within easy driving distance of millions of customers.”

Along with its smart speaker offerings, Amazon is also promoting Prime and Home Services, creating an intelligent home environment that is being touted as a money- and time-saver. For example, with Amazon’s Dash series, homeowners would be able to simply press a button to reorder any essentials, such as household items, favorite snack foods, pet supplies and more.

No doubt Lennar will see increased traffic to its model homes because of the partnership, but is this just Amazon’s next step in a larger campaign to fully entrench itself in the real estate industry? Its recent progressions pointing to—yes—talks of a robot give a glimpse into Amazon’s planned future for AI-run households.

Dominguez_Liz_60x60_4cLiz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Voice Activated: Do You Talk to Your Tech?

How many of us are talking to our tech on a regular basis?

Ken Olmstead at the Pew Research Center recently highlighted the fact that nearly half of U.S. adults (46 percent) say they use voice-controlled assistants and applications to interact with smartphones and other devices.

Just over half (55 percent) say “a major reason” they use voice assistants is to permit hands-free interaction with devices.

The Pew study affirmed that voice assistant technology is being widely used to remotely control connected systems, including “smart home” lighting and heating devices. In fact, more than a quarter (26 percent) surveyed use voice assistants to connect remotely to those apps and devices.

So where are the newest voice control technologies being integrated in 2018?

Kohler, the global designer of kitchen and bath products, has introduced Konnect. This new platform allows consumers to conveniently personalize their experience with a growing number of the company’s products through voice control.

Claiming to have delivered the first voice-activated product line for the kitchen and bath, Konnect offers support through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit.

Say the word and adjust the company’s lighted mirror, order up a soak with their voice-activated bathtub faucet, pick your spritz with their voice-command shower systems—and, yes, even apply a number of controls to the toilet!

Kristen Hicks at SeniorAdvisor.com says voice-activation improvements like these are helping countless homeowners age in place, by turning lights on and off, keeping grocery and to-do lists, reminding folks to take meds, changing interior temperature settings, using voice-activated technology to be sure doors are locked, and, most importantly, calling for help in an emergency. Hicks says while many home alert systems require reaching a phone or a button, a voice command can be issued without having to move.

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Michael McGehee
Michael McGehee
REMAX REDZONE
Harker Heights, TX 76548
254 290-1602
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