The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday that is providing $27.8 million to 38 Public Housing Agencies across the country to reduce lead-based paint hazards in older public housing units.

Although lead-based paint was banned for use in homes in 1978, HUD currently estimates that there are approximately 24 million older homes that still have significant lead-based paint hazards. And while most public housing has already undergone abatement for lead, HUD states that there are still some properties where lead-based paint remains or hazards have redeveloped.

As such, HUD is continuing its work to remove lead-based paint from public housing. 

“We have no higher calling than to make certain the public housing that taxpayers support is healthy for our vulnerable families to live in,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a release. “As a doctor who treated many young children, I witnessed the close connection between health and housing. Today we make another critical investment in the futures of young children growing up in public housing.”

According to HUD, these grants will be targeted to approximately 2,800 public housing units, most of which are currently occupied by families with young children.

Beyond that, HUD also announced it will award a record $330 million later this year to clean up lead-based paint and other housing-related health and safety hazards in privately owned low-income housing.

A total of 25 states and 38 housing authorities are listed as recipients of this first round of funding.



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In July, home sales grew 2.4%, ending a nine month climb of year-over-year inventory growth, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report.

RE/MAX reports the number of homes for sale fell 1.4% from 2018’s level and 0.2% from the previous month. This decline represents the smallest month-over-month decrease since July 2013.

July sales snapped back after a tepid June as low interest rates appear to have brought more buyers into the mix, RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos said.

“The housing market has been a bit uneven since the early spring, with each encouraging month seemingly followed by one with lukewarm results,” Contos said. “It’s possible the housing market has finally shaken some mud off its boots and can maintain its momentum for the back half of the year. If the broader macro environment hangs on, we could see a potentially strong finish to 2019.”

According to RE/MAX, July posted a 2.7-month supply of inventory, falling from 3.3-month supply in July 2018. Additionally, homes spent 43 days on the market, which is two days longer than they did last year.

The median price for a home was $273,00 in July, rising 9.2% from last year. Even with the increase from a year ago, July’s median price was below June’s all-time record high of $276,000.

“Home prices have risen, year over year, in 88 of the last 90 months dating back to February 2012,” Contos said. “Although lower interest rates help affordability, we have now seen two straight months of accelerating price increases. If the trend continues, it’s not an encouraging development for buyers.”

NOTE: The RE/MAX National Housing Report is based on MLS data in approximately 53 metropolitan areas, including all residential property types, and is not annualized. For maximum representation, many of the largest metro areas in the country are represented, and an attempt is made to include at least one metro from each state. 



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ATTOM Data Solutions has appointed Martha Notaras to its board of directors. 

This announcement comes after ATTOM was acquired earlier this year by Lovell Minnick Partners, a private equity firm. 

“I am delighted to serve on the ATTOM Data Solutions board of directors,” Notaras said. “ATTOM is transforming the future of property data through innovative technology and I look forward to helping power this innovation by guiding strategic initiatives to expand ATTOM’s reach into various industries, with a strong focus on insurance-specific solutions.”

Martha NotarasNotaras is a partner at venture capital fund, XL Innovate, investing in insurtech and fintech. She serves on the boards of four of XL Innovate’s portfolio companies; Cape Analytics, Pillar Technologies, GeoQuant and Notion

Prior to her appointment at ATTOM, Notaras ran corporate development for the business data and analytics division of the Daily Mail and General Trust.

Notaras has also served as board director for companies in their early stages, with a specific focus on fintech, insurtech, proptech, edtech and digital media. 

Notaras has also spent time in investment banking at Merrill Lynch and commercial banking at Credit Suisse

“We’re delighted to have Martha Notaras join our board and we look forward to her valuable contributions,” said Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM Data Solutions. “Martha’s deep professional background and corporate development experience in technology, information and financial service companies, will continue to strengthen our position as the premier one-stop shop for high-quality real estate data and fuel future growth and innovation.”



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Three apartment complexes are headed to an Opportunity Zone in downtown Phoenix, addressing the need for affordable housing. These projects are valued at $61 million.

Investment company Pacific Oak Capital and Defer Gain, an Arizona-based real estate development company specializing in Opportunity Zone investments, have announced a joint venture to develop, finance, and operate multi-family, commercial, and industrial income-producing properties in Arizona Opportunity Zones.

In this first phase, three multi-family housing complexes are being built in downtown Phoenix, the 241-unit St. Ambrose Apartments and the 84-unit Presidential Apartments, and another housing development called Imperial Apartments. 

“It’s exciting to see Opportunity Zone developments providing support to a critical component of our state’s economy — the workforce,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We thank Pacific Oak and Defer Gain for advancing these three projects in downtown Phoenix neighborhoods.”

These properties will include amenities such as mail rooms including secured lockers for packages, grocery delivery and cold/ freezer storage, clubhouses, multi-purpose rooms, private conference rooms, exercise facilities, resort style swimming pools, cabanas with private BBQ’s, and access to public transportation. There will also be street level retail and mixed use opportunities for the community. 

“Adding quality housing is a top priority for our city. I am excited to see new housing, including much-needed workforce units, near our key job corridors in the downtown and airport area,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. 

Construction on the apartments will begin in September.



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The median rent for a Manhattan apartment rose to $3,595 in July, a 5.7% gain from a year earlier, and reached a new high of $3,000 in Brooklyn, up 1.7%, as potential homebuyers waited to see what effect the state’s “mansion tax” would have on New York’s real estate.

The number of new leases in Manhattan increased 5.1% to 6,460 and gained 13% to 1,759 in Brooklyn, according to the report by Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

“The rental market in Manhattan and Brooklyn continued to strengthen again this month,” said Hal Gavzie, executive manager of leasing for Douglas Elliman. “This is partly a result of the ongoing uncertainty in the sales market, with potential buyers still camping out with rentals.”

New Yorkers are waiting to see what happens to real estate prices after new taxes kicked in on July 1. The new levies boosted the previous 1% fee on all sales of $1 million and above to 1.25% for sales priced above $2 million and 3.9% for a sale of $25 million or more. The transfer tax increased to 0.65% from 0.4% .

In most real estate markets, an increase in taxes on homes priced above $2 million wouldn’t concern most buyers, but in Manhattan the median sale price of new development – typically new condos – was $2.5 million in 2019’s second quarter, according to Miller Samuel.

The report on July rents for New York also showed the median rent in Queens dropped 3.6% to $2,915. It may be a statistical blip based on the mix of units available for rent, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. The number of new leases rose 13.3% to 268, he said.

“The softer market in Queens was a bit of an outlier in July, and it’s too early to call that weakness a trend,” Miller said.

The vacancy rate in Manhattan shows a level of demand that landlords in the rest of the U.S. might envy. While the U.S. rental vacancy rate was 6.8% in the second quarter, matching the year-ago period, the rate in Manhattan was 2%, unchanged from the prior month. 

The lowest national vacancy rate in more than 50 years of Census data was a rate of 4.8% in the first three months of 1979.



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Prices for goods used in residential construction increased by 0.7% in July, according to a report from the National Association of Home Builders that cited data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The price of goods used in residential construction has risen 2.8% in 2019, half the time it took to increase in 2018. 

The report says that the price of softwood lumber went up 2% in July – the most it’s risen in four months. Prices paid for plywood fell 0.3% in July, and the index for goods in maintenance and repair increased 0.6%.

The price index for gypsum products – which usually means drywall used for the walls of new homes – reversed its downward trend in July, increasing 2.2% seasonally adjusted. Gypsum prices have increased in four of the prior 12 months, but have declined by 4.1% since January 2019. This was only the second year since 2012 in which the prices for gypsum products was lower in July than it was in January.

In June, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that construction spending was 1.3% lower than the June 2018 estimate of $1.31 trillion. That level was the largest decline since November 2018



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The average American home listing price rose 5.5% to $315,000 in July, according to Realtor.com’s Housing Trend Report.

Although this rate is only 0.2% down from June, it’s a significant decrease from the 8.7% growth experienced during the same time period in 2018.

With an annual decline of 3.2%, July’s lackluster reading marks the earliest seasonal slowdown in home prices since 2012, according to the company.

“July’s data highlight tension in the housing markets between buyers eager to take advantage of lower mortgage rates and potential sellers concerned about slowing price growth,” said George Ratiu, realtor.com’s senior economist. “The decline in newly listed properties suggests that some would-be sellers are stepping back from the market, during the peak buying season, when most people are searching for their next home.”

While housing inventory is growing, the number of homes in the entry-level segment are declining, Ratiu said. Now that trends are shifting for the market as a whole, challenges for entry-level and first-time buyers are mounting, he said.

The inventory of properties priced below $200,000 in July fell 9.9% year-over-year, while, the inventory of homes priced above $750,000 increased 6.6%, according to realtor.com.

Competition for entry-level homes continues to be tight as homes priced below $200,000 only spent 56 days on the market, whereas properties priced over $750,000 spent a total of 81 days on the market, realtor.com said.

A recent report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting, indicates that only 54% of Americans can afford an entry level home that is priced at 20% of the median home price in their area.

Although this figure seems bleak, the report notes that affordability is improving as a recent drop in mortgage rates has spurred growth by 3%.

“The plunge in mortgage rates has created homeownership possibilities for 2.7 million more households as well as move-up possibilities for current homeowners with enough equity,” the analysts wrote. “This will spur home-buying activity this year, possibly averting the decline in volume we have been forecasting.”



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While some second-property owners seek warm beach houses in Florida or a home tucked away in a Colorado mountain, most seem to gravitate toward the Northeast. 

The top three vacation home destination spots are in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, according to a study from Digital Third Coast

The data set was found by surveying 29,000 different census-designated places across all 50 states and ranking the top three locations with the most vacation homes in every state. See the map below of vacation homes by state. (Photo courtesy of IPX103; click to enlarge.)

vacation home locations

It turns out, 19% of homes in Maine are vacation homes, as are 17% of homes in Vermont and 12% of homes in New Hampshire. 

Midwestern states held at the very bottom of the list, with 1% of homes in Illinois categorized as vacation homes.

Other states hovering around the bottom include Ohio (1.1%), Iowa (1.6%), Indiana (1.7%) and Kansas (1.4%). 

Earlier this month, LendingTree revealed that 39% of people they surveyed said they bought their vacation property as an investment. The second greatest motivation was to own a vacation home (36%), while the desire to rent the property came in third (26%). 



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Real estate technology startup Curbio has raised $7 million in a Series A funding round, bringing its total capital raise since its 2017 launch to $13.6 million. 

Led by Camber Creek and Brick & Mortar, the capital will be used to accelerate Curbio’s technology development and expand into new cities, the company said. 

Curbio describes itself as a “renovation partner” that uses its proprietary technology to plan and complete a home renovation quickly and cost-effectively so that home sellers can list their property as soon as possible.

Its services include project management, material selection and renovation choices designed to maximize profits, and homeowners are informed throughout the process with real-time updates, photos and videos.

Importantly, clients don’t have to pay Curbio until the sale of their home closes. 

The company says it aims to help Realtors and home sellers re-invent the way they approach pre-sale renovations. Its model accelerates project completion time by as much as 60%, the company says, adding that its end-goal is to maximize listing prices and minimize days spent on the market.

So far, it’s model appears to be finding traction.

In the second quarter of 2019, Curbio says its number of projects grew 650% from last year. It also said itplans to complete more than 1,000 renovation projects in 2020 while doubling its footprint.

Right now, Curbio is available in Washington, D.C., and in surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia; in Baltimore, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Orlando; as well as parts of Philadelphia and New Jersey. The company said it plans to launch operations in Chicago, Tampa, and Miami before the end of the year.

“Curbio is transforming the home renovation, general contracting and home flipping markets by offering homeowners a novel way to capture the full potential value of their homes,” said Casey Berman, managing partner at Camber Creek. “We are thrilled to be working with Curbio as they expand across the U.S.”

 



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Do you have a lake house or home in the mountains that you don’t make enough time to go to? You’re not alone.

Or, let’s try that again… 

Do you wish you had a lake house or a home in the mountains? Don’t worry, you probably wouldn’t use it anyways. 

In a study from LendingTree, it turns out that 53% of vacation home owners said they feel guilty about owning a second home. 

Owners of vacation homes say they had intended to make good use of their property, but haven’t gotten around to doing so. 

Some have also felt the pressure, with 40% of vacation home owners saying they felt pressured from family and friends to visit the property. 

When it comes to buying a second home, the study revealed a sizable number of homebuyers were looking to park their cash in a place that might bring a notable return, with 39% of respondents saying they bought the property as an investment. The second greatest motivation was to own a vacation home (36%), while the desire to rent the property came in third (26%). 

Almost half of homeowners said they feel guilty about not using their home as much as they intended, while 37% said they use their vacation home once a year or less. 

Those who didn’t use their additional home very often, 31% to be exact, said they sold it because of that. 

Here are the other reasons why respondents ultimately decided to sell their second homes:



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