Voice for Real Estate 63: Carson, Trump, Scams, Sales, Reverse Mortgages

The Voice for Real Estate looks at real estate-related issues touched on in President Trump’s speech before Congress, confirmation of Ben Carson as HUD secretary, and a word of warning from NAR Legal Affairs about wire fraud scams directed at real estate transactions. The video also looks at NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s latest outlook for home sales and excerpts from REALTOR® Magazine’s live webcast on using a reverse mortgage for purchase.

Featured segments

  • Ben Carson confirmed as HUD secretary 
  • Real estate issued raised in Trump speech 
  • Wire fraudsters target real estate 
  • Using a reverse mortgage to buy a home 
  • Home sales update


HUD has a new secretary

President Trump calls for tax cuts for businesses and families

And cyber criminals have real estate in their sights.

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

The federal agency that oversees the FHA, enforces fair housing laws, and makes funds available for affordable rental housing has a new chief. Dr. Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon who ran for the Republican presidential nomination, was confirmed on March 1 to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. NAR President Bill Brown said he looks forward to working with Carson in the year ahead.  


There’s one item NAR would like Secretary Carson to look at right way, and that’s reinstating the quarter-point decrease in the FHA mortgage insurance premium. That reduction was announced by HUD in early January but suspended on Inauguration Day.


President Trump gave his first speech before Congress last week and in his remarks he touched on a number of issues important to real estate, including lowering taxes for businesses and individuals, investing in our nation’s infrastructure, and reforming health insurance.

What these initiatives will look like will become clearer as details are provided, but on infrastructure investment, he said he would seek to generate $1 trillion from a combination of public and private sources.

On health insurance, he laid out several priorities. Among them, prohibiting insurance companies from declining health insurance for those who have a preexisting condition and allowing people to buy insurance across state lines. Here are other goals he outlined.


On his tax reform plan, he said he would be asking for “massive relief for the middle class.” We’ll keep you up to date as these and other initiatives proceed through the legislative process.


Did you know half of all small to mid-sized businesses in the United States last year said hackers tried to break into their online systems? And not only that, but a report says that almost two-thirds of small businesses that are the victim of a cyber crime go out of business within six months. That’s because their typical loss is between $690,000 and $1.8 million.

And now real estate brokerages are becoming a favorite target of cyber criminals, because buyers’ down payment or earnest money funds make tempting targets. NAR Associate Council Jessica Edgerton has more.


To manage this risk, Edgerton says, you should tell all clients upfront that fraud is a real possibility and that they should never wire money without first verifying the wiring instructions using a phone number that you provide them.  Get all of Edgerton’s tips for protecting your clients and your business in the latest Window to the Law video.


Have clients asked you about using a reverse mortgage to buy a home? Since 2009, FHA has allowed lenders to make reverse mortgages, for the purchase of a primary residence, to people 62 years of age or older. Why might buyers want to do that? One reason is, their monthly mortgage payment comes out of the mortgage balance rather than their pocket, so their income is freed up for other things.  Another reason is, they can often qualify a more expensive house than they otherwise could.

REALTOR® Magazine spoke with a real estate broker and a lender who do a lot of these transactions to help you understand how these loans work.


These mortgages are not for everyone. They require the buyer to put up substantial equity upfront, but with baby boomers now in their prime retirement years, you might find more buyers asking about these loans. To access the full interview, go to nar.realtor and search “reverse mortgage for purchase.”


2016 ended on a strong note, with sales for the year reaching almost 5.5 million units, the best in a decade. Based on NAR’s data on closed sales and contract signings for January, sales are expected to rise only modestly above that level in 2017. Here’s NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.


High home prices due to tight inventories and rising interest rates continue to be the biggest roadblock to buyers, but the problem is not equal across the country. A moderate-income households in Indiana, for example, can afford to buy 65 percent of all Indiana homes for sale, while a moderate-income household in California can afford to buy only 11 percent of the homes for sale in that state.  


And that’s out show for the week of March 6. 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.