5 Questions: Kara Chen

Kara Chen

Greater Newburyport Association of Realtors hosts awards event

The board of directors and members of the Greater Newburyport Association of Realtors celebrated their annual awards event at Vasa Kitchen and Waterfront Bar Grille in Salisbury. Attending the event were both Realtor and affiliate members who serve the Greater Newburyport community real estate community. MLS Property Information Network was a key sponsor of the GNAR event.

Linda Taylor Knight, of William Raveis, was presented with the prestigious 2017 Realtor of the Year award from over 350 of her peers. Knight serves as alternate state director and secretary for the GNAR Board of Directors. As chair of the professional standards committee at GNAR, Knight ensures all members are trained and adhere to the code of ethics of the National Association of Realtors.

The GNAR Affiliate Award was presented Elisabeth “Liz” Ryan, of Guaranteed Rate. This award is presented to a non-Realtor member affiliate who exemplifies professional and ethical standards — the philosophy of GNAR. Prior to entering the lending industry, Ryan was a local Realtor and brings this experience to her current role in mortgage lending.

GNAR is a professional trade organization representing over 400 Realtors and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Greater Newburyport area. GNAR promotes ethical standards of real estate practice, serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners, and represents the interests of property owners in the communities of Amesbury, Byfield, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury and West Newbury.

For information: 978-462-5415; services@gnarealtor.com.

National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Oklahoma chapter is formed

Nosotros somos (en ingles: “We are”) the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals,” it says on the national website, and the new local chapter adds: “Nosotros somos in Oklahoma.”

The group, which goes by NAHREP for short, was formed to champion homeownership among Hispanic people, said Glen Hubbell, marketing director and an agent with eXp OKC Realty.

The local chapter has about 60 members representing different real estate-related businesses. Realtors are encouraged to attend NAHREP Oklahoma’s Summer Salsa Mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 27 at the Chesapeake Central Boathouse, 732 Riversport Drive.

Hispanic people make up 7 percent of homeowners in the metro area, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors. Spanish speakers face barriers when trying to buy property, so the Realtors are joining NAHREP Oklahoma in recruiting Spanish-speaking real estate professionals.

“I was helping Latino clients buy a home. We came across challenges in finding bilingual lenders,” Hubbell said. “The buyers needed translators, and not all title companies have Spanish-speaking individuals.”

The Realtors said the number of Latino homeowners in Oklahoma City is expected to double in the next five years.

“My hope is to use the expertise from Realtors in NAHREP Oklahoma to help Hispanic families achieve the American dream,” said Hubbell, who grew up in Del Rio, Texas, west of San Antonio on the U.S.-Mexico border. He moved to Oklahoma eight years ago after several years in Los Angeles.

The language barrier is just the most obvious obstacle to Hispanic homeownership.

“Personally, working with Hispanics, I see that when I send them to a lender or to an inspector, if they don’t get that contact of, you know, the Hispanic culture, sometimes it’s hard to work with them,” said Andrea Jalaff, vice president of NAHREP Oklahoma and an agent with eXp OKC Realty.

“It is good for us to educate all the real estate industry, everyone related to it, to provide the same service as others and to make sure they can have bilingual employees,” she said.

Some real estate agents aren’t familiar with “documentation that maybe the Hispanic requires, and they tell them, ‘Oh, no, you can’t buy,’ just because they don’t have that knowledge,” said Jalaff, who is from Colombia and moved here nine years ago after several years in Florida.

“So we want to educate the Realtors to know all the opportunities and chances that the Hispanic has to buy a home,” she said.

Others, in addition to real estate agents, could use some guidance on how to deal with Hispanic clients, Jalaff said.

“Let’s say lenders. How can you provide more opportunity, be somehow more flexible, with the Hispanic community? I say flexible because sometimes maybe some of them don’t have Social Security, but they have an (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number),” she said.

Other things lenders should consider include underwriting based on multiple incomes in a single household with an extended, multigenerational family, which requires familiarity with Latino family customs, she said.

Jalaff said Oklahoma lenders also should reconsider their reluctance to loan to qualified out-of-country investors.

On the other hand, Jalaff said, NAHREP Oklahoma could help encourage Hispanic real estate agents to expand their marketing beyond the familiar.

“Usually, they tend to just go with the Hispanic clients, and we want to show them ways that they can … achieve (in) those other markets and be successful,” she said.

‘A different ballgame’

Hubbell said it was time for an Oklahoma chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

“As we see the potential for homeownership rise, particularly among the millennials, within the next couple of years, we saw reports where 50 percent of the millennial homebuyers are actually going to be Latino. That is staggering.”

Hubbell pointed to an Aug. 15 class on diversity, to be offered to Realtors and others by the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, as more evidence that the marketplace is ready to adapt to demographic changes.

“For many, many, many years, people thought we didn’t need diversity classes because we have fair housing (laws),” he said. “That is such a different ballgame.

“They’re going to be able to break down misconceptions about different stereotypes and (provide) better understanding of what it means to deal with different cultures and different people, different looks, and those kinds of things. I think that’s going to be monumental in business in Oklahoma.”

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National Association of Realtors tackle low homeownership

Despite steadily improving job markets and historically low mortgage rates, the U.S. homeownership rate is stuck near a 50-year low because of a perverse mix of challenges, according to findings of a new white paper titled, “Hurdles to Homeownership: Understanding the Barriers.” The study was released in recognition of National Homeownership Month at the National Association of Realtors Sustainable Homeownership Conference held at UC Berkeley this month.

Led by a group of housing experts, including NAR president, William E. Brown, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, and Berkeley Hass Real Estate Group chair Ken Rosen, the conference addressed the dip in homeownership and its impact on the economy.

“The decline and stagnation in the homeownership rate is a trend that’s pointing in the wrong direction, and must be reversed given the many benefits of homeownership to individuals, communities and the nation’s economy,” said Brown.

The research, which was commissioned by NAR and prepared by Rosen Consulting Group (RCG), identifies five main barriers that have prevented a significant number of households from purchasing a home: post-foreclosure stress disorder, mortgage availability, student loan debt, single-family housing affordability, and single-family housing supply shortages.

The study found the Great Recession has created negative biases about owning, particularly long-lasting psychological changes in financial decision-making and housing tenure choice for homeowners who experienced foreclosure, people who lost their jobs, and some young adults who witnessed the hardships of family and friends. Borrowers with good-to-excellent credit scores are not getting approved in a timely fashion due to overly tight lending standards. Student loan debt is making it extremely difficult for young households to save for a down payment, qualify for a mortgage and afford a mortgage payment.

Single-family home construction plummeted after the recession and is still failing to keep up with demand. Fewer property lots at higher prices, difficulty finding skilled labor and higher construction costs are among the reasons why housing starts are not ramping up to meet the growing demand for new supply.

“The insufficient level of homebuilding has created a cumulative deficit of nearly 3.7 million new homes over the last eight years,” according to Rosen.

“Low mortgage rates and a healthy job market for college-educated adults should have translated to more home sales and upward movement in the homeownership rate in recent years,” said Yun. “Sadly, this has not been the case. Obtaining a mortgage has been tough for those with good credit. Savings for a down payment are instead going towards steeper rents and student loans. First-time buyers are finding that listings in their price range are severely inadequate.”

Unless these challenges are addressed, RCG forecasts affordability will fall by an average of nearly 9 percent across all 75 major markets between 2016 and 2019, with approximately five million fewer households able to afford the local median-priced home by 2019.

“The U.S. cannot become a nation of renters,” said Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “Historically, lawmakers have understood the value of homeownership in fostering communities, creating social stability, and building wealth over the long term. Not only are the challenges mentioned reducing a pool of potential buyers, but they are the reason why despite strong job growth we continue to see subpar growth in our economy.”

Looking for a Newly Constructed Home? Better Buy Now

The U.S. Census Bureau and H.U.D. released the latest new home construction report for May 2017.

Ridofranz/iStock

Buyers hoping to move into a brand-spanking-new home may need to act fast.

More newly constructed homes were completed in May—but fewer abodes are in the pipeline, according to the seasonally adjusted numbers in the latest residential sales report jointly released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Seasonally adjusted numbers have been smoothed out over a 12-month period to compensate for seasonal fluctuations.

First, the good news: About 1.164 million sorely needed new homes were completed in May. That’s 5.6% more than in April, and a whopping 14.6% more than May 2016.

The number of new single-family abodes, the kind of homes that usually have a backyard, were up 4.9% from April and 12.8% from the previous May.

About 12% more condo and apartment buildings with five or more units were completed in May over April. The number of these new multi-family buildings was 18.4% higher than May 2016.

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The construction “prevents the number of homes on the market from falling too rapidly,” says realtor.com®’s senior economist, Joseph Kirchner. “Unfortunately, it is not enough to stem the steady decline of homes on the market, a drop that results in increasing prices and, in some markets, bidding wars.”

Plus, those new homes were significantly more expensive than existing ones—by about 25.6%. (Existing homes have been previously lived in.)

The new abodes cost a median $309,200 in April, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data. Meanwhile, the median existing-home price hit $244,800 in April, according to the most recent data from the National Association of Realtors.

But despite the housing shortage, builders received only about 4.9% fewer permits to put up new homes in May compared with April. The number of permits issued, 1.168 million, were also about 0.8% under what they were in May 2016.

“Housing shortages look to intensify and may well turn into a housing emergency if the discrepancy between housing demand and housing supply widens further,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “The falling housing starts and housing permits in May are befuddling, given the lack of homes for sale and the quick pace of selling newly constructed homes.”

This is expected to drive up home prices and rents, he said.

Permits for single-family homes fell 1.9% from April. But they were up 6% from the same month a year earlier.

Condo and apartment building permits dropped the furthest—10.1% from April and 13.1% from the prior May. These were buildings with five or more units.

Meanwhile, housing starts, which are the number of residences on which construction began, were down 5.5% from April and dipped 2.4% from May 2016.

Local Realtor receives recognition

A Kings Mountain Realtor received a special designation from the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council of the National Association of Realtors.

Nicholas Berryhill, with Coldwell Banker Mountain View, was awarded the Accredited Buyer’s Representation designation. He joins more than 30,000 real estate professionals in North American who have earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representation designation.

To receive the designation, a realtor must successfully complete a comprehensive course in buyer representation and an elective course focusing on a buyer representation specialty, both in addition to submitting documentation verifying professional experience.

Founded in 1988, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. There are more than 40,000 active members of the organization world-wide.

The National Association of Realtors, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is the world’s largest professional association, representing more than one million members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.

Housing experts examine five root causes of low homeownership rate

Despite steadily improving job markets and historically low mortgage rates, the U.S. homeownership rate is stuck near a 50-year low because of a perverse mix of challenges, according to findings of a new white paper titled, “Hurdles to Homeownership: Understanding the Barriers.” The study was released in recognition of National Homeownership Month at the National Association of Realtors Sustainable Homeownership Conference held at UC Berkeley this month.

Led by a group of housing experts, including NAR president, William E. Brown, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, and Berkeley Hass Real Estate Group chair Ken Rosen, the conference addressed the dip in homeownership and its impact on the economy.

“The decline and stagnation in the homeownership rate is a trend that’s pointing in the wrong direction, and must be reversed given the many benefits of homeownership to individuals, communities and the nation’s economy,” said Brown.

The research, which was commissioned by NAR and prepared by Rosen Consulting Group (RCG), identifies five main barriers that have prevented a significant number of households from purchasing a home: post-foreclosure stress disorder, mortgage availability, student loan debt, single-family housing affordability, and single-family housing supply shortages.

The study found the Great Recession has created negative biases about owning, particularly long-lasting psychological changes in financial decision-making and housing tenure choice for homeowners who experienced foreclosure, people who lost their jobs, and some young adults who witnessed the hardships of family and friends. Borrowers with good-to-excellent credit scores are not getting approved in a timely fashion due to overly tight lending standards. Student loan debt is making it extremely difficult for young households to save for a down payment, qualify for a mortgage and afford a mortgage payment.

Single-family home construction plummeted after the recession and is still failing to keep up with demand. Fewer property lots at higher prices, difficulty finding skilled labor and higher construction costs are among the reasons why housing starts are not ramping up to meet the growing demand for new supply.

“The insufficient level of homebuilding has created a cumulative deficit of nearly 3.7 million new homes over the last eight years,” according to Rosen.

“Low mortgage rates and a healthy job market for college-educated adults should have translated to more home sales and upward movement in the homeownership rate in recent years,” said Yun. “Sadly, this has not been the case. Obtaining a mortgage has been tough for those with good credit. Savings for a down payment are instead going towards steeper rents and student loans. First-time buyers are finding that listings in their price range are severely inadequate.”

Unless these challenges are addressed, RCG forecasts affordability will fall by an average of nearly 9 percent across all 75 major markets between 2016 and 2019, with approximately five million fewer households able to afford the local median-priced home by 2019.

“The U.S. cannot become a nation of renters,” said Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “Historically, lawmakers have understood the value of homeownership in fostering communities, creating social stability, and building wealth over the long term. Not only are the challenges mentioned reducing a pool of potential buyers, but they are the reason why despite strong job growth we continue to see subpar growth in our economy.”

Dearth of inventory still the big issue in N.Va. real estate

How to define the Northern Virginia real estate market in three words? How about: “We need inventory!”

That was the plea of Lorraine Arora, managing broker of Weichert, Realtors in Fairfax and chair-elect of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, as she dissected the latest round of springtime sales data.

Arora was not alone. “Our month’s supply of homes, our inventory, continues to be leaner than we prefer for a totally balanced market,” added Ryan Conrad, CEO of the local trade organization.

Indeed: The 4,299 active listings reported at the end of May were down 16 percent from the 5,122 properties available for perusal a year before, according to data reported June 12 by RealEstate Business Intelligence, an arm of the local multiple-listing service.

Figures represent the market comprised by Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cites of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church.

The constrained inventory, and the prospect of rising interest rates, may be lighting a fire underneath springtime buyers. Across Northern Virginia, a total of 2,526 homes sold in May 2017, up 9.3 percent from a year before.

The average days on the market for homes that went to closing in May stood at 32, an improvement from the 38 days required a year before. And the median sales price of all categories of homes – single-family, attached and condominium – was up 5 percent to $530,000 in May

“Every single month so far in 2017, our region’s total sales numbers have exceeded the year before,” Conrad said. “National Association of Realtors’ surveys concluded that the single-family homes market had a strong 2017 outlook, and our region is proving that true.”

“Our spring market has been strong, which means ‘competitive’ for buyers,” said Northern Virginia Association of Realtors chairman Bob Adamson. “We are seeing multiple offers for our best properties.”

The inventory crunch may be eased a bit by a crop of homes that came onto the market in May, boosting inventory by nearly 11 percent, Adamson said.

But buyers remain on the prowl and ready to pounce: The 2,770 new pending home sales in Northern Virginia in May mark an increase of about 8 percent from a year before.

Figures represent most, but not all, homes on the market. All figures are preliminary, and are subject to revision.

Local Realtor receives recognition – Shelby Star

A Kings Mountain Realtor received a special designation from the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council of the National Association of Realtors.

Nicholas Berryhill, with Coldwell Banker Mountain View, was awarded the Accredited Buyer’s Representation designation. He joins more than 30,000 real estate professionals in North American who have earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representation designation.

To receive the designation, a realtor must successfully complete a comprehensive course in buyer representation and an elective course focusing on a buyer representation specialty, both in addition to submitting documentation verifying professional experience.

Founded in 1988, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. There are more than 40,000 active members of the organization world-wide.

The National Association of Realtors, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is the world’s largest professional association, representing more than one million members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.

Business memoranda: 06/14/2017

Dane Carey of the Dingeman Dancer law firm has been elected to the Board of Governor’s for the Grand Traverse-Leelanau-Antrim Bar Association. As committee chair of the Young Lawyers Association, Carey helped organize and promote events, programs and other efforts with the GTLABA. Board members and committee chairs also interact with other organizations, including the Free Legal Aid Clinic and the GTLABA Foundation.

Ophthalmologist Ashley J. Holdsworth will join the staff of Traverse City Eye Consultants, PC, on July 10. Holdsworth will practice at both of Traverse City Eye’s clinics, in Traverse City and Kalkaska. Holdsworth completed her internship and residency through Michigan State University at Metro Health Hospital in Grand Rapids. To schedule an appointment, call Traverse City Eye Consultants at (231) 935-8101 or log on to www.tceye.net.

Mike Street, associate broker for Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, was awarded Realtor Emeritus status by the National Association of Realtors. The designation is for Realtors with at least 40 years of cumulative membership with NAR with at least one year of service for an Association of Realtors at the local, state or national level. Street earned his license in 1975.

Mary Lee Pakieser of the Traverse Health Clinic was elected director at-large of the American Nurses Association at the organization’s membership assembly in Washington, D.C. on June 10. Nearly 300 attendees from around the country participated in the two-day event. In practice for more than 20 years, Pakieser has been a family nurse practitioner with Traverse Health Clinic since 2014.

Clara Trippe, Steven Magagna and Meredith Allen are summer interns at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and its sister business, financing organization Venture North. Allen, a 2017 graduate of Traverse City Central High School who will attend the University of Michigan in the fall, will work primarily with Government Relations Director Kent Wood. Magagna, a 2015 graduate of Detroit Catholic Central and a junior at St. Olaf College, will work with Venture North’s Jill May. Trippe, a 2014 TC Central grad and a senior at Grinnell College, will assist Chamber communications, newsletters, media releases and social media.

Kurt Hubschneider of Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors Commercial recently graduated from the Coldwell Banker Broker Training. The Commercial Broker Training is a four-month education program covering the key components of the commercial real estate industry.

Gosling Czubak Engineering Sciences, Inc. Project Engineer Glenna Wood passed the Michigan licensing exam for professional engineers.

Wood has worked for Gosling Czubak since 2014 and is primarily responsible for design and construction engineering of wastewater treatment facilities for municipal clients.

Wood received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Michigan State University.