The Voice for Real Estate 81: Stock Swings, RESPA, Water, Budget

The big swings in the stock market in early February shouldn't hurt real estate. An appeals court sides with NAR that a lender's marketing service agreement didn't violate RESPA. The Supreme Court will probably end a stay on an EPA water rule that real estate interests don't like but a new rule should be better. Eased requirements for a popular small business loan holds promise for more business in real estate. The federal budget deal signed in mid-February has a lot of good things for real estate, including a flood insurance extension. 

Segments:

  • Stock market swings 
  • Marketing service agreements 
  • Waters rule 
  • Small business loans 
  • Federal budget deal 

Transcript

Home sales stay on track despite stock swings

A big win for marketing service agreements

And NAR meets with the nation’s financial services watchdog

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate

Hi, I’m Stephen Gasque of the National Association of Realtors.

A big scare in the stock market last week….with wild swings down – and up! But NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the country’s economic fundamentals remain strong and home sales should stay on a healthy course this year.

[QUOTE]

Last year sales were the best in 11 years. They reached 5.51 million units and prices were up by about 6 percent. But prices this year are expected to increase only about 1 percent. That’s partly because of tax reform, which imposed caps on state and local tax deductions and the mortgage interest deduction.

[SWOOSH]

[ALTERNATIVE]

Sales of existing homes last year reached 5.51 million units—the highest in 11 years. Prices were up, too, by almost 6 percent. That’s the sixth year in a row home prices have increased by more than 5 percent. A different story this year, though. Home prices are expected to rise only 1 or 2 percent—a big drop that NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says comes in part from limits placed on the deducibility of state and local taxes and the mortgage interest deduction in tax reform.

[QUOTE]

One market segment that’s expected to see continued strong price growth is entry-level housing, which is struggling with a shortage of inventory.

[SWOOSH]

An important win for agents and brokers who enter into marketing service agreements. The U.S. Court of Appeals in DC has affirmed an earlier ruling that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was wrong - in how it enforced anti-kickback rules under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA.

The CFPB imposed a massive fine—$109 million—against a mortgage company that was referring business to mortgage insurers - that were also customers of the company’s affiliated mortgage reinsurance businesses. But the court says that punishment was wrong.

In fact, the mortgage company had been following the rules! It structured its arrangement years ago, as interpreted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, when it was the agency that enforced RESPA.

Under HUD’s interpretation, you can send referrals to companies under marketing agreements - as long as the companies pay fees for services that are at fair market value. And the court said that was the correct interpretation.

NAR’s Christie DeSanctis has more.

[QUOTE]

The decision is important because marketing service agreements like the one in the recent case – are quite common, in markets across the country.

[SWOOSH]

Efforts to block a rule left over from the Obama administration—that would expand the federal government’s oversight of bodies of water under the Clean Water Act—have been dealt a setback. And while that’s not good for real estate, the EPA is working on a new regulatory effort that could find a balance that works for the environment and real estate.

NAR’s Russell Riggs has more.

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The issue is complicated but it vital to real estate. You can learn more about it at nar.realtor by searching “WOTUS,” which stands for “waters of the United States.”

[SWOOSH]

Are you interested in expanding your real estate business? Or do you know business owners who would like to grow their operations? The Small Business Administration has reduced the equity requirement for business owners who want to borrow money under the agency’s popular 7(a) loan program. NAR’s Erin Stackley has more.

[QUOTE]

Stackley talked about the eased requirements in a regulatory update by NAR Government Affairs. The video also talks about the USDA’s review of what is and isn’t a rural area. How it decides could impact households in as many as 700 areas that would no longer qualify for safe and affordable rural home loans—often the only mortgage loans available in some areas.

[SWOOSH]
 

A big win for agents and brokers in Washington. Here’s NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall on the budget agreement enacted into law last week.

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You can stay up to date on everything NAR is doing in Washington at the public advocacy section of nar.realtor.

[SWOOSH]

And that’s our show for the week of February 12. You can get more on everything we talked about today at The Voice for Real Estate page on nar.realtor. Thank you for joining us and be sure to join us again as we bring you the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.

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Featured in this Video

SBA Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses, through a variety of loan programs.

RESPA

RESPA provides consumers with improved disclosures of settlement costs & to reduce the costs of closing by eliminating referral fees and kickbacks.

Clean Water Act

NAR supports voluntary, market-based solutions that enhance the quality of water resources and protects property rights.