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Real Estate Big Data

Just how concerned is your state with safety? Here are the top 10

(BIG DATA) Safety can be a broker’s biggest selling point, knowing where you stand would help with that. These are the top 10 safest states per WalletHub’s findings.

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Selling point

As realtors, it never hurts to have some more intel on why people would want to move to the state in which you do business. Thankfully, WalletHub has got you covered!

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The site put together a study outlining the safest states in America by comparing each US state across “37 key safety indicators grouped into five different categories.”

Safety first

According to this study, here are the top ten safest states in America:

10. Hawaii
9. Utah
8. Rhode Island
7. Connecticut
6. Washington
5. New Hampshire
4. Minnesota
3. Massachusetts
2. Maine
1. Vermont

Each category contains a certain number of points based on the number of safety indicators within the category and the weights of each indicator. These indicators can half full weights or double weights, and the study is set up to let you filter the rank order by each category, so you can understand how your state performs on a deeper level. Here are the study’s categories and a sample of the indicators within each one:

Personal and Residential Safety

This category gives the most weight to per-capita rates of murders, rapes, and assaults.

They also heavily weight the number of sex offenders per capita.

Other factors considered include the number of employed law-enforcement agents and firefighters, as well as the suicide rate. With 40 total points (other categories have 15 total points), personal and residential safety is the most important category in the study

Road Safety

This includes rates of road dangers, such as fatalities (including those involving pedestrians and cyclists), and DUIs. It also takes into account ratings for road quality and driving laws

Workplace Safety

This category tracks fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses, with fatal injuries being weighed the most. Other factors include the days lost to those injuries and illnesses, and the presence of OSHA plans in the workplace.

Financial safety

Unemployment rate is the heaviest-weighted factor in this category.

However, it also includes indicators like underemployment rates, poverty rates, job security, unemployment claims and employment growth.

Other factors revolve around personal finance, such as personal bankruptcy filings, share of adults with rainy day funds, debt per income and median credit score.

Emergency Preparedness

This category includes the number of climate disasters that caused over a billion dollars in damages over the last decade, and how the total losses for those disasters are spread out across a per-capita basis

Take a look

It’s a huge study, and there’s even more data available. So, do yourself and favor and comb through it yourself to get a better idea of your state’s strengths when it comes to safety.

Where you see safety deficiencies for your state, ask yourself how getting involved with local politics or local organizations might improve those issues. Make your market a better sell and improve your brand at the same time!

#Safetyfirst

Born in Boston and raised in California, Connor arrived in Texas for college and was (lovingly) ensnared by southern hospitality and copious helpings of queso. As an SEO professional, he lives and breathes online marketing and its impact on businesses. His loves include disc-related sports, a pint of a top-notch craft beer, historical non-fiction novels, and Austin's live music scene.

Real Estate Big Data

Is a recession on the table for 2020?

(REAL ESTATE) Expert analysts say there are factors at play that indicate uncertainty for 2020 as some economic indicators improve and others decline.

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While the economy is looking good and housing is still booming, analysts have suggested 2020 could be the year for a recession.

The discussion took place during the National Association of Realtors 2019 Realtors Conference and Expo held recently in San Francisco. Three experts were allowed to share their thoughts on the market, highlighting current trends and projecting what might happen in the coming year.

The discussion was a mixed bag, with Dr. Lawrence Yun, a chief economist and senior vice president of research at NAR saying the economy looks promising.

Citing strong job creation in every state and a healthy consumer activity, Yun said, “I do not foresee a recession.” But, he added, some analysts believe because it’s been more than 10 years since the last major downturn, “the country is due for a recession.”

Even so, Yun said that unlike previous recessions, the current economic situation in the US today is much better. Yet, more countries are facing challenging economic situations, including Germany, which is said to be in the middle of a slight recession. Even in a scenario where the US avoids a full-on recession, the economy could be at risk, he said. If more countries are faced with restricted global trade, that would have negative consequences for the US.

“The hope is that no other country has to deal with that. If other countries go down, it would be impossible for America to grow,” Yun said.

Agreeing to disagree, Kenneth T. Rosen, chairman of the Rosen Consulting Group, said “I think there is a rising risk of recession. If some things go wrong, we could get a recession.”

What are those things: failure to create a truce with China over tariffs and the results of the 2020 election. Depending on those outcomes, they could spur a decline.

Yet, Rosen said he was leaning toward Yun’s expectation of the US avoiding a recession.

“Around the country we have pretty strong job creation, we’re adding lots of jobs,” Rosen said. “Consumers feel great so there are no signs of a recession, although a trade war does cause uncertainty. I think if we’re smart, we’ll get a truce on this and we’ll go forward.”

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Real Estate Big Data

Ultra simple shortcut to attract new (or more) real estate investors

(REAL ESTATE) Without having to spend any money, this shortcut can attract more business to boost your bottom line. And it’s a huge win-win for the nation.

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Whether you’re a real estate veteran, or looking to expand your services to the real estate investment world, a wild shortcut has just been launched, and you already have access to it for free if you’re a Realtor.

Realtors Property Resource (owned by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)), rolled out a map layer to unveil the Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) across the nation this year, and it’s a tool we should all be using regularly…

The QOZ program was created in 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and is designed to improve local economies (specifically the economically disadvantaged areas) through long-term investments.

There are 8,700 QOZs in America, and real estate investment and development in those areas are rewarded with tax incentives (potentially reducing their tax liability by 10-15%, and appreciation on the investment is tax free if held for at least 10 years).

And now, you can find the investment opportunities in seconds, generate reports for investors, connect with homeowners (via the “Mailing Labels” feature) in those areas, and so much more – the new RPR features combine to create one hell of a shortcut for you. Check it out:

“With the Opportunity Zone initiative poised to transform American communities that have long been shunned by investors, NAR has developed resources to help facilitate and expedite investments in these areas. As our work continues, REALTORS® are committed to ensuring Americans can take full advantage of this valuable new initiative”, said Joseph Ventrone, NAR Vice President, Federal Policy and Industry Relations.

“These Opportunity Zones encourage private investment into low-income communities, with the intent of stimulating economic growth and job creation,” said Bob Turner, NAR’s 2019 Commercial Liaison and RPR Advisory Council Member. “Residential practitioners will notice homes that fall within Opportunity Zones gain a boost to their marketability because of increased attention, while Commercial practitioners will likely see properties once being skipped over turn into desirable investment opportunities.”

It’s not just a shortcut for practitioners, but meaningful help for underserved areas. Talk about a real win-win.

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Real Estate Big Data

Pending home sales dip in all regions but the Midwest

(REAL ESTATE) Pending home sales slipped nationally, but there are some healthy signs for the housing sector as we look forward.

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If you’re in the field and feeling a slight slowdown, you’re probably right. Pending home sales (contracts signed) dipped 1.5% nationally, down 2.0% year-over-year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This marks the 16th consecutive month of annual decreases.

Pending home sales dipped 1.8% in the Northeast, 2.5% in the South, 1.8% in the West, and rose 1.3% in the Midwest.

Compared to last year, pending homes are 2.1% below a year ago, down 1.8% in the South, 1.5% lower in the West, and 2.4% lower in the Midwest during the same time period.

This indicator is forward-looking and lets us know how closings will look in the coming months.

NAR Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun said the sales dip has not yet reflected the market shifts that work in favor of homeownerships.

“Though the latest monthly figure shows a mild decline in contract signings, mortgage applications and consumer confidence have been steadily rising,” he said. “It’s inevitable for sales to turn higher in a few months.”

Dr. Yun noted that home price appreciation has been strongest on homes priced under $250,000 as inventory levels have been perpetually tight for several years. Price conditions are soft on upper-end homes, “especially in high tax states like Connecticut, New York and Illinois,” he added.

There are now signs for a rise in inventory, Dr. Yun states, digging into data from realtor.com, noting the largest increase in active listings (in April) compared to April 2018.

“We are seeing migration to more affordable regions, particularly in the South, where there has been recent job growth and homes are more affordable,” Yun said.

NAR has repeatedly pointed to housing starts by new home builders as one of the key paths to loosening up the tight inventory levels that continue to edge out willing buyers. Starts remain low, but with a healthy market, the inventory appears to be correcting, albeit slowly.

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