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Churches are taking on the affordable housing crisis

Churches are taking a position on the frontlines of the affordable housing crisis, using their land to create new affordable housing developments. According to a report from the World Economic Forum and The Reuters Foundation, churches around Washington D.C. have begun to cobble together a new source of affordable housing supply using their land to stave off the affordable housing crisis. Churches are usually centrally located with ample parking, which means they are prime candidates for redevelopment as affordable housing projects. The success of some of these projects has begun to catch the eye of others looking for solutions to the affordability crisis, and according to the report, housing authorities in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Atlanta and Miami have expressed interest in replicating the model in their metros. "There's so much land owned by houses of worship anywhere you go in the country," David Bowers of Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit focused on housing solutions, told World Economic Forum. "If we could make the transfer rate 10% or 5%, that would be so much land that would suddenly become available for housing," Bowers added. As church attendance has dwindled and the affordability crisis has become more severe, turning church land into affordable has proven to help keep churches alive and house people in desperate need of an affordable home.

Rent-to-own innovator Divvy raises $30 million to fund growth

Divvy officially launched earlier this year with $7 million in funding. Caffeinated Capital and DFJ previously invested in the company. Divvy’s business model is different than traditional rent-to-own operators, some of which have been accused of predatory practices by purchasing run-down properties and convincing tenants to rent the properties by offering them the chance to buy the house in the future despite not making any repairs or improvements. The buyer typically puts 2% down on the home, then pays a monthly amount to Divvy that includes both rental and equity payments. During that time, they can also pay down debts and demonstrate enough steady income to be mortgage-ready when that three-year period ends. Divvy will also offer residents the chance to buy the home at any point during those three years should they find themselves ready to do so earlier than anticipated. According to the company, it is receiving 2,000 applications each month and buying one home per day in its current markets. And now, the company has new funding to grow its business. As part of the funding, a16z’s Alex Rampell, who leads the firm’s fintech investments, will be joining Divvy’s board. “We envision a world where everyone has a stake in the prosperity of their neighborhood and are excited to make Divvy the preferred partner for renters looking to purchase their first home,” Ma added.

Redfin: Number of homes selling above list price drops

In the four weeks ending on September 23, homes that sold above asking price dipped below 2016 levels, according to the latest data from Redfin. According to the company, 22.9% of homes sold for more than asking price, declining from 25.5% of homes the same time last year. Notably, the share of homes that sold above asking price has been steadily decreasing from June, when it was at 29%. “With home price growth slowing to 4.7% in August, and a record-high share of sellers dropping their prices, the fact that fewer homes are selling above their asking price is another indication that competition is getting less intense than it has been in recent years," Redfin Senior Economist Taylor Marr stated. The report indicates that the decline is most apparent in highly competitive markets like Seattle, Denver, Portland and the Bay Area. In Seattle, the share of homes sold above list fell to 30.3% from 50.6% the same time in 2017. Remarkably, this is the lowest the share of homes has been since 2014. Competition is tighter in affordable inland metros, including Buffalo, New York, Indianapolis and Las Vegas, according to the report. This is largely attributed to a steep decline in inventory, resulting in the share of homes selling above list price growing significantly. “Inventory pressures are easing in the hottest markets, which is welcome news for homebuyers who are increasingly able to submit an offer without competition and get bids accepted without offering above list price,” Marr concluded.

Can rent control save California’s struggling renters?

Affordability continues to haunt homeowners and renters nationwide, especially Californians navigating one of the nation’s most unaffordable markets. The proposition, Prop. The Costa Hawkins Act prohibits rent control on the majority of housing built after the 1970s, preventing local cities from expanding rent control. It also allows for units to transition to free-market rates once rent-controlled tenants move, according to the article. Although Prop. She's worried that if Prop 10 passes, there could be a patchwork of cities with different rent control laws and limits, making "it very hard for developers to get things done efficiently," she says. "It just adds to the cost of development." Bluhm says even just a little uncertainty threatens funding for a project because developers need to know how much rent they're going to bring in to cover their costs and ensure they don't go underwater. Private development firms like hers, she says, are on the front line of fixing the housing crisis because federal housing subsidies for the poor have steadily declined since the 1980s. Affordability seems to be negatively affecting the housing industry as a whole and although there might not be an immediate solution but come November, Californians will have the opportunity to bring its state some relief.

WSJ: Millennials are opting for all-in-one co-living situations

Co-living properties are growing in popularity and scope. According to a feature by Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal, communities that plan out residents’ social lives and take care of all the little time wasting adult annoyances that pull at their attention after they punch out are fast carving out a niche for themselves in the multifamily market. Alta+ is one such community in New York, and it is not unlike a dorm in its function and social structure. Residents pay $1,800 a month for a 98-square-foot space with a Murphy bed, a host of cleaning services and social programming. The community even has the equivalent of a resident assistant know as a “community manager.” The value-add is that though residents are paying a premium for less space, they feel they are getting a better deal because they are saving time, energy and money on chores and social planning. According to Mims, developers are sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into building or reimagining properties around the co-living model. These developers typically partner with the likes of Ollie, Common, Starcity, Podshare, or WeWork’s WeLive to help them bridge the gap between traditional multifamily practices and the new-fangled co-living style of multifamily. Could this be the future of multifamily in high-density areas? Or is it just a flash in the pan? Only time will tell.

How to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts By Planning Ahead

Throughout the series, we’ll be bringing you insights, tips, and perspectives from some of the top marketing minds to help guide your content marketing strategy. With each entry, you’ll quickly learn proven methods, taking you from the very beginning of the content planning cycle to post-publication amplification and optimization. In this piece, we explore the crucial planning stage that essential for content marketing success. Planning Your Content — Get A Jump Ahead By Stepping Back Having a solid plan in place is the foundation of any successful content marketing journey. Building a list of target sharers is a two-step process: 1) Reviewing your known contacts 2) Researching and qualifying others who would find your content relevant and share-worthy. Tactic 3: Plan Post Reuse In Advance Actionable Marketing Guide’s Chief Content Officer Heidi Cohen takes the time to plan out content reuse and even the creation of ancillary works. “From white papers and eBooks to blog posts and original or third-party research, all of that robust and niche content has the potential to be sliced, diced, and repurposed into something new and fresh.” Tactic 4: Use Target Audience Personas to Supercharge Your Content Calendar Understanding the pain points, needs, and attitudes of your target audience is critical if you want to develop a content strategy that wholly resonates. Those who don’t build distribution and sharing into the planning process risk losing out on a key element in the planning cycle. By taking the time to follow these steps — documenting your plan, building a sharer list, incorporating reuse ahead of time, using audience personas, and finding your best distribution options — you’ll gain a major advantage over those who skip over some or all of the planning stage. When you’re confident in your content planning process, you can move on to the crafting and creation portion of your campaign, and we’ll take a closer look at that stage in the next part of our Collective Wisdom series.

Chinese tariffs are going to make your home renovations more expensive

This year, the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index revealed that in the fourth quarter of 2017, the RMI reached 60 for the second time since 2001. Although the demand for home renovation has continued to increase in 2018, recently imposed tariffs are expected to reduce affordability for homeowners seeking renovations, according to an article written by Diana Olick for CNBC. As of today, President Donald Trump has imposed a 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports. The Chinese are expected to retaliate with a 5 to 10% tariff on $60 billion of U.S. exports, according to Capital Economics. According to Olick, NAHB claims that about $10 billion worth of Chinese products are exclusive to home building and remodeling. Furthermore, the tariff starts at 10% and could potentially increase by 25% by the end of 2018. "Clients and contractors are having to set contracts with escalation clauses for projects that are being scheduled for six months from now, largely because we're not sure how far prices are going to go north," said Sullivan. Sullivan says it is a quick education for new clients, who were already fighting to get projects scheduled, given the high demand and labor shortage. Higher home values have given homeowners more ready cash and more incentive to improve their investment. Since then, homebuilders have struggled to stay afloat in market navigating affordability concerns.

Interest rates expected to climb much higher in 2019

Rising interest rates are predicted to slow consumption and investment growth in 2019, according to the latest U.S. economics data from Capital Economics. According to Capital Economics, the 2-year Treasury yield increased to 2.82% from 2.63% at the beginning of September. Mortgage rates usually track in line with the 10-year Treasury, meaning mortgage rates are likely to continue rising as well. The increase in market interest rates is already contributing to higher borrowing costs for households and businesses. This is affecting the housing industry, as it was revealed that despite an increase of housing starts in August, building permit figures were weak and existing home sales held steady, according to the company. Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market survey indicated mortgage rates increased for the fourth consecutive week. “Borrowing costs are moving right now for three main reasons: the very strong economy, higher U.S. government debt issuances and global trade tensions.” On Monday, President Donald Trump will impose a 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports. The Chinese are expected to retaliate with a 5 -10% tariff on $60 billion of US exports, according to Capital Economics. Capital Economics believes, China could possibly have a 25% tariff on all imports by the beginning of next year. Combine all those factors and interest rates are likely to continue rising throughout 2018 into 2019 and beyond.

Here are 4 “buy” cities for multifamily investment

Look no further than these four underrated cities RealPage says have great upside. Knoxville, Tennessee A college town with a solid economic base, Knoxville has been sleepy during this cycle, but is stirring now. Tacoma, Washington Tacoma’s multifamily market is blazing right now. Tacoma led the nation in job base growth in the year-ending with an employment rate expansion of 4%. Over the course of this cycle, Tacoma has increased its job base by 22.3%, peaking in 2016 with 12,600 jobs added that year. Like Knoxville, Tacoma’s fundamentals are benefitting greatly from a constrained construction pipeline, adding an average of just 600 units per year during this cycle, increasing its existing base by 9.5% over the last eight years. 5 in the nation for rent growth in the year-ending second quarter with an increase of 6.7%. In the last year, it has more than doubled its historical growth with a 3.2% increase in its economic base. Annual deliveries have averaged just-below the 100-unit threshold throughout this cycle which is keeping occupancy at a 97.8%, one of the nation’s strongest. With the recent economic momentum and virtually no vacancy, Salinas has been exhibiting solid rent growth at 5.4%.

Average homeowner gained $16,000 in home equity in 1 year

As the economy strengthens, home values continue to appreciate, and that means homeowners are raking in the equity. A report released Thursday by data analytics provider CoreLogic showed that home equity rose 12.3% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2018, meaning that the average homeowner saw their equity increase by $16,153 in one year’s time. California led the charge with an average gain of $48,800, followed by Washington with $41,100 and Hawaii with $29,600. The report also looked at mortgaged homes with negative equity to determine how many properties in the U.S. are currently underwater, with homeowners owing more than the home is worth. In the second quarter of 2018, it showed that negative equity fell 9%, so that just 4.3% of all mortgaged properties are upside down. “This wealth gain will support additional consumption spending and home improvement expenditures in coming years,” Nothaft said. CoreLogic President and CEO Frank Martell said low inventory is contributing to price appreciation. “Negative equity levels continue to drop across the U.S. with the biggest declines in areas with strong price appreciation,” Martell said. “Further, the relatively low level of shadow inventory contributes to the chronic shortage of housing supply and price increases in many markets.” For a state-by-state breakdown, check out the two images below. Click to enlarge.


Are Home Prices Peaking?

Internationally, home prices are actually falling in Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney, and Melbourne. Single-family home prices are lower now than a year ago in those cities even though their national economies are booming. In the United States, home prices are still increasing but after our unbelievable real estate bust 10 years ago, many people are hypervigilant looking out for any early warning signs of changes that might suggest that the U.S. real estate market is peaking. The number of homes listed for sale this July versus last July was up in these metro areas, according to Realtor.com. Number Of Homes For Sale - Change from July 2017 to July 2018 +44% in San Jose +29% in Seattle +19% in Portland +18% in San Diego +15% in Dallas While the inventory of homes for sale was increasing in some of the hottest markets, inventory was tightening up in some other markets like Indianapolis and Milwaukee. The real estate industry has been saying home sales have been low because of the low inventory of homes for sale, not because of high home prices. In California in June, however, the number of homes sold decreased even though the inventory of homes for sale increased. The number of homes sold in July was the lowest for a July since 2012. Unexpectedly, the number of single-family homes listed for sale in King County increased 44% from July 2017 to July 2018! Nationally, the U.S. real estate market may not be peaking but it’s looking like some of the hottest markets are certainly losing their upward price momentum.