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LGBTQ Equality Bill heads back to Congress – with real estate industry support

(REAL ESTATE) Many don’t know that the real estate industry has been pushing for LGBTQIA+ protections for ages, and have made moves to protect a vulnerable population whereas the federal government still has not.

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The Equality Bill – which aims to expand the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 to include discrimination against sexual orientation, sex, and gender identity, was first introduced in 2015. Unfortunately, it never left committee.

However, it returns to Congress this week with some massive corporate support – over 161 companies are supporting the Human Rights Campaign coalition. This start list includes Apple, American Airlines, KPMG, Deloitte, IKEA, and Pepsico – and many more.

The news that it will hit the currently Democratically-held House of Representatives may spell some hope for the fifty percent of the LGBT community that lives in one of the 30 states that do not provide LGBT protections. If passed, the bill would provide protections in employment, education, housing, public accommodations, jury service, and federal funding.

The Equality Act also amends the Equal Opportunity Credit Act to ensure equal and fair access to credit. Going forward, the act is likely to enjoy broad support in the House, but will certainly face scrutiny and resistance in the conservatively-held Senate. However, the over 3.7 trillion dollars in revenue represented in the Business Coalition for Equality are a big voice that covers over half the country. No representative should ignore or treat that lightly.

Although federal protections are most needed, and the federal government has lagged behind – it’s important to remember the real estate industry (NAR members (association executives, brokers, and Realtors alike) and real estate tech companies) have come out in droves to support this legislation, continuing it’s great track record on LGBT equality.

Nearly a decade ago made it against the Code of Ethics (see Article 10) for any Realtor to discriminate against an LGBT person. NAR has long been on the side of LGBT equality, and as a fun piece of trivia: when it came to the historic marriage ruling – the lead plaintiff, Obergefell was a Realtor.

A lack of legal LGBTQIA+ protections is a continued vulnerability in the fight for fair and equal access to housing, and even before this bill was reintroduced, 2019 was promising to be a big year with the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) and NAR making a renewed push to end housing discrimination for LGBT populations. Things are happening!

What can you do? Write your senator or congressional representative, sign up to help push the law into action and stay in the know.

#EQUALHOUSINGFORALL

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Kam has a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and is an HR professional. Obsessed with food, but writing about virtually anything, he has a passion for LGBT issues, business, technology, and cats.

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Realuoso

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New findings from a National Association of Realtors® survey show that more Americans believe that now is a good time to purchase a home. Consumer opinions about home buying bounced back in the first quarter of 2019, with 37 percent stating that they strongly believe now is a good time to buy, up from 34 percent in the last quarter of 2018 but down from 38 percent one year ago. Only 35 percent of respondents said that now is not a good time to buy a home, compared to 37 percent in 2018’s fourth quarter.

NAR’s first quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey1 also found that a majority of those polled, 53 percent, said that the economy is improving – down slightly from 59 percent at the end of last year. In 2019, optimism is the greatest among those who earn $100,000 or more and those who reside in rural areas. Fifty percent of Generation X said the economy is improving, while 42 percent of urban area residents reported the same.

NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun says several factors are helping to improve the attitudes of potential home buyers. “First, inventory has been rising, so those buyers interested in making a purchase will not be limited in choices. Additionally, more stable home price trends are leading to more foot traffic at various open house gatherings.”

Quarter four of 2018 broke the trend for respondents who thought home prices had been steadily increasing over the last 12 months. The first quarter of 2019 followed that trend, as 61 percent of respondents said they think home prices in their communities have increased over the last 12 months; a drop from 63 percent in 2018’s fourth quarter. Thirty-one percent said prices within their community had remained the same, unchanged from a year ago.

This quarter’s survey asked respondents to look ahead regarding local housing prices in the near future. Forty-three percent said they expect prices in their communities to stay the same over the next six months, up 2 percent from last quarter. However, 47 percent believe prices will rise in the coming six months, while 10 percent believe prices will drop in the next six months.

Those who live in the Northeast and South, those who earn $50,000 to $100,000, or those who rent are most likely to believe prices will increase in their communities. Yun says the West is experiencing the most variation in expectations surrounding home prices. “A high percentage of the Western population believes that prices increased in the past year, while – possibly for the same reason – a higher segment from the West compared to other regions say prices could fall in the next 12 months,” Yun said. “As to the broader economy, the perception is weaker and showing cracks in the Midwest.”

Amid those polled who do not presently own a home, 27 percent believe it would be very difficult to qualify for a mortgage given their current financial situation; 28 percent said it would be somewhat difficult to qualify. Twenty-four percent of that group said they expect no difficulty at all in qualifying for a mortgage; up significantly from 21 percent last quarter and 19 percent this time last year.

Nonetheless, Yun notes that mortgage affordability in 2019’s first quarter has been more favorable for would-be homebuyers than it has been in recent quarters. “The Federal Reserve’s decision to refrain from any foreseeable rate hikes was beneficial to potential buyers,” Yun said. “That move directly contributed to mortgage rates declining in quarter one, which provided a second-chance opportunity to those looking to buy who were priced out last quarter.”

https://theamericangenius.com/housing/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/03/2019-Q1-HOME_Lo-Res.pdf

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Real Estate Big Data

Much needed good news for housing, despite slowed sales

(REAL ESTATE) The data is in, and some truly positive signs for the housing market are slowly surfacing.

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If you put your finger on the pulse of the housing market right now, you’d see some much needed health improvements – inventory levels are finally loosening up for the first time in years, and the rate of price increases abated in the fourth quarter.

The median price of an existing home in Q4 rose 4.0 percent to $257,600 compared to the fourth quarter of last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, said in a statement that despite hurdles last year, “the close of the fourth quarter was promising.”

“Home prices continued to rise in the vast majority of markets,” said Dr. Yun, “but with inventory steadily increasing, home prices are, on average, rising at a slower and healthier pace.”

Existing home sales fell 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter, and 7.4 percent over the year.

Why?

Dr. Yun said the West Coast needs more homes built. “The West region, where home prices have nearly doubled in six years, is undergoing the biggest shift with the slowest price gain and large buyer pullback.”

Comparing Q4 of 2017 and 2018 shows some relief when it comes to tight inventory levels which has edged hopeful homebuyers out of the market, increasing 6.2 percent over the year.

Housing affordability is the key ingredient to a healthy real estate sector going forward, which Dr. Yun says will require more homebuilding of moderately priced homes (a drumbeat the economist has been steadily beating for years).

“Housing starts fell far short of historically normal levels, with only 9.6 million new housing units added in the past decade; compared to 15 to 16 million that would have been needed to meet our growing population and 20 million new job additions,” said Dr. Yun.

“Local zoning law changes, expanding construction worker training programs at trade schools and promoting the use of tax breaks for developers in the designated Opportunity Zones will all play an important role in assuring an adequate future supply of housing,” Dr. Yun opined. 

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Realuoso

The secret to great leadership is being truly present

(BUSINESS) Every broker sees themselves as leaders, but the great leaders have one thing in common – they’re truly present. Here’s how you can be, too.

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When it comes to leadership, not only is your “presence” important, but being present in the moment – with your team, with your partners, or with your organization – may mean the difference between effectiveness and mediocrity.

Mindfully present leaders are connected to more satisfied, more civil, and better performing employees.

Present is being in the moment, versus simply existing at the time. Are you spending more time with your head, or more time in experiencing?

We often recognize presence in other people with particular adjectives: like “real,” “authentic,” “deep,” or “meaningful.” Presence is an active effort to be in the here and now, and being present can help you to get more feedback and information to take the best decisions.

Naturally, being a better decision maker means becoming a better leader.

Focus here on the leadership behaviors of Doug Conant, a former CEO of Campbell Soup Company. His emphasis is on “touchpoints,” which represent opportunities to interact, influence, and lead people in pursuit of a common goal.

Those touchpoints are a reframing of regular interactions that we may seem as unimportant – the opportunities that exist to create a connection with the people you are leading. Touchpoints are made out of a leader, another party, and an issue.

His approach to leadership engages your head, heart and hands. Leaders identify the nature of the touchpoint (head), put the goals of the group ahead of their own (heart), and interact with confidence, tenacity, and effectiveness (hands).

This approach mirrors the experience of counseling and mentoring – where you have to be present in terms of mind, body, and emotions.

Basically effective leadership is “all in.”

As a CEO, Conant was well known for the time he invested in getting to know people and possessing a genuine interest in their lives. Over 30,000 handwritten letters of gratitude and encouragement are his paper trail as a leader. And judging by his excellent book (check it out here, friends), it really spoke to his legacy and effectiveness as a leader.

Other famous leaders who embody this approach may come from places many people wouldn’t expect. As the Governor of The Lonestar State (Texas, y’all!), George W. Bush was well known for roaming the basement of the capital and chatting with everyone, from housekeeping to executives, remembering names and personal details of all he met. This kind of genuine, passionate engagement of people was well received by those who worked with him and it made him beloved by those who worked under him.

Short and sweet, be “all-in” with your people. Just showing up to the office won’t cut it. Learn how to focus your mind, engage your heart, and put the hands to work – excellence begets excellence, and we need leaders who are earnestly interested in the lives of their teams, organizations, and partners.

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