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Hispanic community continues to drive homeownership growth

The Hispanic community continues to drive homeownership growth in the U.S., according to the latest State of Hispanic Homeownership report released by the Hispanic Wealth Project and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

The Hispanic homeownership rate of 46.2% for 2017 showed an increase of 0.2% from 2016’s rate, leading Hispanics to become the only demographic to have increased their homeownership rate for the last three consecutive years.

Over the past decade, non-Hispanic whites have lost 1.9 million homeowners and were the only demographic to experience a net loss over this period of time.

The surge in Hispanic homeownership rate can be contributed, in part, to the exploding population growth. Currently the country’s 58.6 million U.S. Hispanics account for more of the population growth than any other demographic.

What’s more, Hispanics accounted for 265,000, or 28.6%, of total U.S. household formations in 2017. Hispanics are even projected to lead U.S. household growth, adding 6 million additional Hispanic households by 2024.

Hispanic households also have larger sizes at 3.25, the largest household size in comparison to all other U.S. racial and ethnic demographics. This larger size can be contributed to factors such as multigenerational living, an emerging trend HousingWire explored in the February magazine.

However, despite all of these positive trends, Hispanics still face several challenges when it comes to owning a home.

The report shows that more than half of the country’s Hispanic population continues to be located in California with 15.3 million, Texas with 10.9 million and Florida with 5.1 million.

And it is this concentration that hurt Hispanic homeownership growth in 2017. The map below shows 2017’s natural disasters including the hurricanes and California wildfires hit the hardest in areas with heavy concentrations of the Hispanic population.

Click to Enlarge

Hispanic homeownership

(Source: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Census Bureau)

Another factor hindering Hispanic homeownership growth was affordability. The largest home price gains in 2017 were in California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Washington, all of which, coincidentally, have substantial and growing Hispanic populations.

Immigration and, more specifically, deportations have also played a major role in the state of the Hispanic homeownership rate. Interior enforcement increased dramatically for the year ending in September 2017, with ICE reporting an increase of 36% for interior removals. Over that same period of time, administrative arrests by ICE also increased by 42%.

What’s more, with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program under threat, and no deadline in sight for a resolution, many DACA recipients will hold back from buying a home due to the uncertainty, the report states.

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FHFA: Fourth quarter shows no letup in home price appreciation

Home prices increased in December, showing no letup in home price appreciation during the fourth quarter, according to the latest House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Home prices increased 1.6% from the third to the fourth quarter, the report showed. This represents an increase of 6.7% from the fourth quarter of 2016. In December, home prices rose 0.3% month-over-month.

The chart below shows home prices have long since surpassed their previous peak, and continue to shoot up.

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(Source: FHFA)

The FHFA monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because of this, the selection excludes high-end homes bought with jumbo loans or cash sales.

“Home price appreciation in the fourth quarter showed absolutely no letup throughout the U.S.,” FHFA Deputy Chief Economist Andrew Leventis said. “As we begin to evaluate home prices in the first quarter, we will monitor whether new headwinds—higher mortgage rates and changes in tax laws—will lead to any moderation in the rate of house price growth.”

The latest Case-Shiller report also showed similar increases, saying home prices rose 6.3% annually in December. But the report points out while home prices are indeed booming, the market could be beginning to show signs of a slowdown.

Home prices increased in nearly every state, with only Mississippi showing a decrease. Home prices rose in all of the top 100 metropolitan areas, with the Seattle area seeing the largest annual gain at 15%.

Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division saw the strongest fourth-quarter appreciation, increasing 8.8% from the fourth quarter of 2016. It also saw the largest quarterly gain with its 2.3% increase.

On the other end of the scale, home price increases were weakest in the Middle Atlantic division, where prices rose 5.3% annually in the fourth quarter. The West North Central division saw the smallest quarterly gain with its increase of 1.36%.

Here is a list of which states are in each of those divisions:

Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico

Middle Atlantic: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

West North Central: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri

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Case-Shiller: Are home price increases leveling off?

Home prices increased in December at a faster pace than the previous month, however, some signs could be emerging to show a leveling off in home price increases, according to the latest report released by S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, reported an increase of 6.3% in December. This is up from the increase of 6.1% in November.

The 10-City Composite saw an increase of 6% annually, the same as the previous month, while the 20-City Composite saw an annual increase of 6.3%, down slightly from the increase of 6.4% in November.

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(Source: S&P Dow Jones, CoreLogic)

“Within the last few months, there are beginning to be some signs that gains in housing may be leveling off,” said David Blitzer, S&P Dow Jones Indices managing director and chairman of the index committee. “Sales of existing homes fell in December and January after seasonal adjustment and are now as low as any month in 2017. Pending sales of existing homes are roughly flat over the last several months.”

“New home sales appear to be following the same trend as existing home sales,” Blitzer said. “While the price increases do not suggest any weakening of demand, mortgage rates rose from 4% to 4.4% since the start of the year. It is too early to tell if the housing recovery is slowing. If it is, some moderation in price gains could be seen later this year.”

Seattle, Las Vegas and San Francisco saw the highest year-over-year increases among the nation’s top 20 cities with increases of 12.7%, 11.1% and 9.2% respectively. Overall, nine of the top cities reported higher annual price gains for the year ending in December than for the year ending in November.

On a month-over-month basis, home prices rose 0.2% in December before seasonal adjustment. The 10-City and 20-City Composite both reported increases of 0.2%. After seasonal adjustment, home prices increased 0.7% from November to December. The 10-City and 20-City index increased 0.6% month-over-month.

Twelve of the 20 cities reported increases in December before seasonal adjustment, while all 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustment.

“The rise in home prices should be causing the same nervous wonder aimed at the stock market after its recent bout of volatility,” Blitzer said. “Across the 20 cities covered by S&P Corelogic Case Shiller Home Price Indices, the average increase from the financial crisis low is 62%; over the same period, inflation was 12.4%.”

“None of the cities covered in this release saw real, inflation-adjusted prices fall in 2017,” he said. “The National Index, which reached its low point in 2012, is up 38% in six years after adjusting for inflation, a real annual gain of 5.3%. The National Index’s average annual real gain from 1976 to 2017 was 1.3%. Even considering the recovery from the financial crisis, we are experiencing a boom in home prices.”

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Rick Sharga returns to Carrington Mortgage Holdings

Carrington Mortgage Holdings announced Monday that Rick Sharga has rejoined the company as an executive vice president. 

Sharga will serve as the primary spokesperson for Carrington in his new role and will be responsible for public relations and communications, as well as branding and marketing strategies for all of Carrington’s companies, the company explained in a press release. sharga rick carrington

“We’re glad to have Rick back at Carrington,” said Kevin Cloyd, chief administrative officer for Carrington Holding Company. “Carrington has numerous products and services, from our rapidly growing loan origination and servicing platforms, to our consumer-facing online services such as Carrington Connects, which manage every step of the home ownership and mortgage journey, and Rick is uniquely qualified to deliver our messages successfully in all of our markets.”

Prior to returning to Carrington, Sharga served for five years at Ten-X, first as executive vice president of the company’s business, and most recently as the company’s chief marketing officer, responsible for rebranding the company and helping position it for its successful 2017 sale to private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners. Sharga is a frequently quoted subject matter expert on the mortgage and real estate industries, and has appeared regularly in major broadcast, print and online media.

“Carrington’s mix of products and services is as diverse as it is unique, and the company has a great deal to offer to consumers, agents and brokers,” Sharga said. “The market is looking for the kinds of products and services that Carrington offers, from loan products that enable credit-challenged borrowers in underserved communities to buy a home to the new Connects platform that provides homebuyers an integrated solution for finding a home, getting a loan and closing the transaction. It’s great to be back, and I’m looking forward to building the Carrington brand across all of our audiences.”

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U.S. takes 4th place in renter population growth

The U.S. isn’t the only nation that’s seen an increase in renters and decrease in homeownership over a period of five years from 2010 to 2015.

In fact, one country even saw a switch from a homeowner dominated population to a renter population during that time period, according to a new study from Rent Café.

The interactive chart below shows that the U.S., along with some European nations, has seen a constant increase in renters over the five-year period.

The number of renters in the U.S. grew twice as fast as the European Union, and took fourth place in renter population growth over the five years with a growth of 9.3%. The U.S. was outpaced by Denmark, which saw its renter population grow 11.6%, Ireland with 12.3% growth and the United Kingdom with 21.6% growth.

Out of the 30 countries analyzed in the study, only one saw its renter population surpass its homeowner population to become the new majority. And no, that country is not the U.K., despite its large growth in rental population. Actually, the country where renters surpassed homeowners only saw an increase of 1.8% in renters from 2010 to 2015: Switzerland.

The map below shows the order the 30 countries fall in their population of renters, and what percentage each nation holds. In Switzerland, the renter population barely outweighs homeowners at 56.6%. The U.S. comes in 10th on the list, and has a renter population of 36.2%.

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(Source: Rent Café)

However, some nations saw a decrease in their renter population. Russia, for example, watched its share of renting households drop 28% from 2010 to 2015. Singapore also saw a significant decline in its renter population, which decreased by 13.4%.

The interactive chart below shows which nations saw increases in their renter population, which saw decreases, and how they compared to other nations in the study.

Interestingly, the data showed that typically, the more developed the country, the higher rental population the nation tended to have.

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Altisource Residential changing its name to Front Yard Residential

Altisource Residential, apparently tired of being confused with Altisource Portfolio Solutions and Altisource Asset Management, announced Friday that it plans to change its name to Front Yard Residential.

According to the company, the name change will take effect on Feb. 21, 2018.

The company did not provide much detail on the actual reason for the name change, simply stating: “The company is excited to rebrand and believes that the new name reflects the company’s focus on providing quality, affordable rental homes to families throughout the United States.”

The company said that it plans to unveil a new logo, brand messaging, and a re-designed website as part of the transition into its new name.

The company said that its new website will be, although as of publication, the URL “” was appears to still beavailable for sale.

Apparently, anyone who wants to buy “” can do so right now for only $980, as seen in the screenshot below, which was taken at 5 p.m. Eastern on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. 

(Click to enlarge)

As for the Altisource name, it’s caused confusion for some in the industry, due to the existence of Altisource Portfolio Solutions and Altisource Asset Management.

The relationship between the companies has caused issues in the past.

The New York Department of Financial Services began investigating the companies’ relationships with Ocwen Financial in early 2014.

The NYDFS investigation covered Ocwen’s relationship with Altisource Portfolio Solutions, Altisource Residential, Altisource Asset Management, and Home Loan Servicing Solutions, all of which were affiliated with Ocwen in one way or another.

Each of the companies were also chaired at one time by Ocwen’s founder, William Erbey.

That ended though when the NYDFS investigation led to the NYDFS fining Ocwen $150 million and forcing Erbey to resign from his position as chairman of Ocwen and his position as chairman of the affiliated companies.

Since then, Altisource Residential has shifted its business, significantly growing its portfolio of single-family rental homes.

A little over two years ago, Altisource’s portfolio of single-family rental homes checked in at 777 homes. Then Altisource nearly tripled its portfolio in a deal with Invitation Homes, acquiring 1,314 single-family rental homes for $111.4 million.

After that, the company made several significant acquisitions, including several deals with Amherst Holdings, one of which included buying more than 4,200 properties at once.

Last year, thanks to a three-part deal with Amherst, Altisource pushed its rental portfolio to more than 12,000 homes.

And soon, Altisource will leave that name behind and become Front Yard Residential.

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loanDepot taps former Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller to lead mello Home

In January, loanDepot unveiled an ambitious plan to disrupt the homebuying process and sees the national lender expanding beyond lending and into facilitating the entire real estate transaction through a service called mello Home.

On Wednesday, LD Holdings Group, the parent company of loanDepot, announced it has named former Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller to lead mello Home’s business. chris heller loandepot kellerwilliams

mello Home is an expansion of mello, loanDepot’s proprietary digital lending platform that the company introduced last year. mello includes three different segments, a web-based consumer portal, a mobile point-of-sale system, and a fully digital mortgage loan application. mello Home connects pre-approved homebuyers with verified real estate agents in their local market.

“A one-stop-shop for buying, financing, and improving homes is finally here thanks to loanDepot and mello Home,” Heller said. “Together, we enable people to get home purchase or improvement loans any time from any device, then connect with verified local real estate agents and contractors to finish the job fast.”

Heller served as president of Keller Williams’ worldwide division and then as CEO of Keller Williams from 2010 to 2017, as the firm grew to become the largest residential brokerage by agent count, homes sold, and sales volume with more than 930 offices and 177,000 agents.

Heller and loanDepot Founder and CEO Anthony Hsieh came together on their shared vision that a one-stop-shop for housing requires expert loan consultants, real estate agents, and contractors licensed nationwide, and large-scale custom technology to link them all together with customers, according to the company.

“It’s simple: serve customers with the best people and technology. That’s how loanDepot became the fifth largest U.S. lender in just eight years,” said Hsieh. “Now with mello Home, we’ve hired the nation’s top real estate CEO and continue growing our 450+ technology team every week to give our customers one place to manage the business of their home.”

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Las Vegas sees boom in housing starts

Housing starts in Las Vegas, Nevada, surged to housing boom levels at the end of 2017, according to a new survey from Metrostudy, a provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries.

Housing starts increased 9% from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2017, bringing new home construction to its highest level since 2008 in Las Vegas, the report states.

However, these new homes are increasingly being built as more expensive, trade-up homes. In 2016, 42% of homes built were priced below $300,000 and in 2017, only 21% were built below that price line.

The chart below shows homes built in the $200,000 to $299,000 price range plummeted from last year, whereas homes built in the $300,000 to $399,000 price range increased. Even homes built in the $400,000 to $499,000 price range saw a fairly notable increase from the year before.

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Las Vegas starts

(Source: Metrostudy)

“Production of all homes – including attached – priced under $200k has been nearly eliminated as base prices have shifted into the $300k-$500k range,” said Greg Gross, Regional Director of Metrostudy’s Las Vegas market. “4Q17 marks the quarter that the market begins to see less product below $300k, as only 21% of starts were below $300k range, where as last year, 42% were.”

Average prices for new homes increased 7% from the fourth quarter of 2016 to $455,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the average asking price of for-sale homes in a full 21% higher at $476,000, the highest point since 2007.

Las Vegas remains an in-migration market, mainly adding population from residents from southern California residents disillusioned with the rising costs of housing, taxes and declining purchasing power, according to the study. The mix of these factors will continue to make Las Vegas an attractive alternative to southern California for the foreseeable future, which should aid in the continued growth of the area’s economy and population base.

Metrostudy forecasts the city will add a total of 10,400 new home starts in 2018 as demand continues to surge.

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First time buyers flood D.R. Horton Express homes

Four years ago, homebuilder giant D.R. Horton created its line of affordable homes targeted at first time homebuyers, which are now becoming increasingly more popular.

The Express brand, the builder’s lower-margin business which caters to first-time homebuyers, made new homes affordable to younger generations despite stricter lending standards and rising land prices, according to an article by Arunima Banerjee for Reuters.

In fact, Express homes made up more than one-third of homes sold and more than one-fourth of total home sales in the latest quarter, the company reported Wednesday, according to the article.

From the article:

D.R. Horton said the unit is expected to grow at least 10 percent to 15 percent over the next three years.

“While the new tax laws may affect the upper-end home buyers and owners, there is enough demand strength for less-expensive homes, particularly in first-time homes, to keep the industry growing in 2018,” Moody’s Investors Service Vice President Joseph Snider wrote in a note published earlier this month.

The homes are built quickly, and made simple as the builder allows for buyers to choose between several different packages with includes countertop color, floors, and other accessories. Other than these color options, the builder does not customize the homes further during the building process, unless the buyer chooses to begin a new home from the ground up.

This process, the builder explained to HousingWire, allows them to keep the homes affordable for first-time homebuyers.

The picture below shows one example of these express homes in the Dallas area.

the house

This ability to turn homes faster and sell them cheaper has kept D.R. Horton on top, the Reuters article explained.

From the article:

The Express brand has kept Horton’s margins lower than its peers, but has also helped it turn over inventory faster as those homes are quicker to build and sell in larger volumes.

In the recent quarter, Horton generated margins of 20.8 percent, while Lennar Corp (LEN.N) reported 22.4 percent and PulteGroup Inc (PHM.N) 23.8 percent.