ULI and PwC 2022 RE Forecast: Resilience, Flexibility, Optimism

An interview with 1,700 RE experts found high expectations for the real estate market in 2022. Traditional spaces – homes, offices, shopping centers, etc. – have changing expectations, but 75% of investors now feel confident about their decisions. Last year, less than 50% said the same.

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More Buyers Adding ‘Inclusive Community’ to Their Lists

Recently aware that some communities have historically been one race or another, an increased number of buyers are adding “racially diverse neighborhood” to their list of must-haves. But that doesn’t always help lower-income neighborhoods if it causes gentrification and rising home prices.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, All-Cash Sales Up in Sept.

Florida Realtors’ data: Median prices up 18.3% for single-family homes to $355,000 year-to-year; up 17.2% to $255,000 for condos. Single-family home sales down 1.3% year-over-year; condo sales up 4.9%. However, Sept. 2020 saw a huge sales surge because the pandemic shifted transactions into summer and fall, says Chief Economist O’Connor.

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Lumber Prices Dropped 65% – But Don’t Expect Cheaper Homes

Rising lumber costs pushed new-home prices higher and higher. While that supply-chain problem is easing, however, other building materials are still in short supply, even as builders face a labor shortage and high buyer demand. The bottom line: New-home costs won’t plateau anytime soon.

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Zillow Puts Its iBuyer Program on Hiatus Until 2022

An iBuyer program can help homeowners willing to take a slightly lower price in exchange for a quick and easy sale. But sellers aren’t willing to come down too much, and Zillow may not have enough resources under current market conditions to essentially be a large-scale home flipper.

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FHA- and VA-Loan Buyers Struggle to Compete for Homes

FHA, VA and other government-backed loans are often favored by first-time and low-income buyers. But in bidding wars, cash offers or conventional financing seem less problematic to sellers. As a result, low-income buyers face yet another hurdle if they hope to become owners.

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Commercial Real Estate: Opportunities and Challenges Abound

Florida Realtors economist: Real estate’s residential side has been on fire since summer 2020. How has the commercial side fared? It’s hot – and it’s not. It depends on where you look. The delta variant of COVID-19 slowed the office market even as it relit a fire under other commercial sectors.

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Many Condo Appraisers Will Start Assessing Building Safety

In response to the Surfside condo collapse, Fannie Mae says its condominium loan decisions after Jan. 1 will include a stronger look at the overall condo building. Loan decisions will consider current or planned special assessments and any deferred maintenance issues.

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Lawmakers Consider Changes to Fla. Law After Surfside Tragedy

How can the state mitigate condo disasters following the tragedy in Surfside? A Fla. Bar task force pulled together experts and submitted its recommendations on Tues. In Sept., Realtors outlined the problems condo buyers face getting important docs, suggesting better records and tighter oversight.

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S. Fla. Condo Sales Unfazed by Surfside Condo Collapse

After the 12-story Surfside condo complex collapsed, experts wondered if condo demand would decline – but 3Q Miami-Dade condo sales were the highest in years, with luxury units selling at a record pace. Any stigma seems isolated to older inventory and buildings close to the Surfside tragedy.

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Rent History Will Help More Buyers Qualify for a Loan

17% of buyers who couldn’t qualify for a mortgage should have better luck now that Fannie Mae includes rent history in its lending decisions. Lenders consider a history of on-time rent payments a strong predictor for whether borrowers will make regular mortgage payments.

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Study: Credit Scores Rebound Quickly After Home Purchase

Nationwide credit scores fall about 20 points in the months following a home purchase, but they bounce back fully in less than one year. In four Fla. cities included in a LendingTree study, the full credit-score rebound ranged from 332 days in Miami to 387 in Jacksonville.

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NAR August Pending Home Sales Bounce Back by 8.1%

NAR Economist Yun credited “rising inventory and moderating price conditions” for bringing more buyers back to the market. A separate realtor.com survey found three Fla. metro areas to be “hottest markets,” including the areas around Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.

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Deem and Waive: The Legal Vocabulary Definitions

It’s important for buyers and sellers to fully read a contract and ask about any words that confuse them. In the Far/Bar AS IS contract, “deem” appears 10 times and “waive” 12 times, but some Florida Realtors Legal Hotline callers seemed confused about their definitions.

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Seller Demands Before Showings: How Much is Too Much?

A seller gave explicit instructions to the listing office: No showings unless the buyer supplies proof of funds first. But the buyer’s agent doesn’t want to disclose that kind of personal info just to see a home. Does he have to do it anyway?

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NAR: America’s Top 10 Commercial Office Markets of 2021

Of the top 10, three are in Fla. NAR says it analyzed 390 commercial real estate markets and found a “robust recovery with positive net absorption and strengthening rents across the multifamily, industrial and retail property markets.” However, the office sector continues to struggle.

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Many Overly-Confident Sellers Price Their Home Too High

Homeowners have read bidding-war stories and heard about homes selling for thousands of dollars more than asking price. Now they’re becoming sellers and think they can overprice their property, but the market is seeing more price reductions – 9.4% in Aug., says Zillow, up from 8.6% in July.

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Making the MLS More Transparent: NAR Committee Recommendations

NAR’s Technology Board made recommendations that will go into effect if approved by a Multiple Listing Service committee and NAR’s board. Among them: Participants can’t represent that their services are free, and listing ads can’t be sorted or filtered based on the level of compensation a cooperating broker offers.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, New Listings Up in August

Florida Realtors’ data: More new listings and higher median prices – up 18% for single-family homes to $354,000; up 16.1% to $252,500 for condos – than a year ago. Single-family home sales rose just 0.2%, but condo sales were up 13.1%. Chief Economist O’Connor: Condo-townhouse market “remains the hotter market for now.”

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New Flood Rates Debut Oct. 1 Unless Congress Acts

The Biden administration doesn’t plan to stop FEMA’s “Risk Rating 2.0” from going into effect, leaving Congressional leaders to decide. NAR backs the new structure that charges by individual home rather than flood zone, but it’s facing opposition from other real estate groups.

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Home Prices a Reason to Rent?

It depends on where you want to live, at least according to a new report that analyzed the top 100 U.S. metros. But no Fla. metros were in the top 10 overvalued markets.

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Realtor.com: National Rent Growth Hits Double-Digits in Aug.

Aug. report: Rental prices hit double-digit growth for the first time in two years and grew three times faster than in March 2020, prior to the pandemic. Over half of the 50 largest metros reported rents with double-digit gains over last year, including Tampa, Miami and Orlando.

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Student Loan Debt Keeping Most Millennials from Homeownership

NAR report: 60% of millennials who aren’t homeowners say student loan debt is delaying their ability to buy a home; 51% of all student loan holders say the same. And 36% of student loan debt holders say student loan debt delayed their decision to move out of a family member’s home.

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How Hurricane Ida Will Affect Your Insurance Rates

Experts say Ida will drive up rates for reinsurance, which is what insurance firms must buy to guarantee they can pay all claims after a disaster. That’s the pipeline that Hurricane Ida’s higher costs will travel to be passed on to Fla. insurance policyholders.

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Budget Stresses Weigh on Buyers

Survey: 30% of buyers said they paid more than expected on their home due to competition; of those who paid more, 32% said it was $52K or more over the asking price.

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Most At-Risk Owners Have Enough Equity to Avoid Foreclosure

Foreclosure listings will likely only come from owners in trouble before the pandemic because the amount of equity owners can access has risen 40% year-to-year. Of U.S. homeowners in forbearance, 98% have at least 10% home equity; during the Great Recession it was only 40%.

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Transaction Check: NFIP Flood Rates to Change on Oct. 1

Buyers who close after Oct. 1 and need flood insurance should understand upcoming flood insurance changes. The new rating system is property-specific and not yet published, but 12% of Fla. homes will see at least a $120 yearly increase. Buyers may be able to assume a seller’s policy and rates, however.

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Buyers Hoping for Foreclosures Face Competition from Investors

Investors love foreclosures and short sales. The homes usually need work, which is ideal for flippers who fix and sell. They also tend to be less expensive – ideal for large companies that own thousands of homes to rent out. Buyers hoping for more affordable listings may be disappointed.

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Florida Realtors Updates FR/Bar Contracts and Riders

Florida Realtors and the Florida Bar work together to keep FR/Bar contracts current and useful, and the latest update has just received final approval from both groups. Members will have time to study the changes before it replaces current forms on Nov. 1. The AS IS contract, Residential contract and seven Riders were updated, and…

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NAR Finds Connection Between Housing and Food Insecurity

38% of homeowner households and 66% of renter households have difficulty paying for usual household expenses, including food, according to NAR’s study. “Housing affordability and food sufficiency are inseparable to families’ balance sheets,” says NAR VP Jessica Lautz.

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More Sellers Listing Homes as Buyers Seem to Hesitate

Realtor.com got 18K more new listings in Aug. 2021 than it did in Aug. 2020 – and more were affordable, entry-level homes. Realtor.com’s economist says it’s still a seller’s market, but a well-priced home might get 3 bids now compared to the 10 it would have received in 2020.

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Part II: Adding Appraisal Gap Language? Consider This

In today’s hot market, buyers want to make their offer more appealing, and some consider the addition of “appraisal gap” language. But that can create unexpected problems – and it’s not one of the core elements included in Florida Realtors’ contracts.

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Is a Seller’s Disclosure Required?

A buyer insists on seeing the Seller’s Property Disclosure. Equally adamant, the seller refuses to fill one out. What happens next? The buyer’s Realtor calls Florida Realtors Legal Hotline to find out what they can – and cannot – demand.

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Adding and Modifying Language to Contracts

Many times, buyers or sellers want to add specific language to their contracts that adds terms or changes the pre-printed language. While this may be doable sometimes, agents should use caution depending on the context of the changes.

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Florida Realtors Caps 2021 Convention with Election of Officers

The Board of Directors met on the last day of the convention and confirmed Florida Realtors’ 2022 officers. Christina Pappas is 2022 president and Mike McGraw president-elect, with Gia Arvin confirmed as vice president, Tim Weisheyer as treasurer and Chuck Bonfiglio Jr. as secretary.

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Case-Shiller: Home Prices Soar at Record Pace in June

While housing price gains may be starting to slow, Case-Shiller’s June report found a year-to-year increase of almost 20%. One Case-Shiller analyst called the past few months “extraordinary not only in the level of price gains but in the consistency of gains across the country.”

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NAR: Pending Home Sales Drop 1.8% in July

Year-to-year contract signings declined 8.5%. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the market may be cooling a bit, but there’s still not enough supply to match demand – yet “inventory is slowly increasing” and buyers should “see more options in the coming months.”

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Eviction Ban Ends – Realtor Groups Win in Supreme Court

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the CDC overstepped its authority in issuing an eviction moratorium, and it reiterated that opinion yesterday, ending the current ban. Justices didn’t disagree with the ban’s intent but said Congress “failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium’s expiration.”

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Treasury Dept.: Only 11% of Rental Assistance Has Gone Out

The $46.5B program to help tenants pay back rent to their landlords is struggling, so the U.S. Treasury said Wed. that it eased application requirements to speed up the process. For example, it will now allow tenants to “self-assess their income and risk of becoming homeless.”

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On-Time Rent and Mortgage Approvals: Here’s How It Works

Thanks to new technology, Fannie Mae lenders can check prospective borrowers’ bank statements (with permission) to verify rent-payment history starting Sept. 18. Freddie Mac plans to follow suit soon. Advocates say rent history is a better gauge of reliability than FICO scores.

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Land Sales: Going, Going and Going Up

In parts of Southwest Fla., vacant residential lots are commanding record-high prices. With a shortage of homes for sale, more buyers are choosing to purchase land so they can build what they want, resulting in some eye-popping listing and sales prices.

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Judge Dismisses Antitrust Lawsuit, Favors NAR Over Top Agent Network

NAR’s Clear Cooperation policy placed limits on pocket listings, leading a members-only “top agents” network for non-MLS listings to file a lawsuit. The ruling questioned some aspects of Clear Cooperation, but the judge said antitrust does not give TAN a right to “hoard listings among themselves.”

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New-Home Construction Slumps 7% in July

Strong housing demand will keep pushing builders to build, and the number of new permits issued – a sign of future activity – rose 2.6%. But high material costs, fewer workers and land limitations hold back growth. July home starts rose only in the South, the area that includes Fla.

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Low-Income Group’s Program Helps Renters Get Aid Money

The Low Income Housing Coalition created ERASE to help “the most marginalized renters” apply for federal rental-reimbursement funds. So far, state and local agencies haven’t disbursed much of the total $47B authorized by Congress under two pandemic-relief bills.

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2020 Census Finds Most Diverse U.S. Population Ever

Nationally, 43% of U.S. residents are people of color (up from 2010’s 34%) and 57% are white (down from 63%.) In Fla., Hispanics make up over 50% of the population in three counties, and between 25% and 49.9% in an additional 10 counties, all between Lake County and Miami-Dade.

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Fla.’s Housing Market Continues Positive Trends Through 2Q

Florida Realtors’ data: Sales, new listings and median prices are up (24.3% for single-family homes, 20.8% for condos) from a year ago. Chief Economist O’Connor: Mortgage rates, while low, are no longer falling, which will gradually reduce competition until price growth falls back to a more normal pace.

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App Deters Crime by Tracking Realtors in the Field

You can’t put a price on personal safety – but if you could, it would be free for Florida Realtors’ members. SafeShowings, a phone app and member benefit, discourages problems because it logs client photos and automatically calls for help if you don’t respond within 45 minutes.

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Realtor Groups File Emergency Motion to Stop Eviction Ban

The Supreme Court agreed the original eviction ban was unconstitutional in a suit filed by two Realtor associations. On Wed., they asked a District Court to rule against the latest ban, even as a push is on to get more money to landlords. In Fla., only 2% of $870M the state received so far has…

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Biden Extends Eviction Ban for 60 Days

The Biden Administration announced a 60-day eviction ban extension. The new order is more limited than the old ban – it covers COVID hot spots only – but that still includes an estimated 90% of U.S. renters and seemingly all of Fla., which has seen rising numbers of cases in the past few weeks.

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No New Onslaught of Eviction Cases Filed on Monday

The eviction ban ended last weekend, but S. Fla. courts saw less movement on Monday than they expected. Lawyers think some landlords might be holding off to make sure there isn’t another extension, and federal stimulus payments and rent aid have helped some at-risk families.

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Sales of $1M-Plus Homes Soar

Some Americans did well during the pandemic, boosting demand for luxury housing – a segment that doesn’t face the same supply shortages as lower-priced homes.

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AP Explains: What Happens After Foreclosure Moratorium’s End?

Most experts agree that there’s a “foreclosure threat,” but it’s uncharted territory – any uptick in foreclosure listings is hard to predict. With prices rising, lenders are under less pressure to list homes for sale. And even if they’re ready now, homes likely won’t be listed until at least Sept.

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CDC’s Eviction Moratorium Has Expired

The Supreme Court had signaled the ban would only be extended to July 31. With the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 delta variant, Biden is asking Congress to extend the fed eviction ban, but the prospects of legislative action are unclear.

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Is the Office Back?

With in-person work on the rise, employees may return to reconfigured office layouts meant to encourage social distancing and sanitization, plus other safety features.

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NAR: June’s Pending Home Sales Fall 1.9%

The number of homes that went under contract “has seesawed since Jan.,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, but higher home prices have taken a toll. In areas where housing is more affordable, local pending sales rose because buyer demand remains strong.

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Foreign Investment in U.S. Existing-Homes Falls 27% to $54.4B

NAR: It’s the lowest level in a decade. Foreign buyers purchased 107K properties, down 31% from the prior year, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a strong global economic slowdown. For the 13th straight year, Fla. remained the top destination for foreign buyers, with 21% of all international purchases.

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Ransomware Attack May Jeopardize Some Closings

Cloudstar, a cloud service used by many title companies, shut down after a ransomware attack last week. As a result, some brokers now can’t register transactions or closings. “We are still very much in the containment and remediation phase,” the company says.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Price, More Rise in June

Florida Realtors’ data: More closed sales, more new listings and higher median prices (up 24.5% for single-family homes, 22.4% for condos) than a year ago. Chief Economist O’Connor: The ratio of buyers to sellers may be easing; as a result, home price growth could begin to cool down in the future.

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NEW: Escalation Addendum to Contract Released

On July 22, 2021, Florida Realtors released a new addendum for use with Florida Realtors contracts, the Escalation Addendum to Contract, available through Form Simplicity and other licensed vendors. FAQs and how-to-complete info is available on the association’s website.

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Number of Mortgages in Forbearance Drops to 3.5%

Mortgage bankers say that many homeowners are coming out of forbearance, with only 7.4%, so far, either selling the home, doing a refi or otherwise paying off the mortgage. 1 in 4 (23.2%) never stopped making monthly payments; another 1 in 4 (28%) ended up having their loans deferred.

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June Rental Prices Broke Records in 44 Cities

Realtor.com rental listing costs were up 8.1% year-to-year in June, and two Fla. metros ranked in the top 10 for increases: Tampa-St. Pete, up 21.2% and Jacksonville, up 14.4%. Overall, two-bedroom units saw the largest increase, 10.2%, as demand for a larger living space continues.

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Buyers’ Pressure Cooker Eases a Bit as Bidding Wars Drop

A survey of Redfin agents found a slow but steady drop in the percentage of listings engaged in a bidding war. In April, 74.1% of sellers entertained multiple bids; in May it dropped to 72.1%; and in June, it fell to 65%. But Sarasota tops the list of U.S. bidding-war cities at 87%.

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Yes, Florida, People Are Listing Homes for Sale

Florida Realtors chief economist: More homes are being listed than you think. Despite record-low inventory levels, the reason for current buyer frustrations isn’t so much “not enough sellers listing homes,” as it is strong buyer demand – so strong that listings don’t stay active very long.

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Judge Blocks Roofing-Contractor Part of Property Insurance Law

A law passed this year attempts to ease Fla.’s rising property insurance premiums by limiting roofing companies’ abilities to help homeowners get a “free” insurance-paid roof replacement. But a judge issued an injunction and said the Constitution protects roofers’ free speech rights.

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What Happens After the Foreclosure Ban Ends on July 31?

Some foreclosures were postponed due the pandemic, but for some homeowners, COVID-19 forced them into foreclosure. In either case, a courthouse backlog is likely starting Aug. 1, though most at-risk homes will be listed for sale before any foreclosure can be finalized.

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Mortgage Rates Move Lower Again

The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.9% from last week’s 2.98% in Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. The 15-year loan and ARM rates also declined.

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Spread Your Wings: Identify Your Area’s Top Feeder Market

Florida Realtors economist: Need to find an untapped source for new clients? Look past your own turf to the largest source of movers coming from a different county or state. If 10% of your new residents come from Any County, N.Y., spend some marketing dollars in Any County.

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Where Can Buyers Find a Fla. Home for Around $250,000?

$250K homes are out there, but finding one largely depends on where a buyer chooses to live. South Floridians have sometimes moved about 80 miles north to find lower housing prices, but each area of the state has a few areas – typically smaller towns – with a few $250K homes.

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40-Year FHA, VA Home Loans Coming in October?

Ginnie Mae – the funding arm behind FHA and VA loans – created a new “pool type” to secure “modified loans with terms up to 40 years.” It’s essentially the funding groundwork to release a new type of 40-year loan that Ginnie Mae expects to start offering in October.

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Time for Acceptance? Make the Most of this Provision

ORLANDO, Fla. – Articles in Florida Realtors’ Legal Newsletter in the past addressed the time for acceptance provisions that exist in all the Florida Realtors contracts. However, this article specifically addresses this provision in the context of today’s hot market. Let’s walk through the language regarding the time for acceptance, what it means and the…

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NAR: Solid Rebound for May Pending Home Sales

Pending sales rose 8% month-to-month in May and 13.1% year-to-year – the highest May reading (114.7) since 2005. NAR’s economist calls it a surprise following April’s decline and less affordability; but higher wealth and “rising prices evidently provided funds for purchases.”

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Dictionaries, Differing Definitions and the Law

Common words often have specific legal definitions and might not mean what you think. Sometimes, the definition is specific to a contract. Sometimes it’s industry-specific. And sometimes a regular dictionary is the right reference source.

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Fla. Wants Residents to Report Unsolicited Real Estate Calls

The tight listing inventory has led to an uptick in phone calls asking homeowners if they’re interested in selling – but occasionally U.S. and state do-not-call laws are ignored. The Fla. Dept. of Agriculture says complaints are up 41% this year, and it wants all violations reported.

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CFPB Issues Rules to Create Smooth Forbearance Transition

The consumer bureau’s acting director, Dave Uejio, says the foreclosure-ban end will “drain billions of dollars in wealth from the Black and Hispanic communities.” The rules require lenders to assertively help homeowners stay in their homes and understand their options.

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Miami Herald Editorial: We Need to Protect Affordable Housing

“When it comes to (Florida’s) affordable-housing needs, we need all the help we can get,” editors write. The state’s “housing funds help people who are first responders, our teachers, our paramedics with down-payment assistance,” says Florida Realtors President-Elect Christina Pappas.

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How to Win a Bidding War?

In the end, coming out on top largely depends on the highest offer. But one Realtor also calls the seller’s agent to see what the seller considers most important.

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Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums Extended to July 31

The CDC extended the federal eviction moratorium for another month, from June 30 to July 31, further frustrating landlords. However, CDC also said it’s likely that this new deadline will be the last one. FHFA also announced that its foreclosure moratorium was extended to July 31.

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Fla.’s May Housing Market Strong, Shows 2020 COVID-19 Impact

Florida Realtors’ data: May had more closed sales, more new listings and higher median prices (up 27.7% for single-family homes, 24.1% for condos) than a year ago. Pres. Lambert notes one factor behind rising prices is that Fla. “is experiencing a greater share of luxury sales in 2021 compared to a year ago.”

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Homeownership Coalition Wants 3M More Black Homeowners

NAR is working with a 100-organization group to boost Black homeownership – 3M more by 2030. The coalition’s “3by30 initiative” includes a 7-point plan. NAR VP Bryan Greene says Realtors will keep working to improve federal and local policies that help raise ownership levels.

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Economists Evaluate Commercial Real Estate’s Recovery

REIT magazine interviews: Five economists generally agree that commercial real estate is recovering from pandemic shutdowns, though that will vary by sector and geography. Still, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and the U.S. will recover faster than the rest of the world.

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NAR: Vacation Home Sales Rose 16.4% in 2020

Lee County tops NAR’s list of U.S. counties for the highest increase in vacation home sales, with Collier County also making the top 10 list. In 2020, vacation home sales were 5.5% of total existing-home sales; in 2019, they were 5%. Vacation home median prices were up 14.2%.

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Proposed Amendment Would Protect Affordable Housing in Fla.

Doc stamp money in Fla.’s affordable housing trust funds should be used for affordable housing, but the Florida Legislature often “sweeps” it into general revenue. A constitutional amendment proposed by Florida Realtors would change that and secure ongoing support for housing in Fla.

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Rent Crisis Pummels Mom-and-Pop Landlords

The national eviction ban could have a long-term impact on mom-and-pop investors. If the financial hit from non-paying tenants forces them to sell their investment homes, it could boost the size of institutional investors who generally have deeper pockets to weather financial losses.

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NAR Report: More LGBTQ Buyers Purchasing Older, Smaller Homes

The annual report compares LGBTQ buyers and sellers to the overall market. It found that LGBTQ buyers buy smaller and older homes, but they plan to move out five years earlier than other buyers. As a group, they tend to identify as male more than female, and be single and unmarried.

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When Will Buyers Again See Foreclosures Listed for Sale?

The question is simple – the answer not so much. CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) wants to wait until 2022. A request for rule comments, however, received a range of suggestions. And as a practical matter, can lenders handle thousands of foreclosures all at once?

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Fla. Attorney General Issues Real Estate Scam Warning

Stressed buyers and renters desperate for a home can make rash decisions – and scammers know that. Escrow wire-fraud scams can destroy a buyer’s dreams only moments before a closing, but Fla. A.G. Moody also focuses on rental, loan-flipping and foreclosure relief scams.

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Report: Home Loans Backed by PMI Increased 53% in 2020

The association representing private mortgage insurers (PMI) says the average Fla. buyer has a credit score of 739, a $58K annual income and buys a median $310K home. In 2020, 55% of Fla. first-time buyers relied on PMI to make down payments of less than 20%.

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Drone Use May Be on the Rise

Aerial photography is becoming more common in real estate listings – even for interior shots – and new FAA rules may allow drone use in even more locations.

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Dear Anne: Listing Agents Please Take Care

Listing shortages lead to some disconcerting behavior. Sellers have tremendous leverage in this intense seller’s market, but the Code of Ethics applies during all types of markets. Still, a handful of listing agents take advantage, simply because they think they can get away with it.

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Condos: Who Insures What? Who Pays for Damages?

The 2021 hurricane season began June 1, but water pipes can burst year-round. If an insurable event occurs in a condo, however, is it a unit owner’s job to pay or the association’s? It’s a simple question with a sometimes complicated answer.

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Presenting Offers: OK with License Law? Code of Ethics?

Your exhausted seller received five offers in one day. Four are over asking price, but the last one offers $50,000 less, possibly making it a waste of time for an already exhausted seller. Must you still present it? Perhaps not – but only under very specific conditions.

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Near, Far, Wherever: Find Out Who’s Moving to Your Town

Florida Realtors economists: Where do most buyers come from? It’s no secret: Lots of people are on the move, and if you know they’re relocating locally or coming from afar, you can adjust your approach to client prospecting. To help, Florida Realtors’ research team studied moving patterns.

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Will We Ever Shake Hands Again?

Has 14 months of mask wearing and social distancing changed business etiquette? It’s still too early to shake hands and elbow bumping is gimmicky, so just nod instead.

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Some Lenders Say They’ll Resume Foreclosures in July

Bank of America says it will resume foreclosures in July, though “the amount … is way down, and most of the clients have become current,” and JP Morgan Chase says 90% of customers have left forbearance. But Wells Fargo plans to wait until 2022 to resume foreclosures.

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April Pending Home Sales Drop 4.4% Month-to-Month

Year-to-year, however, pending sales skyrocketed 51.7% since April 2020 was the start of nationwide lockdowns to fight a spreading pandemic. NAR Economist Yun says contract signings now are near pre-pandemic levels after the big surge during COVID-19 lockdowns.

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Pandemic Buyer Survey: Almost 75% Happy They Did

Despite a cutthroat market with multiple bids and successive failures to secure a home, 71% of successful pandemic-era buyers say their new home meets their needs, 75% say it was a good decision, and 45% wish they moved sooner. Only 19% say they should have waited.

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U.S. Could Double Tariffs on Canadian Softwood Lumber

A rising cost for lumber has added thousands to the price of a new home, and an ongoing U.S.-Canada dispute could make things worse. Pres. Trump raised tariffs to 20% in 2018 and later lowered them to 9%. The Biden Admin. now proposes an 18.32% tariff.

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Fla.’s April Housing Market Strong, Reflects 2020 COVID-19 Impact

Florida Realtors’ data: April had more closed sales, more new pending sales and higher median prices (up 22.4% for single-family homes, 19.6% for condos) than a year ago. Pres. Lambert says, “keep in mind the comparison data comes from April 2020 when Fla. was experiencing the full impact of the pandemic.”

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NAR Study: Membership Hits Record High and 79% Staying Put

NAR had 1.48M Realtor members at the end of 2020, up from 1.4M one year earlier, and 4 out of 5 (79%) plan to stay in the profession at least two more years. Realtors with 16 years-plus experience made $75K, down from 2019’s $86.5K – but 1 in 4 members made $100K or more.

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29% of Sellers Think Home Is Worth Less than Asking Price

Most sellers list for personal reasons, but a survey found that 1 in 4 (24%) who plan to list within the next 12 months are doing it because of the profit potential, with 53% expecting to get their asking price and 24% anticipating more. And 25% expect to have an offer within one week.

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Fla. Insurer Growing as 3 Private Insurers Cancel Policies

State-owned Citizens Property Ins. is growing rapidly, and Fla. insurance regulators recently authorized “extraordinary” terminations for thousands of homeowners insured by Universal Insurance of North America, Gulfstream Property & Casualty and Southern Fidelity.

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More South Floridians Moving North – but They Stay in Fla.

Rising costs motivate some movers, but a lot of South Floridians are maximizing profits by selling their home now and moving to an area where their housing dollar buys more real estate. Moves to Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, St. Lucie County and more are up 108% this quarter.

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CFPB Preparing for Hectic Transition as Housing Protections End

The housing industry had an artificial pause button pushed during the pandemic, thanks to eviction moratoriums, forbearance programs, etc. As those draw to a close, CFPB proposed rules to maintain stability, and NAR commented with a suggestion that short sales might be the way to go.

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Foreclosures Less Likely with Few Homes Underwater

Underwater homeowners – they owe more on their mortgage than their home’s value – are more likely to end up in foreclosure. But today, 1 in 3 owners with a mortgage (32%) have at least 50% equity, and only 1 in 21 (4.7%) owes 25% or more than their home’s current market value.

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New York City to Fla. Relocations: Flight or Hype?

Florida Realtors economist: Florida’s population benefited from residents leaving New York City, but other states experienced gains too – some with triple-digit increases. With Fla. migration, residents of NYC’s Manhattan flocked in the highest numbers.

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FHFA May Create New Lending Rules for ‘Condotels’

If a development has a large number of short-term rentals – individually owned units or single-family homes rented out similar to a hotel’s operations (condotel) – what unique lending standards for home sales should apply? FHFA opened a comment period that runs through July 5.

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The Nation’s Realtor Members Become More Diverse

In 2001, 10% of Realtors were nonwhite; in 2020, that number rose to 24%, according to a study on career choice released by NAR. However, whites had the highest median number of transactions (7) compared to Blacks and Asians (2), Hispanics (3) and LGBTQ+ members (5).

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Fla. Takes First Step to Launch Rental Assistance Program

DCF, the Fla. department charged with distributing $850M of federal funds to assist with rental assistance, introduced a dedicated website to get funds to landlords and utility companies. Applications should be available soon, and payments can be direct-deposited into business accounts.

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Fla. County Approves ‘Tenant Bill of Rights’

Renters in unincorporated Hillsborough County cannot face discrimination based on their income, including tenants who use Section 8 housing vouchers. Landlords must also give tenants a list of housing rights and provide a notice for late fees.

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CFPB/FTC Warn Large Apartment Landlords About New Rules

New rule: Debt collectors must give tenants written notice about their rights under the CDC moratorium – and they can’t misrepresent a tenant’s eligibility for protection. To spread the message, the consumer bureau directly contacted landlords who represent about 2 million units.

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Florida Legislature: What Changed in Fla. Insurance Laws?

By the time negotiations ended and bills were passed, no interested party got everything they wanted under bills passed by the Florida Legislature, including the state’s attorneys, insurers or homeowners. But changes should help maintain a viable private insurance market in the state.

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Fla.’s Home Sales and Prices Up, Inventory Tight in March

Florida Realtors’ data: Single-family home sales rose 23.3% year-over-year, median sales price up 18.9%; condo sales up 52.6%, median price up 15.2%. The coronavirus was first detected in Fla. on March 1, 2020; therefore, last March’s data was the first to reflect the pandemic’s impact.

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NAR Report: Marijuana and Real Estate: A Budding Issue

States with marijuana legalization laws have seen increased demand for warehouse space, and about half with pre-2016 legalization laws are seeing addendums added to leases that restrict on-site growing. One recent change: More properties are being bought rather than leased.

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How Many Homes Does the U.S. Need to Catch Up? Almost 4M

Why is the inventory of for-sale homes so tight? A new analysis by Freddie Mac found that supply will meet demand only if the U.S. adds 3.8M new homes. The housing need now is 52% greater than it was in 2018, just three years earlier – and it’s even worse for entry-level homes.

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This May Be the Best Month Ever to Sell a Home

Study: April is the best month to sell a home – more buyer interest, less competition, higher list prices and faster sales – and given market conditions right now that strongly favor sellers, there may never be a better time for homeowners to post a for-sale sign in their yard.

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Seller Optimism Jumps in Fannie’s Monthly Survey

The Home Sentiment Index rose 5.2 points to 81.7 this month, “nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels,” finding that more owners consider it a good time to sell. However, even the number of optimistic buyers rose a bit: Attitudes about mortgage rates were the only notable decline.

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Study: How Does Credit Scoring Impact Fair Lending?

A study released during an NAR virtual Fair Housing event finds new scoring models open doors and boost minority homeownership. Older credit-score models “raised the cost to borrow while limiting access … for minority populations and rural communities,” says NAR President Oppler.

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Appeals Court Ruling Casts Doubt on ADA Compliant Websites

While brokers should still strive to make websites accessible for disabled users, an appeals court ruling suggests that until wording of the current law is changed, websites are not places of public accommodation. The issue remains fluid, but it may bring relief to brokers facing ADA website accessibility lawsuits.

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CFPB Proposes Rules to Prevent or Delay Foreclosures

After warning mortgage servicers not to repeat their Great Recession mistakes, the consumer bureau proposed actual rules to prohibit starting foreclosures before Dec. 31, 2021, with a few possible exceptions – such as proof that they’ve unsuccessfully tried to contact unresponsive owners.

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As Mortgage Relief Plans End, What’s Next for Homeowners?

For owners in forbearance, a possible foreclosure is closely tied to whether or not they’re working again. This spring, about 800K owners in forbearance – out of a total of 2.6 million homeowners – hit the 12-month mark, though a six-month extension may still be possible.

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FEMA Releases Rate Overview for Flood Insurance Risk 2.0

FEMA did not release a tool to answer the question on most Fla. homeowners minds: “Will my flood insurance rate go up or down?” But overall, it says 1 out of 5 residents (19.8%) will see a reduction, and 3 out of 4 (76%) won’t see a change higher than $120 more per year.

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The Untethered Worker Is the New Sunbird

Florida Realtors economist: Turning seasons into verbs – “We wintered in Florida” – was once a trait of wealthy retirees. But a newly untethered workforce working at home because of the pandemic is now also considering weather-based migration, albeit a little differently.

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A Path for Associates to Form a PA, LLC or PLLC

Sales associates and broker associates can practice real estate (and be paid) as individuals, or, if they follow the correct path, as a business entity. Here’s the route they must follow if they want to form a business entity.

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Dear Anne: A Tale of Lost Listings, Commissions and Fairness

Realtor A had a listing, a buyer, and a bona fide offer two weeks after the listing expired. The seller had re-listed by then, but A contacted the seller directly, went to closing and earned the full commission. How can the new did-nothing listing agent file a Code of Ethics complaint?

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No. 1 Reason Millennials Want to Buy? The American Dream

Study: Younger adults have the same hopes and dreams as older adults. While homeownership is a smart financial investment, it’s not always the top reason people buy a home. Millennials want to be part of a community and neighborhood, and have a place their family can call home.

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New-Home Slowdown Isn’t Buyers, It’s Builders

New-home market problems aren’t new – rising prices for supplies and a tight workforce. But pending sales continue to be high, and many builders are pausing to complete a backlog of projects. In top-listed Jacksonville, pending new-home sales are up 80.5% year-to-year.

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Home Flipping – and Profit Margins – Lower in 2020

The 2020 real estate market wasn’t ideal for home flippers who buy homes, fix them up and resell. ATTOM’s 2020 report found that fewer home flips were funded by fewer mortgages. And while gross profits went higher, profit margins dipped for the third straight year.

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Senator Outlines Goals for Mortgage Reform; NAR Agrees

Government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be reformed, yet if done badly, it could threaten the U.S. housing market and possibly make 30-year mortgages obsolete. But a Senate Banking Committee member issued “guiding principles” that have been backed by NAR.

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See the Future, Hit a Home Run in Your Business

Florida Realtors economist: Knock it out of the park through 2025. What can you do now to prepare for the buyers and sellers entering the market? Utilize digital tools, understand smart home features and attract remote workers to your market.

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Flood Insurance 2.0: Congress Updates Its Analysis

National flood insurance will undergo a seismic change for homebuyers on Oct. 1, 2021, and for existing homeowners on April 1, 2022. Under “Risk Rating 2.0,” policy rates will be individualized based on a specific home rather than a general blanket rate based on flood zones.

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Once Redlined Homes Flood More – Though Not in Fla.

Study: Redlined neighborhoods – metro areas once relegated to Blacks or other minorities – are less appealing geographically than nearby white neighborhoods. But Fla. is the exception, where a home’s desirability is often based on proximity to the beach – an obviously high-risk flood area.

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Latest Stimulus Bill Signed into Law – Here’s What It Does

Many Americans will get a $1,400 stimulus check, unemployment at $300 per week runs to Sept. 6, and landlords can now tap into a bigger pot of money. Plus child tax credits – $300-or-more paid weekly – could be enough for some rental families to decide it’s time to buy a home.

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