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The Serious Impact of Flood Insurance on Real Estate Markets

Stronger storms have taken their toll across the U.S. Yet real estate news points to a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in peril. Long-term reauthorization of the program remains in limbo, with yet another 4-week extension allotted by Congress. But this short-term fix gives little confidence to homeowners, who stand to lose access to flood insurance if the NFIP lapses.

FEMA Could Stop Selling/Renewing Policies Nationwide…
Stymying sales on properties with a flood insurance requirement to the tune of 40,000-sales/month nationwide. And though private insurers are popping-up, this option is not available in every state, limiting opportunities for Americans seeking to protect themselves from flood losses.

NAR Pushes for Five-Year Re-Authorization
A senior policy rep for the NAR is pressing for the passage of the 21st Century Flood Reform Act. The bill would provide money for helping homeowners mitigating flood risk, limit insurance rate hikes, and improve flood mapping, seen as key to success. Of the more than 180,000 Houston-area properties flooded by hurricane Harvey (10% of the property tax roll), only 15% were covered by a flood insurance policy. Many of the homes imperiled by Harvey’s historic 50-inch rainfall were outside federally-recognized flood zones, and were uncovered. Improved flood mapping would increase awareness of flood risk, alerting homeowners to the need for coverage in areas previously designated as outside flood zones.

What Will the Future Hold?
Imagine the future of markets without access to this insurance. Homeowners need confidence in the availability of flood insurance. Though a lapse in the NFIP is unlikely, and FEMA will continue to have the authorization to pay valid claims with available funds, the realty community and homeowners await upcoming NFIP real estate news. Congress has until January 19, 2018 to take its next step.

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New Year, New Issues: The Most Influential Factors of 2018

New Year, New Issues: The Most Influential Factors of 2018

Constantly ebbing and flowing with the day’s global events, real estate news seems to be always changing, making the task of keeping up with shifting trends a continuous challenge for agents. What trends are essential to your future success, and which are better left in the rearview mirror for the upcoming 2018 real estate selling season?

Real Estate Trends to Take Notice of in 2018
Of all the trends in real estate news to heed, these will be most influential to your sales success in the coming new year:

Online Marketing
Across the board, buyers and sellers are looking online first. Online sales and marketing are no passing trend, with those agencies with online branding dominating the realty arena, and those offering previously coveted inside information to everyday consumers leading the pack.

Social Networking
As with an online presence, marketing through today’s top social networks enables realtors to reach a far larger audience faster and with less hands-on effort. Providing information via casual online posts, photos, videos and links is now one of the ideal paths for marketing homes for all parties, from time-crunched agents to buyers and sellers.

Specialty Sales
Agents with a specialty genre will be center stage in the coming year, from those specializing in video listings to those showcasing luxury, ‘green’ and automated homes, and even agencies catering to Bitcoin purchases.

Home Automation
2018 will put home automation in the spotlight as technology becomes more affordable for the middle class – and more user friendly. Agents will need to stay ahead of the curve on this in order to put this technology to use to gain an edge over the competition.

Generation Z
Generation Z is entering the market, soon to snag the purchasing power of Gen-Y with yet to-be-determined habits.

What real estate news is on the radar for 2018? From trends and legislation to industry-leading tools and tech, stay at the forefront with PropertiesOnline.

The Real Estate Forecast for 2018

Forbes Commentator on the 2018 Real Estate Forecast

In real estate news, the national real estate forecast for 2018-2019 is pointing to declining demand for new (not replacement) single family dwellings (houses, apartments, condos, and mobile homes). What are the driving forces behind the prediction for housing market deceleration?

Population Growth Slams on the Brakes
The biggest driver of housing demand growth, population growth is at its slowest in recent years. Last year, the U.S. population rose a meager 0.7% – the lowest gain on the books since 1937. Before the last recession, growth hovered around 1.2%, which isn’t as close to that 0.7% as you think: At that growth rate, housing built for new demand is far less than those needed to accommodate 1.2% population growth, a mere 58%. Forget old housing start averages. Look to the previous year’s builds and expect moderate additions.

Pent-Up Demand is Puttering Out
Non-rental housing of mostly single-family homes and some condos is currently at an average vacancy rate of 1.4-1.5%, compared to 2.9% during the recession. Supply is no tighter than normal, and though nationwide price increases are a bit on the high-side, a housing bubble is not imminent.

Employment and Wages are Out of Gas
With job growth relatively slow and wage inflation yet to accelerate, people are less able to live on their own, whether that means moving out of a parent’s basement or absconding from an ex-spouse. Though wage rates are expected to improve next year, the change is not expected soon enough to influence demand for housing.

Local Fluctuations Pose Obstacles
Though these forces drive new demand nationally, local fluctuations should be expected. Real estate news pointing to an excess of homes in Flint or Detroit will not help those searching for homes in Miami or NYC. Looking to the above demographics in your state or metropolitan area may reinforce or negate this ‘new build’ barometer.

What’s fueling your sales? Boost your performance with Properties Online today.

Bitcoin is Now Being Used for Real Estate Transactions

Bitcoin Now Accepted for Real Estate Transactions in NYC and Miami

What real estate news is shocking agents and brokers across the country? How many people have bitcoin – and are looking to use the cryptocurrency in their next real estate transaction. Offers from bitcoin buyers are popping up across the map, and agents and sellers are opening up to the concept of the new monetary medium.

Pushing the Boundaries of Sales
Real estate teams nationwide are rapidly taking notice of Bitcoin, tapping into the emerging market with online marketing targeted to bitcoin investors. What do sellers think? It doesn’t seem to matter where the money comes from, so long as closings commence and titles transfer. And the Bitcoin bonus? It transfers far faster than 401k withdrawals, converting to cash in minutes via global Bitcoin payment service providers. It’s also easily held by trusted third-party escrow services.

How Prevalent is Buying Real Estate with Bitcoin?
According to real estate news, Bitcoin is boosting sales in:

– Miami: A man unloaded his Coral Gables home for a jaw-dropping $6-million, approximately 1,600 bitcoin currency (BTC), drawing increased interest to Miami for worldwide Bitcoin buyers.

– New York City: The Big Apple is taking a bite out of Bitcoin, with Magnum Real Estate opening the firm’s doors to Bitcoin deposits. The city is known for marketing homes and apartments available for Bitcoin, with commercial space expected to follow suit.

– Lake Tahoe: The sale of a 1.4-acre California property on a 42-site resort for $1.6-million (2,739 BTC) in 2013 has opened new avenues for residential and commercial Bitcoin sales.

Looking to the Future
Though you may have some explaining to do, real estate news points to studies showing a growing knowledge of cryptocurrency as well as the willingness to invest in and use Bitcoin across all age groups.

Ready to put a little Bitcoin jingle in your e-pocket? Market your properties with the latest tactics and tools from Properties Online today.

Net neutrality... what's going to happen?

Potential End to Net Neutrality and the Impact on Small Real Estate Businesses

In stunning real estate news: On Thursday, December 14, 2017, the FCC voted to end net neutrality. What could this mean for small and mom-and-pop brokerages?

Far-Reaching Implications
Purported as a return to free market principles, the decision led by U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to repeal net neutrality has many technologists and activists alarmed. Negating the ruling that defines broadband Internet as an essential utility and sending the two-year old ‘Open Internet Order’ up in smoke, it means that Internet service providers (ISPs) will no longer be prohibited from charging fees for access to certain websites, and blocking or slowing down others.

Internet Costs Expected to Reflect Cable ‘Bundling’ Setups
Just as cable providers charge extra for premium stations like Showtime and HBO, Internet users may find themselves shelling out for specialized website lineups, with ISPs charging more for sites in high-demand… Or smaller websites like mom-and-pop brokerages and independently owned news sources.

If consumers don’t want to pay for the privileges of higher speeds in these packages, Internet providers could slow down the loading of those sites outside of bundled packages under the new plan. According to real estate news, Portugal is currently using such a structure, and Internet users and small business owners are paying the price.

Consumers May Not Be the Only Ones Forking Out
In addition to consumers paying bundled and extra per-site fees, small business owners may have to open up their wallets as well, greasing the palms of the ISP industry for access. Brokers and real estate services may be forced to pay extra to reach audiences, as well as to provide their staff access to websites necessary to conduct their business.

There are many concerns surrounding any such legislation that may stack the deck against smaller companies in favor of big business – and potentially ‘paid prioritization’ arrangements between ISPs and corporate affiliates.

What real estate news is turning your world upside down? Get proactive with the help of PropertiesOnline.