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Economic News

Short sales now outnumber foreclosures, tides are turning

At the beginning of the recession, banks did not have massive levels of inventory of foreclosure homes, so an inherent stubbornness around agreeing to short sales remained long after the housing crash, but banks are finally showing signs of letting up.



The state of short sales in America

According to new data from Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS), the number of short sales exceeded the number of foreclosures for the first time, pointing to evidence that banks have become more apt to sell homes for a small loss through a short sale than having foreclosed homes on their books indefinitely.

LPS reports that short sales accounted for 23.9 percent of all home purchases in January, which is the most recent month they are reporting for, so it is conceivable that the volume of sales that are short purchases could rise in coming data reports. Meanwhile, foreclosures account for 19.7 percent of home sales in the same period.

This marks a slow, yet significant rise as in January 2011, LPS reported that short sales accounted for 16.3 percent of transactions while 24.9 percent of sales were foreclosures – we are seeing a reversal of roles.

Many real estate practitioners would argue that it makes sense for all involved to pursue a short sale over a foreclosure, especially the banks, given the volume of foreclosures in the current economy. Now that banks are giving incentives on short sales in a push to close a deal, we will likely see more of a shift toward short sales rather than the stubborn old foreclosure playbook.

Inventory holding back a housing recovery

The secondary benefit of short sales being more common than foreclosures is that both depress surrounding home prices, and the faster distressed sale inventory can be depleted, the faster a recovery can begin.

In January, LPS reports that foreclosed homes sold on average 29 percent less than a comparable non-distressed listing, while short sales sold for an average of 23 percent less. Both are still destructive to the overall housing market, but a 6 percent margin is notable.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), short sales accounted for 13 percent of transactions in January, while foreclosures accounted for 22 percent, but in February, short sales accounted for 14 percent of sales while foreclosures fell to 20 percent.

Foreclosure filings are still high, but slowing, and banks have expedited the short sale approval process and now incentivize the process, meanwhile requiring less strenuous paperwork. Banks overall are considering short sales as the better move for them in the long run, and homeowners and buyers benefit as well as the market finds its bottom faster than holding out for foreclosures.

Economic News

Boomers retirement may be the true reason behind the labor shortage

(ECONOMY) Millennials and Gen Z were quick to be blamed for the labor shortage, citing lazy work ethic- the cause could actually be Boomers retirement.



Older man pictured in cafe with laptop nearby representing boomers retirement.

In July, we reported on the Great Resignation. With record numbers of resignations, there’s a huge labor shortage in the United States. Although there were many speculations about the reasons why, from “lazy” millennials to the number of deaths from Covid. Just recently, CNN reported that in November another 3.6 million Americans left the labor force. It’s been suggested that the younger generations don’t want to work but retiring Boomers might be the bigger culprit.

Why Boomers are leaving the labor force

CNN Business reports that 90% of the Americans who left the workplace were over 55 years old. It’s now being suggested that many of the people who have left the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic were older Americans, not Millennials or Gen Z, as we originally thought. Here are the reasons why:

  • Boomers are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, so they aren’t returning to work. Boomers are less willing to risk their health.
  • The robust real estate market has benefitted Boomers, who have more equity in their homes. Boomers have more options on the table than just returning to work.
  • Employers aren’t creating or posting jobs that lure people out of retirement or those near retirement age.

As Boomers retire, how does this impact the overall labor economy?

According to CNN Business, there are signs that the labor shortage is abating. Employers are starting to see record number of applicants to most posted jobs. FedEx, for example, just got 111,000 applications in one week, the highest it has ever recorded. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the pandemic-induced increase in retirement is only temporary. People who retired due to the risk of the pandemic will return to work as new strategies emerge to reduce the risk to their health. With new varients popping up, we will have to keep an eye on how the trend ultimately plays out.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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