Freddie Mac adds Mark Grier to its board of directors


Freddie Mac has announced that Mark B. Grier has been elected to its board of directors.

Prior to joining Freddie Mac, Grier served as the vice-chairman and a member of the board of directors of Prudential Financial, leading up to his retirement in 2019.

Grier joined Prudential in 1995 as chief financial officer before being named office of the chairman in 2002 and as vice-chairman in 2007.

In late 2011, Grier led the $3 billion initial public offering of Prudential Financial, which was one of the largest IPOs in history at the time.

“Mark Grier brings more than 40 years of finance, risk, and market experience to Freddie Mac,” said Sara Mathew, non-executive chair of Freddie Mac’s board of directors. “His deep expertise in capital management will benefit the Board as we guide Freddie Mac through the next chapter of its corporate life.”

Other positions Grier has held include various positions at Chase Manhattan Corporation and its predecessor from 1978 to 1995, including executive vice president, global risk management and executive vice president, co-head of global markets.

Grier is also chair of Achieve and the Global Impact Investing Network and is a Trustee of Eisenhower Fellow and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Grier received his bachelor’s degree and a master’s in economics from Eastern Illinois University, and another MBA in finance and corporate accounting from the University of Rochester.

This announcement comes after the GSE named Donna Corley its head of single-family business, as David Lowman stepped down in October.



Source link

Keller Williams launches new home search app


Keller Williams has launched its new neighborhood-based home search app to coincide with the updated website that was launched earlier this year.

The new home search tool is web- and app-based, and aims to give homebuyers and sellers a deeper understanding of the city they are searching in by neighborhood.

(Image courtesy of Keller Williams. Click to enlarge.)

On Jan. 1, the real estate company launched a redesign of its website, becoming more user-friendly and hyperlocal.

The experience will be continually updated to feature Keller Williams’ expanding home-search capabilities, the company said in a release. It is powered by data feeds from Keller Williams’ acquisition of Smarter Agent, announced in September 2018.

“I believe that in a lot of ways the cell phone is the remote control for people’s lives,” Keller Williams Vice President of Industry, Jason Abrams said to HousingWire in January. “…The app is less about the company and more about the relationship with the consumer and the real estate agent. When I think about an app, each real estate agent needs to have their app in the consumer’s phone.”

The company said the app is designed to empower agents, not replace them.

Via the app, homebuyers can view the market stats for any neighborhood, discover what neighbors have to say about an area, calculate commute times to popular destinations, check the report card of nearby schools, explore restaurants, grocery stores, shops and more.

Buy and sell guides are also available in the app, with real-time information about the status and full steps of a home transaction.

“With the release of the new KW App, agents will be able to enable their client to navigate the entire real estate transaction straight from their phone,” Gary Keller, co-founder and CEO of Keller Williams said in a release. “All while keeping the agent at the center of everything.”



Source link

Record number of renters believe renting is more affordable than owning


A recent report from CoreLogic showed that home prices increased 4% year over year in December, and projected the U.S. price index will rise by 5.2% by December 2020.

As home prices continue to rise nationally, it’s little wonder that Freddie Mac’s latest “Profile of Today’s Renter and Owner” found that the majority of current renters believe renting is more affordable than owning.

However, the percentage of renters who hold that belief has increased dramatically in the past year.

A whopping 84% of renters said they believe renting is more affordable than owning – an all-time high for the survey. For comparison, this number is up 17 percentage points from February 2018.

The survey also found that affordability issues affect the average renter more than a homeowner. Freddie Mac said there are 42% of renters who paid more than a third of their household income on rent.

This is compared to only 24% of homeowners who spend that amount on mortgage payments.

But there is good news for renters looking to own. Given current low interest rates, 40% of renters said they plan to purchase a home.

“The housing market is strong and, based on our survey, the low mortgage rate environment may inspire both renters and owners to make an educated move this spring,” said David Brickman, Freddie Mac CEO. “While Baby Boomers tend to be satisfied with their current housing situation, younger generations are still struggling to determine whether to rent or purchase a home, largely due to lack of supply and affordability constraints.”

And that lack of supply stretches beyond single-family housing. Last year saw record-high occupancy rates in multifamily housing with a shortage of supply. Naturally, this drove rent growth. Many of the renters surveyed by Freddie Mac voiced their worry in this area.

Almost 70% of renters said they are growing more concerned about their rent going up in the next 12 months, while 68% are concerned about not being able to afford their larger expenses. Even so, according to the majority surveyed, renting is still the more affordable option.



Source link

Impac Mortgage names new chief production officer


Impac Mortgage, which also operates CashCall Mortgage, announced that it hired Brian Robinett as its chief production officer.

Robinett joins the company with over 30 years of experience in the industry.

Most recently, Robinett was the head of HSBC’s Mortgage Direct business, where he expanded an origination platform.

“We expect 2020 to be a growth year for Non-QM and for Impac,” said George Mangiaracina, chairman and chief executive officer. “Brian’s experience, impressive track record driving sales and revenue growth, and his focus on delivering product, price, and service will enable the Company to reach our stretch goals. We’re excited to have him aboard.”

Other experience Robinett has includes with start-ups, like Tier 1 Mortgage Group; consumer direct lending, such as PennyMac and HSBC; and credit unions such as Kinecta. Most of Robinett’s career was in wholesale lending.

Earlier in his career, Robinett held senior positions at Bank of American/Countrywide, including managing director and chief operating officer for the bank’s wholesale lending division, leading a sales organization of more than 1,000.



Source link

Security experts: Here’s how to prevent your company from getting hacked


As the Iowa caucus delays fully showed, relying on technology can be just as much of a negative as a positive.

It was in that spirit that a panel of security experts told the crowd at the Mortgage Banker Association’s Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference in New Orleans that cybersecurity only works if the people using it are prepared and ready to face whatever challenges are throw their way.

During the session on Wednesday, a panel of tech and cybersecurity pros gave advice on how to prevent companies from getting hacked.

One piece of advice: the panel suggests that businesses test their back-up technologies to make sure they have their data properly stored on a source other than the “cloud.”

Other tips included partnering with a local FBI office and better educating employees.

Corey Harris, a cybersecurity special agent at the FBI in New Orleans, said that any business could be attacked, and all employees should be prepared and educated on the matter.

“We have to be proactive,” Harris said. “Have an incident response plan in place so when you are attacked, you know what to do.”

Alex Nunez, senior cybersecurity policy advisor at Upguard, said that companies need to keep their reputation in mind and realize that’s what’s being compromised, not just their data or systems.

Developing a greater sense of interconnectivity and taking preventative measures is the way to go, Nunez said.

“[This] matters because what we’ve seen before is a lack of consciousness,” Nunez said.

Companies need to be prepared for all types of cybersecurity attacks, John-Thomas Gaietto, executive director, cybersecurity services at RicheyMay Technology Solutions said to the panel.

Cybersecurity attacks are evolving, which means companies need updated training. Once the attack happens and data is breached, companies have 24 to 48 hours to act on it. The quicker the company acts, the better.

“What we’re involved in is building a timeline on when they look at the data,” Gaietto said. “They [attackers] want to instill a sense of urgency so you can do what they want.”

It’s important to keep in mind what happens to client information, Bankers Insurance Service President Thomas Delaney said. Once an incident happens and client information is leaked, it needs to be reported to insurance and the authorities.

“Ransomware issue is a moral dilemma for companies,” Delaney said.



Source link

These markets will see dramatic multifamily supply hikes this year


Just a few weeks ago, RealPage revealed that the multifamily residential market will see the most starts it has seen in nearly 30 years in 2020.

Out of the nation’s 50 largest apartment markets, all but six will have more units completed this year than the last, RealPage said.

The most drastic supply hike is predicted to be in Los Angeles. In 2020, there are an expected 17,600 units coming in the City of Angels, the largest supply it has seen in more than 20 years. It’s also about double the average from the past decade.

This supply is much needed, as occupancy rates in Los Angeles have been at 96% for the past five years. Despite this, rent growth in Los Angeles has fallen to its lowest point since the start of this economic cycle, in 2019.

Washington, D.C. will gain 16,000 units in 2020, about 7,800 more than in 2019. Occupancies are at 96%, while rent growth has been below 2% for the past five years.

Houston is also expected to see over 16,000 new apartments in 2020, about 8,500 more units than last year. RealPage said that kind of bump is not surprising for a metro like Houston, which is experiencing rapid population growth. However, due to recent hurricanes and volatile oil prices, the market ended the year with a quarter of net move-outs that brought occupancy down to 93.6%.

Phoenix, Seattle and Fort Lauderdale, Florida are projected to see supply increase by about 4,000 units this year, with Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale both reaching a two-decade peak, RealPage said.

Seattle, meanwhile, is seeing a 20-year high, with 12,700 units set to be completed this year. San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, California, will also all see significant increases in supply.



Source link

RealPage continues growing, set to acquire Modern Message


Real estate tech company RealPage announced this week that it will be acquiring multifamily real estate engagement solution Modern Message.

The platform’s flagship product, Community Rewards, builds engagement through a fully mobile UI that is “motivating, rewarding, fun and interactive” for property residents, the company said.

“Modern Message provides a unique boost to our already powerful resident engagement platform,” said Jon Pastor, senior vice president of consumer solutions at RealPage.

“The two solutions joined together to enable our clients to give residents a rich rewards experience, boost ancillary revenue, resident loyalty and reputation scores, and see greater adoption of their RealPage solutions,” Pastor added. “In short, we will be able to offer clients and residents the full potential of a resident portal.”

This is an effort to reach greater resident loyalty and referrals, boosting property reputation and value in the long run.

The acquisition will go hand-in-hand with RealPage’s ActiveBuilding resident portal platform, which offers payments, resident communication and monetization of multifamily properties, the company said.

RealPage says it plans to combine the two platforms and create a renter engagement solution with significant benefits.

“This is a great time to become part of the RealPage team,” said John Hinckley, o-founder of Modern Message. “ActiveBuilding will be the perfect gateway to deliver Modern Message’s resident engagement programs to a broader industry audience while maximizing results. We are also looking forward to exploring new opportunities that may arise from the combined platform. It’s beyond exciting.”

This comes about a month after RealPage acquired real estate property management solution provider Buildium.

RealPage said it plans to retain Modern Message’s employees. The completion of the acquisition remains subject to certain standard closing conditions, which RealPage anticipates will be satisfied shortly, according to the release.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.



Source link

RE/MAX: The December housing market broke records


By one measure, December 2019 was the strongest close to the year of any year in the last decade.

RE/MAX released its National Housing Report for December 2019 last week, which revealed that the month posted a record finish to a year and the decade.

December finished with a year-over-year increase in home sales of 13.5% in the 54 metros it covers. This is the highest increase of any month in 2019, the report said.

It’s also the highest for the month of December since 2009.

And as sales increased, inventory fell. According to RE/MAX’s report, December saw a 14.5% year-over-year decline in inventory.

Consequently, there was a significant drop in the months supply of inventory. According to the report, there was only 3.3 months of available inventory on the market as of December 2019, compared to 4.8 months in December 2018.

“It was good to see the year-over-year spike in December home sales, indicating robust homebuyer interest,” said Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX.

“The strong December capped a solid second half of 2019, with year-over-year sales increases in four of the final six months,” Contos added. “The gains were largely attributable to low interest rates and high demand, and with those factors still in place, we expect sales to continue at a solid pace into the first part of this year.”

Interestingly, housing inventory grew year over year in the first six months of 2019, but shrank for the last six months of 2019, the report said.

The median sale price of a home was $266,000 in December, 11.1% higher than in December 2018. It also represented the highest year-over-year increase for any month of 2019.

Leaders of the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Birmingham, Alabama, up 34.3%; Burlington, Vermont, up 26.7% and Los Angeles, up 26.2%.

Average days on the market remained near the same level as the previous year, with days on the market in December 2019 for 54.

That’s up five days from November’s average but down one day from December 2018’s average.

The metro with the lowest days on the market were Omaha, Nebraska at 24. Homes in Des Moines, Iowa spent the most time on the market, at 110 days.



Source link