Homes in high-risk wildfire areas are more affordable

Homes in high-risk wildfire areas are more affordable
Wildfires continue to rip through the west coast, but that doesn’t mean homebuyers won’t purchase in high-risk areas. More than 4.5 million homes are located in areas at high risk of wildfire across the states of Washington, Oregon and California, with a total estimated home value of $3.3 trillion, a new Redfin report said.

Since 2012, the median sale price of homes in ZIP codes with a low wildfire risk has increased 101% compared to an 88% increase for homes in high-risk ZIP codes, per a Redfin analysis of the housing market and U.S. Forest Service. Data was gathered from 2,700 zip codes in California, Oregon and Washington.

In the 12 months ending August 2020, homes in high-risk ZIP codes sold for an average of 3.9% less than those in low-risk zip codes – $640,000 compared to $656,000. According to Redfin, this is in part due to more intense competition in areas with low wildfire risk.

“This disparity exacerbates the affordability crisis in low-risk areas, forcing homebuyers who don’t have large budgets to look to more fire-prone regions for affordable homes,” the report said.

In low-risk areas, 35% of homes sold above list price, compared to 27% in high-risk areas. The competition is so fierce that 42% of homes sold in low-risk areas over the past three years went under contract within two weeks. In high-risk areas, only 33% of homes were purchased in the same timeframe.

“The lower cost of housing in wildfire-prone areas compared to low-risk areas is likely just the beginning of the consequences of climate change for the housing market,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Right now, wildfires are still a rare occurrence for homeowners, but if fires and other climate disasters continue to happen more and more frequently, some housing markets will go from less desirable to untenable, yet they will remain the only option for many families.”

Redfin said that for Bay Area homebuyers who are priced out of San Francisco, where the median home sold for $1.45 million in September, they may feel forced into more high-risk areas such as Santa Rosa, California, where the median price in September was $690,000, or Sacramento, California where the median price was $475,000. 

“The tougher competition in low-risk areas makes it harder to buy a home where it’s safer, and gives buyers another reason to shift their home search to risky areas where homes are more affordable and there’s less competition,” the report said.

“Right now people are still migrating to places that have suffered through wildfires or smoke in the central valley and wine country in California and parts of Oregon because homes in those places seem like a good deal,” Fairweather said. “Homebuyers often look at the lower sticker price on homes with more fire risk and are driven to buy because it’s what they can afford.” 
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People movers: Amherst, Notarize, Zillow Group

People movers: Amherst, Notarize, Zillow Group
The Amherst Group, a real estate investment, development and operating firm, announced another executive-level appointment, hiring Gillian Sutton Cho as chief operating officer of investment management.

In her new position, she is responsible for all investor-facing services and operations, and for growing assets under management for all Amherst strategies. She is also tasked with delivering the company’s investment platform to a broader audience.

Before joining Amherst, Cho served as the chief operating officer of Crow Holdings where she was responsible for building the corporate infrastructure to facilitate growth and engaged in business development and capital raising activities.

Claire Cormier Thielke has been named to Zillow Group’s board of directors, bringing a strong background in operations, innovation and real estate financing to the board.

Currently, Thielke serves as managing director of Hines, a global real estate investment, development and management firm, where she is in charge of acquisitions, development and new business generation in the Asia Pacific region. She has also served as chief operating officer of investment management for Hines, and is a member of Stanford University’s adjunct faculty.

“Claire’s board appointment will be instrumental in guiding and propelling the company through its evolution to Zillow 2.0,” said Lloyd Frink, Zillow co-founder, executive chairman and president.

Sanjeev Banerji joins the Notarize team as its new vice president of engineering, bringing more than 20 years of experience from the start-up world to the online notarization company. 

Upon joining the company, Banerji plans to build a team that creates compelling and sustainable product offerings. Banerji has also held engineering leadership roles at Endeca, an e-commerce search engine, and data platform Delphix.
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The Pandemic’s Impact on Consumer Shopping Behavior in Mortgage & Real Estate

The Pandemic’s Impact on Consumer Shopping Behavior in Mortgage & Real Estate
Our job as mortgage professionals is to help consumers when and how they need us. This is especially important in the current crisis as the behaviors of both consumers and those in the housing industry are changing. Join Jornaya’s Head of Consumer Finance Mike Eshelman and Chief Marketing Officer Rich Smith as they discuss consumer shopping trends and the impacts on the housing industry. They’ll provide never before seen research on consumer shopping behavior pre- and post-COVID.

“Consumer shopping behavior has permanently changed; the customer expectation has changed,” Eshelman says in the session. “And we need to adapt to those changes.”

About Jornaya:

 Jornaya has proprietary access to data in markets where customers invest significant time researching, analyzing, and comparing options on major purchases, including real estate, mortgage, and banking. Working with a network of over 1,000 partners who operate more than 35,000 comparison shopping and lead generation sites, we provide companies access to early behavioral buying signals for customers and prospects. Monthly, we witness over 350 million consumer purchase journeys in a privacy friendly manner.

Watch the full session below. To go back to the full HousingWire Annual 2020 on demand summit, go here.

Panelist:

Rich Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, JornayaMike Eshelman, Head of Consumer Finance, Jornaya

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Some notaries are saying no to RON

Some notaries are saying no to RON

California has distinguished itself as the state that may never accept remote online notarization (RON). The state has no legislation permitting RON, and has even gone so far as to write to Congress opposing proposed bills that would make RON legal in all 50 states.

Earlier this year, the state once again looked at RON legislation with its bill AB 199. After consideration in California’s judiciary committee, however, the bill died.

And now notaries are telling us why.

In California, notaries are required to take a thumbprint of the signer. This led to a famous crime being solved several years ago.

In 2008, two San Francisco Bay area men targeted 74-year-old Palm Springs resident Clifford Lambert to rob him of his home, money and eventually his life. But the criminals made one very critical error: they had an imposter, posing as Lambert, enter a notary office to sign several power of attorney documents to transfer property and possessions.

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Appraisal coalition pledges to combat bias and discrimination

Appraisal coalition pledges to combat bias and discrimination
The Appraisal Institute, American Society of Appraisers, American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, and the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers announced a concerted effort to combat unconscious bias and discrimination in a release on Friday.

The coalition pledged to develop training programs that cover issues of bias as well as connect the appraisal community with thought leaders on unconscious prejudices. Each of the organizations also announced steps to enhance their personal Code of Ethics to more “firmly or overtly address bias and discrimination issues with protected classes.”

According to the release, the organizations have previously worked together this year to address COVID-19 related appraisal hurdles and policy issues facing the valuation process.

“During this important time in our nation’s history, our organizations stand together to enhance existing training and ethics initiatives and work even harder to ensure that the appraisal process is free of bias or discrimination of any kind,” said Appraisal Institute President Jefferson Sherman.

The appraisal industry has been under scrutiny recently after a Florida couple who attempted to refinance their home in Jacksonville were met with a lower rate than what was initially expected after meeting the appraiser. The couple first told the story to the New York Times in August and ABC News did a follow-up on Wednesday. Abena Horton, a Black female, removed all the photos from the home that revealed her husband, a while male, had an interracial family. When a second appraisal was conducted with a different appraiser – and her husband greeted them alone – the value of their home rose by more than $100,000.

In 1968 the Fair Housing Act was enacted to prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, national origin or sex when it came to the sale, financing and rental of homes. However, a report conducted by the Brookings Institute in 2018 found homes of similar quality in neighborhoods with similar amenities are worth 23% less in majority-Black neighborhoods, compared to those with very few or no Black residents. At an average of $48,000 difference per home, the study estimates $156 billion in cumulative losses.

NAMB leads brokers in advocating for consumer data privacy

The National Association of Mortgage Brokers has been advocating for mortgage brokers for almost 50 years. We spoke with NAMB’s President and NAMB’s lobbyist about the organization’s past and current legislative efforts.

Presented by: NAMB

In September, President of the Appraisal Foundation Dave Bunton released a newsletter acknowledging the community’s failure to report discrimination mainly due to lack of information regarding the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) – a system of enforcement for individuals to report discrimination to state regulators.

Bunton’s call to action included awareness of reporting mechanisms, modifying education to include implicit bias-related issues and diversification of the practice as a whole. The foundation also established a Special Committee of Diversity and Inclusion in April.

“Acknowledging that bias exists is but one small step. Together with our partners, we commit to doing the hard work of educating our members about the various ways bias can affect their work, and provide them the tools necessary to overcome bias. By doing this as a profession, and not merely as individual organizations, we hope to underscore to our members and the public just how important this issue is to all of us,” stated American Society of Appraisers International president Lorrie Beaumont.
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After record fall of 18%, forbearances rose slightly last week

After record fall of 18%, forbearances rose slightly last week
After plummeting 18% the week prior, the number of mortgages in active forbearance rose by 19,000 last week, according to a new report by Black Knight on Friday.

Though the raw number increased, the number of all mortgages in active forbearance remained at 5.6%, unchanged from the week prior.

Oct. 9 marked the first week forbearances fell below 3 million since April, and despite last week’s uptick, that record held steady after a reported 2.99 million homeowners remained in COVID-19-related forbearance plans.

Although portfolio-held and private labeled security loans led the record decline the week prior, those same loans took the lion’s share of last week’s increase – rising by nearly 8,000, the report said.

The rate for home loans in Ginnie Mae securities, primarily mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Agency and Veterans Administration, also jumped by 8,000, and continued to boast the largest share of loans in forbearance, up to 9.5% from 9.4%

GSE loans, those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, took the remaining share of the increase with nearly 3,000 new loans in forbearance but remaining at 4% share overall.

Black Knight said despite the slight uptick, there is room for optimism as forbearance volumes are down 708,000 from the same time last month, representing a 19% month-over-month decline. Overall, volume is down nearly 1.76 million since the peak of forbearances at 4.76 million in late May.

In terms of remaining forbearance cases, 78% have had their terms extended.

According to an August report from Black Knight, of the 6.1 million homeowners who have been in COVID-19-related forbearance plans, roughly 41% — nearly two and half million, have exited forbearance. Of those, 1.8 million proved to be performing.

However, recent Urban Institute data revealed a whopping 400,000 mortgage borrowers fell “needlessly delinquent” despite many borrowers being fully eligible for forbearance.
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Protected: How much house can I afford to buy?

Protected: How much house can I afford to buy?

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