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Home price growth slows in most states

The latest data from Black Knight reveals that home price growth has slowed in 33 states and in 71 of the nation’s 100 largest markets. Annual gains decelerated by 1.3% from February to October, according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor report. October saw growth flatten to just 0.01%, down significantly from February’s four-year high of 6.7%. (See map below for nationwide declines in home price appreciation; click to enlarge.) The report notes that home price appreciation from July through October was the most tepid four-month stretch in nearly four years. And, while the slowdown is apparent across much of the nation, the west saw the most deceleration, with California the standout as price growth fell below the national average for the first time since early 2012. In February, home prices in California were up 10%, but fell to less than 5% by October, a trend Black Knight said is likely driven by lack of affordability. Washington saw similar declines, falling from February’s 12.4% to 7.5% in October. Now, Nevada, Idaho and Utah have the highest appreciation rates in the nation, with home prices in all three states up at least 10% from last year, while the majority of states have seen growth in the 5-8% range over the last year. (See map below for annual home price appreciation nationwide; click to enlarge.)

How Instagram Analytics Can Help Boost ROI in 2019

To help you strategize for 2019, we’re looking at three key Instagram analytics that can help you improve and develop your overall marketing strategy and drive more traffic your business. Engagement rates Knowing what kind of Instagram content resonates best with your audience could help you plan your content calendar and marketing strategy for the future. There’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to measuring your engagement rate, but most marketers will agree that it’s usually based around this calculation: divide the total number of likes and comments by your follower count, which will give you a percentage. Or you can use tools or apps dedicated to deciphering your Instagram Analytics, which will automatically calculate your engagement rate for each post so you can get a snapshot of what content ranks top of the list month after month. Your exposure on Instagram is linked to your post’s engagement levels. By paying particular attention to your engagement rate and the content themes that performed the best, you’ll find strong indicators from your target audience of where you should be investing your time, energy and budget. But with Instagram Analytics, you can focus on your click-through rate and the effectiveness of your link placement with Instagram Stories’ swipe-up feature and your link in bio if you want to drive traffic to your business’ site. Small changes to how you present your bio link will help drive your audience from your Instagram feed to your business website, where they can get more information, make a purchase or browse your brand in more detail. Monitoring the click-through rates of your Instagram Stories helps determine what content works best for driving sales to your website. By focusing on identifying your audience’s behavior patterns, gathering customer feedback and pinpointing what content resonates most with your followers, you’ll be armed with the best information to strategically invest in the future.

How Social Media Is Being Used to Sell Real Estate

Millennials now make up 66 percent of the market for first-time homebuyers, and 99 percent of those looking for homes use the internet to research properties. House hunters are now including property-related hashtags and social media feeds in their searches, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. 86 percent of home shoppers say they would use video to learn more about a specific community they are considering. How does a home seller use social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat to move real estate? 69 percent of real estate agents use Facebook because it works. Chances are, it may resonate with a buyer. When 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s essential to create content that differentiates you from the rest of the real estate crowd. This is great for experimenting with different hashtags, captions or photography styles. Make sure to max out your hashtags (you can have up to 30) to tap into that ever-expanding community. You never know when a potential homebuyer may be scrolling through your feed.

Renters paid more for housing in 2018 than they ever have before

According to a new report from HotPads, U.S. renters paid a record $504.4 billion in rent in 2018, topping 2017’s total by $12.6 billion. According to the report, there were approximately 43.2 million renter households in the U.S. this year, nearly 100,000 less than there were in 2017. But despite that decrease, renters still paid out a record high total in rent in 2018, more than the entire GDP of Belgium ($494.7 billion), as rents rose throughout the year. According to the HotPads report, the current median rent is $1,475, up 3% from a year ago. In fact, the total rent increased year-over-year in nearly every major market included in HotPads report, with only Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma showing yearly declines in total rent paid out. Of the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S., renters in the New York City metro area spent the most on rent this year – a total of $55.6 billion, which represents more than 10% of the entire national total. Other markets are still seeing hefty increases, especially those in the Southeast and Southwest. And with rents forecasted to continue growing in 2019, driven by higher mortgage interest rates likely keeping some renters from becoming buyers, that total will likely increase next year. “After several years of a booming economy, more Millennials became financially able to become home owners in 2018,” Joshua Clark, economist at HotPads, said. “However, rent affordability continues to be a challenge, as those who still rent are paying even higher prices now than they were a year ago,” Clark continued.

Homelessness accelerates in expensive rental markets

As more and more Americans become rent burdened, the homeless rates in the nation’s most unaffordable markets continue to grow, according to the latest data from Zillow. According to the company, a renter earning the median U.S. income of $61,240 and renting the median-priced apartment of $1,442 is expected to spend about 28% of their income on rent, increasing from the historical norm of 26%. (Image courtesy of Zillow, click to enlarge) Notably, when the rent burden increases by 2 percentage points, Zillow points out that about 1,500 more people are driven to homelessness. Zillow gathered this data in collaboration with researchers at the University of New Hampshire, Boston University School of Social Work and the University of Pennsylvania. The data reveals that the effects of a larger rent burden are “more extreme” in markets where renters are already spending more than 32% of their income. Zillow Director of Economic Research and Outreach Skylar Olsen said although the nation’s homelessness rate has fallen, some communities still grapple with affordability. In these areas, the median market rate rent consumes 62.9% of the area's median household income. Notably, this cluster is home to 15.1% of the total U.S. population but hosts a whopping 47.3% of the nation's homeless population. “But there are similarities that can be identified, even among communities of wildly varying sizes and locations, and learnings to be shared." You can read more about the report here.

Redfin: Homes keep getting cheaper

In October home sale prices climbed 4.5%, however the percentage of listings that had a price drop of more than 1% reached an 8-year high, according to new data from Redfin. This October, home sale prices reached a median of $297,200, increasing 2.4% from the previous month, Redfin explained. Redfin also reported that 32 of the 71 largest metro areas saw home price increase from September, attributing this growth to home sales shifting to more expensive areas, rather than individual homes increasing in value. “Some homebuyers are adjusting their price range down, and others are backing out of home-buying entirely–deciding that renting is a better deal." “Sellers are now realizing buyer demand isn’t what it used to be and are dropping their prices. Notably, the number of homes for sale increased 1.3% from 2017, reaching the highest level of inventory growth since September 2015. The U.S. Census Bureau announced that residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $556.4 billion in September, 0.6% above the revised August estimate of $553 billion. Fairweather said that for the remainder of 2018, Redfin will examine how the California wildfires impact national housing market trends. “The fact is that rising mortgage rates and high home prices have a bigger long-term effect on the local housing market than the fires’ destruction.” As of today, the most recent California wildfires have claimed the lives of 63 people and destroyed more than 135,000 acres. You can read more about the devastation here.

Four Easy Ways To Grow Your Business With LinkedIn

Target specific, professional audiences and decision makers. LinkedIn’s advertising capabilities allow you to use filters like industry, company size and job title to target specific types of individuals -- ideally, the individuals most likely to engage with your brand, service, product or message. LinkedIn recommends targeting audiences of at least 50,000 people for sponsored content and text ads, and at least 15,000 for sponsored InMail. With this, you can promote your articles, e-books and other forms of digital content to LinkedIn users directly. To get the most traction from you sponsored content, you should: • Use the targeting features, such as skills and job titles, to show your content to the types of professionals you want to reach, rather than a general audience. These ads allow you to increase the visibility of your company’s offers, which can (ultimately) lead to more business. This is a win for marketers since lead data is likely accurate and high quality, and it is a win for users because now they don’t have to spend the time filling out all the fields in a contact form. I’ve found LinkedIn to be an ideal place to source new employees for two reasons. The first reason is you’re able to reach the exact types of professionals you need by using the targeting options mentioned earlier, including job title, experience level and skill set. It’s an ever-growing network that’s helping all types of businesses win in their industries.

Are rent prices cooling off?

A new rent price report from apartment search site Abodo says that rental rates nationwide are stabilizing. The monthly report, released Thursday, showed that median prices for one-bedroom units throughout the U.S. fell a “statistically insignificant” .08% from October to November this year. The median price for two-bedrooms fell .24%, according to the report. As far as two-bedroom units go, the rent market of Scottsdale, Arizona, led with a 6.2% increase; city's a median rent was $2,676. The market that saw the largest decline? Cleveland, with a 11.8% loss for November, saw rent drop to $751 from $851, according to the report. Abodo added that it sees this deflating trend for rents increasing through December and the end of the year. From the report: As we had mentioned last month, we thought that rents, though they might fall, would not drop dramatically in November and this has verified. While a few cities showed significant swings, November was basically flat, and we see that trend continuing into December. With competing factors at work, however, we still feel that December will not show broad national average median rent changes.

Home Builders: Baby Boomer home sales disappoint

Builder confidence in the housing market for those 55 years of age and older is slipping, highlighting a recent trend showing that Baby Boomers are staying put rather than downsizing. According to the latest Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders, sales of single-family homes to those over age 55 declined seven points to 60 in the third quarter. But builders aren’t completely down on the market as a reading above 50 indicates that the sentiment is good, whereas a score below 50 means confidence is poor. All three measurements of the single-family market for the 55-plus set saw a decline. NAHB's 55+ Housing Industry Council Chairman Chuck Ellison said part of the problem is that some builders are having trouble producing homes in the budget for prospective buyers in this age bracket. A study released by Trulia in September revealed that seniors are holding off on downsizing, with just 5.5% of those surveyed saying they had moved. Of those who did, the split between single-family and multifamily dwellings was pretty even. A second study released earlier this month by First American revealed that the median tenure for homeownership has jumped to 10 years, up 10% from last year. First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming also pointed to rising rates as the culprit and suggested it will increase the incentive to use a home equity line of credit for renovations. “As rates rise, many existing homeowners are increasingly financially imprisoned in their own home by their historically low mortgage rate,” Fleming said, adding homeowners who choose to stay put might look to access their equity in other ways."

Rent just hit an all-time high… again

With more and more renters feeling the affordability crunch, there seemed to be some light on the horizon recently with the steady rise in rents appearing to finally slow down over the last few months. Nevermind. As it turns out, rents are still going up and just hit an all-time high, again. According to the Census data, the median asking rent during the third quarter was $1,003, an increase of $52 over the second quarter and an increase of $91 over the same time period last year. (Click to enlarge. In the Northeast, the median asking rent rose from $1,134 in the second quarter to $1,210 in the third quarter. The largest year-to-date increase is actually in the South, where rents have climbed from $907 in the first quarter to $973 in the third quarter, an increase of $66. Rents in the West have also risen, from $1,345 in the first quarter to $1,382 in the third quarter, an increase of $37 this year. So, despite falling in the Midwest and the Northeast, rents went up in the South and West, and all that added up to a $49 increase in rents this year. The median asking sales price for homes is going up as well.

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How Tech Solves The Real Estate Investor’s Two Biggest Problems

Since that time, I’ve seen up markets, down markets, feast or famine in funding, and inventory levels that can make or break the average real estate investor’s deal flow. Tech and big data have joined forces, and it’s changed the way real estate investors find and fund investment properties. Tech Solutions For Finding Investment Properties In the not-too-distant past, it was only larger institutions that had the power of big data to satisfy their appetites for investment properties to turn for profit. Finally, the combination of advancing technologies and big data has handed local real estate investors access to two major components of every real estate deal: properties and funding. Tech Solutions For Funding Investment Properties In the funding arena, Lending Tree and Rocket Mortgage, among others, have put technology to work to close more loans faster for the owner-occupant homebuyer. For the larger institutional investor, along came The JOBS Act of 2012. As a result, distressed properties weren’t purchased, and the market suffered. Capital started pouring into the investment property loan market, and lenders sought ways to bring that money to the market. Money follows opportunity, and accessing funding via online portals is the rule, rather than the exception. Tech and big data are no longer reserved only for the average homebuyer and big institutions.